Few things make me think of summer as much as a visit to a pier. The cool ocean breeze, the scent of salt water and fried food in the air, and the sound of street performers, merchants, and happy people all around you…yep, definitely summer. There are dozens of piers along the coast of CA, but one of my favorites is Pier 39 in San Francisco.
Pier 39 is filled with shops and restaurants, and there are always tons of street performers out in front of the pier playing music, dancing, doing magic, or demonstrating their artistic talents in some way. It’s like attending a free variety show (though the performers do appreciate tips!). There is even a carousel in the middle of the pier that kids (who am I kidding…adults too!!) will enjoy riding.
The end of the pier provides the best views of Alcatraz you can get from the mainland, and you can also see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Pier 39 even comes with complimentary wildlife viewing! Dozens of these guys hang out near the pier, and you can hear their barking from yards away.
Look at those faces… they are just too cute!! I could easily spend hours watching them slide on and off of the docks, pulling their fat little bodies along with their flippers. It is cuteness overload.
But of course no visit to a pier is complete without buying some saltwater taffy! The Candy Baron, located near the end of the pier on the first level, has tons of flavors to choose from, and you can fill a bag with any flavors you want (price is per pound). Hand selecting the perfect flavors is possibly even more fun than eating the taffy, even though by the time I got it home, I could no longer remember which flavors I had chosen. But that just adds to the fun, as every piece you eat becomes a mystery…
Pier 39 is conveniently located near the harbor cruise docks, vintage trolley car stops, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Ghirardelli Square. It is just a few minutes walk between all of those destinations.
For a complete listing of the shops and restaurants, as well as hours of operation, location information, and a schedule of events, check out the Pier 39 website. If you are looking for summery family fun in San Francisco, there is no better place to go!