Fisherman’s Wharf & Fleet Week

By Kate Riley October 11, 2009

My cousins are staying with us this week, and they’ve traveled all the way from Tucson, Arizona.  Of course, we had to show them a spectacular day in San Francisco.  Despite the typical fog, it was a great day to be in the City by the Bay.  What’s better than clam chowder and crab at Fisherman’s Wharf, a Columbus Day parade, a Blue Angels show, and ending your day with some Ghirardelli chocolate ?  Dungeness crab season has almost begun, so there was no shortage of great seafood dining in the northern part of the City.


san francisco hospitality

Take a tour of the City with me and experience some San Francisco hospitality. 

After viewing the beginnings of the Columbus Day Parade, our stomachs were growling, so we headed to Pier 39 to visit some favorite shops, and grab some great seafood. 

pier 39

We reserved a table at the Pier Market Seafood Restaurant for its views and award winning clam chowder.  Here is my definition of the perfect SF foodie feast.  Clam chowder, great sourdough, and a crab cocktail.  Add a spicy Bloody Mary and some Sonoma Riesling and Mr. CG and I are in heaven. 

sf feast

Ooooooh.  Crab cakes with rémoulade.  Double yum.

crab cakes

We also shared the most AH-MAY-ZING crab melt sandwich.  Best ever.

But on a foggy day, there’s nothing like great sourdough from the neighboring Boudin Bakery with a hot cup of clam chowder.

aint nothing like sf sourdough  

boudin sourdough

You can even buy Boudin Bakery’s bread online

Once we digested, I headed out to some of my favorite shops. 

The Shell Cellar

shell shop display

colored starfish

shell accessories


The San Francisco Bath Salt Company

sf bath salt co

bath salt co

sf bath salt mango

Chocolate Heaven 

chocolate heaven outside


chocolate heaven

chocolate candies in jars

cable car chocolates

For good crepes

crepe cafe

I loved how this jewelry shop was seasonally displaying their glass bead necklaces.

gourd with necklace

My little guy can’t be bothered with shops.  He prefers to chase pigeons.

little dude chasing  

This shot is so San Francisco to me. 

A seagull taking off toward the foggy skyline. 

tells a story 

Here’s the famous Pier 39 sea lion colony jostling for sunning space.

sea lions

A walk down this pier gave us a great view of the air show. 

walk the pier

It was loud, and magnificent.  I loved it just as much as my nephews. 

We got quite a red, white, and blue show from these daredevils. 

red wihite and blue crop

Here are the Blue Angels in formation over Alcatraz. 

blue angels over alcatraz


Cruising over the SF Bay

blue angels over ship


planes in formation

We made our way around Fisherman’s Wharf and made friends with some friendly seafood retailers. 



fishermans grotto 

What a motto

if it swims

franciscan crab restaurant

wharf walk

crabs up close 

“Hey, yoooou.  You look hungry.  C’mon in an have some crab and chowda, y’know what I’m sayin’ ?”

san francisco hospitality

cioppinios fishermans wharf

We ended our day a few blocks away at the famous Ghirardelli Square to indulge in some decadent chocolate.  I’ve written about Ghirardelli Square before, and it is a ‘Don’t Miss’ for any tourist.  We nibbled dark chocolates and listened to some good jazz. 

good jazz ghirardelli

It was a such great day in the big city that the kids all fell asleep on the ride home, with full bellies and smiles on their faces. 

Have you ever visited the City by the Bay ?  Ever tasted our famous San Francisco Dungeness crab and our delicious sourdough?  Ever witnessed the dynamic Blue Angels ?  Do tell !

And there’s still time to enter the Price Pfister Faucet Giveaway, until 8 p.m. PST October 12, 2009.  Don’t miss out ! 


  1. I’m so JEALOUS!! this post has made me so homesick for San Francisco!! I was born there, and its by far, my favorite city EVER!!

  2. looks brilliant, its the only US city I have visited, being a native Brit! I have so many great memories of the day I spent there!

  3. what fabulous photos. they brought back so many memories for me. i haven’t been to san francisco for 20 yrs! and some things still look the same. there is a feel & energy there like no other place. i loved pier 39 & ghiradelli square with the street performers & all the shops. i do believe that i left a little piece of my heart in san francisco : )

  4. What a great time!! I have never been to San Fran..will have to go someday!!
    Beautiful Pics ..I would kill for some of that crab!!

  5. Looks like you had a wonderful day! SF is such a beautiful and charming city! I was there a few years ago and fell in LOVE with sour dough!!! I swear I could taste it when I looked at your photos! And what gorgeous photos, too! Not only do you have a knack for decorating but also for photography!

  6. My husband use to work near SF- we lived in LA and I would fly out to visit him on the weekends-we stayed at the W Hotel (love that place) and we had a dear friend how lived in the heart of SF-so he would take us to the “local” places for feed and great bellydancing!! LOL It was fun. We went to this one town called Tiburon- LOVED It. Thanks for sharing all the photos-what a fun day

  7. How wonderful to live so near San Francisco! I have never been there, but hope to visit some day. My husband would be in seafood heaven! Love all the little shops. And the Blue Angels are always a fun time. We get them once a year here in Cleveland and they never disappoint.

  8. We have been to San Francsico twice. I love everything about the city. I wish I could afford to live there although the hubby wouldn’t want too. We have been up north and driven down the coast. It was a 12 day trip and it was my dream vacation. I was just looking at our pictures the other day and I want to go back. We loved SF, Carmel, Santa Barbara….all of it. Beautiful!

  9. We took my dream vacation out there a couple of years ago. It was 12 days of nothing but sunshine and beautiful scenery. We started in northern California and stopped in the wine country, San Francisco, Carmel, Santa Barbara….loving everything about it. I have been twice and would move out there in a second if we could. (I hope I didn’t post twice but the first post didn’t seem to got throught) Looks like you had a great time.

  10. I love SF! My hubby and I used to take a road trip about once a year, then the kids came! We haven’t been in 7 years, oh how I miss it! Maybe next year.

  11. It looks like you had a really fun day! This was great to see. It reminded me of my honeymoon almost 30 years ago. We were in Lake Tahoe for most of our hm but drove to SF for a couple of days also. Thanks for sharing, loved it all!


  12. Amazing!!! I’m in love with your city and think I just might have to visit someday!! I’m really hungry now for some yummy crab.

  13. PB and I took Emma when she was just two months old. I had to get out of the house and we flew down for the weekend. We loved it!! That was almost nine years ago, though, so I’d love to go back some day.

  14. Oh yes, you got me, I’m making clam chowder tonight for dinner. I’ve missed Fleet Week the last couple years. It’s always been one of my favorites. I’ve seen it from Treasure Island (the Blue Angels flew over the island just above the telephone poles for the residents), a ski boat in the bay, the beach in front of Ghiradelli Square, the Golden Bear Ship in the bay (California Maritime Academy’s ship), and Pier 45. Next year . . . I’m not going to miss it. I grew up in the East Bay but we live near Sacramento now.

  15. I’ve never been to the ocean. I’m hoping on our honeymoon we can get there. I know, I know, how could I possibly have never been to the ocean—easy, my parents never traveled and I didn’t have the money. HAHA I know I’m missing out and one day I’ll get there. Thanks for the tour, it looks great and I hope one day to see SF myself.

  16. I loved this post, Kate. I love all of your “travelling” posts b/c you make it seem as if we are on the trip with you. T’s aunt lives in SF, and I keep telling him we need to go visit. Maybe your seafood pictures will be enough to spark his interest…he loves seafood. :) I loved the sea shell shop– too cool. :)

  17. How did I miss that you are a Bay Area Girl? I live there too. Knew there was something special about you:) Great pictures by the way. Talked my Nov. girl and Jan. boy into having a joint Dec. birthday bash at Alcatraz. My kids have wanted to go forever, and a time just hasn’t presented itself. So, we plan to buy jail shirts for all of the kids and take a huge posse of their friends over there and then Ghirardelli after. Can’t wait! Thanks for wetting my appetite to go to the city again. Holly at

  18. I visited SF when I was just 8. I remember the trolley cars, my sweater and taking the orange and white boat to Alcatraz. I also remember the hills of course. It was FUN!!!

    -Shannon in Austin

  19. What a fun day that must have been! I haven’t been to San Francisco in over 20 years – I really must get back. Thanks for sharing all the great pictures.

  20. We honeymooned in SF and this post made me want to book a flight to go back. We stayed in Union Square and were there over New Year’s. It was absolutely magical. One of our favorite cities in the world.

  21. I went to San Francisco in May for my birthday and to visit friends. My sweetheart and I went to many of the same places you visited. I haven’t tried the Pier Market Seafood Restaurant though…Will definitely go there on my next trip to the city…

  22. My husband and I used to live north of the city in vine rich Sonoma County…not too far from Petaluma, actually! We loved to go to the city when we had friends and family visit and would do all of the touristy stuff, but my favorite memories are when we would go for a day and just walk those famously steep streets, sipping coffee, and shielding our bodies from icy fog, or the days we would spend walking through Golden Gate Park, taking it all in…walking over the bridges in the tea gardens, enjoying a day at a museum, or just napping an afternoon away (and being surprised we hadn’t been robbed while doing so!) We loved to watch the Giants play in Pac Bell Park–and when we lived there, Barry Bonds was in full swing…those home runs would fly high over the wall, and eager collectors in boats would race to retrieve them from the water. I miss the sounds of the city: beginning with the drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and the sound of the lane indicators bumping under the cars, fog horns, traffic, trolley cars, people busying about, foreign languages too numerous to count, talented people playing music on the sidewalks, and the sounds of coins clinking in their cans or cases as people rewarded them for their efforts. San Francisco is truly a city to behold–and my memories of it remind me of happy times.

  23. Sigh…my hubby and I were just in SF last month for our 25th wedding anniversary. We’d never been there before and I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous city. All the pictures brought back warm, fuzzy feelings. In fact, I am sitting here right now in my SF hoodie! :-)

  24. I love San Francisco. It’s truly my favorite place we’ve ever been. When I become independently wealthy (crossing my fingers) we will move there. Until then, I’ll just dream about it. =)

    Lovely photos.

  25. I was in San Francisco for Fleet Week about 20 years ago. Yikes! But we saw and did a lot of the same things you posted here. Thanks! I forgot how much fun that trip was and your post brought it all back to me! Glad you had such a great time. I love San Francisco!

  26. OHHH your post makes me miss SF so bad! I used to live in Northern California, so SF was a hop, skip and jump away. Now I need to plan a trip! And now I am verrrry hungry…!

  27. Wow, I’ve been down there a few times but missed all the shops you showed! My husband is going to love you the next time we go there and I tell him allllll the new places I want to go. Yay!

  28. I believe you, I believe! Might that be likely to help you get your blog translated into Russian? English is actually my second language.

  29. It is in reality a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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