Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pier 39

Pier 39 is definitely your typical tourist trap, but it is still fun and full of life. There are restaurants, several attractions, and lots of small shops full of the typical touristy kitsch...but when I am on vacation that is the kind of thing I'm looking for as a memento of my trip. I do like to buy magnets to commemorate everyplace I've been.

One of the things the Pier is well known for is the sea lions. They hang out on docks next to the Pier and can be heard all over the place. They are great to watch, especially when little territorial tiffs break out. While these sea lions are at the Pier year-round, there tend to be more during the winter months.

Besides the sea lions, the Pier is home to the Aquarium of the Bay, a small aquarium that houses touch pools and a moving walkway that takes you under the sea through two clear tunnels.

The Aquarium of the Bay is a great place for kids and, while quite busy, is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle outside on the Pier. Other activities at the Pier include street performers, a giant carousel, an arcade, and more. You can also take a bay cruise or a sightseeing tour from the Pier.

There are also plenty of restaurants at the Pier, from locals to chains. One of my favorites is Neptune's Palace. Located at the end of the Pier, Neptune's boasts fantastic views of San Francisco Bay and an excellent menu filled with fresh seafood selections. I have never had a bad meal at Neptune's and the service is always outstanding. My boyfriend loves their seafood bisque. I usually get the grilled salmon which is served with a terrific citrus beurre blanc, jasmine rice, and vegetables. My trips to San Francisco are not complete without a visit to Neptune's. Also associated with Neptune's is the Sea Lion Cafe, so named as it is right next to the docks where all the sea lions hang out.

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