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Ferry Building, Embarcadero, Cable Cars, Fisherman's Wharf And More

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Start Your Visit At The Embarcadero

This site provides information about attractions in San Francisco including the SF Ferry Building, Justin Herman Plaza (a public park where artsists are allowed by the city of San Francisco to sell handmade items), Embarcadero Center and more.

The Ferry Building is the best place to start the day when you visit San Francisco. Make it your base camp as you explore The City!

Get more specific destination info from our list of San Frncisco travel guides, too!

Location and Surrounding Attractions

The San Francisco Embarcadero stretches along the waterfront in both directions from the famous San Francisco Ferry Building.

Justin Herman Plaza is located across from the Ferry Building at Market St and Steuart St.

The Embarcadero Center is right next door to Justin Herman Plaza.

Many visitors start their day at Justin Herman Plaza with a bit of shopping and lunch at the Embarcadero Center or the San Francisco Ferry Building. Then a walk to the Wharf with a stop at the Exploratorium. Finally a ride on the Cable Cars to Union Square and a streetcar ride back to finish their day!

San Francisco Ferry Building

The San Francisco Ferry Building is a beautiful historic structure that has been transformed into an artisan food market celebrating locally produced products.

You'll find wonderful produce, sweets, a Peet's Coffee, Stonehouse olive oil and artisan treats at the Ferry Building. There are also several excellent restaurants including Gott's, Market Bar and the the famous Slanted Door Vietnamese restaurant that's the talk of the town.

Don't worry, there's a Starbucks Coffee just past the North door of the Ferry Building, too.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the Ferry Building hosts the best Farmers Markets in Northern California. It's not to be missed.

Embarcadero Center

Just steps from Justin Herman Plaza you'll find the Embarcadero Center. Consisting of four skyscrapers, a multi-level mall and the Hyatt Regency Hotel, it's a great place for shopping and dining.

One of our favorite lunch destinations is right on the ground floor of Embarcadero Center. It's the world famous Boudin sourdough bread company with sandwiches, cookies, clam chowder bread bowls and amazing salads (you've probably heard of it!).

Arts and Crafts Market

The City of San Francisco allows artists to sell their work in and around Justin Herman Plaza. Most of the artists sell on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It's a lively -- some say crazy -- place filled with eccentric sellers and unique merchandise.

If you'd like to sell art at Justin Herman Plaza don't forget a white-top canopy and some heavy tent weights so your display doesn't blow away!

The Exploratorium

Another world famous attraction -- located between the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf -- is the Exploratorium. This is the premiere science and exploration museum for kids and adults, too.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular destinations in San Francisco! It's just up the Embarcadero from Justin Herman Plaza and the Ferry Building. In fact it's just a 20 minute walk or a quick streetcar ride.

If you'd like to take the streetcar you may board from the platform right between the SF Art Market and the Ferry Building. Hold on to the ticket since it's good for 90 minutes (it's also how you show fare inspectors that you've paid!).

Attractions at Fisherman's Wharf include Pier 39, The Bay Aquarium, Aquatic Park, Fort Mason and the starting points of the Mason and Hyde Cable Car lines.

You can even take a tour of the Wharf on a Segway! The Segway tour tickets are available online.

If you're planning now for a future trip there's also the San Francisco CityPASS which includes tickets to the Aquarium, a Bay Cruise, more attractions and unlimited Cable Car rides.

Cable Cars and Streetcars

Start or finish off your day with a ride on the famous San Francisco Cable Cars and the historic Streetcars.

Today there are three Cable Car lines, but in the past there were dozens of lines that served the entire city.

Of course you can grab up some fun Cable Car models and souvenirs, too.

When you ride the Cable Cars we recommend a day pass so you can ride all of the SF Muni lines without paying extra for Cable Car transfers. A day pass is about $18 for unlimited rides versus $14 for a roundtrip Cable Car ride. Or buy the San Francisco CityPASS ahead of time for unlimited Cable Car rides and attractions.

Union Square

Union Square is a high-end shopping district about a mile from the SF Art Market. It's a pleasant 20 minute walk up Market St, or take the streetcar or Muni subway (Powell St Station).

You'll find retailers like Apple, Sephora, Nordstrom and DSW at Union Square.

You'll also find hotels, theaters and restaurants (there's even a Cheesecake Factory).


Getting To The Ferry Building And The Embarcadero

You may reach The Ferry Building, The Embarcadero and Justin Herman Plaza via San Francisco Muni, BART or Ferry.

They are one block East of the Embarcadero Muni/BART subway station which is served by Muni lines J, K, L, M, N and T and all BART lines that run through San Francisco.

On the street level Muni lines 2, 6, 14, 21 and 31 provide direct service -- look for buses with "Ferry Plaza" as their destination. The historic F line streetcars and the recently opened historic E line streetcars stop on the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry Building. The California Street Cable Car line stops one block away.

Ferry service arrives at the Ferry Building. Ferries run from Sausalito, Larkspur, Oakland, Alameda and Vallejo. Ferry boats have a long and proud history on San Francisco Bay and today's ferries offer breathtaking views and water access right from the Ferry Building.

Drivers will find parking at several garages within a four block radius from Justin Herman Plaza and the Ferry Building.

If you're planning ahead for your SF trip, we like this super handy laminated map to bring along. It's always good to have a real map just in case your phone data doesn't work right or your battery runs out.


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