Pier 39

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Pier 39: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

1. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. Launched in 1939 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition, this 1-hour cruise has been a highlight of any visit to San Francisco for over 75 years. With 8-14 departures daily from Fisherman's Wharf, you will sail along San Francisco's breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and close to the notorious Alcatraz Island. Discover San Francisco's fascinating history, brought to life through audio commentary broadcast in 16 languages via personal headphones. Look out for wildlife along the way, including pelicans, sea lions, and even dolphins and whales. Sail past the lively neighborhood of North Beach, the famous swimming clubs of Aquatic Park, the historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier, and San Francisco Maritime National Park, before heading west towards Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy views of Crissy Field and the lush hillsides of the Presidio, before cruising under Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

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San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

2. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

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San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

3. San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium or Deluxe

San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Loop: Stop 1: Pier 41 (End of Powell St), Fisherman's Wharf Stop 2: Washington Square – Corner of Columbus and Union StreetsStop 3: Embarcadero Center – Corner of Clay and Battery StreetsStop 4: Ferry Building - 1 Market Street, between Stuart and Spear StreetsStop 5: Union Square South – Geary Street across from Macy’s Entrance Stop 6: Hilton Hotel – Corner of Mason and Ellis Streets Stop 7: Civic Center - Fulton Street between Larkin and HydeStop 8: Alamo Square/Painted Ladies - Corner of Fell and Pierce StreetsStop 9: Haight Ashbury - Corner of Haight and Shrader Streets Stop 10: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 11: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista Point Main Parking AreaStop 12: Palace of Fine Arts – Corner of Richardson Ave and Francisco StreetStop 13: Marina Neighborhood - Corner of Lombard and Gough Streets Stop 14: Lombard Street Corridor - Corner of Lombard and Gough StreetsStop 15: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal – The Embarcadero Stop 16: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf Stop 17: End of Tour - 99 Jefferson Street Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the 'City by the Bay' and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary sites, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and Fisherman's Wharf.  The hop-on-hop-off route stops at key points of interest all around San Francisco. Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off and back on at your leisure to create your own customized itinerary around the city. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Explore San Francisco’s famous landmarks on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about San Francisco's unique history. You have the choice of a personal recorded commentary available in 10 languages. This is the best way to discover all that San Francisco has to offer. This unique city tour has 17 stops for guests to hop on and hop off at. From Fisherman’s Wharf to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, immerse yourself in San Francisco’s diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views. Panoramic Night Tour Board the bus at Pier 41 at the end of Powell St in Fisherman's Wharf to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at night. Climb up the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the site of the 1939’s World Fair. Heading back into the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights on the Port of San Francisco.

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San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

4. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

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Aquarium of the Bay: General Admission Tickets

5. Aquarium of the Bay: General Admission Tickets

Explore the beauty and wonder of San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay with this entrance ticket, giving you access to the 3 main exhibit halls. Discover the amazingly diverse marine life that lives beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. Explore the “Discover the Bay” exhibit, highlighting the unique ecosystem that provides home to a diverse selection of marine life. The exhibits feature more than 20,000 aquatic animals. Learn all about this delicate underwater habitat and the need for its conservation. Then, experience the magic of the habitat at “Touch the Bay,” complete with tide pools where you can touch the creatures that patrol San Francisco Bay’s waters. No trip to Aquarium of the Bay would be complete without a visit to the North American River Otter gallery, where frisky river otters romp, swim, sleep and play. Get a scuba diver’s view of San Francisco Bay at the Aquarium of the Bay’s most iconic exhibit, “Under the Bay.” As you walk through the tunnels, you’ll see fascinating jellyfish, watch schools of fish that swim near the shore, see delicate starfish, and view larger fish, such as sharks, rays, and sturgeons, which live in the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay.

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San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

6. San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

Meet your guide at the north end of Fisherman's Wharf at 9:30 AM and start your experience by taking in the amazing views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Hear how San Francisco transformed from a sleepy village to a booming port city when gold fever swept the nation in 1849. Learn about the life of the Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli at the famous former chocolate factory in Ghirardelli Square. Stroll along the fog-lined waterfront and drool over the numerous stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. Walk a portion of the historic Barbary Coast trail while your guide tells you about it's colorful past. You and your group will then make your way to Pier 39 and admire historic ships in the harbor. Witness the colony of sea lions that have taken over many of its docks. Continue along the Embarcadero Promenade and learn about its evolution from a traditional maritime port to a modern urban waterfront filled with trendy restaurants and amusement piers. The walking tour concludes at Pier 33 at 10:45 AM, where you will present your photo ID to receive your 11:00 AM Alcatraz tickets. Board your ferry and enjoy a self-guided tour of Alcatraz upon the island.  Learn about the history of the cell house and its former residents with an award-winning audio tour available in multiple languages. You can expect to be done with the whole experience by around 2:30 PM.

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San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

7. San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

The San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access attraction pass that offers the ultimate in convenience, cost savings, and flexibility for visitors to the Bay Area. Customers choose 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7-day passes at a low, pre-paid price. Use the pass to gain access to any and all of the 28 included attractions, saving up to 60% compared to full retail admissions. The California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, Bay cruises, Six Flags, bike rental and tours, and much more are all included! See below for the complete list. There’s no need to decide in advance what you want to see. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, and how to get there. With the San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass, you’ll spend your time in the Bay Area collecting memories instead of credit card receipts. Included Attractions and Activities: • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day classic tour • California Academy of Sciences • Madame Tussauds San Francisco • Legoland Discovery Center • Aquarium of the Bay • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • Exploratorium • One All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • San Francisco Zoo and Gardens • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • Oracle Park Tour • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • USS Pampanito • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • The Walt Disney Family Museum • K1 Speed Indoor Karting • GoCar San Francisco Tour (30-minute rental) • Angel Island Roundtrip Ferry • Asian Art Museum • U.S.S. HORNET Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum • California Historical Society • Urban Hike Tour • The Beat Museum • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour ends in Sausalito

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San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Seaplane Tour

8. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Seaplane Tour

San Francisco is a city of excitement, and what better way to experience it than from the air on a traditional seaplane. The San Francisco Golden Gate Seaplane Tour is a very popular flight, and you'll soon discover why. You can choose to meet your tour at the Seaplane Base in Mill Valley, or book a roundtrip shuttle service from Fisherman's Wharf. Either way, you'll take off from the waters of the San Francisco Bay. You'll soon be high above this gorgeous city of tall buildings, steep hills and trolly cars. Cruise around and directly over the Golden Gate Bride, making sure you can snap some stunning pictures to amaze your friends. During the flight, you will also fly over Fisherman's Wharf, where you can look down on the chic and cool restaurants and shops below. You'll also fly over Angel Island and Alcatraz, before heading over the picturesque towns of Tiburon, Belvedere and Sausalito. Finally, land back on the water and taxi up to the dock in Sausalito.

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San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

9. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip boat trip onboard a luxury catamaran. See sea lions, famous sights, and sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and past Sausalito. Search for the famous Pier 39 sea lions and other kinds of sea life playing in the ocean. Cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset. Relax with a complimentary drink on board either a 55- or 65-foot catamaran. Both come complete with a protected viewing area, providing panoramic 360-degree viewing, in addition to canvas trampoline nets for the more adventurous who want to experience the sights in the bracing open air.

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San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

10. San Francisco Bay: Adventure Boat Tour

Travel along the San Francisco Bay in a small group on a boat tour. Travel faster and go farther out into the bay than most other boat tours. You will be as close as possible to the sights and wildlife, in a personal setting.  Depart from the world famous Pier 39. You will be outfitted with weather appropriate gear to keep you warm and dry from the occasional splash. Take in the historic waterfront from a new angle. Make a quick visit to the world famous Pier 39 sea lions, where you can see them eye to eye. There is no need for binoculars on this trip because you will see everything up close. Listen to the narration from your expert captain and learn something new about this historic area. See the waterfront in a way that is unlike any other experience on the bay. Take photos, make memories, and enjoy one of the finest ways to see it all up close. This small group boat tour is limited to 12 guests which provides an intimate family-friendly experience, perfect for adults, seniors, youth, and children ages 5 and older. You will get an opportunity to get up close to the world famous Alcatraz prison, once-home to some of the most notable criminal masterminds. Learn about some incredible points of interest, such as Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, the Ferry Building, Treasure Island, and other historic landmarks.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Pier 39

Want to discover all there is to do in Pier 39? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Pier 39

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 5,415 reviews

Fred, our driver and owner of dingo tours is the best! Highly recommend. He’s very knowledgeable and accommodating. Took us to everything we wanted to see and more! He even stopped for us to get a hot dog. Best 4hours of our entire trip while we were in San Francisco. Worth every penny!! We don’t like crowds and we love being driven around. This was perfect!! Please book with Fred. You won’t regret it. You might think the price is high but the value is worth it. Much better than the big tour bus. Fred is the best!!! We would book him again. Thank you for making our trip memorable!

The your was great. The information given in the tour was amazing. The fact you could get off and on was a great was to take in the atteaxtio a of the city!

We were able to see the Golden Gate Bridge units full glory and up close. There was no need to stand in long lines just to get the glimpse of the bridge.

Relatively easy to get onto abs great on-ship food prices. Overall great experience for the price and an easy thing to add to your to-do list.

Our tour guide John was chatty, informative and a fantastic tour guide. We loved spending time with him Yesterday. From Sally & Sam