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Fisherman´s Wharf

S.F.Eighty-seven percent of San Francisco's visitors include Fisherman's Wharf on their itinerary. With good reason. Waterfront marketplaces include The Anchorage, The Cannery, Ghirardelli Square and PIER 39. The Wharf's working hub, "Fish Alley," sells thousands of tons of sole, shrimp, salmon, sea bass, squid and other deep sea delicacies annually. During the crab season (mid-November through June) devotees line up for the best of the catch. For an impromptu picnic, order some cracked crab and pick up a loaf of sourdough French bread from a nearby bakery.

A fleet of historic ships berths at Hyde Street Pier, a component of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, which also includes the Maritime Museum. The USS Pampanito, a WWII fleet submarine, may be boarded at Pier 45.

On The City's northern waterfront beyond Hyde Street Pier and the lagoon of Aquatic Park (this is a nice side trip from Fisherman's Wharf), the nearly four-mile-long Golden Gate Promenade winds past bocce ball courts through Fort Mason and Marina Green to Crissy Field, a shoreline retreat adjoining the Presidio, terminating at Fort Point. Ahead lies the world's most incredible piece of outdoor sculpture, the majestic Art Deco-style Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937 the bridge links San Francisco to Marin County. For a real aerobic workout, climb the steps near Fort Point that lead up to the bridge and make "the walk of all walks." Click here for a map.

The downtown waterfront district has been transformed with the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway. Promenades and tidal stairs descending right to the water's edge offer easy access. Cast off from King Street to explore the latest evidence of The City's waterfront renaissance. In the balmy South Beach district where a new neighborhood has risen, palm trees evoke southern inclinations. Sunny cafes with outdoor patios are plentiful. Skirting this area, Herb Caen Way along the southern Embarcadero is punctuated with historic plaques and pylons recalling events and people of the past. The SS Jeremiah O'Brien, the Liberty Ship which made an historic Atlantic crossing in the spring of 1994 to commemorate D-Day, docks at Pier 32. From here head north towards the Ferry Building, passing directly beneath the approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Nearby the Embarcadero Center's architecturally dramatic eight-block complex shelters 19 outdoor sculptures.

For many visitors, Ocean Beach on the westernmost edge of The City is the first stop on the itinerary. The Pacific Ocean is always an exhilarating sight, especially for first-timers. The expansive windows of the Cliff House, erected in 1909, are a popular lookout. Just offshore are the abrupt outlines of Seal Rocks. They are usually inhabited by shore birds and a colony of stellar sea lions. Bring binoculars for a close-up. On a clear day the Farallon Islands some 30 miles distant are also visible. Swimming, it should be noted, is not allowed here. There are two other sandy pockets on The City's northern edge. China Beach at 28th Avenue and Sea Cliff, is one of the few swimming beaches in The City. Lifeguards on duty during the summer watch this cove. At Baker Beach, off 25th Avenue, swimming is dangerous, but the views of the Golden Gate are alluring for hikers, fishermen and picnickers.


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