14 Things You Should Know Before Visiting PIER 39

If you are heading to San Francisco and researching PIER 39 things to do – you came to the right place. From discounts and special offers to parking and reservation advice – we’ve got you covered!

Enjoy – and feel free to share with friends looking for things to do at PIER 39.


Local Seasonal Specialties

Don’t miss local Dungeness Crab season November-February. If you’re visiting in May, be sure to enjoy Local King Salmon. Year-round Fisherman’s Wharf must-haves include fresh warm sourdough bread, clam chowder sourdough bread bowls,  and seafood cioppino. These specialties can be found at Crab House, Pier Market and Fog Harbor Fish House.

PIER 39 Attractions: Free Entertainment You’re in luck, there is loads of free entertainment on PIER 39! Of all PIER 39 things to do, not to be missed:

PIER 39 Sea Lions: Of all the pier 39 activities, the sea lions are the most famous and popular.

The best place to view the famous sea lions is the end of the pier, left hand side, bottom level. To learn more about the sea lions, visit the Sea Lion Center on the upper level. The sea lion San Francisco’s best time of year to view the most is late July–mid May. In June-July many sea lions leave PIER 39 docks to breed. But there will still be a few hanging around to see.

Know before you go: Check the PIER 39 sea lion web cam here to see how many there are today.

Live Performances: Artists like magicians, acrobats and musicians perform every day at the entrance and the end of the pier. As long as the weather is good, catch live performances every day at 12pm, 1:20pm, 2:40pm, 4pm, 5:20pm, 6:30pm, 7:40pm and 8:50pm.

The most up to date performance schedule can be found here.

Learn PIER 39 History: Walk the pier and keep an eye out for plaques of fun facts placed sporadically around on the walls and buildings.

Musical Stairs: Challenge: Play “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on the music stairs across from Pier Market Seafood Restaurant.

What To Wear

Whatever makes you feel comfortable. Our visitors range from SF locals to travelers from around the world – with attire varying from formal/stylish to comfortable travel wear. All attires are welcome in the restaurants.

The number one thing locals know that visitors don’t? It usually gets cold every day in San Francisco, even during summer. We recommend wearing layers and definitely bring a jacket or sweatshirt. Footwear tip: PIER 39 is made of wooden slats that thin heels can get stuck between, and that can get very slippery on a rainy day. Wear flat shoes with some tread, or thicker heeled shoes with some tread.

Phone Charging

Since there are so many things to do at the pier in San Francisco, you will likely have your phone out taking photos and videos of all the pier 39 things to do.

Then that moment comes… BATTERY LOW. The worst.  Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Fog Harbor Fish House, Wipeout Bar & Grill, Crab House and Eagle Cafe provide portable charging to diners at the table during their meal upon request. iPhone and Android are compatible.

Restaurant Reservations

If you can’t find a reservation online, don’t worry. Most restaurants hold tables for walk-in guests or have a running waitlist. If you are planning your visit in advance, most restaurants open reservations 3 months ahead. If not, we recommend visiting the host at the front door to be seated or put your name on a waitlist and they will text you when your table is ready.

Breakfast Lovers

Biscoff Coffee Corner opens at 8am daily serving to-go coffee, pastries and fresh made waffles. Eagle Cafe opens at 8am daily serving breakfast until 11:30am serving breakfast favorites including eggs, pancakes, fresh toast, breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, mimosas, bloody marys, the works! Click here to see the menu.

Free Wifi

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Fog Harbor Fish House, Wipeout Bar & Grill, Crab House, and Eagle Cafe provide complimentary wifi to dine-in guests.


All PIER 39 Visitors: For discounts at most shops, restaurants and attractions, at basically all pier 39 things to do, click here to download a coupon for a PIER 39 Passport. Take the coupon to the Welcome Center (on the upper level, left hand side towards towards the entrance, just past Fog Harbor Fish House) to redeem. Or, show proof of AAA membership at the Welcome Center and redeem.

Coffee Lovers: If you plan to grab coffee after your meal, hold onto your receipt! Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Fog Harbor Fish House, Crab House, Eagle Cafe and Wipeout Bar & Grill all offer 20% OFF your entire coffee drink purchase at Biscoff Coffee Corner (located at the entrance, lower level, right hand side).

Family Visitors: Visiting with kids under 12? Dine at Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Fog Harbor Fish House and Wipeout Bar & Grill before you visit the Aquarium of the Bay. Take your Kids Menu to the Aquarium of the Bay for discounted tickets! $2 off adult tickets, and $1 off kids tickets. (Up to 6 discounted tickets per coupon).

Sport Fans: Planning to watch a live game? If you stop in at Biscoff Coffee Corner, keep your receipt! Every Biscoff Coffee Corner receipt offers 20% OFF at Wipeout Bar & Grill – a surf style restaurant showing live sports on flat screen TVs that can be seen from every seat in the restaurant. (Located at the entrance of PIER 39).


The most convenient parking in Fisherman’s Wharf is the PIER 39 Garage open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Directions: To park in the PIER 39 garage, drive north on Embarcadero past North Point Street. Note: make sure you’re in the left-turn-only lane. Turn left onto beach street and the entrance to the garage will be on your right. Tip 1: Park on the 3rd level and take the pedestrian bridge (next to the level 3 elevators) which takes you over Embarcadero street and straight onto Pier 39. Score! Tip 2: One Hour Free Parking Validation: When you dine at a full service restaurant on Pier 39, be sure to get your parking ticket validated for 1 hour free! (after you get validation, put your ticket in the payment machine before you leave and it will automatically deduct one hour of parking) Tip 3: Plan to arrive early on weekends and busy holidays. The parking garage fills up.

Holiday Information

PIER 39 stores and restaurants are open 365 days a year – making it the perfect place to visit during the holidays when other businesses close down. We’re delighted to help make holidays special for you and your family and friends! Busiest days of the year: New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July and SF Fleet Week.

Pet Friendly

Leashed dogs are allowed on PIER 39 in the common areas. (Pier Market Seafood Restaurant and Wipeout Bar & Grill welcome well-behaved dogs to sit with their family during their meal on the outdoor patio.)

Lost and Found

If you misplace something in the common areas of PIER 39, visit the PIER 39 security booth. If you leave something behind inside a shop or restaurant, we recommend also contacting them directly.


Alcatraz tours are .3 miles down from PIER 39 on the Embarcadero (about a 5 minute walk).

Alcatraz does sell limited same-day tickets for tours. The office (where the tours are) opens at 7:30 AM –  get there as early as you can (they can sell out quickly). For same day ticket sales, they only sell 4 tickets max to EACH party and all four people in the party MUST be present. Otherwise, during the summer months and busy holidays the Alcatraz tours are pretty booked up in advance and sold out.

You may be wondering, what is pier 39 in San Francisco? Well, the PIER story is dear to our hearts. Our Patriarch, Warren Simmons, was the developer of the pier with a vision of PIER 39 attractions on the waterfront that local and visitors alike would have a place to enjoy the San Francisco waterfront. Watch this short video to learn a bit more about his vision.

After finding out what PIER 39 is, the common question follows what is there to do at PIER 39? We hope these tips and tricks of what to do in PIER 39 help you plan your best visit. If you have any questions or suggestions about things to do in San Francisco PIER 39, please email simco@simcorestaurants.com.

While you are in the area, check out things to do near PIER 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf here.