Tourists going to San Francisco should not miss Pier 39, one of the most popular attractions in the city. Here one can enjoy many things in one destination from retail shops, to delicious foods, to video arcades, to marine life, to state-of-the-art 3D rides. Pier 39 spans an area of 45 acres or 18 hectares and is a stone?s throw away from another famous San Francisco attraction, Fisherman?s Wharf. Pier 39 offers magnificent 360-degree panoramic views and has been recognized as the ?Best Place to Watch People in San Francisco? by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The waterfront area where Pier 39 now sits was initially intended to be a cargo pier in 1905, but owing to the efforts of concerned San Francisco citizens, the port area was renovated in 1978 as a picturesque fishing neighborhood. Since then, visitors have been saying that they cannot tell the distinction between Fisherman?s Wharf and Pier 39. Most of the commercial establishments found at Pier 39 are open from 10 in the morning until mid-evening from Monday to Thursday and shop hours are usually extended on Fridays and Saturdays. It is not advisable to bring your own car to go to Pier 39 since it?s one of the busiest places in San Francisco so it?s very difficult to drive around.
Pier 39 houses 110 specialty stores that sell mostly San Francisco souvenir items. Other shops include and Olympic store, an NFL items retailer, jewelry shops as well as an establishment that offers items for left-handed individuals. There are also a few art galleries within Pier 39 where visitors can buy art pieces.
As expected for a complex located in a port area, Pier 39 features restaurants that specialized on seafood dishes. However, there are also several food stands and fast food stalls which sell ice cream and chocolates.
Aside from eating and shopping, there are other activities at Pier 39 for the entire family. One of the more popular attractions here is the San Francisco Carousel which was made by hand in Italy. Kids will surely enjoy the fast ride offered by the Turbo Ride or they can jump as high as they want safely via the bungee trampoline. For something more educational, families can visit the Aquarium by the Bay which boasts of around 20,000 marine animals.
Not to miss at Pier 39 as it is close to impossible is the sight of hundreds of California Sea Lions who started to call the docks of Pier 39 their home since 1990 after an earthquake rocked Loma Prieta in 1989 where the seals used to stay. It?s best to go here during the winter when drones of seals crowd the pier, but a few of them stay here the entire year.