National Park Visitors Center

The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

San Francisco grew from its docks, and this 10,000-sq-ft visitors center for the nearby maritime national historical park details how, with a permanent exhibit re-creating the city's 19th-century waterfront. Also on display is a rich collection of maritime artifacts, from a giant first-order lighthouse lens manufactured in Paris in the 1850s to scale models of 19th-century schooners. Kids love exploring the vast space. Rangers provide maps and information about the surrounding Golden Gate National Recreation Area's trails and walks.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers attractions

1. Maritime National Historical Park

0.09 MILES

Five historic ships are floating museums at this maritime national park, Fisherman's Wharf’s most authentic attraction. Moored along Hyde St Pier, the…

2. Cartoon Art Museum


Founded on a grant from Bay Area cartoon legend Charles M Schultz of Peanuts fame, this bold museum isn't afraid of the dark, political or racy – cases in…

3. Aquatic Park

0.11 MILES

Everyone loves this easy-access cove at Van Ness Ave's northern end, flanked by the massive comma-shaped Municipal Pier, where fishermen cast their lines…

4. Ghirardelli Square

0.14 MILES

Willy Wonka would tip his hat to Domingo Ghirardelli (gear-ar-deli), whose business became the West’s largest chocolate factory in 1893. After the company…

5. Maritime Museum

0.21 MILES

A monumental hint to sailors in need of a scrub, this restored, ship-shaped 1939 Streamline Moderne landmark is decked out with Works Progress…

6. Fisherman's Wharf

0.24 MILES

Fisherman's Wharf – the Embarcadero and Jefferson St waterfront running from Pier 29 to Van Ness Ave – includes Pier 39, the Musée Mécanique, the Maritime…

7. SS Jeremiah O'Brien

0.28 MILES

It's hard to believe that this 10,000-ton beauty was turned out by San Francisco’s shipbuilders in under eight weeks, and harder still to imagine how she…

8. Musée Mécanique

0.28 MILES

A flashback to penny arcades, the Musée Mécanique houses a mind-blowing collection of vintage mechanical amusements. Sinister, freckle-faced Laughing Sal…