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Places to Visit in San Francisco, America
Pier 39
One of San Franciscos premiere attractions, Pier 39 boasts shops, restaurants, and enough activities to keep you busy for hours. Pier 39 is also famous for its colony of sea lions, some of which stay here all year.
About the Pier

Pier 39 is a 45 acre (18 ha) complex located at the waterfront just a few blocks from famous Fishermans Wharf. The views from the pier are wonderful and the area has been dubbed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the Best Place to Watch People in San Francisco.
Pier 39 was originally built in 1905 as a cargo pier. Thanks to the vision of a few concerned citizens, the dilapidated pier was given new life in 1978, when it was renovated as a picturesque fishing village, and since that time has blended in with Fishermans Wharf so that most tourists rarely recognize that theyve left one and entered the other.
Most of the shops, eateries, and attractions at Pier 39 are open from 10 am until mid-evening on weekdays, with later hours on Friday and Saturday. Its one of the busiest areas of the city, so its best reached via public transportation.
Shopping & Dining

Pier 39 is home to more than 100 specialty shops. Not unlike the stores at Fishermans Wharf, many of the shops here peddle San Francisco souvenirs ranging from mugs and magnets to pricey sweatshirts. There are also some other stores such as an NFL Shop Pier 39, San Francisco and a store that sells anything for left-handed people.
There are many full service restaurants located at Pier 39, including a Hard Rock Cafe. A large number of these restaurants specialize in seafood. There are also plenty of food stands and fast food eateries including ice cream shops and a chocolate shop.
Attractions When the kids tire of shopping, there are myriad other things to keep them busy. They can hop aboard the historic San Francisco Carousel, handcrafted in Italy, jump on the bungee trampoline, or explore the mirror maze.
Pier 39 is also home to the Aquarium of the Bay. For an affordable admission charge, guests can get a great view of San Franciscos fascinating marine life, including some 20,000 aquatic animals.
Sea Lions

For some free fun, take a moment to watch Pier 39s famous sea lions frolic in the surf. The first sea lions arrived here in 1990 shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. Their numbers quickly grew into the hundreds. The large colony stays here during wintertime and migrates south for the breeding season, although a small number stays here year-round.
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, an interpretive center for the Marine Mammal Center, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39s marina. The marina is also home to the floating Forbes Island restaurant. A two-story carousel is one of the piers more dominant features, although it is not directly visible from the street and sits towards the end of the pier. The family-oriented entertainment and presence of marine mammals make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.
The pier is located at the edge of the Fishermans Wharf district and is close to North Beach, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero. The area is easily accessible via the historic F Market streetcars.
From the pier one can see Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge. Blue & Gold Fleets bay cruises leave from Pier 39.
Pier 39 was first developed by entrepreneur Warren Simmons and opened October 4, 1978.
California Sea Lions have always been present in San Francisco Bay.[citation needed] They started to haul out on docks of Pier 39 in September 1989. Before that they mostly used Seal Rock for that purpose. Ever since September 1989 the number of sea lions on Seal Rock has been steadily decreasing, while their number on Pier 39 has generally increased. Some people speculate that sea lions moved to docks because of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but the earthquake occurred months after the first sea lions had arrived at Pier 39. It is likely that the sea lions feel safer inside the Bay.
Although the reason for their migration to the pier is unclear, the refurbishing of the docks in September 1989 required the removal of all boats from that area, leaving large open spaces for the sea lions to move into. Once the project was completed, boat owners returned, but did their best to navigate around the sea lions; no efforts were made to encourage the new guests to leave. By the end of that year, less than a dozen sea lions frequented the docks at Pier 39.[2] By January 1990, their numbers had increased to 150 animals. Owners of the 11 boats docked there began to complain about having to avoid the animals who can weigh up to half a ton, and odor and noise complaints began to pour in. Press releases caught national attention, and the sea lions began to attract tourists. Advice from The Marine Mammal Center was to abandon the docks to the animals, and to relocate the boats elsewhere.
Although fluctuations in the number of sea lions at Pier 39 are dramatic, as many as 1,701 (Thanksgiving Week, 2009) have been officially reported at one time, many of whom are recognizable to researchers and others, and some of whom have been unofficially named. Volunteers and staff at The Marine Mammal Store and Interpretive Center monitor the sea lion population each day, and educational information is provided to tourists who visit from around the world. Scientists continue to collect information there, adding to knowledge about sea lion health, dietary habits, and behavior.[2] In November 2009 the more than 1,701 (Thanksgiving Week, 2009) sea lions that had lived at the pier began to leave, and by late December 2009 nearly all were gone; a similar flux in population occurs annually, with the animals returning in the spring. Although the reason for their seasonal appearance and departure is not known for certain, according to Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Most likely, they left chasing a food source, anchovies and sardines.[3] A handful of sea lions did return in February, and by late May several hundred could once again be seen on Pier 39. It remains unknown exactly where they went and why. However, in December 2009, nearly 4,000 sea lions that were identified as members of the California sub-species were seen outside Oregons Sea Lion Caves, which meant that they were likely the sea lions from Pier 39.

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