San Francisco – Pier 39

During my short visit to San Jose, California this year, San Francisco’s charm lured me not once but twice. On my first visit, I visited Pier 39 with Nandan, Arun, Charu, Siddharth and Gautam. With a temperature of 8 Degrees C, the weather was warm (by standards :-) ) and a wild sea breeze was blowing. The environment was magical and dreamy.
Pier 39, San Francisco, California, US

Let me start with a brief mention about the Sea Lion population at Pier 39. The first of the Sea Lions arrived at the dock in 1989. Before this they lived at the Seal Rock, which is much more isolated from human presence. After the arrival of the first sea lion, the entire population of the animals started migrating to Pier 39 Docks. In November 2009, there were about 1500 animals on Pier 39. There were incidents where the boats men complained about having to watch out for and dodge the animals who can weigh up to half a ton. The boats men were advised to vacate the docks for the animals and relocate else where. Amazing, isn’t it? And I am all for it too. It is an honour that these animals feel safer in human presence than the isolated seal rocks. And, yes, people do treat them with a lot of respect, from a distance :-).
Sign, Pier 39, San Francisco, California, US

Sea Lions, San Francisco, Pier 39

There is an amazing array of shops, restaurants, cafes, and amusement options on both the sides of the walk on Pier 39. There is a Hard Rock Cafe right at the entrance and there is an aquarium where you can watch sharks, octopus, Jelly Fish etc up close. If you want to shop, the place offers a good variety but it is much more expensive than the regular Target stores though the stuff is almost the same. You can, however, purchase some momentos such as keychains, Fridge Magnets, Caps, etc. I got a sea lion stuffed toy and a crab stuffed toy for my nephew which I am sure I wouldn’t find easily in Target stores or any other malls.
Hardrock Cafe, Pier 39, San Francisco, California, US

Pier 39, San Francisco

Moving towards the docks, we came across a performing artist right in the center of the walk. He was funny and cute and was playing some dangerous tricks on an innocent bystander he had invited on the stage. He closed his show with the following lines: “All of you who have some dollars to spare, please drop them in this hat. All of you who don’t have, no issues.” and then added under his breath “just tell me what you were doing hanging around here”. And he said this with such a winning smile that even the most touchy spectators could not have taken an offence. A smile can help you get away with so much!
pier 39, San Francisco, California, US

Artist, Performance, Comedy, Pier 39, San Francisco, California

Anyways, after watching the show, we moved on towards the dock and were greeted by a brilliant sunset with the bay bridge and alcatraz in the background. I could have spent hours there but unfortunately, it was getting cold and late. So we had to move back. But that is one place I can never forget. And, if possible, I would like to go there and just hang around for the entire day just watching people and Sea Lions.
sunset at San Francisco

The next time I visited San Francisco, it was with a colleague and will be a separate post. Till then…


  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Vibha,

    Short but sweet writ-up. All the picture are beautiful, specially the entrance of Hard Rock cafe & the last one (sunset).

    Looking forward to see your next post on San Francisco.

  • vibha says:

    Thanks Mahesh.

    This was a wonderful trip. :)

    The next story on San Francisco will follow soon.

  • Nisha says:

    That was crisp write up.
    I liked the last photo very much. And what you said was the temperature ? 8 degrees C with sea breeze ?? I can see Nandan wasn’t donning shoes !

    Bravo !!

  • vibha says:

    :-) Yes you are right Nisha…I wasn’t wearing a jacket. May God Bless Charu who had brought along an extra jacket for me.

  • madhav says:

    my maiden visit to this Blog. found it very useful

  • vibha says:

    Glad to hear that Madhav. Looking forward to your next visit.

  • Sahil says:

    Vibha , the pics are really very nice specially the last one. Waiting for your next post on San Francisco.


  • vibha says:

    Thanks Sahil

  • Ram Dhall says:


    Good to see you back after a fairly long interval.

    Thanks for taking us to Pier 39 with a beautiful write up. I was touched to note of the administration’s decision to relocate the boats men to allow freedom to the sea lions in their natural habitat.

    The supporting pictures are good, especially the sunset.

    Shall await your next post.

  • vibha says:

    Thanks Mr. Ram,

    This was the first time I had seen seals. They are beautiful.

  • nandanjha says:

    Short and Sweet. We also had cofee from a joint which is supposedly one of the popular ones there, it was more like a Kiosk. Thanks Arun.

    @Nisha – Yeah, I was not and I did get a cramp. Not too severe but two of my finger made a wide Y, a few gentle rubs and stretches later, it got back to regular position. First time.

  • vibha says:

    Nandan, now that you mention the coffee, I also remember those out-of-the-world surgar donuts that we had there. They were more like mini-donuts but they were oh so yummy…

  • Arun says:

    Nice post, like the little bit of history added there!

    Like the flow and brings back good memories..I forget what month was it.

    Yeah, love those mini sugary donuts!

    Keep writing,


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