Travel? Maybe not... but it sure feels that way!
Last night we deviated from our regular neighborhood haunts, and visited San Francisco's ultimate tourist stop... Fisherman's Warf. Truth told, Fisherman's Warf is a tourists TRAP- inflated prices, bad food, and a million things for your kids to beg for. But if you are visiting San Francisco you pretty much have to go, so my suggestion is:
Take advantage of the free entertainment!
Street performers are part of San Francisco's flavor. They aren't the same as the homeless that (sadly) populate the city. They are working the crowds to make a buck- in my opinion, no more threatening than the millions of crappy souvenir vendors. Don't be afraid of them, and if you like what they are doing, drop a few coins in their guitar case (or, whatever)
Check out the seals! Did you know SF's first baseball team was the Seals? The Warf is the perfect place to learn why... Off Pier 39, you can see scores of seals and sea lions playing in the bay. They usually hang out on the West side of the pier- follow your ears, you'll find them...
The stage at Pier 39- jugglers, puppeteers and comedians rule the stage during the day at Pier 39 (at night, it's even more fun for the amateurs)
you can find a schedule at www.pier39.com
Fair warning, if you can't say no... The carousel is $3 a ride. It is beautiful, and two stories high, but $3 to ride a carousel is a bit hard for me to swallow. If you do ride, get your tokens before you line up.
Restaurants are hideously expensive on the warf. If you aren't freezing, and can sit outside, head towards Allioto's (you can't miss the huge neon sign) and eat from one of the outdoor stands, in most cases it's exactly the same food that the restaurants serve, but WAY less expensive! This is the best place to enjoy the famed sourdough bread bowl of clam chowder- YUM!
One more hint, SF is known for microclimates- this is one of the cold ones! You may be happily strolling in the sunshine up at Union Square, and still need a scarf and coat down at the warf... bundle up and enjoy!