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Pier 39: Ultimate Guide

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco on June 10, 2022

Every time someone start looking for San Francisco when planning a trip, Pier 39 appears as one of the first places to visit in the Golden City. No wonder: full of attractions, shops and located in one of the most tourist spots in the city, the place had everything to be a success. If you haven't already included Pier 39 in your plans, we'll give you many tips on how to explore the pier in the best possible way.

Pier_39_Entrance.jpg

WHAT IS THE PIER 39?

Inaugurated in 1978, Pier 39 is an entertainment center built on a pier in San Francisco. Pier 39 is located along the San Francisco Waterfront, two blocks from Fisherman's Wharf, between Beach Street and The Embarcadero. The pier offers perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city skyline from almost every corner. It's not hard to understand why the site was named San Francisco's most visited attraction, right?

Pier 39 has two floors full of shops, restaurants, performances by street performers, aquarium, carousel, among other attractions. It is also home to the world-famous sea lions. You can't say you've been to San Francisco without visiting Pier 39!

GETTING TO KNOW PIER 39

We'll use the Pier 39 website's map to help us identify its main attractions.

Pier_39_Map.jpg

7D EXPERIENCE

7D Experience - Photo: Pier 39 website

7D Experience is a place for virtual experiences that combine 3D movies, full-motion seats, wind, lighting, and blasters so you can complete challenges in a fun and electrifying way, inside a 20-seat theater. Dark Ride simulates a roller coaster, in Laser Maze Challenge you participate in a mission with laser beams and Beam Busters is another version of Laser Maze Challenge.

INFOS:

Location: Building M, Level 1
Open Friday - Sunday from 11am - 8pm
Price: $14 per person
They offer combos for those who want to experience more than one attraction.
Tickets can be purchased through the Flyer Thrill Zone website

 

AQUARIUM OF THE BAY

Aquarium of The Bay - Photo: Pier 39 website

The Pier 39 aquarium has more than 20,000 species of fish and marine creatures that inhabit the San Francisco Bay Area. You'll be able to see Sevengill shark, moon jellies, lots of fish and you can even touch a bat ray's wing. There are also special times to observe the daily educator-led animal feedings and it is possible to interact with them.

INFOS:

Location: Building R
Open Monday - Sunday from 11am - 6pm, Last Entry is 5:30pm
Price $29.75 per person - See special group prices
Check opening hours during the holidays.
Tickets can be purchased through the Aquarium of the Bay website.
You can also buy your ticket with us and combine with other tours and attractions! Link here

 

FREQUENT FLYERS

Frequent Flyers - Photo: Pier 39 website

A different way to see San Francisco and an adventure for all ages. In Frequent Flyers participants jump up to 20 feet in the air and can venture into some aerial acrobatics.

INFOS:

Location: Building Q, Level 1
Frequent Flyers may be closed during inclement weather.

 

MAGOWAN'S INFINITE MIRROR MAZE

Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze - Photo: Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze Instagram

Don't miss Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze, a fascinating mirror maze that will challenge you through endless mirror passages and dead-ends alleys. Fun option to enjoy with friends and family!

INFOS:

Location: Building O, Level 2
Open Monday - Sunday from 10am - 9pm
Price $10 per person, free for ages 5 and under
Tickets can be purchased through the website magowansinfinitemirrormaze.com

 

MUSICAL STAIRS

Musical Stairs - Photo: Pier 39 website

This is your chance to create your own music in an unusual and fun way! Musical Stairs' attraction is an interactive art presented by Artist Remo Saraceni, creator of the musical stairs in Tom Hank's film “BIG”. To enjoy the music, go up and down the magic stairs.

INFOS:

Location: Building O, Levels 1 & 2

 

“OPEN HEART”

Open Heart - Photo: Pier 39 website

Pier 39 is home to “Open Heart,” part of San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s 2014 “Hearts in San Francisco” collection.

“Open Heart” was hand-painted by the San Francisco artist Patrick Dintino, whose mother's life was saved by open heart surgery. According to Dintino, “It symbolizes the openness of our city’s heart, as well as the idea of ​​falling in love with and leaving your heart in San Francisco.”

INFOS:

Location: Bay End of The PIER, Level 1

 

CAROUSEL

Carousel - Photo: Pier 39 website

Handcrafted in Italy, the San Francisco Carousel is hand-painted with some of the most famous San Francisco landmarks, like Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Alcatraz, and others. The Carousel two floors and features 1,800 LED lights and 30 animals to ride.

INFOS:

Location: Bay End of The PIER, Level 1
Open Monday - Sunday from 11am - 8pm
Frequent Flyers may be closed during inclement weather.

 

STREET PERFORMERS AND LIVE MUSICIANS

San Francisco Street Performers and Live Musicians - Photo: Pier 39 website

The world-famous San Francisco Street Performers and Live Musicians Artists are very talented and entertain at to PIER 39 every day. Magic, juggling, outrageous acrobatics, comedy shows, and many other takes place weather permitting and are free!

INFOS:

Location: Bay End of The PIER, Level 1
You can see the schedule on the PIER 39 website, on this link here

 

PLAYERS SPORTS GRILL & ARCADE

Players Sports Grill & Arcade - Photo: Pier 39 website

Players Sports Grill & Arcade boasts 12,000 square feet of dining, games, drinks and bay views. With 200+ live sports feeds from around the globe on 30 screens, 16 taps of beer, bar menu and deli sandwiches, this is an excellent place for sports lovers and for those who want to have fun. Kids are very welcome.

INFOS:

Location: Buildings L & M, Level 1
Thursday - Monday, from 10am - 9pm
Tuesday and Wednesday, from 12:30pm - 7:30pm
The arcade is open daily from 10am - 9pm
For more information, visit the website https://www.playerssf.com/

 

SEA LIONS

Sea Lions - Photo: Pier 39 website

Perhaps the Pier 39's most well-known and beloved attraction, the sea lions camped at Pier 39 have been affectionately coined "Sea Lebrities". They began arriving in droves in January 1990, shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At first, they were few, but due to an abundant supply, available dock space and the marina's protected environment, the population grew to over 300 within few months.

At first, the restaurants were afraid that the smell and the loud bark of the animals would drive away tourists, but in fact they ended up becoming one of the main attractions of the pier, attracting thousands of tourists (and locals) every year.

INFOS:

Location: K-Dock

 

WHERE TO EAT AT PIER 39

What has no shortage in the Pier are restaurants, snack bars and quick snacks. See the options below:

Aunt Fanny’s Hot Pretzels

Biscoff Coffee Corner

Boudin Bakery Café

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market

Chowders

Crab House

Crepe Café

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Shop

Eagle Café

Fog Harbor Fish House

Fun Food Factory

Hard Rock Cafe San Francisco

Illy Caffè

Jacob’s Specialties

Lorenzo’s Pizzeria

Luau Lounge Tiki Bar

Mrs. Fields Cookies

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant

Players Sports Grill & Arcade

Swiss Louis Italian & Seafood Restaurant

The Fudgery

The Hook

The Spice & Tea Exchange

Trish’s Mini Donuts

Vlahos’ Fruit Orchard

Waffle Cone Shop

Wipeout Bar & Grill

Wipeout’s Hot Dog Cart

 

SHOPPING AT PIER 39

The Pier has more than 50 stores of all types, from souvenirs to fine jewelry. Go to this link to see all the options.

 

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