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

    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 10:00, 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 Golde...

    Great experience. There are restrooms and a bar with snacks on board. It was a nice relaxing and educational tour to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. Everyone was friendly. I would recommend 100%!!

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

    2. 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 Streets

    Stop 3: Embarcadero Center – Corner of Clay and Battery Streets

    Stop 4: Ferry Building - 1 Market Street, between Stuart and Spear Streets

    Stop 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 Hyde

    Stop 8: Alamo Square/Painted Ladies - Corner of Fell and Pierce Streets

    Stop 9: Haight Ashbury - Corner of Haight and Shrader Streets 

    Stop 10: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate Park

    Stop 11: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista Point Main Parking Area

    Stop 12: Palace of Fine Arts – Corner of Rich...

    2 things to improve: they should give you a map when you first get on so you know which stops are closest to the sites you want to see. And both headphone jacks were on the same side, so my husband's cord was stretched across me the entire time.

  • San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

    3. 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 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. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you simply must 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.

    Exactly what I expected. We were late getting to our schedule time and was graciously accommodated at a new time slot.

  • Aquarium of the Bay: General Admission Tickets

    4. 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 Franci...

    Very fun! We got to touch the sting rays and baby sharks ! I recommend for a fun short experience. The otters really put on a show underwater and when you walk through the display you are surrounded by sea life as you walk through a tunnel of water and swimming fish! …. and employees that love to give info and suggest cool facts about the different sea creatures.

  • San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

    5. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

    Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour 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. 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.

    This was a fun trip! I do wish someone would of warned us about how windy and cold it is if you sit on the outside deck. A winter coat and hat, at least, would of created a more comfortable experience. It did seem like the cruise was generous with the time. The only thing I would change is that when circling around Alkatraz that circling around at oppsite directions so that BOTH sides of the boat can get the good, unobstructed view. If you want an unobstructed view sit on the right hand side of the boat. Otherwise we enjoyed this cruise very much. Thank you!

  • San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

    6. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

    Enjoy this relaxing 90-minute cruise on board a luxury catamaran and see sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the San Francisco Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge, and search for sea lions playing in the ocean. Then, cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset.

    Relax onboard 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 ocean and sights in the bracing open air.

    the crew was very informative and prepared for our trip, even providing extra jackets if needed

  • GPS Talking Tour Cars: Chinatown/Downtown Loop

    7. GPS Talking Tour Cars: Chinatown/Downtown Loop

    Take a GPS-guided tour in the Storytelling Car® and see for yourself why TIME Magazine called GoCar "The Most Amazing Invention of the Year!" Let GoCar be your guide through an exciting loop of San Francisco's Chinatown and Downtown. GoCar, The Cure for the Common Tour®, lets you experience the beauty of San Francisco and visit places tour busses cannot go – all at your own pace! Fold up your map, put away the guidebook and let the GoCar show you what most visitors never see! Zip around in a cute, yellow Storytelling GoCar as it takes you on your own GPS-guided tour. The GoCar is easy and fun to drive. Since it is GPS-guided, the car knows where you are – even if you don’t. With you in the driver’s seat, it not only tells you where to turn, it tells the stories that bring the city to life. Let the car direct you, or for those more adventurous, blaze your own trail! Your tour’...

    Really enjoyed experience it was fun to explore San Francisco in this way. For sure go in the morning because later in the day there’s traffic. My cons are that the go carts are very loud, the one I drove looked like it was beaten up may be someone crashed with it not sure. They should also not offer one hour options honestly, you can’t see the Golden Gate Bridge with one hour, I think you can only do the downtown experience in the time. You need at LEAST two hours to get the most out of the experience. Don’t stay too long at view point because it will eat your time.

  • Go San Francisco All Inclusive Pass 60% Attraction Discount

    8. Go San Francisco All Inclusive Pass 60% Attraction Discount

    The Go 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 guidebook helps you decide what to do, where to go, and how to get there. With the Go 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...

    I’m handicapped and the big bus was wonderful to hop off take pictures hop back on. We missed the last bus , but was willing to take us close enough to our car in China town. Wonderful memories

  • San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Seaplane Tour

    9. 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 Sausal...

    Pilot was fabulous, and a great narrator. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 28 years but never experienced it like this. This is a fun and exciting way to spend a birthday. Kate

  • San Francisco: Bay Sailing Tour with Drinks

    10. San Francisco: Bay Sailing Tour with Drinks

    Meet your captain and first mate at Pier 39, 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Check in and then make yourself comfortable on the Privateer, a lovely double-masted 28-person sailboat. Motor out of the dock, and once out on the bay, your crew will raise the sails. Sail past Alcatraz and Angel Island, get a great view of the Bay Bridge, take in the beautiful green landscape of Marin and the picturesque city of Sausalito, sail parallel to the Golden Gate for some great photo opportunities, and then return to views of the San Francisco waterfront before docking again at Pier 39.  While you are out on the water, your first mate will serve you two free beverages, your choice of beer, wine, soft drinks, or water! Friendly captains and first mates will be happy to answer any questions you might have during your tour, or you can feel free to just sit back, relax, and enjoy our in...

    If you want to experience sailing on the bay this is the way to do it. Very intimate, and close to the water, and not like standing on tugboat like some other tours. Friendly crew and having a couple beverages while viewing the Golden Gate Bridge from the water is unforgettable.

Other Sightseeing Options in Pier 39

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What people are saying about Pier 39

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 5,139 reviews

The cruise started at 11am. We traveled west along the shore line and the narrator described all the pertinent landmarks including the Presidio, the forts and the Palace of Fine Arts. We passed the Golden Gate Bridge and the view was amazing. On the way back we saw Sausalito, Angel Island, Alcatraz and more of the San Francisco cityscape. This cruise should be a requirement for any first time visitor.

This was a great trip! We got to see the bay and all the sites. Captain Charles was great telling us all the history of the area. I highly recommend this trip.

Very nice- the people was very friendly with my mom she walked slowly and then was patient,thanks for everything

the crew was very informative and prepared for our trip, even providing extra jackets if needed

It was easy and great . Showed all the great places