Start off with a hearty breakfast at the Eagle Café, a 1920s longshoremen’s haunt transferred in 1978 to PIER 39, where you’ll find filling dishes like their homemade corned beef hash and eggs, or Dungeness crab benedict.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
At the end of the Hyde Street Pier, jutting into San Francisco Bay, historic ships such as the 1895 schooner C.A. Thayer, the 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka and the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha highlight a collection of vintage watercraft. An open-sided boat repair shop on the pier gives visitors a good look at repair and restoration work, free of charge. The park visitor center is located on the landward side of Jefferson in a beautifully restored former cannery, a 1908 brick structure that also houses the Argonaut Hotel.
Buena Vista Café
Across Jefferson Street from the Hyde Street cable car turnaround, grab lunch or a pick-me-up at the always-popular Buena Vista, which introduced Irish coffee to America back in the 1950s.
Cruises on and around San Francisco Bay are perpetually popular. See the sights and amazing skyline views with Red and White, which offers cruises with recorded narration in 16 languages.
Breathing the salt air, riding the tides, sailing under the noble Golden Gate Bridge and feasting your eyes on the hills and city skyline are a fun way to spend an hour or more. Blue and Gold offers scenic cruises, as well as ferry service to Marin County. You can purchase a Blue & Gold cruise as part of a CityPASS attraction pass to save on other attractions as well.
Alcatraz is a must-see for everyone and especially first-time visitors. Aptly named Alcatraz Cruises, the National Park Service concessionaire operates visits to Alcatraz. Visitors can tour the eerie old cellblocks and listen to recorded memories of former prisoners and guards. The night tour is especially spooky. Be sure to book reservations well in advance of your visit to San Francisco.