Pier 39, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9413337.808101 -122.409001
Great Views! – This was one of the first places my boyfriend and I went to visit in SF. Before our trip I researched places on the internet and came across the website pier39. com and they have live webcam overlooking the sealions. I thought that was awesome and that is the first thing I looked for. I called up my parents to have them go on the internet so my daughter can see me while she was talking on the phone with me. That was a special moment I had since I was so far from home so that is why the webcam was my favorite feature. Also you can see everything from the bridges to Alcatraz.
Good for locals too – Ok, I know what all San Franciscans think: PIER 39 is nothing but a tourist trap. That's why I never really visited when I was growing up. Yeah I'll admit, that's what this native thought too... until now. When a few out-of-town friends visited me this summer, of course they wanted to see this big attraction. Well, I've got to tell you how different this place is from my expectations! First of all, I never noticed it had two levels. I love those adorable sea lions, the food tastes great and you just can't beat those views. If you stand on the bridge that links the parking garage to the second level, you get a great 360 view of the City skyline, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. The brochure touts more than 110 shops, and boy, do I believe it. There are so many cute things, from silver charm bracelets, to crazy hats, to a pet gift shop! Plus, you gotta love how accessible this place is on public transportation. Even though I'm not a fan of MUNI buses, the historic trolleys make it a pretty charming ride.
Nice views, cool sea lions – My hubby and I recently visited San Fran from Arizona. It was nice to see some water for once! We decided to stop by Pier 39 while in town to check it out. We arrived at around 9 AM, and it was quiet and relatively uncrowded. We checked out the sea lions and they were fun. Then we left to go ride the cable cars, go to Coit Tower, and take our Alcatraz trip. We came back later in the afternoon to get a couple of hats since we were getting sunburned, and the Pier was packed! We hate crowds, so it wasn't our cup of tea later on in the day. Plus we don't like kids and there were tons of those tearing around. We did go have lunch at the Sea Lion Cafe, which wasn't that great. Our waitress couldn't even speak English (which happened a lot in San Fran!).
A word on the parking: We had never been to San Fran before, so we parked in the Pier 39 parking garage. Big mistake. We could've parked over on Beach Street for about half the price. The parking garage had these machines that you are supposed to pay at with your parking ticket they give you when you first park. Ours had been in my back pocket all day and got crinkled, so none of the machines would take it. Of course, there was no attendant anywhere to be found. We kept trying different machines, and then one of them ate our ticket. Luckily there was an attendant at the exit so we could get out, but we ended up really frustrated and we were put almost an hour behind schedule.
#1 distraction – First of all, let me say that I was born in San Francisco but raised down in Santa Barbara. However, very soon I will be returning to live in the city once again this fall as I attend SF State. As a kid when I came to visit and always wanted to fool around at the pier. But let me tell you, now I realize, everyone is right, Pier 39 is just a trashy tourist spot and the seals are the only thing worthwhile. Plus, its a nightmare getting there because the F-line is way too crowded. I love San Francisco very much, but now as I prepare to spend my adult years there, its time I pay more attention to the classier parts of the city like Golden Gate Park or the Palace. Places like those have convinced me that I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
Unless you want to go shopping or see the Sea Lions, this place is just a little to overrated. The Sea Lions that hang out next to the pier are the most interesting part...and they are interesting!
Pier 39- Waste if Time – Please, whatever you do, don't waste time at this tourist trap. There is NOTHING there that isn't at every other tourist trap in America. It's just a bunch of chain restaurants and t-shirt shops. If you want to eat at Hooters, why not just stay in your home town and save the money?
Place to hang out – I think it's a nice place to hang out. Like the tulip festival that's gonna happen there this February, it's unbelivably pretty. Alcatraz is an interesting place to see while you are there, it's truly one of a kind experiences. If you don't feel up for walking too much, you can simply take a cruise with an awesome view of San Francisco downtown. I'd suggest to take it in the evening so that you will get to see the pretty night life of San Francisco downtown. Picture of San Francisco is worth more then thousand words. Check it out, if you ever in Pier 39 area.
Tourist Trap – Been There, Done That....there's not a whole lot unique to Pier 39, except for the smell....FISH. This is a typical tourist trap with junk for sale that you've seen at so many other places. They just have SF on them instead of another location. Even the restaurants are ho-hum. You can find many other places in SF that have far better food and souvenirs that are much better than the junk sold at Pier 39. Go to Chinatown, Columbus Street, or the Castro (even if you don't bat from the other side of the plate) for a much better "San Francisco" experience.
Horrible representation of SF – For the love of god, if you're visiting San Francisco, skip Pier 39. There couldn't be anything more tourist-y, save for maybe Disneyland. There is a plethora of neighborhoods and things to do and see that would give you a better feel for the diversity SF represents. See the Lower Haight, visit the Mission, or eat dim sum in Chinatown or on Geary. You'll enjoy San Francisco much more.
required field – Great views, mix of shops and stores, and plenty of beautiful sea lions
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