Pier 39

Pier 39

Pier 39: Our most recommended tours and activities

San Francisco: Skip-the-Line 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

1. San Francisco: Skip-the-Line 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: Golden Gate Bay Cruise

2. 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 audioguides. 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 White vessels. Join us on our 5:30 departure for the "Happiest Hour on The Bay" enjoy discounted pricing on cocktails, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Finish your day or start your evening with Red and White for the best views on board a piece of San Francisco history.

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

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

Experience the best that the City by the Bay has to offer with the Big Bus San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off tour. This digitally-narrated tour takes you to the city's must-see landmarks and iconic attractions, providing a comprehensive and immersive experience of San Francisco. Hop aboard the bus and prepare to be captivated by the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, a true San Francisco icon. As you cross the bridge, take in the breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, and the surrounding hills. This is a photo-opportunity not to be missed! As the tour continues, venture into the heart of the city and visit Union Square, the bustling shopping district. Here, you'll find an array of designer boutiques, high-end department stores, and trendy restaurants. Union Square is also home to the famous cable car turnaround, where you'll see the iconic cable cars in action. The tour also takes you through the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the birthplace of the hippie movement. As you walk through the streets, you'll be transported back to the 1960s, with colorful Victorian houses, vintage clothing stores, and murals celebrating the Summer of Love. No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf. Take in the sights and sounds of this famous waterfront district, where you can sample fresh seafood, browse local shops, and watch the sea lions basking in the sun. From here, you can also catch a ferry to Alcatraz Island or take a cruise around the bay. With the Big Bus tour, you have the flexibility to hop on and off at any of the 20 stops along the route, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace. And with buses running every 10-15 minutes, you won’t have to wait long to continue your adventure. So whether you want to spend more time shopping in Union Square or exploring the Golden Gate Park, the Big Bus tour has got you covered. Complete your SF experience with a half-day guided bus tour to Muir Woods. See the redwoods up close and personal, cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and explore the seaside town of Sausalito on the way back.

San Francisco: Inside Alcatraz Tour with Bay Cruise

4. San Francisco: Inside Alcatraz Tour with Bay Cruise

You will explore INSIDE the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island with America’s most ruthless criminals, including Al Capone. The ferry will leave on time at the specific time you booked. You have to arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time at Pier 33. Walk, bike, take public transportation, or drive (as a last resort as it can be challenging to find parking), with easy access from anywhere around the Bay! On the island follow the Cellhouse audio tour “Doing Time” 45 minutes available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Also included is an amazing 1 hour SF Bay Cruise. Sail past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline.You have the flexibility to go on your cruise on any day at any available departure. You will receive the schedule. Those are 2 separates tours.

San Francisco: Alcatraz with San Francisco Bay Cruise

5. San Francisco: Alcatraz with San Francisco Bay Cruise

Explore the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on Alcatraz Island to learn about America’s most ruthless criminals, including Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly. Enjoy a ferry transfer from San Francisco and an admission ticket to the famous prison. Embark on a scenic 1-hour cruise of San Francisco Bay before or after your visit. Board the ferry and arrive on Alcatraz Island to begin your visit. Take advantage of an insightful and award-winning audio guide in multiple languages to immerse yourself in the dark history of Alcatraz and learn all about its old inmates and the many fateful escape attempts. Spend as much time as you'd like before taking the ferry back to the pier. Additionally, enjoy a 1-hour narrated sightseeing cruise of San Francisco Bay in a comfortable boat with both indoor and outdoor seating. Take in the scenic views and sail past famous San Francisco landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, the Bay Bridge and much more. Sail along the historic waterfront, past the famous Pier 39 sea lions and take in the city’s fascinating skyline from the unique vantage point of the San Francisco Bay.

San Francisco: Alcatraz Ticket with 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

6. San Francisco: Alcatraz Ticket with 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Discover the best of San Francisco with this combined ticket that includes a visit to Alcatraz Island, a 2-day hop-on-hop-off bus pass, and a Chinatown walking tour. Plus, experience the thrill of either The Flyer or the 7D Experience, both located at Pier 39. Step foot on the notorious Alcatraz Island and immerse yourself in the captivating world of the iconic prison. As you explore the cells and grounds, listen to the gripping audio guide that reveals the tales of daring escape attempts and the lives of the inmates. With your 2-day Big Bus hop-on-hop-off pass, have the freedom to explore San Francisco at your own pace. Hop on and off the bus as many times as you like and enjoy the informative and entertaining digital audio commentary. During your adventure, take a leisurely guided walking tour through the vibrant streets of Chinatown. Discover the rich culture and fascinating history of this unique neighborhood. Plus, this combo includes your choice of a thrill attraction at Pier 39: The Flyer or the 7D Experience. The Flyer takes you on a virtual journey across San Francisco's landmarks from a 50-foot screen with motion seats. Glide over the Golden Gate Bridge, China Town, Lombard Street, and the stunning Redwood National Forest. The 7D Experience is a high-tech ride combining a rollercoaster and a laser game. In a 20-person theater, you'll enter new dimensions on a massive 3D screen. Top sights: - North Beach - Chinatown - Embarcadero Center - Fisherman’s Wharf - Ferry Building - Union Square - Redemption Center - Civic Center - Alamo Square - Haight Ashbury - Golden Gate Bridge - Golden Gate Park - Palace of Fine Arts - Marina - Lombard Street - Pier 35 - Pier 39

San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

7. San Francisco: Waterfront Guided Tour and Alcatraz Ticket

See the best of San Francisco on an English speaking walking tour and learn the history behind each turn from your guide. Take in the views of the skyline on your ferry to Alcatraz before exploring this notorious prison. Meet your guide at the north end of Fisherman's Wharf and start your experience by taking in the amazing views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz. Hear how San Francisco transformed from a sleepy village to a booming port city when gold fever swept the nation in 1849. Learn about the life of the Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli at the famous former chocolate factory in Ghirardelli Square. Stroll along the fog-lined waterfront and drool over the numerous stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls. Walk a portion of the historic Barbary Coast trail while your guide tells you about its colorful past. You and your group will then make your way to Pier 39 and admire historic ships in the harbor. Witness the colony of sea lions that have taken over many of its docks. Continue along the Embarcadero Promenade and learn about its evolution from a traditional maritime port to a modern urban waterfront filled with trendy restaurants and amusement piers. The walking tour concludes at Pier 33, where you will present your photo ID to receive your Alcatraz tickets. Board your ferry and enjoy a self-guided tour of Alcatraz upon the island.  Learn about the history of the cell house and its former residents with an award-winning audio tour available in multiple languages. You can expect to be done with the whole experience in the late afternoon.

San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

8. San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise by Luxury Catamaran

Take a relaxing 90-minute round trip sail 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: Hop-On Hop-Off Deluxe Bus Tour with 20 Stops

9. San Francisco: Hop-On Hop-Off Deluxe Bus Tour with 20 Stops

Join the Bus from Union Square or from Taylor streets and Begin the tour from any stops it goes to 20 stops. Have the best of all worlds San Francisco Shared bus Tour Visits to Downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Palace of Fine Arts, Ghiradelli Square, Fort Mason, the Civic Center, vie of the majestic Bay Bridge, and much more with live guide commentary in The Bus. Operating Schedule: The San Francisco Deluxe Tour starts at 10:15 am To 4.00pm. Last Tour starts 4 pm. Join for entire 8 Hours. First Tour Begins from Stop #1 at 10:15 am at Union Square (at 280 Geary street (in front of Macy’s at union square) or Later on Join us at any Stops or at Booking office at 2735 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 9413 Stops are 1. Union Square 2. Chinatown 3. Financial District 4. North Beach 5. Ferry Plaza 6. Pier 39 7. Fisherman's Wharf 8. Ghirardelli On-The-Go 9. Fort Mason 10. Palace of Fine Arts 11. Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point 12. Lombard Street 13 Civic Center 14. Hilton Street 15. Golden Gate Park 16. Japanese Tea Garden 17. Haight-Ashbury 18. Alamo Square 19. Ferry Building 20. Concourse Dr At Acad Of Sciences Ride around the city on a double-decker bus and hop off at only the places that interest you. The route covers 20 key locations—including Union Square, North Beach, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, the Civic Center, and Golden Gate Park. First Tour Begins from Stop #1 at 10:15 am at Union Square (at 280 Geary street (in front of Macy’s at union square) or Later on Join us at any Stops or at Booking office at 2735 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 9413 Operating Hours (10:15 am to 4 pm) Every 30 to 45 minutes bus run Between stops with the last tour bus leaving at 4pm Once you Hop off Bus then Join other Buses coming 30-45 Minutes. While on Tour if you have any questions

San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

10. San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

Explore the beauty and wonder of San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay with this entrance ticket, giving you access to the 3 main exhibit halls. Discover the amazingly diverse marine life that lives beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. Explore the “Discover the Bay” exhibit, highlighting the unique ecosystem that provides a home to a diverse selection of marine life. The exhibits feature more than 20,000 aquatic animals. Learn all about this delicate underwater habitat and the need for its conservation. Then, experience the magic of the habitat at “Touch the Bay,” complete with tide pools where you can touch the creatures that patrol San Francisco Bay’s waters. No trip to Aquarium of the Bay would be complete without a visit to the North American River Otter Gallery, where frisky river otters romp, swim, sleep and play. Get a scuba diver’s view of San Francisco Bay at the Aquarium of the Bay’s most iconic exhibit, “Under the Bay.” As you walk through the tunnels, you’ll see fascinating jellyfish, watch schools of fish that swim near the shore, see delicate starfish, and view larger fish, such as sharks, rays, and sturgeons, which live in the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay.

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What people are saying about Pier 39

Overall rating

4.6
(7,559 reviews)

We had to wait quite a while for the bus to arrive even though we were told they ran every 15 minutes but other than that it was good on our last day in SF to sit and relax and see some of the beautiful city.

We liked the ride over the Golden Gate Bridge the most. But the tour was also very good overall

It was amazing! Mark was an excellent guide! We had a great time and learned so much!

Great way to see all the sights and get off and back on!

Great tour, excellent guide! Would highly recommend.