What Are the Best Things to Do at Pier 39?
The Pier offers something for everyone. Great seafood restaurants, paid attractions like the Sea Lion Watch, and souvenir shops exist.
Discover 20,000 local sea creatures at the Aquarium of the Bay. Little kids will love the touch pools and walking tubes surrounded by sharks. Thrill-seekers will enjoy the Bay Plunge or Frequent Flyers, a bungee trampoline ride for all ages.
Eat at Fog Harbor Fish House
One of the best things to do at Pier 39 is eat. With 14 sit-down restaurants, including the Fog Harbor Fish House with its gorgeous view of the Blue and Gold Ferry coming and going from the bay and Alcatraz in the distance, you’ll find seafood, pizza, ice cream, and a lot more at this famous waterfront destination.
Street performers like jugglers and magicians entertain visitors for free at various times throughout the day at the Carousel Stage. You can also learn some interesting facts about the Pier’s history from plaques dotted around the premises.
Check out the psychedelic Mirror Maze, where you’ll encounter a maze of mirrors, tunnels, and dead ends adorned in fluorescent lighting for a fun challenge that will test your sense of direction and wits. For something more interactive, head to Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze or the Puzzle Store to play with virtual reality games and other mind-bending puzzles.
There are plenty of exciting rides at the Pier, from the Bay Plunge that takes you forty feet up a spire in a centrifuge of rotation and weightlessness to the Frequent Flyers trampoline ride that lets you safely jump and try aerial acrobatics with a bird’s eye view of the Pier. The Pier also has a merry-go-round you can ride, and the San Francisco Carousel, built in Italy and decorated with scenes from San Francisco.
Watch a Show
The best thing to do at Pier 39 in the evening is watch a show. The Pier is packed with incredible street performers, like magicians and acrobats, but there are also cool-looking escape rooms and virtual reality attractions. Check out the combo tickets for The Flyer, which takes you on a wild ride over San Francisco landmarks (and inside the Golden Gate Bridge deck!).
The merry-go-round at the bay end of the Pier is especially magical when it’s lit up for nighttime rides. Built in Italy and decorated with artistic renderings of the city, it’s a true delight to ride.
Another popular attraction at Pier 39 is the Bay Plunge, which launches you forty feet up a spire for a thrilling rotation and centrifuge of weightlessness and joy. It’s the kind of experience you’ll want to relive repeatedly.
If you’re visiting during the holidays, visit Pier 39 for its tree lighting ceremony in November and its holiday decorations. The Pier sets up a 60-foot tree for the event, and you can enjoy live music and other activities before watching the lights sparkle.
Other special events at Pier 39 include Sea Lion Encounter in January to celebrate the arrival of the Pier’s sea lion population; Tulipmania in February, with beautiful tulips covering the Pier; and Wine Pour in May, with tastings and entertainment. Check the website for details on upcoming events.
Take a Ride
There are several fun rides to enjoy at Pier 39. The Bay Plunge is a large ride that holds up to 12 people and will take you 40 feet up in the air for some incredible city views. The bungee trampoline is also a fun way to get your energy out and costs $10 per person. Several other classic rides are also available at this attraction, including a California build-a-bear perfect for younger kids.
If you want a more unique and memorable experience, try the psychedelic Mirror Maze. This maze is filled with twisted hallways, a tunnel of mirrors, and plenty of other optical illusions. It is a great way to test your wits and see if you can make it out before everyone else!
Shopping is another popular thing at Pier 39, with many stores. You will find everything from souvenirs to artisan jewelry and fashionable apparel. There are even a couple of boutiques that specialize in chocolate. Those interested in sea life can check out the Aquarium of the Bay, which has plenty of amazing animals to see. They have sharks, bat rays, and white sturgeon on display, and many other fascinating exhibits.
When you’re not admiring the sea lions or riding a carousel at Pier 39, please take a moment to browse its more than 60 specialty shops. You’ll find everything from saltwater taffy and left-handed merchandise to custom-blended spices and hand-crafted jewelry. If you need a souvenir, stop by the California Welcome Center in the new window, which helps travelers send their purchases home for family and friends.
Pier 39 is also famous for its incredible street performers. Look for jugglers, acrobats, and magicians who perform throughout the day at the Carousel Stage. You may also see a clown converting colorful balloons into whimsical animals and hats or a one-person band that plays a drum, violin, and saxophone at the same time.
Pier 39 is also home to Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, a mind-boggling maze of psychedelic lighting, tricky corners, and tunnels. You can also try your hand at a virtual reality game or play the challenging Solve It! Think Out of the Box. Take the chance to ride on the Frequent Flyers, a bungee trampoline that lets you bounce high up and try aerial acrobatics. These rides can be fun for both kids and adults. They’re available at the ticket booth near the entrance to the Pier. In addition, a scavenger hunt lets guests explore the Pier 39 attractions on foot.