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Pier 39

Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133
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Tribes: Who likes this place?

Who Likes This Place?

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These scores tell you how well-liked a place is in each Tribe. Gogobot Tribes are groups who share a certain travel style, like Family Travelers or History Buffs.

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  • 98%
    Family Travelers
  • 78%
    Local Culture
  • 70%
    Budget Travelers
  • 69%
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 63%
    History Buffs
  • 58%
    Adventure Travelers
  • 58%
    Foodies
  • 56%
    Backpackers
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Member Reviews (233)Write a review

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  • Pier 39
    Stephanie
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Budget Travelers
    Foodies
    5 Feb 24, 2013

    Each time I walk down to Fisherman's Wharf I'm always amazed at the sea lions hanging out on the docks. The number seems to get smaller each time, but it's still a delight to watch them play, sleep and bark in the middle of a major US city. The shopping and restaurants nearby make this a good place to spend a day.

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  • Pier 39Pro 2014
    Andrea L
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 6
    • Foodies
    • Wellness
    • LGBT
    • Vegetarian
    • Green Travelers
    • Adventure Travelers
    5 Feb 11, 2013

    I love the sea lions here! There's a lot of other stuff going on here, like shops, restaurants, tours, and views of Alcatraz, but the best part is the talkative and playful sea lions!

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  • Pier 39Pro 2014
    Eric Brink
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 6
    • Business Travelers
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Green Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Spiritual Seekers
    3 Jan 03, 2013

    Oy!

    Except for the sea lions, I try to avoid Pier 39 at all costs. For my taste, this place is just too crowded, too touristy, and not all that interesting. All it took was a single short visit when I first moved here in the 1980s and I had checked that box and moved on.

    Yet time and time again, this is one of the place that my out-of-town guests want to come (followed by more time at Fisherman's Wharf). But I am a good host, so Pier 39 (including the Aquarium and food) it is. However if I'm lucky, I'll get them on a boat to Alcatraz and then persuade them to walk the other way along the Embarcadero and try out the Ferry Building and maybe even a Giant's game.

    I too was a starry-eyed Midwest teen that visited San Francisco (with flowers in my hair). Yet I was lucky that my parents focused on Chinatown, North Beach, the Cable Car ride down Hyde, and a walk that mysteriously avoided this area. I guess Mom and Dad felt the same way.

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  • Pier 39
    Joe LaLonde
    4 Dec 08, 2012

    If you are easily amused, as I am, you will absolutely love this quirky little attraction! Yea, most of them are just laying there dead to the world, but occasionally they get into little quarrels with each other. A great, free sight to see while in town and really the only reason to go to the pier.

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  • Pier 39
    Ludovic
    4 Dec 04, 2012

    Situtaed next tof isherman'swraf, pier 39 is the place to go to see sealion. They just enjoy the sun on some platform. With good weather you can stay hours and see the move, battle or sleep on those floating platforms.

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  • Pier 39
    Chandra Murphy
    5 Nov 19, 2012

    A must see when visiting the SF wharf area. The number of Sea Lions that hang out there has recently dwindled a bit, but there are still enough to see them up close and observe their behavior in small groups. A lot of fun, if you don't mind the odor!

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  • Pier 39
    Mike Pistilli
    Member of
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    Business Travelers
    + 3
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Luxury Travelers
    4 Nov 17, 2012

    Never a dull moment on the pier. I always recommend my friends visiting if it is their first time to the city. Always seems to be a little too over crowded.

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  • Pier 39
    Tilly Wright
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Family Travelers
    Foodies
    4 Oct 17, 2012

    I don't know if it's because I'm from San Diego so I've been to so many piers that this place didn't fascinate me. There are a lot of shops and restaurants here but we didn't spend that much time here. If you go upstairs though, you can see some seals in a more secluded part of the top.

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  • Pier 39
    Patrick Welsh
    4 Oct 08, 2012

    This is the main attraction at Pier 39. Otherwise, I would avoid the whole area. Fun trip is to take the cable cars down to here, see the sea lions, and then walk up the Filbert street steps to Coit Tower and mosey on down through North Beach for a fun, long loop.

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  • Pier 39
    Ying T
    4 Sep 15, 2012

    Pier 39 is definitely more exciting than fisherman's wharf (more to see). Lots of shops and sea lions too.

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  • Pier 39Pro 2014
    Joseph Coureur
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Business Travelers
    Foodies
    3 Sep 14, 2012

    I wouldn't make a trip to see the sea lions, but if I'm already at Fisherman's Wharf I stop by to visit the collection of loud and smelly loiterers hauled out on platforms provided just for them. When I was there in 2011, there weren't many sea lions. I had heard that they have mysteriously disappeared.

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  • Pier 39
    John H.
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 2
    • Foodies
    • Backpackers
    4 Sep 18, 2013

    Oik oik oik oik oik! That's all you'll hear for about a block away from the sea lions at Pier 39. The amount of sea lions that are on the platforms changes with the season. I've been here where every platform was taken and then I've been here when there were only a dozen or so sea lions. They're fun creatures to watch. They'll mostly be asleep, but you'll see the occasional fight break out.

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  • Pier 39
    Adrian
    4 Aug 16, 2012

    I like Pier 39 a bit. The only problem I have is that it is very touristy. Lots of great views of the bay though!

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  • Pier 39
    Liav Leshem
    5 Aug 07, 2012

    Check out the sea lions on pier 39. they use to be much more (8 years ago all platform where full and now only third are). check out those amazing creatures lying there and having fan.

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  • Pier 39Pro 2014
    Tammy Intrepid A.
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    + 3
    • History Buffs
    • Trendsters
    • Art & Design Lovers
    2 Aug 04, 2012

    Ehhh. Disliked in its planning stages, and barely tolerated now by locals. I used to patronize a few restaurants within Pier 39 but I can't remember the last time I ate there. Between the street performers with blaring boom boxes and aggressive tour operators, the number of hucksters almost equals the number of clueless tourists. Now that the sea lions have gone off to better feeding grounds, they lost their biggest ambassadors!

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  • Pier 39
    Alexandra Bunton
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Foodies
    Wellness
    + 2
    • Luxury Travelers
    • Trendsters
    4 Jul 29, 2012

    Definitely more fun than I expected it was going to be - even if it was just for the glimpse of sea lions sunning themselves next door. A tourist trap for sure, but sitting on the end of the pier eating salt water taffy and looking over at the Golden Gate isn't a bad way to spend a few minutes of your afternoon.

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  • Pier 39
    Octavia Bergman
    3 Jul 20, 2012

    It's the 'must-do' tourist destination in SF. Expect big crowds and lots of tourist traps. Fun none the less :)

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  • Pier 39AmbassadorPro 2014
    Nally
    3 Jul 13, 2012

    The are lousy and smelly, but the Sea Lions at San Francisco's Pier 39 are a great free attraction for the city.

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  • Pier 39
    Erica Ayala
    5 Jul 06, 2012

    The sea lions are a sight to see. If you are in the area you should take advantage of seeing them!

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  • Pier 39
    Mark Brenwall
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Foodies
    Adventure Travelers
    1 Jul 05, 2012

    i live in SF. not to rain on anyone's parade but nobody who lives in SF ever goes to pier 39. it is not the real SF. its just for tourists. if you come to visit make sure you venture outside of there.

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OverviewEdit

4.0 out of 5
233 members' reviews
23,303 people visited Pier 39

Description

In 1989 dozens of pugnacious pinnipeds commandeered “K” dock at Pier 39 and have refused to leave. The marine mammals, which now number over 1,000, may have left some sailors harbor-less but they’ve become one of San Francisco’s most adorable attractions. Peir 39 is a free shopping and dining arcade so there is no charge to visit and you can do so any time of the day. A representative from the ... read more
Marine Mammal Center is often on hand to answer questions like, “Why are they here?”. They’ll probably tell you that nobody knows exactly why the California sea lions chose these docks or why they showed up so suddenly; theories include a correlation with the Loma Prieta earthquake or changes in their food supply.

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