Fisherman's Wharf - A Hidden Little Secret That Gets Amazing Results

Fisherman's Wharf is to San Francisco what Times Square is to New York City... a recognizable part of city that’s fun to walk around and people watch, while exploring its full rich history.
One of the busiest and well known tourist attractions in the western United States, the Wharf begins at the northern waterfront area of San Francisco from Ghirardelli Square or Van Ness Avenue and then stretches east to Pier 35 or Kearny Street.

It’s best known for being THE locations of...

  • Pier 39
  • Cannery Shopping Center
  • Ghirardelli Square
  • Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum

Seafood restaurants everywhere! Such as...

  • Alioto’s
  • Castagnola’s
  • Cioppino's
  • Fog Harbor Fish House
  • Franciscan Crab Restaurant
  • Lou's Fish Shack
  • Pompei's Grotto
  • Scoma's Restaurant

Not to mention all the little crab stands and sidewalk cafes - a "seafood row" if you will.

But first... instead of packing into all those most well known places... we found a hidden little secret we want to share with you.

Fisherman's Wharf - San Francisco

You see... it’s one part of the wharf most visitors never really see. And it’s called "Fish Alley".

The heart of San Francisco's fish processing district - The REAL Fisherman's Wharf...

So... what do you say... let’s take a tour!

Now... if we want to see them actually hauling in their catch, we'll have to get there early... around 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Yes! Yes! We know It’s early.

But It doesn’t cost you anything. And it’s quite a humbling experience.

Just imagine... getting a glimpse of the bustle of activity inside the spacious warehouses of the fish processing piers, dotted with cranes and other hoists used to haul the catch out of the boats.

Ready? Okay.
First... let’s head down Jefferson Street between Hyde St. and Jones - and watch the fishermen and women at work.

Yes... we said women, too. They work in all kinds of jobs... serving as captains and crew members on the boats... to fish processors and business managers on shore.
You see... fishing is not just a job for them... it’s a way of life.

The fishing community has been vital to San Francisco and its economy for more than 100 years.
They are a community of working families - small and medium-sized family businesses, doing business from boats at sea and on shore.
Today, roughly 1,000 people fish for their living out of the Wharf.

Fisherman's Wharf is still the best place to bring in a catch from the rich Pacific Ocean waters just outside the Golden Gate.
In addition to providing the closest sheltered harbor, it, also, has the largest concentration of fish processors and other services for the commercial fishing industry.

Walking along the boardwalk, you’ll find a fleet of San Francisco's commercial fishing vessels.

So... the next time you’re sitting down and enjoying your steamed clams, your calamari, or Dungeness crab, think of those fleet of fishing vessels and the fishermen and women who operate them.
Because without them... there wouldn’t be any seafood restaurants to go to!

Another stop to make while touring Fisherman’s Wharf... The Chapel

Hidden in plain sight at end of Embarcadero Drive - off Taylor Street- on Pier 45B - sits a little known Wharf landmark - The Fishermen’s and Seamen’s Memorial Chapel.
A touching tribute to the generations of San Franciscans who have dedicated their lives to the sea.
A simple, but elegant wood-framed structure located across from Pier 45 overlooking fishing boat basin, the Chapel stands as a memorial to the fishermen and seamen who have braved cold waves, blinding fog and howling winds.

Built in 1979, it stands at the edge of Fisherman's Wharf - as a memorial to those lost at sea.
Today, the walls of the chapel bear plaques with the names of hundreds of men and women who lost their lives at sea.
Flags and banners hang from the ceiling, attesting to the numerous religions that currently use the Chapel.

Sitting inside the 11-acre inner lagoon - that’s remained unchanged for the past century, a campanile - a free-standing bell tower - houses a bell - crafted in 1860. The bell is still rung on very special occasions.
The campanile also features a carillon - a set of bells in the tower - ringing out 1,200 different melodies.

Every Sunday at Fisherman's Wharf, the Chapel conducts a Traditional Catholic Mass in Latin starting at 9:30 a.m.

Other religious services are also regularly held at the Chapel.

Fisherman's Wharf is a big part of San Francisco culture...

So... as you’re walking along the water’s edge of the Wharf, check out the historic signs placed by the Port of San Francisco... telling the wharf’s history... giving insight into today’s fishing community.

See... there IS something for the whole family... shopping...  museums... arcades... seal watching... boat tours... farmer's markets... sightseeing... GREAT places to eat and... incredible views of the bay.

And let’s not forget... the street performers.
Fisherman’s Wharf gets pretty amazing results - don’t you agree?

Maybe it’s MORE than a tourist attraction after all... what do YOU think?

What are you waiting for? Let's GO!

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