One of the most exciting places to visit in all of San Francisco is Pier 39, one of the premier attractions if you want to carry out a bit of people spotting. You will be surprised at how many different people congregate in this 45 acre complex. However, there is so much more to do here than looking.
When Pier 39 was opened in 1905, the intention was for it to be a Cargo Pier. It quickly falls into disrepair however. A few citizens of San Francisco decided to save it however and a complete renovation was carried out in 1978 to the current look that it retains today, with eateries, attractions and shops galore.
Some of the most unique shops in all of San Francisco grace Pier 39, 100 of them in fact. Whilst the majority of them are selling souvenirs, a number of them have a slightly more boutique feel to them. You really want to check out the left-handed shop if you are after something a bit more unique. There are also a number of 'larger' shops, including the incredibly popular NFL store.
Pier 39 is an absolutely fabulous place to visit in the evening if you are taking your children out to dine. A number of restaurants grace the deck, with one of the most visited being the Hard Rock Café. If you aren't after a full-service restaurant then there are a number of smaller eateries to grab a bite to eat around here.
Sea Lions at Pier 39 Photo: Dees Chinniah
It isn't all about the eateries and shopping here however. There are plenty of attractions here to boot. This includes a mirror maze, San Francisco Carousel and some trampolines. In addition to that you can pay an extra entrance fee to gain access to the Aquarium of the Bay.
If you want to explore the wildlife, but on a budget, then there is plenty of free fun for you to engage in too. Why not pay a visit to the famous Pier 39 Sea Lions located in the area? The best time to catch them is in the winter as the majority of the colony migrates in the summer.
This is without a doubt one of the most exciting and unique attractions to visit in San Francisco for both adults and children alike. Stick this at the top of your list as a 'must do'.