San Francisco/Fisherman's Wharf

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California San Francisco San Francisco/Fisherman's Wharf

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Introduction

San Francisco's most popular destination among travelers, Fisherman's Wharf is the tourist center of the city. Its historic waterfront, once the hub of the city's fishing fleet, is still famous for the depth and variety of its harvest and for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the city, with scenic vistas over San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island. Here you will also find numerous tourist attractions such as museums, souvenir stores, historical buildings and piers, all competing for attention with the many restaurants, tour operators, peddlers and street entertainers along the docks between Pier 39 and the Municipal Pier of Aquatic Park. The Wharf is located at the northeastern tip of San Francisco, with the main Wharf district bordered roughly by the bay to the north, Van Ness Ave to the east, and Bay St to the south, although this guide also includes attractions along the Embarcadero stretching south.

Three generations of fishermen have worked on the Wharf since the 19th century and the days of the Gold Rush. Once boasting an impressive flotilla of nearly 500 fishing vessels, the fleet's numbers have dwindled over time. Today, the boats moored at the Wharf are only equipped to supply San Francisco's restaurants with a small portion of their seafood appetites. Most of the remaining vessels are moored at Fish Alley, close to Pier 47.

Every year the Wharf attracts millions of visitors to its numerous and eclectic attractions including; the sea lions at Pier 39, the Maritime Museum, the chocolate factory at Ghirardelli Square, Hyde St Pier, and of course the infamous Alcatraz. There are also some great vistas overlooking the Bay, and a plethora of restaurants to enjoy them from. Additionally, many people visit the Wharf to either take a ferry or a cruise around the Bay. The Wharf is also home to many events such as the Fourth of July celebrations, Crab Season, and Fleet Week. Being a tourist haven, expect to see large crowds, an abundance of t-shirt stores, novelty museums, and street performers all vying for your attention. Many locals are put off by the crowds on the Wharf, and the seemingly "tacky" nature of many of the tourist stores and attractions. However, all things considered, there is probably enough here to keep everyone happy.

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Sights and Activities

  • Exploratorium, Pier 15, 698 The Embarcadero (at Green St. E and F streetcars stop out front, and the BART Embarcadero station is 15 minutes away by foot), ☏ +1-415-528-4444, ✉ visit@exploratorium.edu. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM; open Th 6-10PM for ages 18+ only, closed M. Along the Embarcadero on the way to the Wharf, this is a great kid-friendly place with lots of interactive exhibits teaching about science, with intriguing displays about the mind, natural systems, sound, and sight . If you're lucky, they'll conduct one of their most famous (and fascinating to most children) demonstrations: the dissection of a cow eyeball. $29.95 adults, $24.95 students/teachers/disabled/seniors/youth 13-17, $19.95 youth 4-12, children 3 and under free.
  • Pier 39, the Embarcadero at Beach St (located on the eastern fringe of Fisherman's Wharf), ☏ +1-415-705-5500, ✉ groupsales@pier39.com. A 45-acre pier-complex featuring 100 specialty stores, 12 full-service restaurants, theater, cruises, live entertainment, and more. Free.
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (begins at the Hyde St pier), ☏ +1-415-447-5000, fax: +1-415-556-1624. The park consists of a visitor center, Hyde St Pier and the fleet of historic ships moored there, the Maritime Museum, Aquatic Park, and the Municipal Pier.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Car

Driving here is easiest (but often slow) by going north on Van Ness Ave (which is part of U.S. Highway 101) up to North Point St (a block beyond Bay), turning right, and then locating a parking space after a few blocks. There are a number of smallish lots, and two major garages near Pier 39, at Stockton and Beach. If you plan to spend much time, you may want to park on a street farther away (but watch the posted limits) and take public transportation to the Wharf.

If you are so inclined and have good brakes, you can go from Van Ness Ave onto Lombard St east, up Russian Hill and down the "crookedest street" in San Francisco. Turn north on any of the streets (except Taylor, because of the cable cars) into Fisherman's Wharf. Stockton St, 2⅓ blocks past Columbus Ave, gets you to the garages. Note that pedestrians and cable cars have the right of way.

From the Bay Bridge it is best to get off soon, head north and east towards the Embarcadero, and then go west into the Fisherman's Wharf area. These exits are still being reconfigured to cope with future earthquakes. You'll see the garages across the way near Pier 39.

San Francisco is small, so consider taking a taxi, at a cost of around $10 from downtown, and double the price from outlying areas.

By cable car

The Powell/Mason cable car line brings you a few blocks south of the center of the district, at Taylor and Bay Sts.
The Powell/Hyde cable car line brings you to Fisherman's Wharf western end, at the intersection of Hyde and Beach Sts.

Both cable car lines start at Market and Powell, near the BART and Muni station there, pass Union Square, and traverse the charming hills and houses of San Francisco before reaching Fisherman's Wharf.

By streetcar

MUNI's historic F streetcar line comes up on Market from Castro Street, turns west at the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building, and traverses much of Fisherman's Wharf. You can exit at any of the Market St BART or MUNI Metro stations to catch the streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf.

By bus

MUNI offers several bus routes to Fisherman's Wharf. The frequent 30-Stockton trolley bus and the 47-Van Ness bus go from the Caltrain station to Fisherman's Wharf, using very different routes. The 30 bus goes through Downtown, passes Chinatown and North Beach, and then travels west via North Point St up to Van Ness. The 47 bus takes longer; it goes first through the grubby parts of the SoMa area, then via the Civic Center up Van Ness, and finally east on North Point St. Additionally, the 19-Polk and 49-Mission/Van Ness also serve the area, both terminating near the Aquatic Park on the western edge of the Wharf. The 39-Coit heads up to Coit Tower in North Beach.

By ferry

A couple of companies offer ferries serving the piers of Fisherman's Wharf:

Blue & Gold Fleet, Pier 41, ☏ +1-415-705-8200, fax: +1-415-705-5429, ✉ info@blueandgoldfleet.com. Times vary — see website. Offers ferries from Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island, and Alameda/Oakland to Pier 41. Price varies by departure point: adults $6.25-11.50 one-way, seniors/children $3.10-6.75 one-way. edit
San Francisco Bay Ferry, Pier 41, ☏ +1-415-705-8291. Times vary — see website. Offering ferry service to/from Alameda/Oakland and Vallejo. Price varies by departure point: adults $6.25-13 one-way, seniors/children $3.10-6.50 one-way; discount offered to adults using Clipper Card

By Foot

Due to its proximity to the Downtown area, one of the best ways to get to the Wharf is simply to walk! Eastbound through Fort Mason from the Marina (15 min), northbound along Columbus Ave from North Beach and Chinatown (25 min), or from either the Ferry Building or the Financial District, walk northbound along the Embarcadero promenades (25 min).

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Getting Around

Fisherman's Wharf is best seen on foot, but there are also pedicabs, horse-drawn carriages, and of course the F-Line streetcar, all of which will take you up and down the Wharf. There are also several companies in the district that rent bikes out to tourists by the hour or for the day, including Wheel Fun Rentals, Bay City Bike, Bike and Roll, and Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals. Any of these bike services is highly recommended as you get the opportunity to see a lot of the city in a relatively short-amount of time. One of Blazing Saddle's stations is located near the Ben and Jerry's stand and the trail leads you over the Golden Gate Bridge and to Sausalito where you can catch a ferry back to the piers or continue to the redwoods on an "extended" ride. Regardless of what company you choose, just prepare for leg soreness the following day. The California Welcome Center is located on the second level of Pier 39, and they offer visitor maps and information on Fisherman's Wharf which will help you navigate your way around.

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Eat

Many of the restaurants here are seafood restaurants, so if you're not into seafood at all, it's best to go to any other section of town. North Beach (Italian) and even Chinatown are within healthy walking distances. Many of the older established restaurants have Italian names like "Castagnola's" and "Alioto's" — a reflection on the fact that many of the Wharf's first fishermen were immigrant Italians. Alas, much of the fare available is overpriced, but not all, there are still plenty of places on the Wharf where you can fill up on the cheap. Most of the old-line high-end Italian restaurants on the wharf, while maybe disparaged by locals as hopelessly uncool, do in fact maintain a high standard of food and service. If you're tired of the manic crowds, get take out and bring it up to Aquatic Park where there is lots of room to sit and enjoy your food in peace.

Bistro Boudin, 160 Jefferson St, ☏ +1-415-928-1849, ✉ boudin@boudinbakery.com. Su-Th 8AM-9:30PM, F Sa 8AM-10PM. Home of the sourdough bread with a recipe they've nurtured since 1849, where you can get (among other things) their popular clam chowder in a bread bowl. This is the flagship location of Boudin, where you can shop for gifts here or stroll around their museum to learn about Boudin's history. $15-30.
Boudin Cafe, Pier 39, ☏ +1-415-421-0185. Su-Th 8AM-8PM, F Sa 8AM-9PM. A cafe where you can get Boudin food on Pier 39. $5-7.
Chowder and crab sidewalk stands, 200 Jefferson St (at Taylor St). Get clam chowder in a bread bowl, Dungeness crab (in season November through June), fish and chips, shrimp cocktails, calamari salad, etc. from this busy outdoor marketplace. If you're getting a crab, ask for a fresh one and they'll cook it up for you on the spot. $4 and up.
Chowders, Pier 39, Building A, Level 1 (at Beach St and The Embarcadero), ☏ +1-415-391-4737, ✉ info@chowderspier39.com. Same hours as Pier 39. Serving fresh seafood cocktails, clam chowder in a bread bowl, fish and chips, sandwiches, and salads. They also have a small "Not so Fishy... " menu for those who don't like seafood. $5-11.
Darren's Cafe, 2731 Taylor St (between Beach St and Jefferson St), ☏ +1-415-673-3345. Daily 8AM-4:30PM. Reasonably priced "mom and pop" Vietnamese/breakfast place on the Wharf. They serve Vietnamese dishes, soup, and sandwiches as well as more traditional breakfast options like country potatoes and omelettes. Small but friendly! $6-9.
In-N-Out Burger, 333 Jefferson St (near Jones St), toll-free: +1-800-786-1000. Su-Th 10:30AM-1AM, F Sa 10:30AM-1:30AM. Standard In-N-Out Burger, but it has the distinction of being the only one in the city, one of the few In-N-Out Burger locations without a drive-through, and one of only two fast-food chain restaurants allowed at the wharf (the other being a McDonald's). They serve "fresh burgers" and fries cut straight from the potato in front of you... it's still fast food, but it's definitely better than the usual fare. This place gets seriously packed but the line does tend to move quickly. $5-8.
Cafe Pescatore, 2455 Mason St (at North Point St), ☏ +1-415-561-1111, fax: +1-415-292-4549, ✉ nathan.hobson@cafepescatore.com. M-Th 7AM-10:30AM, 11:30AM-10PM, F-Su 7AM-10PM. A mid-range Italian trattoria that focuses on the staples of Italian food like pasta, pizza, and risottos. It being Fisherman's Wharf, they do have a particular focus on seafood however. $14-25.
Cioppino's, 400 Jefferson St (on the corner of Jefferson and Leavenworth Sts, across from the Cannery Building on the bayside of Fisherman's Wharf), ☏ +1-415-775-9311, fax: +1-415-775-7044, ✉ info@cioppinosonthewharf.com. 11AM-10PM daily. Family dining with indoor and outdoor seating. Cioppino is a flavorful San Franciscan seafood soup. $14-27.
Eagle Cafe, Pier 39 (at Beach St and the Embarcadero), ☏ +1-415-433-3689, ✉ Webmaster@DaveVdW.net. 7:30AM-9PM daily. One of the more reasonably priced places to eat on the Wharf. Traditional fare served. Pancakes are a favorite. $7-30.
Joanie's Happy Days Diner, 1329 Columbus Ave (Joseph Conrad Square/Beach St.), ☏ +1-415-928-4343. 7AM-5PM. Good and fresh breakfast and lunch service at a reasonable price. Fast service and big variation result in a full diner every morning.
McCormick and Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant, Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St (at Beach St and Larkin St), ☏ +1-415-929-1730, fax: +1-415-567-2919. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 10:30AM-10PM. A good seafood restaurant that also serves other fare such as pastas and steaks. The restaurant is perched atop Ghirardelli Square and has magnificent views of the bay, as well as a spacious and airy feel inside. $11 and up.
Pier Market, Pier 39 (at Beach St and The Embarcadero), ☏ +1-415-989-7437, ✉ info@piermarket.com. Winter hours: M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa Su 10:30AM-9PM. Summer hours: M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 10:30AM-11PM, Su 10:30AM-10PM. Pier Market is a real market and restaurant at Pier 39. It's definitely one of the better seafood options on the Wharf; the fish always seems to be fresh, the service is fast and friendly, and the prices are pretty low given the quality. $10-33.
Pompei's Grotto, 340 Jefferson St (between Jones and Leavenworth), ☏ +1-415-776-9265. 11AM-?? daily. Much quieter, less expensive, and less touristy than the big name Fisherman's Wharf restaurants; excellent food, with an emphasis on seafood and Italian specialties, served by nice people. Still owned and managed by the Pompei family, who started the restaurant in 1946. For those not interested in seafood, they offer two steaks and four chicken dishes, as well as three meatless pasta dishes and a meatless risotto. $9-30.
Alioto's, No. 8 Fisherman's Wharf (Taylor St and Jefferson St), ☏ +1-415-673-0183. 11AM-11PM daily. Established in 1925 by the Alioto family, it plates Sicilian recipes incorporating the local, fresh seafood. $22-48.
Castagnola's, 286 Jefferson St (across from Ripley's and the Wax Museum, and the nearby Ghirardelli Square), ☏ +1-415-776-5015, fax: +1-415-776-0463. 11AM-9PM daily. Voted San Francisco's No. 1 Seafood and Family Restaurant of 1998 by the National Academy of Restaurant Evaluation and The Best of San Francisco Pocket Guide. They specialize in seafood and Italian cuisine, complimented by quality Californian wines. $20 and up.
Crab House, Pier 39, Second Level, West Side (at Beach St and the Embarcadero), ☏ +1-415-434-2722, fax: +1-415-434-4038. Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-11PM. Voted "Best Crab in San Francisco" and famous for its "Killer Crab" — 2 pounds of Dungeness Crab! Comes with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. $18-60.
Nicks Lighthouse, 2815 Taylor St (at Jefferson St), ☏ +1-415-929-1300, fax: +1-415-989-1544. Su-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM. Warm and aromatic Italian restaurant serving popular family fare. $12-37.
No. 9 Fisherman's Grotto, 2847 Taylor St (Taylor St and Jefferson St), ☏ +1-415-673-7025, ✉ reservations@fishermansgrotto.com. Su-F 10AM-10PM, Sa 10AM-11PM. On the side of the plaza, this restaurant is an old favorite. The small ground floor room has a warm Venetian inspired ambiance; the upstairs is larger and more modern. Its windows overlook the fishing boats. $14-49.
Sabella and LaTorre, 2809 Taylor St (Taylor St and Jefferson St), ☏ +1-415-673-2824, fax: +1-415-923-0585, ✉ info@sabellalatorre.com. Restaurant: Su-Th 10AM-10:45PM, F Sa 10AM-12:45AM; crab stand: 7AM-10:45PM. A family owned restaurant that's been open since 1927 providing fresh seafood, family fare, and a full bar. They're known in particular for their "cracked crab". $11-37.50.
Scoma's Restaurant, Pier 47 on Al Scoma Way (where Jones and Jefferson Sts intersect), ☏ +1-415-771-4383, fax: +1-415-775-2601, ✉ seafood@scomas.com. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Su 11:30AM-10:30PM; closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. The Bar is open daily 30 minutes prior to lunch service. Overlooking the bay and Alcatraz, and nestled among the fishing boats on Pier 47, this restaurant is popular among locals and tourists alike for its fresh seafood. $20 and up.

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Drink

The Wharf is not particularly well known for its nightlife scene. Most of what is there is of the "smart casual" variety, in restaurant bars and hotel bars. As the Wharf is primarily commercial, and not residential, the clientele consist mostly of either tourists, or workers from the local businesses.

Buena Vista Cafe, 2765 Hyde St (at Beach St), ☏ +1-415-474-5044, fax: +1-415-474-2207, ✉ sfbuenavista@aol.com. M-F 9AM-2AM, Sa Su 8AM-2AM. Famous for its Irish Coffee, supposedly the first to serve it in America, and great views over the bay. Entrees $9-17.
Fiddler's Green, 1333 Columbus Ave (between North Point St and Beach St), ☏ +1-415-441-9758. 9AM-2AM daily. Irish bar and restaurant featuring live music and DJs.
Jacks Cannery Bar, 2801 Leavenworth St (at Beach St), ☏ +1-415-931-6400. 10AM-2AM daily. Opened in 1932. The bar has a 90 foot oak-paneled hall. 110 Beers on tap!
Las Margaritas, Del Monte Square, 2nd Level, South Bldg (Jefferson St and Leavenworth St), ☏ +1-415-776-6996. 10AM-11:30PM daily. A Fruit Margarita in the Cannery anyone?
Lou's Fish Shack, 300 Jefferson St (at Al Scoma Way), ☏ +1-415-771-LOUS (5687), fax: +1-415-771-7060, ✉ louspier47@yahoo.com. Open at 11AM daily. Lou's has live Blues music 7 days a week. Cover charge: M-Th 4PM-8PM $3, 8PM-close $5; F 4PM-8PM $3, 8PM-close $10; Sa 4PM-8PM $5, 8PM-close $10; Su 4PM-8PM $3, 8PM-close $5; Sa noon-3PM show is free.
Pier 23 Cafe, Pier 23, The Embarcadero (north of Filbert St), ☏ +1-415-362-5125, fax: +1-415-362-8138, ✉ mac@pier23cafe.com. M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 10AM-2AM, Su 10AM-10PM. Lively and colorful, you can't miss this place on your way down the piers of the Embarcadero. It's part bar, part restaurant, and part cafe — ever popular with locals, it has an outdoor drinking deck.
Ghirardelli Choclaterie and Cafe, Ghirardelli Square (at Beach St and Larkin St), ☏ +1-415-474-3938. M-Th 8:30AM-8PM, F 8:30AM-10PM, Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 9AM-8PM. Serving premium espresso drinks, pastries, and desserts.

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Sleep

Many of the nation-wide chains have hotels in the area but the prices can be very high, so expect to pay a premium. There are very few budget options here, so if you're traveling on a shoestring and need somewhere for under $100, you'll have to either go south a bit towards North Beach, or west towards the Marina. Either way you'll be a 10-minute or so walk from the action. If you are insistent on staying within the Wharf area, do check for the actual location if you want to be right in Fisherman's Wharf — the names of the accommodations can be confusing.

Wharf Inn, 2601 Mason St (at Beach St), ☏ +1-415-673-7411, fax: +1-415-776-2181, ✉ info@wharfinn.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Small, friendly, and in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf. It has free parking. $160-195.
Best Western Plus Tuscan Inn, 425 North Point St, ☏ +1-415-561-1100, toll-free: +1-800-648-4626, fax: +1-415-561-1199. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. $180-250.
Courtyard Fisherman's Wharf, 580 Beach St (between Mason St and Taylor St), ☏ +1-415-775-3800, fax: +1-415-441-7307. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Part of the Marriott group, this non-smoking, four-story hotel is 2 blocks from Ghirardelli Square. $210-290.
Holiday Inn Express — Fisherman's Wharf, 550 North Point St (between Jones St and Taylor St), ☏ +1-415-409-4600, fax: +1-415-409-5111, ✉ res-hiex-sfwharf@ihg.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. One of the better rated hotels on the Wharf. $200-270.
Holiday Inn — Fisherman's Wharf, 1300 Columbus Ave (between Jones St and Leavenworth St), toll-free: +1-800-942-7348, fax: +1-415-771-7006. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Among the bars, cafes, and the vast number of specialty shops in Fisherman's Wharf. $220-270.
Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman's Wharf, 2620 Jones St (2 blocks southwest of Pier 39), ☏ +1-415-885-4700, fax: +1-415-771-8945. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Non-smoking hotel. $240-360.
Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf, 250 Beach St (between Powell St and Mason St), ☏ +1-415-392-6700, fax: +1-415-986-7853, ✉ rhi_sffw@radisson.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Nice hotel, centrally located (two blocks from Pier 39). Heated outdoor swimming pool. $190-400.
Suites at Fisherman's Wharf, 2655 Hyde St (between Bay St and North Point St), ☏ +1-415-771-0200, ✉ guestservicessfw@yahoo.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. The Suites is a small (24 suites) but comfortable and modern hotel that offers one or two-bedroom floor plans with many amenities. $175-250.
Argonaut Hotel, 495 Jefferson St (at the end of the Powell-Hyde cable car line and right across from the historical ships, with nautical exhibits next to the lobby), ☏ +1-415-563-0800, fax: +1-415-563-2800. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A high-end luxury boutique hotel overlooking the bay and very centrally located on the Wharf. Ask for a room away from the front if you mind noise. It's a 100% smoke-free environment. $250-450.
Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf, 555 North Point St (between Jones St and Taylor St), ☏ +1-415-563-1234, fax: +1-415-486-4444. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Modern hotel with full-service and clean and comfortable rooms. $250-350.
Marriott Fisherman's Wharf, 1250 Columbus Ave (between Bay St and North Point St), ☏ +1-415-775-7555, toll-free: +1-800-551-6433, fax: +1-415-474-2099. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. 285 rooms and 11 suites. $200-300.
Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf, 2500 Mason St (at North Point St), ☏ +1-415-362-5500, fax: +1-415-956-5275, ✉ Sheratonsf@ihrco.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. This hotel is centrally located. $230-290.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 9:29 on Sep 18, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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