The must see place everyone tells me is Fisherman’s wharf. And it is definitely a tourist trap. Almost half the people there have a camera in their bag. Pier 39 is the place that has all the restaurants and the shopping. You can get all your souvenirs and trinkets there but to be honest I wasn’t that impressed…. cause I can’t stand honky tonk stores that think I’m foolish enough to buy made in china tacky looking crap, just because it has the word “San Francisco” on it and the expensive parking at these areas is a big turn off. But to go to SF and never been to Fisherman’s wharf is unthinkable!
Food wise… although he main deal is seafood… I find most of the restaurants here overcharge for the quality they give… if you have to eat there don’t go for the cheapest deal cause it sucks and pay a little more to get quality food.
The famous things to try is the sour dough bread bowl with clam chowder. I have to admit the soup was really nice and rich. The fish I had was also not bad. However if you want to eat real good food in SF… go to the Restaurant Gary Danko… you won’t regret it.
The highlight of the Pier 39 for me is the nice view and the sea lions that have called the pier home for the last 9 years. It was fascinating for me to watch them dip in and out of the dark waters. Pier 39 also houses a 300-berth marina with quite a no. of private boats offering a tour of the scenic bay.
The other must-see for the day was to take the ferry ride to old famous Alcatraz… otherwise known as “The Rock”. If you caught the movie before than you would know that this is the home away from home for some infamous characters such as Al Capone… Robert “the Birdman” Stroud… and “Machine Gun” Kelly. The ferry for Alcatraz departs at Pier 33 and it’s crucial to book early for tickets.
The ferry ride was really windy and cold! So I’m really glad I had my gloves and ear muffles!
Alcatraz first served as a lighthouse for the ships coming into the SF bay in search for gold and is the West Coast’s first (and oldest operating) lighthouse.
In the history of the island… you’ll learn that it served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison before it was shut down. There was a period where native American Indians occupied the island too!
The key attraction on the island is of course the prison. You can go through the audio tours and learn about key figures and escape attempts as you browse the jail house.
The view of SF is quite amazing from the island and I guess it’s the fact that the prisoners can see the bustling city from their jail cell and smell freedom that is so near yet so far that kills them psychologically.
I have many pictures of the birds and the trees on the island but I’ll just share 2 of my favs. These 2 pictures gave me some inspiration for a design concept =)