HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf is located in a waterfront National Park, west of Fisherman's Wharf and north of the Marina district.
Musee Mecanique - This eccentric museum houses an awesome collection of antique, functioning, coin-operated arcade machines.
Alcatraz - Don't miss a chance to travel across the Bay from nearby Fisherman's Wharf to the eerie and fascinating Alcatraz Island. The ferry ticket includes entrance the former prison and a captivating cell house audio tour. Be sure to reserve in advance, it books quickly during summer months.
San Francisco National Maritime Museum - Be pleasantly surprised by the offerings here. Overlooking Aquatic Park, it has a fine collection of historic ships, art, and other memorabilia.
Cable Cars - Indulge in the classic fantasy of hanging off the side while cruising down an impossibly steep hill. Hop on at the end of Taylor Street or Hyde Street in Fisherman's Wharf.
Local Hills - Take an urban hike to the top of Fillmore and Vallejo streets. Lyon Street also has spectacular views.
Pier 39 - Talkative sea lions have made the docks here their home.
Fort Mason and Marina Green - Right in the hostel's lush backyard, Fort Mason hosts thousands of events each year from farmer's markets to craft fairs, Oysterfest to Oktoberfest. It's also home to the Mexican Museum, Museo Italo Americano, BATS Improv Theatre, and several other non-profits. The grass in the park is arguably the most luxurious in the city.
Got more time?
Aquatic Park - Relax here and marvel at the swimmers braving the Bay's freezing cold water.
Aquarium of the Bay - Kids will love the walk-through water tunnels and hands-on exhibits.
Exploratorium and Palace of Fine Arts - Curious adults and kids alike will enjoy this museum, which intertwines science and art. Located next to the beautiful Palace of Fine Arts, an outdoor space that hosts lectures, music performances, and other events, some for free.
Angel Island - From Pier 41, you can catch the ferry to beautiful Angel Island, a State Park and former immigration station ripe for exploration by foot, bike, or tram.
Ghirardelli Square - The red-bricked shopping center used to be Ghiradelli Chocolate's factory until the 1960s; luckily you can still sample some delectable chocolate treats.
Crissy Field - Stroll the promenade, jog to the Golden Gate Bridge, or join in a volleyball game with locals.
Worth the extra effort!
Cycle the Golden Gate Bridge - Cycle (or walk) across and take a ferry back from Sausalito! Nothing matches the experience of crossing the colossal Golden Gate Bridge. Hostel guests can get deep discounts on local bike rentals, see below for details.
Crookedest Street in the World - Stroll down Lombard Street -- the most crooked street in the world -- and gaze at beautiful Victorian mansions while doing so.
Presidio - Eleven miles of hiking trails wind through the Presidio; there's also a golf course and fabulous Baker Beach, which has panoramic views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Coit Tower - Head up to Telegraph Hill for a fantastic vantage point of the city. On a gloriously sunny day, the scenery feels more Mediterranean than American. Take Greenwich Avenue or the Filbert Street steps to get there.
If you want to stick close to home, the hostel has an on-site cafe serving three meals a day. Cafe Franco dishes up our free continental breakfast, in addition to fresh, mostly organic sandwiches, entrees, and more -- all with bay views!
Cheapest of the cheap:
Cafe GoLo - Recommended breakfast and lunch spot.
In-N-Out Burger - You know you're in California when you spy In-N-Out! Sample its simple menu at the only location in San Francisco; ask for your burger "animal style."
Fisherman's Wharf Chowder and Crab Sidewalk Stands - Grab a satisfying chowder bread bowl at the intersection of Taylor and Jefferson streets. Watch out for dive bombing seagulls!
First Cup - Coffee, bagels, sandwiches, and run by really nice people.
Golden Boy Pizza - Granted, this is a bit of a walk (or a MUNI ride) from the hostel, but it's worth the trek for cheap squares of delicious pizza. Settle in with a pint at the bar and watch the character of North Beach (Little Italy) unfold.
Tanguito - Argentine burger truck and the best kept food destination secret in Fisherman's Wharf.
Aux Delices Vietnamese Restaurant - Yummy and affordable Vietnamese in Russian Hill.
The Buena Vista Cafe - Stopping in for an Irish Coffee is a rite of passage for all visitors to San Francisco.
Jake's Steaks - Cheesesteaks, Philly-style.
Lucca Delicatessen - Old Italian deli stocked with delicious meats and cheeses at reasonable prices. Grab a sandwich for your picnic on the Marina Green.
Plant Cafe Organic - Best veggie burger and way to infuse your body with liquid vitamins.
A slight splurge...
Greens - The place most likely to make your vegan girlfriend swoon over epic bay views.
Scoma's - The only place worth your time for seafood in the wharf (and a bit of a splurge), it's on Pier 47.
Wander the area near Fillmore and Union streets for a taste of the Marina. You'll find mellow bars as well as haughty lounges and clubs -- take your pick!
Fancy a night on the town?
Comet Club - Dive bar with dancing.
Hi-Fi Lounge - More dancing!
The Parlor Bar and Club - Dance club and lounge with good music, wear your spiffy shoes.
Prefer a laidback ambience?
Fiddler's Green - An authentic Irish pub with a jovial crowd.
Black Magic Voodoo Lounge - Close enough to crawl home from, this is a great bar with special prices just for our guests: $5 well drinks or 24 oz. PBR, and $6 draft beer.
The Black Horse London Pub - The least "Marina" place in the Marina to have a beer with maximum 10 other customers.
Horseshoe Tavern and Marina Bar - Neighborhood sports bars with a jukebox and pool tables.
Bus Stop - Popular sports bar with nightly drink specials, buckets of beer, and trivia.
Theater and comedy:
BATS Improv Theatre - Shows feature a surprising mix of improv comedy and theatre. Accolades over the last few years include the Bay Area's "Best Theater Company," "Best Comedy Troupe," "Best First Date Spot," and more.
Wharf Room Comedy at Castagnola's - Terrific setting to see established and up and coming comics.
Marina Theater or Presidio Theatre - Both are small and classic independently-owned theaters showing current attractions.
MUNI - Bus lines within 1/4 mile of the hostel include the 19, 28, 30, 47, and 49.
Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals and Tours offers our guests a discounted rate of $18-22 per day (reg. $28-32) for city-ready mountain and hybrid bike. Helmet, lock, rear rack, camera bag, bungie cord, and map included in cost of rental. Performance, tandem, and other specialty bikes are also available.
For more on biking in San Francisco, see: Cycle the city with self-guided San Francisco bike routes.