PIER 39 and the Sea Lions of San Francisco
The sea lions have got it right. They just love it at PIER 39. Ever since 1990 when the vociferous mammals on foreflippers decided to set up a new home base at the end of PIER 39, folks have been coming along to say hello. They bark right back, laze in the sun, slither about and scurry off. Sometimes there are dozens, sometimes hundreds and sometimes they’re all out for a swim.
When the sea lions first appeared, marine biologists wondered why they had come, how long they’d stay and what to do about it. Nobody is wondering anymore, not really. They’ve been hanging around for more than 25 years.
Not just for Tourists
Yes, this is the most visited place in all of San Francisco. Certainly, the view of Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate and the sparkling water of San Francisco Bay is famous. But it’s not just for tourists.
Captain Mike “Candy” of the ‘Linda Noelle’ has been fishing these waters every day for 40 years. Hardy members of the Dolphin Club, established in 1877, have been jumping in to swim icy water in the Polar Bear Challenge and all the way from Alcatraz since 1960. Family-run restaurants prepare a century-old recipe for Dungeness crab cocktail and Cioppino secrets passed down through four generations. The marine mammal experts at the Aquarium of the Bay are working everyday to clean, protect, restore and inspire the conservation of San Francisco Bay for future generations.
Beyond The PIER
PIER 39 is also a jumping off point for further adventures around San Francisco Bay...that is, a virtual jumping off. This is where the Blue & Gold Fleet vessels depart from for cruises and ferries. Speed off in RocketBoat or take it slower on an Adventure Cat sailing charter. Or, climb aboard a San Francisco Whale Tours' catamaran for a whale tour to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.
On The PIER
Keep both feet on dry land but still have a blast. Kids love the two-tiered antique children’s carousel adorned with 1,800 lights and 32 animals to ride. Make your own music by climbing the musical stairs.
This is the place to watch an engaging street performer, enjoy the happy hours, buy an ice cream cone, tap your toes to some live music, get some salt water taffy, shop for gifts and souvenirs or settle in at a restaurant with water views serving authentic local specialties.
Did You Know?
- Most of the sea lions at PIER 39 are males, which can reach 850 pounds and 7 feet in length during an average lifespan of about 25 years.
- PIER 39 was built in 1977, using recycled wood from older Piers 34 and 3.