San Francisco is a cultural mecca, filled with art and inspiration at every turn. It’s the perfect vacation destination for couples and families with diverse interests, too, because there truly is something for everyone in the City by the Bay. You can explore unique museums, relax on sightseeing cruises, and discover something new on a tour – all without leaving the popular neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf! If you’re looking for things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf and nearby areas during your trip to San Francisco, check out our list of the best local activities and attractions, including...
- Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour
- Golden Gate Bay Cruise
- Aquarium of the Bay
- Angel Island Round Trip Ferry
- Madame Tussauds San Francisco
- Bike Rentals
- And more!
Save on Fisherman’s Wharf Attraction Admission
Admission to many of these top San Francisco attractions and activities and more are included on the Go San Francisco® Card. Choose as you go from many top attractions and save up to 60% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate. See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
Escape From the Rock Cruise
Spend 90 exciting minutes on a journey around the country’s most intimidating former prison: Alcatraz Island. Recently voted the top site in America, Alcatraz is filled with stories both thrilling and chilling. Hear all about daring escape plans and the daily lives of prisoners who once inhabited this eerie isle on a fully-narrated cruise – complete with full sound effects! Getting In: Escape From the Rock tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise
Sail under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the impressive Bay Bridge on this comprehensive cruise. This exciting 90-minute excursion will escort passengers by major landmarks and attractions, including Alcatraz Island, the Ferry Building, and even AT&T Park. It's actually the only cruise that escorts you under both bridges, so this cruise is a nice unique option. Getting In: Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Golden Gate Bay Cruise
A shorter but no less interesting cruise option out of Fisherman’s Wharf is the Golden Gate Bay Cruise. Enjoy an hour filled with informative narration about important local sights and sounds, with chances to see top attractions like Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz Island, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge. When you return to port, be sure to keep an eye out for the USS Pampanito (see below for more on that) and the famous Pier 39 sea lions. Getting In: Golden Gate Bay Cruise tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Aquarium of the Bay
Animal lovers won’t want to miss this delightful aquarium with a specific focus on the marine life of the San Francisco Bay. Walk through their amazing glass tunnels for a chance to see 20,000 aquatic critters, from petite moon jellies to large sevengill sharks. Kids will especially love the Touch the Bay exhibit! Especially popular exhibits include the jellyfish tank in "Go With the Flow" and the four playful river otters that call the Aquarium home. Getting In: Aquarium of the Bay tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Angel Island Round Trip Ferry
Spend some time on Angel Island, one of the top historical attractions in the Bay Area. The island itself is a California Historical Landmark because of its eclectic history, featuring at various points in time military installations and an immigration center. A visit here also provides unparalleled views of the San Francisco skyline. Getting In: Angel Island Ferry tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
A World War II veteran, this Balao class submarine is today a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy a pre-recorded tour (via headset) that escorts you throughout the ship and highlights each distinct area with fun information. Because this is an historic vessel still undergoing preservation, you'll also get to learn about plans for the future memorial site. Getting In: USS Pampanito tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco
Head to Ripley’s for the weirdest experience of your vacation. With dozens of hands-on exhibits and intriguing artifacts, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is a fun and fascinating place for kids of all ages to explore. Some highlights include duct tape art, wire sculptures, a mummified foot from Egypt, and much more. Adults will particularly love their Toy/Candy Factory, which features all your nostalgic childhood favs. Getting In: Ripley’s Believe it or Not! San Francisco tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
The San Francisco Dungeon
Enjoy seeing the dirty details of San Francisco’s shadier side brought to life in a fun and campy way at this attraction. Begin your adventure with a sudden, exhilarating drop down into the attraction. Then, you'll enjoy a 60-minute boat ride that escorts you through the city's dark past. The San Francisco Dungeon also features a number of live theatrical performers who re-enact local top local stories about historical gold mining, old San Francisco gangs, ghosts of Alcatraz, and much more. It's more fun than scary, so it's perfectly kid-appropriate, too. Getting In: San Francisco Dungeon tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
The best way to explore San Francisco begins right in Fisherman’s Wharf with a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tour. Learn all about top local landmarks and sites with 20+ stops in Chinatown, Union Square, the Financial District, North Beach, and more. It couldn’t be easier to customize your own trip with the ability to hop on and off, too! Getting In: Hop On Hop Off San Francisco Bus Tour by Big Bus admission is included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Madame Tussauds San Francisco
With seven different themed galleries and dozens of wax figures, Madame Tussauds San Francisco is filled with lifelike recreations of actors, musicians, athletes, historical figures, and much more. Be sure to check out the “Spirit of San Francisco” exhibit, which showcases the city’s most significant cultural and historic moments. Getting In: Madame Tussauds San Francisco tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
All-Day Comfort Bike Rental
Explore San Francisco on two wheels with a bike rental from Blazing Saddles. This is a very bike-friendly culture, so expect many scenic paths throughout the city streets and along the waterfront – although you should also be prepared for some pretty hilly rides! Take advantage of a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and get a little exercise on your vacation, all while touring this gorgeous city. Getting In: San Francisco bike rentals by Blazing Saddles are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
If you love exploring the quirkier side of San Francisco – and trust us, there’s plenty of that to go around – then a can’t-miss attraction is the Musée Mécanique. This delightful little museum features a significant collection of privately owned mechanical musical instruments, figurines, and arcade games – all still in perfect working condition! Getting In: Admission to the Musée Mécanique is free!
Activities Departing from Fisherman’s Wharf
Full Day Wine Country Tour
Embark on a day trip out to California wine country with a convenient bus trip that picks up and drops off right on Fisherman’s Wharf. Head out to Napa and Sonoma, where you’ll tour several of the region’s best wineries. Enjoy tours and tastings at each stop, and purchase a bottle (or two!) of your favorites. You’ll learn all about California wine culture, too. Getting In: Napa and Sonoma Wine Country Tour tickets are an included attraction option with the Go San Francisco® Card Build Your Own Pass.
Embarcadero & Nearby Attractions
Kids will absolutely love the chance to spend an afternoon at San Francisco’s most interactive institution designed just for them – the Exploratorium! With hundreds of interactive exhibits that range from massive art installations to tiny tinkering opportunities, they'll never run out of things to enjoy. Be sure to check out their rotating special exhibits as well! Getting In: Exploratorium tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
Visit one of the most iconic literary landmarks in all of San Francisco – City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. With roots stretching back to the Beat Era, this venue is steeped in history. City Lights offers three stories of amazing literature than spans every conceivable genre, so you’re bound to found something to love among these books. Getting In: Entry to City Lights Booksellers & Publishers is free.
The San Francisco Maritime Museum
Located in the charming Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building, the Maritime Museum features a wide variety of art and artifacts that reflects on the maritime culture of San Francisco and around the world. It’s the perfect place for anyone interested in maritime history, with its impressive collections of historic maps and photographs, engineer’s drawings, small craft, and so much more. Getting In: Admission to the San Francisco Maritime Museum is free.
Remember to Save on Attraction Admission
So there are our top recommendations for things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf and surrounding areas during your trip to San Francisco. Don’t forget – many of these great attraction options and more are included on the Go San Francisco® Card, which helps you save up to 60% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate. We hope you consider adding a few of these fun options to your San Francisco vacation plans.