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Published: July 26th 2018
In 2009, I decided to go on the famed tour of Alcatraz. Prior to that time, I had only heard of the many attractions that existed in San Francisco. Among the attractions I heard about, was the Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. When I finally made it there, I was amazed at what I saw; the crowds, the activities, museums, art galleries, restaurants and shopping centers. There is an interesting history behind the name of the attraction; Fisherman’s Wharf. During the Gold Rush, Italian fishermen settled in the area around the bay and fished for dungeness crabs. Because the activity around, the area around Pier 39 is now called the fisherman’s Wharf. The main fishing fleet of San Francisco call this home even to present day. The wharf was created by Henry Meiggs as "Meiggs Wharf" to serve the lumber trade. Meigg's wharf was always a spot for the fishing fleet, swimmers, and sunbathers.
Located at San Francisco's Maritime park, the Fisherman’s Wharf draws millions of visitors each year competing favorably with the Golden Gate Bridge in terms of visitors. There are various activities, shops, restaurants, art galleries to see while at the Wharf. Below are a few stops that
I highly recommend.
1. Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum
2. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
3. Boudin Sourdough Bakery, for the best clam chowder soup
4. Buena vista Café, for the best Irish coffee
5. Take a trip to Alcatraz
6. Ghirradelli Square
7. Musee’ Mecanique
8. View sea lions
9. Take the Bay cruise, boat tours available at Pier 39
10. Watch street performers: you can see all sorts of performances. From music, art, mines to 10 minute portrait makers.
Price: It is a little on the expensive side for the budget traveler. San Francisco in general is an up market destination with a high cost of living. If you are the typical tourist, this is truly what we call a tourist trap because of the many shops and restaurants that keep tourists spending, spending and spending again. I know so because I found myself drawn to the same vice I now write about. The many souvenir shops selling exactly the same things. I remember one of the shop keepers trying to rip off Joe on a camera battery, well one of the Lithium ones. He quoted him a
price twice as much as what was marked on the battery box. Once we showed him the price, he decided he would sell it to us at the price on the box, he said it was marked down. It was embarrassing having to deal with that kind of lie. But then again, we were tourists, so I assume he had gotten away with pulling off the same scam with others before us. Shame.
That a side it is truly a tourist place, the traveler however would find this much too much to learn anything, probably a waste of time. Nonetheless it is worth seeing if only to say ‘I was there’ or ‘been there, done that’. If you have made it to the Fisherman's Wharf, you are most likely not going to miss Pier 39 because the huge flags announce that you've arrived. Next door is your ticket counter to Alcatraz and boat trips around the bay and under the Golden Gate bridge. Refurbished in 1978 to resemble a wooden fishing village, this 1905 pier has over 100 shops & restaurants spread over two levels. It has an amusement arcade and an aquarium. I enjoyed watching the colony of
sea lions occupying a great portion of the docks. This is definitely a great family attraction.
PS: Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today, tomorrow is promised to no one.
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