Pier 39

Holiday Travel Guide
Pier 39 showing street scenes, signage and a city

Sea lions are the star attraction at one of the liveliest piers on San Francisco’s historic waterfront.

First-timers taking a stroll along Pier 39 might be surprised by the strange sounds creeping up from its adjacent floating docks. But follow the fruity barks and deep groans to the source and you’ll immediately see what makes this pier a much-loved destination for visitors and locals alike.

Pier 39 has been home to a noisy colony of sea lions since the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, when the animals simply took up residence for no apparent reason. Experts have suggested that the plentiful supply of food in the bay combined with the absence of natural predators makes it a welcoming habitat for the sea lions. During the summer months, they make the journey south to breed, but in the winter they return in vast numbers to reclaim their familiar quarters, with an astonishing 1,701 animals recorded in November 2009.

If you can tear yourself away from these fascinating and friendly creatures for long enough to explore the rest of the pier, there are plenty of other attractions on offer. The Aquarium of the Bay lets you get a closer look at the underwater world on your doorstep, with native marine species such as sharks and rays swimming right above your head. Take in some of the sideshows or watch the street performers, then indulge in a spot of serious shopping along the two-level arcades that line the historic pier.

When energy levels start to flag, grab a window seat at one of the waterside restaurants and relax over a plate of freshly landed seafood, or sample delicious local wines on a 90-minute tasting cruise around the bay aboard the “Neptune”.

Pier 39 is at the northern end of the Embarcadero next to Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch the tram from the city centre or walk along the Embarcadero to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

Top things to do in Pier 39

Top Trending Hotels Near Pier 39

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is €117 per night from 22 Sep to 22 Sep
Located in Downtown San Francisco, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Ferry Building, Lombard Street and Pier 39. Oracle Park and Palace of Fine Arts are also ...
3.8/5Good! (3,073 reviews)
"Was great."

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2021

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is €145 per night from 21 Sep to 21 Sep
Located in North Beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. Lombard Street and Alcatraz Island are ...
4.1/5Very Good! (2,994 reviews)
"Great hotel in a great location."

Reviewed on 14 Sep 2021

Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
4.5 out of 5
335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is €168 per night from 16 Oct to 16 Oct
Located in Downtown San Francisco, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Westfield San Francisco Centre, Warfield Theater, and Grace Cathedral. San ...
4.2/5Excellent! (1,838 reviews)
"very nice"

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2021

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Pier 39

Pier 39

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Top Hotel Deals

Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
4 out of 5
750 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA
The price is €117 per night from 22 Sep to 22 Sep
Hilton San Francisco Financial District
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
2500 Mason St, San Francisco, CA
The price is €145 per night from 21 Sep to 21 Sep
Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
4.5 out of 5
335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is €168 per night from 16 Oct to 16 Oct
The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
4 out of 5
1300 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA
The price is €157 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
4 out of 5
250 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is €173 per night from 27 Sep to 27 Sep
Hotel Zephyr San Francisco
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
4 out of 5
5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA
The price is €187 per night from 17 Sep to 17 Sep
Hyatt Regency San Francisco
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
4 out of 5
780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
The price is €172 per night from 7 Oct to 7 Oct
San Francisco Marriott Marquis
Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
4 out of 5
555 N Point St, San Francisco, CA
The price is €176 per night from 19 Sep to 19 Sep
Hyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco
Hotel Zoe Fisherman's Wharf
Hotel Zoe Fisherman's Wharf
4 out of 5
425 North Point, San Francisco, CA
The price is €196 per night from 20 Sep to 20 Sep
Hotel Zoe Fisherman's Wharf
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.