San Francisco is known for its piers so, just like other visitors to this beautiful city, that’s where we headed on a clear day in August of 2012. You’ll find shops and restaurants and even a merry-go-round or is it a carousel?! From Pier 39, you have stunning views of Coit Tower and Alcatraz. I used to remember seeing sea lions around the pier but I don’t remember seeing any when we were there. Notice what the people in the photo below are wearing (more on this later).
Here’s a view of the Coit Tower from Pier 39. Coit Tower is in the neighbourhood of Telegraph Hill. I was there many years ago but we didn’t go there on this visit. Notice the art deco style of the tower? It was completed in 1933. The Golden Gate Bridge was completed a few years later in 1937. You can go up to the observation deck for a fee for a view of the city.
Remember I mentioned that we visited in August of 2012 in the middle of summer and yet look at the photo below. Look at what the people are wearing – pants, jackets, sweatshirts or fleece. And for those that are wearing shorts and t-shirt, let me tell you, they end up running into one of the stores for a fleece jacket. My one piece of advice when visiting San Francisco is to always pack a light jacket or a fleece because you never know what kind of weather you’ll get. Even the residents had busted out their leather jackets. It’s always cooler by the water. We saw the temperature steadily decrease driving from Yosemite where it was the high 30’s or even low 40’s degrees Celsius to the mid-teens by the time we reached Sausalito and San Francisco. Another word of advice, if you’re driving to the pier, do not park at the parking garage across Pier 39. They charged $40 for all day parking two years ago. I can only imagine what they are charging now. There are more reasonable parking around the area. But we got stuck in the queue with no way to back out.
Here’s that two-tiered merry-go-round or is it a carousel? I’m not exactly sure but it’s quite pretty.
And there’s Alcatraz. If you want to visit Alcatraz, I would recommend to book your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance. They sell out very quickly.
Another must see is Fisherman’s Wharf and if you’re hungry, it’s the perfect place to stop for a bite. Choose from one of the many restaurants around. You may want to try the Dungeness crab and the clam chowder served in sourdough bread.
Here’s a photo of those Dungeness crab courtesy of Wikipedia:
The Musée Mécanique is one of the neatest places to visit. It’s located just behind the “Fishermans Wharf” sign and admission is free. You can walk around and see the antique music boxes and arcade machines. They even have arcade machines from your childhood – like the Pong video game! I’m not joking and you can actually play with all the machines. It’s quite awesome. So, don’t miss it!
If riding the cable cars of San Francisco is on your list of things to do, well, pack a lot patience because the line-up and wait time is long. Catch them at Powell & Market streets. If you’d rather keep exploring, from here, you can head on to Hyde St. Pier which is located just at the bottom of this street, but that’s for another post.