Nestled beneath vibrant North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf is proud home to many of the city’s most popular attractions and a must-do on the itinerary of any SF visitor. The seals of Pier 39, the famous chocolate of Ghiradelli Square, and the freshest seafood around make the wharf a year-round hit. But Fisherman’s Wharf is not just for tourists. The homes lining its residential streets enjoy stellar views of Alcatraz and the bridge. The Powell-Mason cable car line begins at Fisherman’s Wharf while the F-Market links the wharf to Market Street via the Embarcadero. Aquatic Park is a favorite for Fisherman's Wharf swimmers willing to brave the frigid water
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Where is the fascination with Fisherman's Wharf?
The ungodly tourist attraction known as Fisherman’s Wharf is the biggest waste of time ever. Talking from a Tourist perspective, I have been here 4 times at various ages, starting from 6 years old up to 21 years old and I still don’t get the appeal. Tacky street performers, terrible carnival food, marked up retail stores, and a dirty wharf. WOW this seems like the perfect place to take the family and waste 8 hours and hundreds of dollars. My fondest memory of Fisherman’s Wharf was when my brother got so sick from the food that we had to leave early. Ohh how that was a good day! Sure the street performer covered in all gold and silver is entertaining for like 30 seconds until you realize that this is his job and in fact all he can do is pretend to stay still or dance like a robot…it just becomes borderline sad.
Really is Alcatraz that amazing? If you really want to see it, just watch “The Rock” starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. Okay movie, filmed at Alcatraz. You can get this for 2 dollars at your local dvd store for 3 nights rent to enjoy Alcatraz in the comfort of your home.
Fisherman’s Wharf deserves some credit because it has somehow marketed itself as a tourist destination without providing anything of value. So to that I say “Well done.” But to all you other tourists out there, take it from a fellow tourist and skip Fisherman’s Wharf. The money and time you will save can be used for something of actual value!
Street performers, sea lions, Pier 39 and high parking costs. All tourist traps in Fisherman’s Wharf. Do people really live in this neighborhood?
if you're looking for a place to live, run the other way
If you love the water, you love being able to get fresh sourdough bread and fresh seafood, and you love chocolate, live somewhere NEAR Fisherman’s Wharf. If you love tourists, wax museums, and the smell of fish then I guess Fisherman’s Wharf is for you. I’m not saying don’t take your great aunt here when she comes to visit, by all means take her, but don’t live here. Don’t subject her to that smell, and that noise. By “that noise” I mean the clicking of cameras, the oohs and aahs of people who are impressed by men in silver paint standing still, and the sea lions bark bark barking away. But if that’s your cup of tea, embrace it.
The Wharf isn't so bad
What are you guys talking about? This is a neighborhood. I mean, I suppose it is if the tourists and the homeless are considered permanent residents. Yes there are expensive attractions, touristy clichés, and expensive parking spots, however the seafood sold on the street is delicious and reasonably priced, and to avoid parking costs, I take the bart to Embracadero and walk from there. There are some free sites (besides the dwindling sea lions) like the old cannery and its museum. Also free is the # 1 highlight of Fisherman’s Warf—the Bushman, who scares unsuspecting tourists when he pops out from behind his assemblage of tree branches. He has me leaning of the railing of the pier dying of laughter every time.
Is this really a “nabe?”
The actual Fisherman’s Wharf is dominated by fat tourists and, thus, homeless people begging for a buck, a really unpleasant combination. I’m pretty sure someone was stabbed outside a club one of the nights I was there. There are so many wonderful places in San Fran that you really wouldn’t miss anything by skipping this trap, unless of course you need to eat steaming clam chowder out of a perfectly doughy Boudin Sourdough Bread bowl. I have to admit, that was the one bright spot on this otherwise dismally commercial strip. It’s fun to watch the famous barking sea lions that have inhabited the docks, but sadly they have dissipated in the last few years, so even this natural draw is lacking.
The incessant tourist presence in Fisherman’s Wharf can be hard to deal with at times. And frankly, most residents of the city avoid the wharf but there are some real gems here. One of my favorites is Aquatic Park, right next to the Hyde Street Pier. Swimmers from the athletic clubs in the wharf can usually be seen swimming here and an ocassional seal too. A clear day at Aqautic Park is hard to beat.
Sourdough bread bowl chowdah!
I always love going to Ghiradelli Square, just around the corner from Fisherman’s Wharf, even though it’s a big tourist attraction. Definitely go into the chocolate shop for a sundae, if you are prepared to wait in line, though it is pretty much worth it. Main attractions are Pier 39 and Italian seafood restaurants. If you do decide to fight the tourists/crowds and eat at one, definitely get a sourdough bread bowl of chowder; classic and delicious!!