Merrytime at the Wharf

It's the most wonderful time of the year - MerryTime at the Wharf! This year, even the famous Fisherman's Wharf crab wheel gets wrapped in holiday lights.

Fisherman's Wharf Crab Wheel sign with holiday lights
Fisherman's Wharf Crab Wheel sign with holiday lights

Check out the annual Lighted Boat Parade on December 15, and, once again, PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Square unveil their beautifully decorated trees.

Holiday Boat Parade San Francisco
Holiday Boat Parade San Francisco

About the Wharf:

Visit San Francisco’s #1 tourist destination! Fisherman’s Wharf is a bustling hub of activity from morning until after dark. Eat freshly caught Dungeness crab, purchase San Francisco memorabilia, or take a tour of the surrounding area on a Segway glide or Lucky Tuk Tuk adventure. Fisherman’s Wharf offers hours of entertainment, especially if you know where to look. 

historic Monterrey fishing boats fisherman's wharf
historic Monterrey fishing boats fisherman's wharf

History

The Fisherman’s Wharf area was originally the location of a small fishing community of first generation Italian immigrants who made the area their home in the early 1800s. These families owned fishing boats that set sail daily, hauling in a wide variety of fresh fish, crab, and other seafood to sell and eat at home.

It was only natural that these fishermen and their families would develop delicious recipes from the food they caught. Italian-owned seafood restaurants began cropping up along the waterfront. Today, the original fishermen have passed on, but their descendants continue the family legacy by operating restaurants established by their seafaring ancestors.

Today

San Francisco fisherman's wharf crab sign
San Francisco fisherman's wharf crab sign

Fisherman’s Wharf attracts millions of visitors every year, making it the #1 tourist destination in San Francisco. The famous Fisherman’s Wharf sign, with the crab emblazoned on a ship’s steering wheel, is one of the most photographed locations in the city.

Fisherman’s Wharf offers the widest variety of fresh seafood in town! Street vendors crab stands near the Wharf sign sell fresh crab and other seafood.

fisherman's wharf dungerness crab
fisherman's wharf dungerness crab

The fishing boats moored at Fisherman’s Wharf today mostly belong to third generation descendants of the original Italian fishermen who populate the area. Most local restaurants are Italian-owned, thanks to a deeply rooted Italian-American history.

Nightlife at Fisherman’s Wharf consists of live music, karaoke , sunset cruises, and more.

Highlights

Segway Tours: Located in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco Electric Tours offers you hours of enjoyment upon a Segway or Electric Scooter! Tour the wharf and waterfront, Little Italy, and Aquatic Park during your guided tour. Night segway tours travel from Wharf to Chinatown and down the Embarcadero to the Ferry Building.

Alternately, take an electric scooter tour to the the Golden Gate Bridge!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Visit this “Odditorium” and marvel at the museum’s collection of incredible artifacts, strange exhibits, and unusual art! This self-guided tour is interactive and allows guests to enjoy the attraction at their own pace. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop, where candy comes in delightful shapes and colors.

Aquatic Park: Visit the only floating National Historic Park! Hyde Street Pier is home to historic vessels that offer tours and demonstrations. Don’t forget to visit the Maritime Museum, created in the shape of an ocean liner! Take a tour of several historic ships.

San Francisco aquatic park historic ships
San Francisco aquatic park historic ships

The SS Jeremiah O’Brien is a WWII Liberty ship is the only ship that returned to the shores of Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. Tour the ship’s vast hold, visit the gift shop, and walk through the engine room that appeared in the movie Titanic. U.S. sailors spent hundreds of days in the small quarters of the U.S.S. Pampanito submarine. Step inside to experience what life was like for these men.

Boudin Bakery: Visit the birthplace of sourdough bread! Boudin Bakery’s glass windows allow visitors to watch bakers pound and mold sourdough bread into the shape of crabs, crocodiles, bears, and more! Try their famous clam chowder sourdough bread bowl, or peruse the gift shop for specialty kitchen items.

Nearby Points of Interest

Cable Cars: open to the public since 1873, this fascinating mode of transportation conveys visitors from Market Street to Beach Street, where Fisherman’s Wharf is less than a ten minute walk away. Be sure to watch operators move the cable car on a turntable to point it in the right direction for the return trip to Market Street!

Alcatraz Island: this island prison is now a famous tourist attraction, but in its heyday, it housed the era’s most infamous prisoners. Inmates could hear laughter carried across the water from the city, and many attempted the one-mile swim to land. Visit today for a tour!

Pier 39: Famous for its sunbathing sea lions, shopping, and seafood, Pier 39 houses a delightful collection of specialty shops and tourist attractions that will delight the entire family. Eat at the Hard Rock Café, ride the vintage hand painted carousel, or watch a live magic show with the kids. Don’t forget to visit the Welcome Center for your free coupon booklet!

sea lions pier 39
sea lions pier 39

Aquarium of the Bay: Located at Pier 39, the aquarium is home to sharks, bat rays, sea anemones, and more! Its interactive exhibits allow visitors a rare chance to feel and interact with creatures difficult to access in the wild, such as sea anemones and starfish.

Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill: don’t miss the panorama from the 210-foot high tower, which offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Bay Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline.

North Beach / Little Italy:  Little Italy offers a variety of bars, comedy clubs, and authentic Italian restaurants. Try some focaccia bread, or take a walk in the relaxing green space of Washington Square.

Fisherman's Wharf for the Holidays is featured on:

  • Public Tour
    Holiday Lights & Sites Lucky Tuk Tuk Tour in San Francisco

    Available Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly

    7:30 pm

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $75.00

    Celebrate the season in a Tuk Tuk! Our 2-hour San Francisco Holiday Lights outings include yummy hot chocolate, candy canes, fuzzy Santa hats and plenty of sing-along holiday karaoke tunes on board.

  • Private Charter
    Holiday Lights & Sites Lucky Tuk Tuk Private Charter in San Francisco

    Available Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly

    7:30 pm

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Nov 29 until Dec 30th - Nightly
    Do we fit?
    Seats up to 6 (Ages 3+)
    How much?
    From $410.00

    Celebrate the season in your own Tuk Tuk charter! Our 2 or 2.5 hour San Francisco Holiday Lights charters include yummy hot chocolate, candy canes, fuzzy Santa hats and plenty of sing-along holiday karaoke tunes.