8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting PIER 39 in 2021

8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting PIER 39 in 2021

(Updated: February 2nd, 2021) 

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

From safety and discounts to free parking and shops – we’re sharing all our secrets! 


Social Distancing 

PIER 39 is the ideal safe 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 Monday-Thursday. 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.


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

Fog Harbor Fish House offers incredible bay views, cozy waterfront parklets, 40 outdoor tables, a fireplace and was recently ranked Top 5 Seafood Restaurants in San Francisco by Yelp. Reserve now.

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant offers 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 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 day-of 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! TIP: Get 15% off on all coffee drinks using the bottom of your Fog Harbor receipt!

Biscoff Coffee Coupon



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

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.  

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.


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.


Open Attractions

Many attractions are open including Musical Stairs, Sea Lions, Think Out Of the Box. 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 as 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.

8. 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.

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].