Discovering the Adventure
Fishermans Wharf, the Neighborhood

To Generations of Fisher Families,
Fishermans Wharf is a Real Neighborhood!

For most people - even native San Franciscans - Fishermans Wharf is merely a top tourist attraction. And they're right, to a point.

But if you're busy watching the street performers strut their stuff, or you're buying lunch from the crab pots at Taylor and Jefferson, or you're shopping at Pier 39 or Ghirardelli Square, you probably haven't noticed the apartments and condominiums in the area. Take another look around - they're not all vacation rentals!

There are plenty of people who live in the apartments and condos  - but that alone is not what makes the Wharf a neighborhood. Read on to learn more about the story of San Francisco's famous Wharf...

Fishermans Wharf Virtually Shouts Neighborhood

What makes Fishermans Wharf a true SF neighborhood is the generations of Italians who still fish here commercially.

It's those who are carrying on the traditions that give Fishermans Wharf the flavor of a San Francisco neighborhood!

Next time you're in Fishermans Wharf, look around at the shopkeepers, the cooks, the waitresses, the guys on the fishing boats - you'll probably notice that they're calling out to each other, making plans, chatting like they've known each other for a lifetime - that's because they have!

Neighborhood Things to Do in Fishermans Wharf

Locals everywhere often bemoan the crowds and the traffic that clog their towns and neighborhoods thanks to popular tourist attractions. Do those who live and work in Fishermans Wharf feel the same? Probably. But, do they avoid the place like the plague in their off time?

You might think so - but it's their neighborhood. And many of the elements of the Wharf that bring in the tourists - its history and character; its waterfront ambiance; the fresh seafood which gives the phrase catch of the day a whole new meaning - these are also attractive to the local residents!

But does that mean they want to fight the crowds of tourists? Not on your life! So here are some of the things you'd be doing if you lived and worked at The Wharf:

  • Take the Port Walk - it's an opportunity to enjoy the waterfront sans the tourists, as most have not discovered this delightful stroll. Start at the Ferry Arch, following the signs that provide current and historic information about the Wharf, and end at the Hyde Street Pier. One of the most interesting stops is at the Fishermen's and Seamen's Memorial Chapel at Pier 45, where you'll find historical information available. They also conduct the Blessing of the Fleet on the first Saturday in October.
SF Fishing Fleet; CC MikeSF Fishing Fleet; CC Mike
  • Get up early - and watch the fishing fleet come in with the day's catch, usually between 6 and 7 a.m. (Don't whine, the fishermen had to get up a lot earlier!) Depending on the season, there might be crab, salmon, shrimp, sand dabs, rock cod . . . smell the smells, listen to the men bantering with each other, and ask them how the catch went.
  • Visit Aquatic Park - read the paper with your morning coffee, bring a picnic lunch, walk your dog or jog along the beach, ride along the bike path, or join the Dolphin Club and swim (if you're brave enough for the cold, cold water).
  • Have breakfast - or lunch, or dinner at one of the many fine eateries at The Wharf. Just because they cater to the tourists doesn't mean they don't serve wonderful food! Or get yourself something from the crab-pot vendors and find a quiet spot along one of the many undiscovered wharfs.
  • Visit Marine Mammal Center - they have a kiosk near the Pier 39 Sea Lions Dock. Find out what they do and how they help injured aquatic life.
  • Discover Forbes Island - San Francisco's only floating island restaurant. Actually, it's a floating restaurant disguised as an island, with real palm trees and a lighthouse. The only way to get there is to take the owner's pontoon boat on a four-minute trip across Sea Lion Harbor!

The key to seeing Fishermans Wharf, the neighborhood, is to get off the beaten track and seek out the oft-missed and best-kept Insider Secrets of the real Wharf! Feel free to wander around and peek in here and there. Nobody will chase you away!

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