Kirsten’s personal guide to Fisherman’s Wharf

For an interesting San Francisco experience that must get out of the way as soon as possible, head down to Fisherman’s Wharf for an explosion of seafood, dazzling views (even fog can be dazzling), and tourism at its best. Here is a list of my suggestions for quick, painless, and fun activities to get the most out of this popular tourist desination. Take it from me, a recent Berkeley inhabitant and tourist.

1. Coast down to the Coast

To get to the Wharf, take a ride back in time on San Francisco’s cable cars. Board the car at Market and Powell but be prepared for a 5 dollar fare for a one-way ticket. Enjoy the slow ascents and descents along the famous hills and look out for Lombard Street, the “crookedest” road in the world. Snuggle up to your warm and moist fellow tourists and let the sounds of clicking cameras and the soft coo of foreign languages lull to ultimate relaxation. Don’t worry if you accidently take a nap, ask your neighbor for their facebook or snapfish photo accounts so you can remember the ride.

2. Warm up with some Hot Chocolate

As you know, San Francisco gets chilly when the fog rolls in and you approach the Bay. For a dose of edible heat, head to the Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop at Ghiradelli Square for a steaming cup of their Original Hot Chocolate. Skip the whipped cream for pure chocolately warmth but don’t leave without a Ghiradelli chocolate bar or chocolate gift bag in hand for friends (or for yourself). Feeling adventurous? Embrace the chill and order ice cream nestled in massive chocolate dipped waffle cones. Take your treat to go while snapping a photo of the famous Ghiradelli sign above the square. Because without a picture you were never really there, right?

3. Get Fishy

As you stroll down the many shops on Jefferson St. selling everything from baby prison outfits to “I heart SF” t-shirts, follow your nose down to the seafood shops across from the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf sign. Take your pick from fried fare to fish and clams plucked fresh from the sea and don’t hold back. Taste the bay and experience the delicious reason why the Wharf was created in the first place.

4. Pier 39

Now that you have sufficiently stuffed yourself on seafood, it is time to walk down Pier 39. The Pier is loaded with restraunts and food shops selling a hodgepodge of fast food items from donuts to crepes and biscotti. Remember, you are in San Francisco, not an amusement park, so amuse yourself instead at the Houdini magic shop where employees perform live tricks or on the two-story carousel. But the most interesting and worthwhile scene is the sea lions basking on the docks off of the Pier. While rumored to have disappeared, the sea lions are definitely there, amusing all with their antics and loud groans.

5. Musee Mecanique

If you take a stroll down towards the battleship and submarine docked at Pier 45, you will come upon the Musee Mecanique, or Mechanical Museum, a free museum featuring antique arcade games and musical instruments. Each machine is fully functional and coin-operated so bring your quaters and let the fun begin!

6. Alcatraz

Just book a tour and go. And bring lots of layers because it gets cold in the jail cells… and who knows if you shall return… Although the last time I visited was about 6 years ago, the tour still remains fresh in my mind. Obviously a worthwhile place to go. Oh that and “Eat at Joe’s”.

And that, my friends, is all. Of course there is much more to do but these were some favorite activities that did not make me go insane. Get in and get out. Cheers!

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