Fisherman’s Wharf from Pier 39 to Ghiradelli Square

I’m back! For a couple posts before Yunti will continue to share more about our family trip to San Francisco.
170527f San Francisco Ferry Market Building _07

Anyways, after eating a little bit of everything we hopped onto Street Car in search of Fisherman’s Wharf (and Pier 39). It’s only a 10 minute walk from the Ferry Terminal Building, but might as well take advantage of our 1 day pass and check out (antique looking) San Francisco Street Car. We flashed our 1 day ticket to the driver and made our way about 7 stops down (which took just as long to walk).

 And then I learned that I have always thought that Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf are the same thing. Guess what? They are not! In my defense, they are rather similar touristy places! And when I searched for a map of Fishermans Wharf this wikipedia map come up and it includes Pier 39. So, does that mean Fishermans Wharf is a specific location (like where the Fisherman’s Wharf sign) or as a whole district that would include Pier 39.

And Yunti thought the same thing when the lady next to us on the Street Car asked if the stop we were at was Fisherman’s Wharf and she said “yes” and then we all hopped off.

Boudins at Pier 39

Google Map: Pier 39 Concourse #5-Q, San Francisco, CA 94133

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So you would think that we would be stuffed after eating at The Ferry Terminal, but I just couldn’t resist when we walked by Boudins and ordered a couple clam chowder bread bowls.

“Why are we at this Boudins? Are you really still hungry? You should go to the at Fisherman’s Wharf” -BH

So, I really thought we were at Fishermans Wharf, so it didn’t occur to me that we were not at the Boudins we had planned to go to and so I just didn’t understand his comment.

170527h San Francisco Pier 39 _03

Anyways, at least our food is as good as I remember it to be (and just like any other Boudins I’ve been to at the mall (in San Diego). I did notice that they sell their own clam chowder soup in cans. Do they sell their own canned soups in their many other locations?

Auntie was not a fan of the Sourdough bread though, so more bread for the rest of us.

Lefty’s: The Left Hand Store

170527h San Francisco Pier 39 _12

After filling our stomachs with more food, BH pretty much made a bee line for Lefty’s.This was one of his only requests for things he wanted to do in San Francisco so I’m glad we made it Pier 39.

I’m right handed so I didn’t really understand his excitement. It’s a store that specialized in everything for anyone who is left handed. BH wanted to buy a new “Lefty’s” mug. What do you think could be done differently to be a mug that is just for “Lefty’s”?

It’s a pretty simple cup. And at first look, you wouldn’t notice anything different. But there is a little hole drilled through the ceramic on one side. So as a right handed person, I would spill because of that hole (unless I drink with my left hand). So according to the actual mug description from Lefty’s it’s “a great revenge mug…” Thanks BH, but at least BH has never offered a Lefty’s mug to me.

Entertainment and Magic Show

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We interestingly never really quite made it to end of the pier nor did we see everything there. But towards the end is a colorful place. It’s as if we’ve walked into a carnival or a fair. There is a pretty 2-story carousel!

That is the San Francisco Carousel handmade in Italy and hand-painted with famous San Francisco landmarks. It really is quite a beautiful site.

170527h San Francisco Pier 39 _15

170527h San Francisco Pier 39 _19It was getting really crowded as we continued to walk through and I almost lost track of my family (probably because we were all distracted by something different).

But then a magic show started up on a colorful stage just behind the carousel. There is a list of Street Performers and schedule on the Pier 39 website, I wonder if this is one of the scheduled street performances. But he has a stage and everything!?

We watched him invite a few people on stage as they strapped him into a straight jacket and then got himself out of it. And then he gave each of his volunteers $5. That was a first.

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To avoid the crowd, we walked upstairs and found several spots for a nice view of the bay and all of the sailboats docked there.


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This are is definitely a big tourist place with 1 souvenir shop after another from a magnet store to a key chain store to a Alcatraz store to a store named Solve It! Think Out Of the Box.

It’s a cute little store store with all sorts of trivia puzzles. Everything was perfect for my Dad who loves these kinds of things. I personally don’t quite have the patience to solve them. We struggled a little bit to drag Dad out of the store.

All of the puzzles are extra pretty and well crafted and therefore was rather pricey. I think they would be great gifts and very high in quality.

And if you walk to the back of the store, you can even see some pretty nice views of the bay.

170527h San Francisco Pier 39 _32

From the second floor of Pier 39 you can actually see views of downtown San Francisco. And below are the tourists making their way through Pier 39.

Pier 43 Ferry Arch and Pier 45

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We left Pier 39 and continued walking towards Fishermans Wharf. But before finally arriving, we stopped at the Pier 43 Ferry Arch. We patiently waited for people to finish taking their pictures so we could too.

Pier 43 used to be a busy pier with a distribution railway on the pier. Trains would roll right in to the end of the pier, line up with the ships and things like redwood, dairy products and even livestock would be unloaded. It even has a fancy pulley system where the pier could raise or lower for the train cars to be lined up perfectly to the ships.

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Plus the Pier 43 Ferry Arch also happens to perfectly frame the SS Jeremiah O’Brien; a liberty ship build during World World II and one of the few survivors of some major battles storming Normandy on D-Day in 1944.

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The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is actually docked at Pier 45. You can actually walk into the pier for a closer look of SS Jeramiah O’Brian and even a submarine USS Pampanito. It’s definitely pretty cool to be able to see these major war vessels right in front of us but sometimes they all seem to be the same after a while. I’m pretty lucky to be from San Diego where I see active carriers and ships in our bay and even get to visit the USS Midway whenever I want. And then there is the USS Missouri in Hawaii.

Fisherman’s Wharf

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And then we finally reached the Fisherman’s Wharf of San Francisco sign after walking by a much much bigger Boudins. I guess that was a good “I told you so” moment for BH to me.

It was a little underwhelming at first, but this area felt very different compared to Pier 39 and Pier 43 etc.

There are even more street performers like the “Bushman” (thank you BH for protecting us as we walked by him).

There was a whole row of storefronts that sell (mostly fried) seafood which looked and smelled amazing. We never stopped even considered to stop to get anything mainly because it was all fried food and I didn’t see any seating area to eat the fresh fried seafood.

I was pretty tempted to get some dungeness crab (it’s not fried) but we kept going with dessert in mind.

We didn’t actually spend much time here; instead we basically followed signs to Ghirardelli Square.

Ghirardelli Square

170527j San Francisco Ghirardelli Square _03

170527j San Francisco Ghirardelli Square _06

Ghirardelli chocolates are always a fun treat to get and BH suggested we go there since we’re at Fisherman’s Wharf. Ghirardelli Square was under construction when we got there, but it wasn’t too obvious once you were in the square.

We found the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain in the corner (or maybe that was at the main entrance of the square) with a long line. I was pretty surprised that BH had actually suggested a place that would require us to be in a long line. But I wonder if it was because it was to his surprise that I’ve never been to Ghirardelli Square.

The store front doesn’t look very big with several different entrances and exits. But as we were in line, BH said he was going to go get some free chocolate and went into the gift shop to the right of the Soda Fountain. And out he walked with a Ghirardelli square. They were giving out a whole chocolate square; milk chocolate with caramel filling.

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I guess that’s why BH was willing to be in line and wait?

We also stayed rather entertained in line as we identified the many San Francisco landmarks their sundaes are named after.

We were only planning to order 1 sundae for all 6 of us to share since we weren’t really hungry (plus Auntie, Dad and Yunti are exactly dessert lovers). So sharing was an important factor to helping us decide on our sundae.

At first I wanted the “Painted Ladies” because it has 3 cups. But at closer look, you would have to order 3 different things to get all of the “Painted Ladies.” Isn’t that a little deceiving?

We ended up getting “Crissy Fields” a Cookie Bits Sundae: vanilla and cookies & cream ice cream, handmade hot fudge, whipped cream, Colossol Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookie crumbles, two Ghirardelli milk chocolate caramel minis.

We found a perfect table inside as several bigger groups were leaving. At first I was afraid I should have ordered at least 1 more dessert but this was actually quite perfect for everyone to just sample. But I’ll definitely get more desserts next time.

Then we headed off to find our way to Lombard Street.



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