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My Itinerary 430

Back when Pier 39 was created by renovating a derelict pier in 1978, it was a ground-breaking project, an experiment in creating a lively tourist experience atop a decaying remnant of the past. No one knew how it would turn out, but over three decades later, we'd say it worked out pretty well. 

This two-level dining and shopping complex is flanked by marinas, one of them home to the now-famous sea lions, who took over the docks in 1990 - and who still occupy them, barking noisly and jockeying for the best places to sun themselves, - except during summer breeding season, when the have other things to tend to. From the end of the pier, you can get some of the best views of Alcatraz that are possible without getting in a boat.

Pier 39 also boasts a uniquie, double-decker carousel, decorated with paintings of the surrounding city. Nearby is the Crystal Geyser Center Stage, where some of the city's best buskers put on entertaining shows. Also on the pier is the Aquarium of the Bay, where visitors travel see the marine life while traveling inside, clear, acrylic tunnels on a moving walkway.

Also of interest is Forbes Island, a man-made structure that was originally intended to become a floating home. It's now a restaurant, moored near the sea lions and accessible only by a (very) short boat ride.

Find out more at the Pier 39 website.


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