Posts Tagged ‘Pier 39’

Okay, so you’ve re-stuffed your maw at the Ferry Terminal Marketplace after reading the not-to-be-missed rundown in A HALF DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO PART TWO: THE FERRY TERMINAL BUILDING, and you’re wondering whether this “walking it off ” is all it’s cracked up to be. Never fear, you’ll continue in the direction you started. There’s plenty to see as you stroll The Embarcadero.


Restored colorful trolly cars from every era run the distance of the street. Great views of Coit Tower peek out from between high rises.IMG_2163

And you’re right on the water, so there are plenty of opportunities to step closer and take in The Bay as well as all kinds of colorful local characters. Yeah, there’s lots of tourists, but the locals make themselves known.IMG_2152

You will continue about 1.8 miles. If you’re not feeling it, you can drive, there is a “one hour free” parking lot before 6pm when you hit Pier 39 (your penultimate destination.) But, if those dumplings (and macaroons, admit it, you found room) are weighing heavy, take the stroll, it’s lovely.IMG_2165

You’ll know you’re getting close to Pier 39 when everything gets a little more cotton candy-street musician-guy-hawking-boat-trips-to-Alcatraz-y. You’ll know you’re actually AT Pier 39 when you either see the large Pier 39 sign or find yourself passing a Tourista Hellscape (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Shirtique, Krazy Kaps and multiple opportunities to indulge in fudge. I think you know what I’m laying down. Don’t say you weren’t warned.)

Pier 39 does have three things going for it. Amidst all the mass produced tourist trap tat.

• A rather sweet, dual level old fashioned carousel in the center that would be fun for kids or a nostalgic spin of your own.https://i1.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3657/3605929300_329dc9b96a_m.jpg

• Clean public restrooms on the second level (it’s been a while since that pot of chrysanthemum tea.)

• And, most important of all, the SEA LIONS!


But you won’t find these charmingly lazy louts of the sea among the teeming masses that inhabit Pier 39. The best way to get to them is to get back out on THE EMBARCADERO. Continue in the direction you were originally walking. Pass the entrance to Pier 39 and all that madness (Hard Rock Cafe, the Aquarium, etc.) Take a right and walk down the pier.  (If you get to where the Alcatraz tour boats are docked you’ve gone too far.)

Walk down the pier towards the water. It will smell like a zoo. There will be grunting and guttural moans. You will ignore your better instincts and everything your mother ever told you and continue towards these sounds.

At the end of the pier there will probably be a crowd gathered. They will be watching the sea lions. You should too. They are ridiculous and slovenly and very cute. Sometimes fights break out when someone gets on the wrong side of an alpha male. But even the fights are pretty funny. To see two half ton blubbery blobs “ark” at each other over territory isn’t exactly the blood sport of the Serengeti.


The end of the pier is also a great place to catch a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. If you’re headed here in the Summer months, you might want to check in with the sea lion webcam just to make sure they haven’t migrated to their summer shares in So Cal or Mexico, ya know, ’cause they’re glamorous like that.


Continuing back on The Embarcadero you will hit Fisherman’s Wharf. More touristy hoo hah, although Fisherman’s Wharf is heavier on the fine dining and lighter on the “Your name rendered on a grain of rice.”

Alioto’s Restaurant is a San Francisco institution since 1925. Good seafood, great views of the San Francisco Bay.

• Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Manufactory offers you a glance into the chocolate making process and of course, has plenty of the deep, dark for sale.

And, last but not least, The Mister’s favorite…


Boudin Bakery – The place of his youthful sourdough dreams. Yes, you can take a tour, yes, there’s a bistro and a gift shop full of logo aprons and Pete’s Coffee. But if you’re like my fella, ignore all the pomp and go straight for a fresh out of the oven loaf of that deep, sour, crunchewy fantasy bread. It’s worth the hike. And you can walk that off getting to your car…Two miles back to Yank Sing!

Read Full Post »

The Lady Is A Chef

All the juice I can squeeze from my mind grapes...

Attempts in Domesticity

trying to emulate Martha Stewart in a town full of hipsters...

Small World Supper Club

Dining at the Venn Diagram

The Vagabond Filmmaker

Travel + Film = A Happy Life

Soap Cauldron

Fine Handmade Soaps & Sundries


When food and wine click!

Albion Cooks

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

101 Cookbooks

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

Nook & Pantry - A Food and Recipe Blog

Sonoma County Wine and Whimsey

Oregon Cork Dork

Documenting my adventure in Oregon's Willamette Valley

%d bloggers like this: