"Parking on the waterfront" Fisherman's Wharf Tip by 7h0rn

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco: 77 reviews and 50 photos

There are plenty of places to park near Fisherman's Warf and Pier 39 that won't cost you an arm and a leg... and then there are some that will..

Rule of thumb in this town: If it costs $2 to park for an hour, drive around the corner, you're bound to find something better.

Unique Suggestions: If you decide to go to the Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39 or take the ferry to Alcatraz, you'll be tempted to park in the oh-so-obvious parking garage right in front. Be warned, gentle reader, you'll be practically sacrificing an unborn child to leave your car for 2 hours. The rate? $6/hour. With some vague promise of getting an hour free if you leave before 6 pm and 2 hours free if you leave after 6 pm. It's a trap. You end up paying the full hours, no matter what, and just up the street (at the Warf itself) is FREE two hour parking! For the free 2 hour parking, you eat at the Warf and have your ticket validated. It's worth paying $12 for one of the most fresh, delicious crab you will ever experience, not for a mere 2 hours of parking.

Fun Alternatives: If you plan to spend the day at the Warf, take a ferry and/or walk the 5 miles to the Golden Gate bridge to do the senic thing... don't even bother parking around the Warf. If you feel insecure about parking outside of a garage, there are plenty downtown that charge $15 for all day parking. If being in the mix if downtown traffic and one-way street confusion is daunting, then stick to public. The MUNI will drop you off very close to the Warf... or for the full-on tourist experience... pick up the old SF cablecars (Union Square is a good place to grab these from - right in front of the Weston Saint Francis) and ride down to the Warf.

For quick trips - an hour or two, without the looming albatross of validation, then park a couple blocks up from the Embarcadero (this is the street the warf extends from). Parking meters only last an hour in this area and cost $1.50 for that hour. The best of all possible outcomes would be to find a nice residential area and park. Be mindful of street signs when you do this. You'll note in some areas where people didn't read the signs and now have a lovely yellow boot, making their car an undrivable paperweight on the side of the road.

San Francisco has one of the easiest and best public transportation systems in the world. Experience it before you try to drive somewhere. You'll save a lot of money: 3 hours on MUNI will cost you $1.50 - you get a little ticket that you can renew for $1.50 when it expires, there are day/week/monthly passes available at places around the city. See other tips for help with MUNI stuff.

Now don't run off sobbing in your tea about how it sounds like parking is a travesty here in SF... trust me, there is always a spot around the block somewhere, just go get it before that old Ford Fairlane moves into it.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 15, 2005
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