Road Journals Blog—San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t exactly a hidden gem. But it felt that way recently when I decided to play tourist in my own Bay Area backyard and rediscovered how delightful it can be.
Many locals view the wharf as one big, crowded mall hawking T-shirts, clam chowder, and wacky walk-in attractions to impressionable visitors. But once upon a time, I was one of those impressionable visitors completely taken with the bustling scene sandwiched between the Bay and the city’s roller-coaster hills.
This fall, I was invited to a media event centered at the Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf and I felt wide-eyed all over again as I hopped off of a vintage Muni streetcar and joined the rollicking stream of happy visitors. I’ll admit the street performers were not quite as entertaining as I recalled, but the steaming hot sourdough bread at Pier 39’s Fog Harbor Fish House was deliciously tangy, and the Aquarium of the Bay’s walk-through tank gave me new appreciation for the fascinating creatures who dwell under the bay’s waves.
I was also taken with all of the historic ships you can tour, including the USS Pampanito, a World War II submarine that saw lots of action in the Pacific. My favorite part of the trip was an evening bay cruise that circled past the twinkling lights in Sausalito and out under the glorious Golden Gate Bridge.
Years ago, the fun scene at Fisherman’s Wharf was part of what made me want to live in Northern California some day. My recent visit made me happy that I’d followed through on that dream.
How about you? Do you turn up your nose at “touristy” destinations or enjoy being part of the fun?
This blog post was first published in January 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.