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
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.