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Pier 39

Come for the unbeatable views of San Francisco Bay, stay for the world famous sea lions.

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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

Cruise around the Golden Gate Bay on a boat tour. Enjoy informative commentary, see sights like Alcatraz Island, and purchase food and drink from the onboard bar. 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 Fisherman's Wharf, 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 Golden Gate Bridge. Steam back into the Bay, traveling past the wildlife reserves of the Marin Headlands, and the legendary town of Sausalito, once home to the 1960s’ flower generation. With Angel Island State Park to your left, cruise around the infamous Alcatraz. After a full hour of exciting sights, the barking sea lions at Pier 39 welcome you back to Pier 43 1/2. A full bar with drinks, snacks, and merchandise, including logo wear, is available at reasonable prices on board the iconic red and blue sea vessels.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

2. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat 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. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. 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.

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 non-stop 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. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should 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 with food and drink available to purchase.

San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

4. San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the City by the Bay and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at the main points of interest all around San Francisco.  Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off anytime and create your customized itinerary at your leisure. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus. Learn about the unique history of San Fransisco while passing through Chinatown, Union Square, Civic Center, and the Alamo Square.  Panoramic Night Tour Board the night bus to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at nighttime. Climb the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the World Fair site in 1939. After heading back to the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights of the Port of San Francisco.

SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

5. SF: Alcatraz Ticket w/ 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Night Tour

See the best of San Francisco with this combined hop-on-hop-off ticket and Alcatraz Island visit. Explore the island of Alcatraz and enjoy 2 days of sightseeing with insightful commentary from a live guide. Tour the famous prison that has played a role in jailhouse folklore and the historic evolution of the West Coast. Learn more about the 14 unsuccessful escape attempts by over 30 prisoners and their fates. Your Premium Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass is a great way to see the sights of San Francisco. Listen to commentary by live English-speaking guides, or enjoy pre-recorded audio commentary in 10 languages. Your 2-day ticket includes a full day of unlimited hop-on-hop-off and a 1-hour panoramic night tour. Explore one of San Francisco's most fascinating neighborhoods on a fun and informative walking tour of Chinatown. The tours are offered daily, and you can ask an agent for locations and time schedules. Also included are a bonus 1-hour bike rental (with the purchase of a 1-hour rental) and Players Arcade Drink and Game Tokens. Hop-on, hop-off tour stops include: Stop 1: Corner of Jefferson & Mason StreetStop 2: Holiday Inn Northpoint b/w Jones & ColumbusStop 3: Washington Square - Columbus & Union StreetsStop 4: Embarcadero Center - Corner Clay & Battery StreetsStop 5: Ferry Building - Market St b/w Stuart & Spear StreetsStop 6: Union Square South - Geary St across from Macy’sStop 7: Hilton Hotel - Corner Mason & Ellis StreetsStop 8: Civic Center - Fulton St b/w Larkin & Hyde StreetsStop 9: Alamo Square - Corner Fell & Pierce StreetsStop 10: Haight Ashbury - Haight & Shrader StreetsStop 11: Golden Gate Park - Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate ParkStop 12: Golden Gate Bridge- North Vista PointStop 13: Palace of Fine Arts - Richardson & Francisco StreetStop 14: Marina Neighborhood - Lombard & Fillmore StreetsStop 15: Lombard Street Corridor - Lombard & Gough StreetsStop 16: Union Square North - Post & Powell StreetsStop 17: Chinatown Gate - Grant and Bush StreetsStop 18: Portsmouth Square - Kearny & Clay StreetsStop 19: Pier 35 Cruise Terminal - The EmbarcaderoStop 20: Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf (then return to Stop 1)

San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

6. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip boat trip onboard a luxury catamaran. See sea lions, famous sights, and sunset views of San Francisco as the sun dips below the Bay. Sail by Alcatraz Island, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and past Sausalito. Search for the famous Pier 39 sea lions and other kinds of sea life playing in the ocean. Cruise along the shore, gazing on the city skyline as you watch the magnificent sunset. Relax with a complimentary drink on board 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 sights in the bracing open air.

San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

7. San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

Explore San Francisco at your own pace and according to your interests with an easy-to-use sightseeing pass. Select 2, 3, 4, or 5 must-see, must-do attractions and tours from a comprehensive choice of over 25 things to do in San Francisco. Save time and money as you don't have to buy separate attraction tickets. Ride the hop-on-hop-off Big Bus tour and get to know the city, enjoy a San Francisco bay cruise, visit informative museums, rent a Go Car for an hour, experience the thrills of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and much more. Tours and cruises: • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day Classic Tour • San Francisco Bay Cruise • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • Go Car Tours San Francisco 1-Hour • Scenic Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • 1 Day MUNI Pass • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour • San Francisco All-Day Bike Rentals at Golden Gate Park Museums and places of interest: • California Academy of Sciences • Aquarium of the Bay • Exploratorium • Madame Tussauds • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens • The Flyer - San Francisco's Flying Theater • The Walt Disney Family Museum • California's Great America • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • Legoland Discovery Center • USS Pampanito • Asian Art Museum • USS Hornet Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum Please note attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

8. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

Experience the beauty of San Francisco Bay on a round-trip catamaran cruise. Take in San Francisco's breathtaking skyline as you sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Feel the breeze and keep a look out for sea lions. Admire your surroundings from a protected viewing area, or live on the edge and stand on the canvas trampoline nets with the waves beneath your feet. Pick up a helpful navigation guide providing information about San Francisco's landmarks as you sail past many of them. Make this experience complete by taking the helm from the captain and steering the catamaran yourself. This sail is the perfect activity for kids as well as kids at heart. The captain and crew are always there, happy to snap a photo or answer your questions about the sights of San Francisco. If all this excitement makes you hungry or thirsty, you’ll find snacks, soda, beer, and wine available at the cabin's snack bar.

San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

9. San Francisco: Go City All-Inclusive Pass 25+ Attractions

The San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access city 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 25+ included attractions, saving up to 55% off compared to full retail admissions. The California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, bay cruises, theme parks and rides, bike rental, and much more are all included! See below for the complete list. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, and how to get there. With the San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass, you’ll spend your time in the Bay Area collecting memories instead of credit card receipts. Attractions and activities included with the San Francisco All-Inclusive Pass: Tours and Cruises • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day Classic Tour • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • San Francisco Bay Cruise • Scenic Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • Go Car San Francisco 30-min Rental • One All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour • Golden Gate Park Bike Rental by Unlimited Biking Museums and Places of Interest • Aquarium of the Bay • Exploratorium • Madame Tussauds • California Academy of Sciences • The Walt Disney Family Museum • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • The Flyer - San Francisco's Flying Theater • California's Great America • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • Legoland Discovery Center • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • USS Pampanito • Asian Art Museum • USS Hornet Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum • The Beat Museum • California Historical Society Attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Seaplane Tour

10. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Seaplane Tour

Take off from the waters of the San Francisco Bay and fly high above this gorgeous city of tall buildings, steep hills and trolly cars. Choose to meet your tour at the Seaplane base in Mill Valley or book a roundtrip shuttle from Fisherman's Wharf. Cruise around and over the Golden Gate Bridge and make sure you snap some stunning pictures to amaze your friends. Fly over Fisherman's Wharf and look down on the chic restaurants and shops below. Fly over Angel Island and Alcatraz before heading over the picturesque towns of Tiburon, Belvedere and Sausalito. Finally, land back on the water and taxi up to the dock in Sausalito.

Other Sightseeing Options in Pier 39

Want to discover all there is to do in Pier 39? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Pier 39

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 6,479 reviews

Fantastic trip! We’re a family of 5 with 3 teenage children and everybody loved it. We were very well looked after by Captain Charles and learnt so much about San Francisco whilst enjoying the thrills, spills and amazing views on a ride around the bay. We would thoroughly recommend this for all ages. It was the highlight of our time in San Francisco and from doing the trip at the start of our stay, we were then fuelled with information and ideas from Captain Charles for the rest of our stay. Thank you!

No complaints… Daughter and I bought tickets ahead of time… All the information disseminated beforehand was accurate… The Cruise itinerary is great for a first time visitor or like us ; people who’ve already seen the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Would highly recommend!

Beautiful views of the Bay. The boat left right on time and was comfortable throughout. It wasn't as full as other boats leaving that day so there was room to spread out during the trip. Highly recommended, especially for those visiting from out of town.

Definitely ride on the upper deck!! Its amazing!! BRING A COAT, HOODIE, it's COLD!!!! Drivers were amazing and the knowledge about this city is awesome!! DO IT!!!

excellent boat, clean, narration very clear and informative.