Summertime Fun

Summer in San Francisco is here, and there's tons of fun places to play and eat on the waterfront! Whether you are visiting the Port for the first time or live close by, there is something to help you fill every moment of your experience with fun and adventure.  

Here are a few ideas for hanging out at the Port this summer! 

Know Before You Go 

San Francisco has many microclimates, which can make it foggy and windy at one end of the waterfront, and sunny and warm at the other. Wear layers so you’re prepared for a swift temperature change. 

If you are set on eating at a particular restaurant, call ahead for a reservation or arrive during non-peak times. Popular restaurants often get busy around lunch and dinner hours. 

There are many ways to travel to and along the waterfront, including the ferry, BART, Muni, bike, pedicab and on foot. Road traffic can get heavy along the waterfront. If you must drive, check the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for meter rates prior to your arrival and find available parking garages and spaces near your destination. 

All in-city destinations mentioned are accessible by Muni, bike, pedicab or walking. 

Family Fun 

Kayakers prepare vessels to enter the water at Crane Cove Park

Start your day off with breakfast by the bay. Head to Eagle Cafe in PIER 39 and enjoy harbor views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Fisherman’s Wharf while fueling up for the day.  

Visit the Aquarium of the Bay, where you can get up close to more than 24,000 local marine animals! Older kids may enjoy a game or two at Musee Mecanique at Pier 45 or the arcade at Players Sports Bar at the end of PIER 39.  

Hail a pedicab to the Ferry Building Marketplace for ice cream at Humphry Slocome or a custard treat from Yes Pudding while exploring multiple merchant shops like Fog City Flea Trading Post and Maison Verbena and watching the ferries arrive at the terminals. 

If you prefer to soak up some sunshine, head south to Crane Cove Park for a picnic and dip your toes in the water at the beach. Bring a kayak or paddle board to get on the water for more adventure. 

Fun in the Sun with Your Bestie 

People sitting and chatting on a bench at Pier 39

Kick-off your day with a charcoal latte from Red Bay Coffee or a fresh savory crepe at Grand Creperie at the Ferry Building. 

Take a leisurely walk along the Embarcadero to enjoy the morning views of the water. Or rent a bike from Bay Wheels stations available along the waterfront. Head to your lunch reservation at Waterbar for oysters and cocktails overlooking the Bay Bridge! 

Baseball buds will enjoy taking in a Giants game at one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country, Oracle Park. Grab a post-game drink and food at Hi-Dive nearby and sit back on the patio to close out the day. 

Tourist for the Day 

Flags flying at the entrance of Pier 39

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the Port of San Francisco or a Bay Area resident, it’s always fun to play ‘tourist for the day.’ 

Visit Boudin Sourdough for freshly baked bread and stroll through the stores and piers at Fisherman’s Wharf. Take plenty of photos by the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf crab wheel and the colorful fishing boats at the Jefferson Street lagoon. 

Walk through PIER 39 to check out the shops and snacks, as well as hang out with the sea lions at K Dock at the end of the pier.  

Get on the water with a bay tour or chartered excursion. Book a reservation in advance to tour the notorious Alcatraz Island. 

Grab lunch at Hog Island Oyster Bar and get in some shopping at the Ferry Building. Walk along the Embarcadero Promenade for iconic and Instagram-worthy views from Pier 7 and Rincon Park. 

Adventure with Your Furry Friend 

A happy dog hanging out at the Ferry Building

There is room for everyone to enjoy the scenic waterfront, even our furry friends! Take the dog for a jog along the Embarcadero Promenade for stunning views and all the smells. If you’re heading to the Dogpatch neighborhood, pack a lunch and hang out at Warm Water Cove for a secluded waterfront picnic with your best fur friend.  

Dogs can also visit PIER 39! Head to Bow Wow & Kitty Too for playful fresh baked pet treats, toys and accessories. Enjoy food and drinks on the patios at Fog Harbor Fish House, Pier Market or Wipeout Bar & Grill with your dogs too.  

Behaved dogs on leash are allowed to hang out with their humans on the patios ar Mission Rock Resort, Atwater Tavern and Hi Dive (all south of Oracle Park) and Fort Point Beer Company at the Ferry Building.

Make It a Waterfront Date

A couple walks along Pier 7

Head to the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday for a local taste of prepared goods and fresh produce.  

Take a walk on the Embarcadero Promenade for a couple selfies at Cupid’s Bow at Rincon Park. Rent a bike for a fun ride on the Embarcadero between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf.  

Enjoy a romantic one-of-a-kind dining experience onboard a Hornblower dinner cruise or book a sightseeing tour to explore San Francisco Bay.  


A Day on the Bay 

People water biking near the Bay Bridge, photo credit to SpinOut Fitness

Summer is the perfect time to unpack your paddle board, kayak and fishing rods and head to the waterfront! The Port has several access points for water recreation including Crane Cove Park, Pier 40, Mission Creek, and Pier 52! The San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail consists of a network of landing sites with scenic views of the diverse ecosystems along the way.  

Try your hand at water biking with a guided tour from SpinOut Fitness at Pier 40. Or grab a kayak or paddleboard for some self-guided adventure in the bay and get up close to the piers and buildings along the Southern Waterfront. 

Pick up food and drinks at nearby Frankie’s Java House by Pier 40. 

Bite Sized Fun

A happy baby playing with colorful shadows at the Exploratorium, photo credit to Exploratorium

The waterfront is plenty of fun for young children! PIER 39 is filled with lots of places and things for little ones to do. The Aquarium of the Bay offers interactive touch pools for little hands to experience gentle sea creatures up close. Play the piano with your feet on the musical stairs at PIER 39 and go for a twirl on the popular carousel. 

The Exploratorium at Pier 15 has plenty of interactive activities that will keep your toddler entertained with color, bubbles, light and shadow exhibits! 

Kids love the ferry! Take a daytrip from the Port to one of our nearby terminal destinations, including Oakland, Richmond, Treasure Island or Sausalito.  

For kids who love the outdoors, a visit to Crane Cove Park is great for introducing young ones to bay water. Go wading and build sandcastles at the beach or relax on the grass for a midday rest. Head further south to explore the Nature Exploration Area at Heron’s Head Park and watch the kids walk or crawl along the logs, stumps, and boulders in this space that encourages adventure!  

History in the Present

SS Jeremiah O'Brien, photo credit to SS JOB

The Port is home to iconic and historic destinations that have defined the San Francisco waterfront.  

The Ferry Building has served as the portal to San Francisco since 1898. The building was (and still is) the premier terminal for people visiting San Francisco by ferry boat. It even remained standing after the 1906 earthquake. 

The waterfront consists of several historic piers, including Pier 70, a major shipbuilding hub during the two World Wars. The site remains one of the most intact industrial complexes west of the Mississippi! Visit the slipway at Crane Cove Park to see the scale of a few of the ships that were constructed here. Tour the SS Jeremiah O’Brien and USS Pampanito at Pier 45 to experience WWII warships up close.  

Visit Alcatraz Island and discover the history of this former penitentiary. Surrounded by frigid bay water and dense fog, the island was considered virtually impossible to escape, though many tried. 

Grab a bite to eat in historic Fisherman’s Wharf. Many of the restaurants there today, including Capuro’s and Cioppino’s, have served generations of residents and visitors alike fresh crab and seafood straight from Bay waters.