The San Francisco Piers
...By the Numbers

Need a guide to the numbered San Francisco piers? Lots of the waterfront attractions in San Francisco are designated by their San Francisco pier locations.

Map of the San Francisco Piers

map of san francisco piers, with numbers

The piers in San Francisco run along the Embarcadero, the street that follows the curve of the northeastern edge of the city.

The numbering starts at the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street; to the left are the odd-numbered piers, and to the right, the even-numbered piers.

The waterfront tourism activity happens between the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf to the north and west. Hence, the piers associated with various San Francisco activities and attractions are all odd-numbered, like the well-known Pier 39.

Guide to the San Francisco Piers

What's where at the piers? Here are some items of interest to visitors associated with the San Francisco piers.

san francisco piers, aerial view, sf waterfront
SF Piers, 1961 (image courtesy of the San Francisco History Center,
San Francisco Public Library)

Pier 1

ferry building thumbnail
Ferry Building

Did the name of the store, Pier 1 Imports, comes from the Pier 1 that's just to the left of the Ferry Building? Haven't been able to find out, but I suspect that might be the case.

Pier 1 1/2

A boating dock available for the public; tie your boat up free for three hours. A water taxi service is planned for this location in the future.

Also at Pier 1 1/2: La Mar, an upscale Peruvian restaurant chain (they have empanadas...yum). Both inside and outside dining.

Pier 3

San Francisco Pier 3 houses the offices of the Hornblower yacht company; some of their bay cruises leave from here.

The Plant Cafe Organic, is here also, another upscale restaurant featuring organic, locally-grown produce. California fusion, vegetarian and non.

Pier 5

San Francisco Piers 1 through 5 have been designated the Central Embarcadero Piers Historic District. These piers were originally used for inland trade, shipping cargo upriver into the Sacramento Delta. During World War 2 they were heavily used for military purposes: troop and supply ships bound for the Pacific Theater were loaded here.

After the war, the most of the commercial shipping moved to the Port of Oakland across the bay, which was better able to handle the large container ships.

TV chef Michael Chiarello, of the Bottega restaurant in Napa, has opened a new restaurant at Pier 5, featuring Spanish cuisine. Coqueta serves dishes from Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Region, and has a tapas bar.

Pier 7

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San Francisco Pier 7 is a long, skinny pier, lined with benches, looking straight down at the Transamerica building. This pier is a very popular spot for fishing. Locals do some serious crab fishing here, mainly at night, and also catch sharks and perch. Incredible views of the city; very romantic at night with the twinkling lights.

Pier 14

Pier 14 (on the other side of the Ferry Building), is another extremely long pier, jutting way out into the bay, with great views of the Bay Bridge and the city.

Additionally, Pier 14 is "blessed" with a couple of huge art works, a silver rocket and an enormous metal spider.

Piers 15 and 17

The Exploratorium, our fascinating, hands-on, science museum, is now located at piers 15/17, in its new and much larger space. More on the Exploratorium.

new san francisco exploratorium, piers 15 and 17
New Exploratorium

Pier 23

This is the location of the oddly-named Pier 23 Cafe. A funky dive, with good seafood, pretty views of the bay and so-so-service.

All day parking available inside for $15 (double for special events).

Piers 27 and 29

Was the home of the 2013 America's Cup facility. This will be the site of the new cruise ship terminal, scheduled to be finished sometime in 2015.

san francisco piers 29 and 31, 1934
Piers 29 and 31, 1934(image courtesy of the San Francisco History Center,
San Francisco Public Library)

A modern, two-level structure is planned to accommodate the 60 to 80 cruise ships that dock in San Francisco every year. The new terminal will be a "green" building that collects rainfall on its roof. The western end of pier 27 will become a 2.5 acre green space.

Pier 33

Departure point for the Alcatraz ferry, the only one that actually stops at the island.

Check out my tips on getting the tickets and visiting Alcatraz.

Pier 35

Current cruise ship terminal. Will be moving to new terminals at pier 27, with pier 35 to be used as backup.

Pier 39

The famous attraction. Check out Pier 39 San Francisco for a local's viewpoint and tips on what to do there.

Pier 41

The Blue and Gold ferries leave from Pier 41 (and the Ferry Building). For bay cruises, and transportation to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Angel Island, see San Francisco bay cruises.

Pier 43 1/2

The Red and White fleet of ferries leaves from this pier for their bay tours. For more info, see San Francisco bay cruises.

Pier 45

Pier 45 has three really cool attractions: two World War 2 ships to climb around on (submarine SS Pampanito and Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien), and Musee Mechanique, a weird and fun museum with 200 antique, coin-operated games.

Other San Francisco Piers

In addition to the numbered San Francisco piers, there are a couple of other well-known piers past Pier 45, at the western end of Fisherman's Wharf.

Hyde Street Pier

san francisco piers, hyde street pier entrance

Hyde Street Pier at the end of Fisherman's Wharf hosts a number of older ships available for exploring: sailing ships from the late 1880's and several steam-powered ferries and tug boats.

The Municipal Pier

This city pier extends way out into the bay in a long, curving arc, just west of Aquatic Park. Great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

Links to Related Pages

alcatraz ruins thumbnail pier 39 san francisco thumbnail san francisco bay cruises thumbnail
Alcatraz Pier 39 SF Bay Cruises

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