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Markets, Shopping, Art Centers in San Francisco

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Pier 39
Pier 39 is located on the San Francisco waterfront near the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city and is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to California. The pier is home to many great restaurants offering local seafood as well as other cuisines. If shopping is your thing you will find 90+ stores offering everything from souvenirs to sports memorabilia. Pier 39 is also where you can find fun and exciting attractions such as the Aquarium of the Bay and the 7D experience. If you walk to the end of Pier 39 and visit K-Dock you will find the world famous sea lions who have made the pontoons their home. The sealions first appeared after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and began taking over the piers on the Pier 39 marina, much to the annoyance of the marina tenants. After numerous attempts to shoo them away they eventually had to give up and the numbers grew and grew reaching a peak of over 1500 in 2009. Today they have become one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco and have their own area of Pier 39. While there why not pay a visit to the Marine Mammal Center just upstairs from the viewing area where you can learn more about the sea lions and pick up some sea lion related souvenirs.
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Fisherman's Wharf
As San Francisco’s most popular visitor destination, Fisherman’s Wharf offers a wide range of land, sea, and air activities. A food lover's haven, Fisherman's Wharf boasts some of the best dining in the world. Salivate over fresh Dungeness crab served steaming hot at outdoor stands or in a variety of gourmet recipes at the Wharf’s many seafood restaurants. The Wharf's eclectic mix of international cuisine is sure to make a hit with your taste buds.
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Baker Beach
Baker Beach is a large popular beach not far from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. On sunny weekends both parking lots could be full and all the spaces along the entrance roads too. This popular spot is one of the many beaches in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Just north of the main parking lot is the Battery Chamberlin, a large historic military gun installation that was built in 1904. It is worth checking out especially if you have kids. Be aware as you explore the north end of Baker Beach because North Baker Beach is a clothing-optional area. All of Baker Beach is an unsafe swimming area because of cold water and frequent rip currents in the surf.
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San Francisco Cable Cars
Cable cars are a historic symbol recognized around the globe and offer real working transportation up the steep hills of San Francisco. The cable cars begin their runs at 6 a.m. and continue until midnight. From Union Square to the crest of Nob Hill, cable cars offer a thrilling way to move with the City. A ride on San Francisco’s cable cars may be the most iconic and memorable of your entire trip to California. Even people who might dismiss cable cars as a cheesy tourist attraction will admit that there is something incredibly romantic about these rides.
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Aquatic Park Cove
Aquatic Park Cove has a narrow sandy beach and a grass park at the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line on the San Francisco Waterfront. The cove is located at the north end of Hyde Street and Van Ness Avenue near Fisherman’s Wharf. Boats are allowed to anchor in the protected harbor in the cove. It is protected by a long curved municipal pier that should not be missed if you have time to walk out on it. The view from the pier includes the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the San Francisco skyline. Nearby Hyde Street Pier has historic ships to see as well. The Marine Museum sits at the center of Aquatic Park Cove near the beach. Behind that is Ghirardelli Square. Aquatic Park Cove is part of San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, a district within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The large park at Fort Mason is a short walk away up the trail to the west.
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Chinatown
San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest one in North America and covers 24 city blocks. This neighborhood is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, and for good reason. It's easy to spend a day here, exploring the streets and alleys, browsing the shops and enjoying the authentic Chinese food. More people visit Chinatown than the Golden Gate Bridge!
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Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach is the grand-daddy of San Francisco beaches, stretching out for three miles along the entire western edge of San Francisco. This wide, flat expanse of sand is the best beach for long walks or a run. It's also the most popular, which means lots of people on our warm, sunny days. This is a great surfing beach, and dogs can be off-leash in certain parts.
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Crissy Field East Beach
Just inside the Golden Gate, Crissy Field has a wide, sandy beach with a pretty view of the bridge and Alcatraz. It's a short, 10 minute walk from Fisherman's Wharf. Of the San Francisco beaches, this one's the most popular with windsurfers.
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Japantown
San Francisco's Japantown is a fun place to explore, but not that many visitors go there. Three indoor malls, and a pedestrian-only block, are lined with a fascinating variety of authentic Japanese shops and restaurants.
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Fort Funston Beach
Another San Francisco beach located near an old fort. Fort Funston a rugged beach with crashing surf at the bottom of 200 foot cliffs, just south of Ocean Beach. Very popular with dogs, as well. When the winds are blowing, you'll see hang gliders soaring from the cliff tops.
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Mile Rock Beach
At the western tip of San Francisco, jutting out into ocean, is Lands End: a nature park of steep cliffs with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. It has a small, rocky beach, called Mile Rock Beach, accessible from the Coastal Trail. Wonderful beach to walk to.
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