San Francisco Neighborhood Guide: Fisherman’s Wharf
There’s an inside joke among San Franciscans concerning Fisherman’s Wharf: the only time they visit this unapologetic tourist district with its kitschy shops, restaurants and attractions is when they are entertaining guests from out of town. There’s no doubt that Fisherman’s Wharf is a major tourist destination. The rows of motor coaches parked nearby are a dead giveaway. However, many San Franciscans’ love/hate relationship with this one-of-a-kind San Francisco neighborhood has a lot more love than they’d ever admit. For people-watching and a fantastic variety of high-quality street food, you can’t beat the Wharf. Beyond the obvious tourist traps, Fisherman’s Wharf does have some fun and redeeming features.
One is the sea lions that bask and loll around in the sun, seemingly oblivious to the throngs of tourists and locals gathered at the railings. Another is the great views of Alcatraz Island, Treasure Island and San Francisco Bay. Still another is the fresh seafood available at food carts and sit-down restaurants. Without a doubt, the jewel of Fisherman’s Wharf is the Aquarium of the Bay, a state-of-the-art public aquarium that is home to more than 20,000 different animals housed in innovative, interactive and engaging exhibits. You will want to plan to spend at least part of one day to experience this marvelous facility.
The Wharf’s history is rich with nefarious businessmen, old salts, lumbermen, fishing vessels and, you guessed it, hucksters and their tourist traps. Legend has it that the Wharf’s original name was Meiggs Wharf after Henry Meiggs, the man who built the wharf in 1853 to accommodate the area’s burgeoning lumber industry. Meiggs may have had gumption and vision, but his creditors preferred cash, and local history books say Meiggs fled to Peru to escape his debts and their wrath. The wharf eventually became home to the area’s vast fishing fleet and hummed with activity for decades as fishermen unloaded their catch, restaurants sprung up to cook and serve it and merchants sold provisions to fishermen and visitors alike.
Early attractions included Cockney White’s Museum where an educated pig displayed its card-playing prowess, Riley’s Shooting Gallery, no doubt filled with precision firearms of unerring accuracy, and another attraction that featured a greased pole that intrepid souls could attempt to climb and claim the shiny $5 gold piece at the top.
A San Francisco limousine won’t help you get around on Fisherman’s Wharf. The place is designed for walking. However, after a full day of walking, eating, sightseeing and generally enjoying yourself, it’s likely that your feet will demand a respite whether you’re done sightseeing or not. To continue enjoying the Bay Area without suffering blisters and other foot-related discomfort, call 1-800-339-8936 and rent a San Francisco limousine from NLS Limo. We can pick you up at the Wharf, have your favorite adult beverages on ice and take you on one of our sightseeing tours or follow an itinerary of your own design. Have us make reservations at your preferred restaurant or hotel and drop you off at the door. Renting a Bay Area limo is more affordable than you think, and after a day of fun at Fisherman’s Wharf, we guarantee your feet will thank you!