What was once the hub of San Francisco's fishing fleet is now the city's most popular tourist destination which attracts over 12 million visitors annually. Fisherman's Wharf is still the place to get your fill of fresh seafood but the waterfront area is now also home to themed museums, souvenir shops, malls, historic buildings and piers.
Fisherman's Wharf knows how to attract a crowd. Every day the neighbourhood is rammed with tourists, hawkers and just heaps of people. The wharf is located at the tip of the San Francisco peninsula along the bay, bound by Van Ness Avenue to the west and Kearny Street to the east, and is where the boat tours to Alcatraz Island and around the bay arrive and depart. Over three generations of fisherman have worked on this historic waterfront since the 19th century. A remnant of those days is the annual crab season in November where a priest blesses the crabbing crews before they go searching for Dungeness crustaceans, the local delicacy. A signature Fisherman's Wharf dish is clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.
Close to downtown San Francisco and the historic cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf is an ideal spot to start your tourist assault on the city. Popular drawcards include seeing the sea lions sun themselves at the West Marina of Pier 39, a huge entertainment and shopping complex; the plethora of talented street performers from mimes to magicians; Fish Alley where the fisherman haul in their catch, and the Aquatic Park at the west end of the wharf. Chocoholics won't want to miss Ghirardelli Square Original Chocolate Manufactory – a San Fran icon with original chocolate-making equipment onsite.
The best way to explore Fisherman's Wharf is on foot. To visit Fisherman's Wharf take the scenic route via a cable car on the Powell-Hyde line which stops at Aquatic Park. The historic F streetcar line also services most of the area and you can catch the streetcar from Market Street. You can also walk from downtown San Francisco, a 25-minute journey from the Financial District along the Embarcadero promenades.