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I spent most of my childhood in San Francisco. My mom was born and raised there, and my grandparents lived there until I was in my early twenties.
Pier 39 has always been a fun destination my parents would take us to, especially when we had family visiting from out of town. I have so many fond memories of walking around the pier as a child and I am so happy I can relive that excitement through my children. Getting to take them places I went to when I was their age is a feeling that can’t be explained, it’s something that can only be felt, and quite honestly… it brings me tears of joy.
My kids have been to Pier 39 before, quite a few times, but we have never really experienced all Pier 39 had to offer until recently.
We started the beautiful day with a stop at the Aquarium of The Bay.
This had to of been the highlight of their trip as we are all huge aquarium fans. It was so neat to see local aquatic animals from the San Francisco Bay and neighboring waters.
The aquarium was a lot bigger than I imagined and we were surprised with an awesome tunnel where we literally were able to walk beneath the water and see the aquatic animals in their habitat.
After the aquarium we were pretty hungry so we stopped at the Eagle Cafe for some yummy lunch. Eagle Cafe is right across from the Aquarium of the Bay, upstairs, at the beginning of Pier 39.
The food portions were huge and we all left happy and with full bellies!
If you are indecisive about what seafood to order (like me), then I highly recommend the grilled seafood platter. The fish was so fresh and tasty. Seriously considering driving back this weekend just to order it again. It is THAT good!
To work off the wonderful lunch we decided to explore more of Pier 39. There are so many fun shops and places to grab desserts. We made our way to the end of the pier and the kids just had to stop to take photos by the water with Alcatraz behind them.
As we made our way around the end of the pier, we heard some familiar noises…
Sea Lions are one of our favorite reasons to come to Pier 39. They are just so fun to watch as they can be quite playful with one another. We often take joking bets on which sea lion is going to be knocked off their floating deck into the water first.
After the kids were hyped up from seeing the sea lions, we made our way back towards the middle of Pier 39 just in time to catch a magic show.
Magic shows at Pier 39 is definitely a memory that brings me back to my childhood years. I remember sitting on the bench with my grandparents watching these shows, and it was an indescribable feeling to be there with my kids as we watched one from the same spot.
Once the magic show was over, we decided to wait in line for the carousel.
The carousel at Pier 39 is fantastic as it has two floors to choose from and some pretty poppin’ music. Plus, you can really see the pier from different angles as you make your way around.
As we made our way back to the front of the pier we stopped at my favorite mini donut shop— Trish’s Mini Donuts—for a tasty sweet treat. Seriously the BEST mini donuts around. Don’t be scared off if you see a long time. It is worth the wait and usually goes by pretty quickly.
To end our day at Pier 39, we stopped back at the Aquarium of the Bay for one last mini adventure to pet the sting rays before saying goodbye.
Great news for those of you who are Northern California residents! You can join Pier 39’s free “locals only” discount program, Local Advantage, and receive exclusive discounts throughout the year. There are so many perks to being a Local Advantage Member like “Kids Eat & Play Free” offers. Here are some of the participating places:
- 7D Experience
- Alcatraz Gift Shop
- Aunt Fanny’s Hot Pretzels
- Blazing Saddles
- Blue & Gold Fleet
- Chart House
- City Sightseeing
- Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Shop
- Eagle cafe
- Hana Zen
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Hot Licks
- Pier Market Seafood Resturant
- Players Sports Grill & Arcade
- San Francisco Whale Tours
- Waffle Cone Shop
- Wipeout Bar & Grill
- Pier 39 Parking Garage
Restrictions do apply, so please visit their website for all details.