Pier 39 attractions

Fun Things To Do On Pier 39 (Best Pier 39 Attractions!)

Are you looking for some fun things to do at Pier 39 in San Francisco California? There are some great Pier 39 attractions you will want to check out! 

We have been to San Francisco several times and love visiting the most famous pier in San Francisco! I'm excited to share with you some of the things to do on Pier 39 that we have enjoyed.

In this post, we are going to list a lot of fun Pier 39 attractions,  the best pier 39 shops, and some amazing Pier 39 restaurant options.  After reading this, you will easily be able to plan your visit to the famous San Francisco pier!

Let's explore all of the fun things to do at Pier 39 in San Francisco California! 

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Things to do on Pier 39

Touring Pier 39 will not take you too long!  I would plan to spend a few hours this will give you enough time to shop and enjoy a few snacks. 

If you want to enjoy some of the Pier 39 restaurants or Pier 39 attractions you will want to allow yourself a little more time. There are lots of fun things to do on Pier 39 but you can usually do most of them in a short amount of time.

Pier 39 Hours

Pier 39 things to do

The Pier 39 shops are open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. 

Some of the restaurants open early to serve breakfast and stay open past 9:00 pm for dinner.  

We went to Pier 39 in San Francisco at night right as it was closing up around 8:00 pm.  

Pier 39 Attractions

Pier 39 Attractions

If you are wondering what to do on Pier 39 we are about to list all of the fun pier 39 attractions.  Each of these has a separate entrance fee and some require tickets.

These Pier 39 attractions are a must when you visit San Francisco! If you are visiting San Francisco with kids, they will love Pier 39.  

Top Pier 39 Attractions

1. Sea Lions at Pier 39

Pier 39 in San Francisco California - Seals

The Pier 39 sea lions are one of the best things to do at Pier 39 in San Francisco CA! 

The Sea Lions first arrived at pier 39 after a 6.9 earthquake hit in 1989. By 1990 more and more sea lions started calling Pier 39 home.  One of the main reasons the sea lions stay in this area is because their natural predators sharks and orcas do not tend to come into the bay area.  

Where are the Sea Lions at Pier 39

The Sea Lions at Pier 39 are all the way to the end of the pier on the left-hand side.  You will get the best view from the bottom level of the pier. You will walk past all of the Pier 39 shops and head towards the water.  The Pier 39 Sea Lions have made a home on the docs.  

These Sea Lions are one of the reasons Pier 39 is known as the famous pier in San Francisco.  It really is just a cool experience.  They are loud and fun! There are lots of platforms where you can jump up and get a better view of the Sea Lions.  

It is the best pier in San Francisco to see Sea Lions. 

My Thoughts

I honestly thought that the sea lions at pier 39 were seals.  But after doing some research I learned the seals at pier 39 are actually sea lions. There is a difference! But I obviously, didn't know!

I also learned that the Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf are the same as at Pier 39.  If you are at Fisherman's Wharf you will have to go on Pier 39 to see the Sea Lions. 

I love the Pier 39 San Francisco sea lions.  Visiting them is one of the best things to do at Pier 39!

2. Pier 39 Carousel in San Francisco

Pier 39 attractions carousel

One of the top Pier 39 attractions is the carousel.  It is a beautiful carousel located in the middle of the pier.  

The Pier 39 Carousel in San Francisco is hand painted with major landmarks from around the city.  If you look closely you will see the Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge painted on the carousel.  

The Pier 39 Carousel in San Francisco is open from 11:00 am – 8:00 pm daily.  

It is a great option for things to do on Pier 39 with kids. 

3. Aquarium of the Bay

Pier 39 things to do - Aquarium of the Bay

One of the most popular Pier 39 attractions is the Aquarium at the Bay. It is actually located on Pier 39.  We actually really loved touring the aquarium.  I would recommend getting my aquarium of the bay tickets ahead of time.  

It is a very affordable aquarium.  One thing I love about the aquarium is the under-the-bay area where you jump on a moving sidewalk as you are surrounded by sea life.  This is a great Pier 39 attraction for kids.  My kids loved it.  We also were able to get a fun souvenir picture at the end of our visit.  

My Thoughts

Now I know the first time I went to San Fran, I kind of thought this aquarium was the famous Monterrey Bay Aquarium. I was wrong  Monterrey Bay is about a 2-hour drive south near the Big Sur, 17-mile drive, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. 

4. Mirror Maze in San Francisco Pier 39

San Francisco Pier 39 attractions

Another major Pier 39 attraction is the mirror maze.  You will want to climb the musical stairs up to the second floor.  

This infinite mirror maze is around $10 and is one of the most fun things to do on Pier 39.  On our last trip, we did a mirror maze and my kids loved it! Kids under 5 are free.  

If you are looking for a fun activity on Pier 39 this is a great option. 

5. Street Performers and Musicians

fun things to do at Pier 39 - Stage performances

If you are looking for free Pier 39 attractions this is one of the best.  There is a little stage located near the carousel with seating.  

Performers are scheduled every 20 minutes throughout the day starting at 12:00pm.  There are jugglers, magicians, escape artists, acrobats, comedy shows, and musicians.  

These shows make pier 39 come alive and provide some free entertainment your family will love! 

6. Bungee Trampoline on Pier 39

Things to do on Pier 39 - Trampoline

If you are looking for fun Pier 39 attractions for kids the bungee trampoline is a great choice.  For about $10 your kids will get to flip around on pier 39.  

It is a great Pier 39 attraction to check out. 

7. The Bay Plunge

What to do at pier 39 - plunge

One thing that is great about Pier 39 is the classic rides and entertainment.  The Bay Plunge is a fun ride big enough for 12 people.  If you have a large group and are wondering what to do on Pier 39, this is a great option!  You can take up all 12 seats or if your group is smaller you will just ride with other people. 

Great View of Pier 39 and San Francisco Bay

The ride will take you up 40 feet for a great view of the bay. It will then rotate and bounce.  It is a fun Pier 39 attraction to check out! 

8. Build A Bear on Pier 39

Pier 39 in San Francisco California

The Pier 39 California build a bear is a must for younger kids! You can build your own stuffed animal and then dress them.  

Build-A-Bear locations are located throughout the United States but it is kind of fun to come to the pier to make it extra special.  There are so many Pier 39 attractions that are perfect for kids! 

9. Players Sports Grill and Arcade

Things to do at Pier 39 Arcade

One of the best things to do on Pier 39 is hop over to the Players Sports Grill and Arcade. If you like arcades this is a fun place to check out.  The atmosphere is really fun.

You can eat here but it doesn't get great reviews. I would just go and play! 

10. Book A Tour at Pier 39

Things to do around pier 39 - book a tour

Pier 39 in San Francisco is a major spot to begin tours.  You can also book them on-site, however, booking ahead of time will save you time and money.  There are some great boat tours that begin out of Pier 39 most will take you under the Golden Gate Bridge

Best Pier 39 Tours

Pier 39 Boat Tours

Pier 39 Shops

Pier 39 things to do

There are lots of fun Pier 39 shops.  You will find many souvenir shops, but you will also find some specialty shops.  I am going to list some of the best shops that you will not want to miss.  

Here are my favorites! 

11. Magic Houdini Shop

Pier 39 California shopping - magic shop

The magic shop was the highlight for my family.  What we love about this shop is that you get to see a little magic when you enter.

The worker puts on a show.  We loved watching! I will warn you, we wanted to buy a trick but they are very expensive! 

This magic shop was the highlight of Pier 39 for my kids.  They thought it was one of he best things to do on Pier 39.

12. Lefty's San Francisco

best pier in San Francisco - Pier 39 shopping Lefty's

Any Left handed people out there?  My daughter is a lefty! Only 10-12% of the population is left-handed! 

It was so fun to walk through this store! Seriously, left-handed scissors are so hard to find! If you have a lefty in your group you will love this store! 

13. Pier 39 Candy Store (Candy Baron)

Things to do at Pier 39 - Candy Store

Who loves candy!  My family does! Candy Baron is my favorite Pier 39 shop! You can pick out any flavor of taffy or choice from all sorts of yummy candy.

This store is located at the end of the pier, so you will walk all the way to the water. Visiting the Candy Store is one of my favorite things to do on Pier 39 in San Francisco! 

Best Candy at Candy Baron

  • Taffy
  • Gummies
  • Old Fashioned Candy
  • International Candies

14. The Fudgery

Fudgery fun things to do on Pier 39

The Fudgery is another yummy Pier 39 store to visit.  If you want some delicious homemade goodness this is the place.  We love buying specialty snacks and this is a great place to grab one.  

Keep in mind that if you do buy some fudge it comes in half-pound increments. 

Free Samples

One of the fun things about this Pier 39 store is that you get free samples.  You can taste a few varieties of this delicious fudge. Also if you are lucky you might be able to watch the employees make some fudge! 

15. Christmas Store Pier 39 (Christmas in San Francisco)

Things to do at Pier 39 in San Francisco - Christmas store

Do you like buying Christmas ornaments to document your vacations?  I do! There is a Christmas store called Christmas in San Francisco located on Pier 39.  It is open all year long! 

It is a fun store with lots of unique ornaments that make great souvenirs. Visiting the Christmas store is one of the top things to do at Pier 39! 

16. Souvenir Shops

Things to do at pier 39 in San Francisco - shop

Pier 39 is the perfect place to get your San Francisco Souvenirs!  There are a ton of souvenir stores on Pier 39.  

Pier 39 Souvenir Shops

  • The Shell Cellar
  • Alcatraz Gift Shop
  • Under the Golden Gate
  • Only in San Francisco
  • Bow Wow and Kitty too
  • Krazy Kaps
  • Magnets
  • Magnetron 
  • S.F. City Wear
  • Shirtique
  • San Francisco USA
  • The San Francisco Key Chain Store
  • The San Francisco Sock Market

You can find shirts, magnets, snow globes, socks, and pretty much every fun souvenir you would want!

17. More Stores

Pier 39 in San Francisco ca

There are lots of other fun stores on Pier 39.  The Pier 39 shops I listed above are my favorite.  But there are many more stores that you will love. 

Great Pier 39 Shops to Check Out

  • Aleenk Technologies
  • Carmel Honey Company
  • Enlightenment
  • Charms by the Bay
  • Fairy Tales 
  • Expeditions 
  • Happy Bubbles
  • Hidden Dragon
  • Hot Licks
  • Image Arts
  • Lola
  • Na Hoku
  • Pearl Factory
  • Solve it! Think Outside the Box
  • The Crystal Shop
  • The Cable Car Store
  • The Spice and Tea Exchange
  • Vitality
  • We Be Knifes
  • Wild West Western Outfitters

If you love any other shops let us know in the comments! 

Snacks on Pier 39

Pier 39 in San Francisco California

One of the best things to do on Pier 39 is eat! There are lots of fun places to grab a snack!

A few of the stores listed above sell both souvenirs and snacks. 

Pier 39 Snacks

  • Aunt Fanny's Hot Pretzels
  • Boudin Bakery Cafe
  • Dryers Ice Cream Shop
  • Fun Food Factory
  • Ms. Fields Cookies
  • Luau Lounge Tiki Bar
  • Hot Dog Cart

I am going to list my favorites below! 

18. Trish's Donuts

Pier 39 things to do - snack donuts

Trish's has two locations.  One is a counter window, and the other is an actual shop.  If you want to get some mini donuts head to the outside location.

The mini donuts are actually really reasonably priced. These are fresh fried-to-order donuts.  The service is really fast and is a great snack on Pier 39 to try.

19. Biscoff Coffee Corner

Things to do at Pier 39 - snacks

Biscoff is another great place to grab a drink and cookie.  There is a little cafe bakery inside with a few choices.  

If you are looking for a pick-me-up and a little snack this is a great choice. The service is fast and the choice are perfect! 

20. Crepe Cafe

Things to do at pier 39 - snack

If you love crepes you will want to stop at the Crepe Cafe.  This is one of the places that opens early at 9:00 am for breakfast.

They sell both sweet and savory crepes but tend to have a lot more options for sweet crepes.  This is perfect if you are looking for a snack on Pier 39! 

21. Trish's Chocolate Shop

Things to do on Pier 39 - chocolate shop

You can not really go wrong with chocolate shops! I love picking up delicious treats and seriously San Francisco has the best food! 

Sweet Tooth

Trish's Chocolate Shop is located two doors down from her mini donut counter.  This shop has chocolate-dipped strawberries, apples, candies, and nuts.  There is a variety of chocolate to choose from! 

Popular Restaurants on Pier 39

Seafood famous San Francisco Pier 39

One of the best things to do on Pier 39 is enjoy lunch or dinner. If you want to grab a bit to eat there are few restaurants on Pier 39 you should check out.  Eating in San Francisco is the best! 

Because it is so close to the ocean you can guarantee you will get the freshest seafood in town.  There are lots of seafood restaurants to try. 

I am going to list some of the most popular Pier 39 restaurants below but want you to know all of your options not listed which are Players Sports Grille and Arcade and Eagle Cafe.


22. Wipeout Bar and Grill

What to do at Pier 39 in San Francisco CA

Wipeout has an American menu with hamburgers, hotdogs, and shakes.  They serve breakfast lunch and dinner. 

There is a fun California theme centered around the California easy-going vibe. There are surfboard decorations.  This restaurant is usually busy as it is one of the first places you will see as you walk onto Pier 39. 

23. Hard Rock Cafe

Pier 39 California restaurants - Hard Rock

There are Hard Rock Cafes across the country but if you want to enjoy an all-American meal on Pier 39 Hard Rock is a great option. 

There is a Rock n Roll theme and a high-energy vibe  Hard Rock is a fun way to spend your time on Pier 39. 

24. Seafood Restaurants

famous San Francisco pier restaurants

As I said before, you will get some great seafood on Pier 39! There are lots of restaurants to choose from! 

Seafood Restaurants on Pier 39

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
  • Chowders
  • Crab House
  • Fog Harbor Fish House
  •  Pier Market Seafood Restaurant 
  • Swiss Louis Italian and Seafood Restaurant
  • The Hook

25. Lorenzo's Pizzeria

The pier in San Francisco Pizzeria

Lorenzo's is another great Italian place to eat on the pier.  It is located on the second floor. 

Serving lunch and dinner, this is a great option for fun things to do on Pier 39. 

Things to Do on Pier 39

39 pier in San Francisco ca

Are you ready to do some fun things on Pier 39? I know you will have a wonderful time checking out all of the Pier 39 attractions! 

If you are planning a San Francisco Girls trip or just looking for the top things to do in San Francisco, Pier 39 is a great option! 

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  1. What a great list of fun things to do on Pier 39 in San Francisco! I have not been to SF in ages, but this makes me want to go back and do everything on this list! I had no idea there were so many cute and yummy places to eat on the Pier either…and that sweet shop looks adorable. My daughter would love it!

  2. So many cool things to check out on Pier 39 in San Francisco. Love the variety of shops and places to eat..

  3. We have been planning a trip to the San Francisco area and Pier 39. These places will help narrow down where to go, see and eat!

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