San Francisco: Ferry Building versus Pier 39. There is only one winner!
One of the more famous Tourist destinations in San Francisco is Pier 39. It is well known and listed in many guides. It is also a total nightmare, and makes the South Street Seaport in New York seem positively up-market and glamorous. It is a real attraction to avoid.
Luckily just down the road is something that is worth visiting and offers a more honest and real reflection of what San Francisco is. And that is the Ferry Building.
Pier 39 is just awful. It is a tacky, over-priced and appalling tourist trap. It has terrible shops, terrible food and overall is just nasty.
While down a few piers is the stunningly beautiful and very chic Ferry Building.
The ferry to and from San Francisco to Sausalito leaves from the Ferry Building. This is worth a visit even if you don’t go on the ferry.A very beautiful and imposing building that has been restored and is full of interesting and varied shop stalls. They mostly sell food and range from cheese shops, bread shops through to ice cream and coffee shops. The ferry building is buzzing and vibrant.You can get to and from the ferry building around town on the very old Muni cable cars. These are from the 1940s and restored. They are rattling and creaking but fun, frequent and popular. They cost $2 a ride.
Instead of repeating how bad Pier 39 is, I below cover what other blogs and sites say about the place:
Pier 39 sucks site/posting: http://www.sftravel.com/fish.html
The 5 reasons Pier 39 sucks:
5) Crowds, crowds, crowds. Pushy, rude tourists overflow the wharf streets. If you want an intimate or unique experience — this is not the place to go.
4.) Parking: The Fisherman’s Wharf parking charges $7 per hour up to a maximum of $35. There are few or no discount places for parking and street parking is a joke.
3.) Activities: The basic Wharf scam is that people come for the boat tours, and end up with huge waits (up to all day) – and get stuck shopping and “dining”. Here’s our best tip – you want the boat ride – the shopping is a waste of time and the restaurants………..(see below!)
2.) Awful Food: If I wanted to set up a restaurant to charge the highest prices — for the worst food — with a captive audience — Fisherman’s Wharf would be at the top of my list. If you think you are dealing with a family fisherman’s restaurant taking fish out of the Bay and onto your plate — you’re in for a rude — and expensive awakening.
1.) Scams: From street “performers” who are just a hair from homeless panhandlers to a variety of questionable charitable organizations; timeshare marketers; etc.; etc. — this is the place to get talked out of your money. Be wary at the Wharf and hold onto your wallet.
What do you think?
Read more about San Francisco on Tips for Travellers:
Hotels I stayed in San Francisco and surrounds:
- Le Meridien Hotel San Francisco
- Cavallo Point Hotel (across the bay)