What to See and Do
Fisherman's Wharf, still to some extent a real working wharf, has been, alas, transformed into a whole host of touristy shops and restaurants but its waterfront atmosphere is fun. Nearby, Ghiradelli Square offers numerous fun-to-browse boutiques.
Prowl around North Beach, San Francisco's Italian enclave; walk along Columbus Avenue (easily accessible from Fisherman's Wharf) and take in the shops, the gourmet delis, and the restaurants and coffee houses with sidewalk cafes. Just beyond North Beach (incidentally, there's no beach) is Chinatown (Bush Street and Grant Avenue), a wonderful, bustling, fragrant neighborhood filled with stores, butchers, pastry shops and such.
Walk or drive down the part of Lombard Street (between Hyde and Leavenworth) that's known as the world's crookedest and wind your way up to Coit Tower for a splendid hilltop view of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and beyond.
Where You're Docked
Ships dock near Fisherman's Wharf.
Fleet-footed travelers can walk to many attractions from the dock but taxis are also readily available. San Francisco's famous cable cars congregate at the foot of Hyde Street, near Fisherman's Wharf. Grayline--which offers everything from city samplers to day-long excursions to northern California's wine country--and other bus touring operations have ticket offices at the wharf as well. So do ferries that cross the bay between San Francisco and the charming, if touristy, burgs of Sausalito and Tiburon. For in-town sightseeing, a car is a nuisance but those planning beyond-the-city excursions can rent cars from major rental agencies, which have city offices.
Where to Eat and Drink
Casual, in-town joints near Fisherman's Wharf (one note: most of the restaurants in Fisherman's Wharf are aimed at the casual day-tripper or tourist). Of these we recommend two:
In-n-Out Burger, a famed west coast burger joint, just opened its first city location--in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf.
Fog City Diner is a nouvelle sort-of casual restaurant housed in an actual beautifully restored diner. The menu features everything from practical fare to imaginative cuisine and has a fabulous wine list.
Gourmet Dining: please note: there are so many fabulous restaurants in San Francisco it's hard to choose just a few to spotlight--a great resource for restaurant info is the latest issue of the Zagat Survey and Wine Spectator. Nonetheless here are a few we love:
For Serious Foodies--Worth-the-trek-to-Berkeley: Chez Panisse Cafe (120517 Shattuck Avenue, between Cedar & Vine, 20510-20548-205049, reservations highly recommended), is the second-floor more casual offspring of new California cuisine style guru Alice Waters (the cozy, more expensive Chez Panisse, on the first floor, is also worth the trek though harder to nab a reservation).
Upscale In-and-Around Fisherman's Wharf: Restaurant Gary Danko (800 Northpoint @ Hyde, 41205-749-2060, dinner nightly, no lunch, reservations recommended) serves sublime French-American cuisine in an elegant setting.
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