8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting PIER 39 in 2020

8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting PIER 39 in 2020

(Updated: September 30, 2020)

Ready to get out and explore? It can be tough to figure what is open and where you will feel comfortable these days. Read on for helpful tips you’ll want to know before vising PIER 39.

From safety and dining to free parking and Alcatraz advice – we’ve got you covered! 


Social Distancing 

PIER 39 is the ideal safe 2020 outing. The pier is an open-air marketplace that monitors guest count to ensure everyone has space to socially distance. Pro tip: Want to have the most space? Visit mid-week. The pier is busiest on Saturdays. 

Masks and Sanitizer

Guests are required to wear face coverings (3 years+). Forgot your mask? No worries, you can purchase one near the entrance. 

Expect frequent cleaning and sanitization on the major touchpoints and 20 hand sanitization stations for your use.


You’ll find incredible safe indoor and outdoor dining options!

The following PIER 39 restaurants are open for indoor AND outdoor dining with strict safety protocols:

Fog Harbor Fish House offers indoor dining and 20 outdoor tables with incredible bay views and was recently ranked Top 5 Seafood Restaurants in San Francisco by Yelp. Reserve now.

outdoor dining

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant offers an open-air dining room and outdoor patio dining with harbor views and heat lamps, mesquite-grilled 100% sustainable seafood and award-winning clam chowder. Reserve now


Wipeout Bar & Grill is a fun California surf-themed restaurant with indoor dining and an outdoor patio situated for prime people-watching serving burgers, hand-tossed pizzas, tacos, burritos, salads, Fish n Chips and a full bar. Reserve now

Outdoor patio  

Reservations & Waitlists

Reservations are recommended but all restaurants also welcome walk-in guests. 

Pro tip: Can’t find a reservation? Add yourself to restaurant waitlists before you arrive using the Yelp app to skip the line.  

Open for Breakfast

Biscoff Coffee Corner opens at 8am daily serving to-go coffee, pastries and everyone’s favorite cookie with coffee – Biscoff! 

Wipeout Bar & Grill is open for breakfast 9am-11am, 7 days a week with full-service breakfast favorites. 


Avoiding public transportation these days? Drive and park in the PIER 39 Garage (discount tip below.)

Pro tip: Park on the 3rd level and take the pedestrian bridge (next to the L3 elevators) over the street and straight onto PIER 39.

2 Hours Free Parking

Get TWO hours free when you dine at Fog Harbor Fish House, Wipeout Bar & Grill or Pier Market Seafood Restaurant. (PIER 39 garage costs $9/hour)

$10 Flat Rate All Day Parking

Planning to spend all day at the pier? Make an advanced reservation and get a flat rate $10 all day weekday or $15 flat rate all day weekends.  Now THAT’S a good deal. 


Since PIER 39 is mostly outdoors with bay breezes, we recommend bringing a warm coat and a hat and sunglasses. It can get quite chilly as the wind picks up, but it can also get hot if you are sitting in the sun. 


Sea Lions

The perfect COVID-safe attraction? Watching the sea lions in the fresh bay air at a distance from others. The best place to view the famous sea lions is the end of the pier, left-hand side. Markings on the ground help visitors keep 6 feet from each other while enjoying their favorite marine mammals. 

Know before you go: Check the PIER 39 sea lion webcam here to see how many sea lions are on the docks today.

Musical Stairs

Check out these free fun musical stairs that play a note each time you step! The perfect setting for your next TikTok or Reels. Find the stairs halfway down the pier, across from Pier Market Seafood Restaurant.

Learn PIER 39 Fun Facts

As you walk the pier, keep an eye out for more than 10 plaques containing fun facts and photos on buildings around the entire pier.


Aquarium of the Bay

Aquarium of the Bay is open 11am-6pm daily. This is a can’t-miss! Walkthrough massive tunnels of sharks and bat rays, explore touch pools with sea stars, anemones, and sharks; and watch playful river otters. Buy tickets here.

Open Attractions

Many attractions are open including: ACSailingSF, Adventure Cat Sailing Charters, Aquarium of the Bay, Bay Voyager, Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals & Tours, Blue & Gold Fleet, Frequent Flyers, Musical Stairs, Whale Tours, Sea Lions, Think Out Of the Box, Wine Tasting on the Bary.

For the most update-to-date list, check this PIER 39 web page for open attractions

Open Shops

Almost all shops are open! Including Lids (NEW!), Alcatraz Gift Shop, Aleenk Technologies, Bliss, Bow Wow & Kitty Too!, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Candy Baron, Charms by the Bay, Chocolate Heaven, Christmas in San Francisco, Enlightenment, Fairy Tales, Hidden Dragon, Houdini’s Magic Shop, Image Arts, Krazy Kaps, Lefty’s, Magnetron, Magnets, Mulberry and Grand, Na Hoku, Only in San Francisco, Pearl Factory, SF City Wear, San Francisco USA, Shirtique, Solve it! Think Out of the Box, Sunglass Hut, The Cable Car Store, The Crystal Shop, The San Francisco Keychain Store, The San Francisco Shop Market, Shell Cellar, Under the Golden Gate, Vitality, We Be Knives, Wilder West

For the most update-to-date list, check this PIER 39 page for open stores (Click the “Open Now tab).


Alcatraz tours take off .3 miles down from PIER 39 on the Embarcadero (about a 5-minute walk).

Due to local directives related to COVID-19, only the Day Tour is available and is an outdoor experience. Visitors will not be allowed access to any buildings on the island, but visitors will still get to enjoy close-up views of the exterior of the Cell House, Building 64, the Warden’s House, the water tower and enjoy incomparable views of the San Francisco skyline.


Pet Friendly

Furry besties are allowed on PIER 39 with a leash.  Pro tip: Restaurants welcome well-behaved dogs to sit with their family when dining outdoors.

Phone Charging

That moment when you’re taking all the photos – and your phone dies. The worst. Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Fog Harbor Fish House, and Wipeout Bar & Grill provide portable charging to diners during their meal upon request. iPhone and Android compatible.

To read more about PIER 39 safety protocols, check their blog post here.

We hope these tips help you confidently plan your best visit to PIER 39. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email [email protected]