So, San Francisco is considered one of the most romantic cities on the planet and there is a song about leaving your heart there and one time the city had an art installation of giant randomly painted hearts all around the city. I used to work for the California Welcome Center and worked on Pier 39 for a decade in total with a two year intermission. When I first visited San Francisco, it was to work on Pier 39 and I had never heard of it.
It has changed much over the years and that change isn’t good or bad. There used to be an insane number of street artisans and street performers everywhere and the tips dropped in hats encouraged them to perform daily. Even in fall and winter there were tons of tourists in the mid to late 90’s. Not so today. There are a multitude of options for bay cruises in San Francisco, all with various amenities and value for the costs.
There is an incredibly cheap one that is probably better then any other option and it’s potentially cheaper then any other option. San Francisco has a rich history with ferries and the San Francisco Ferry Terminal at the foot of Market Street has been renovated and is an amazing use of the space. It also still functions to serve various ferries from around the bay area. The Golden Gate Ferry out of Marin County, ran by the Golden Gate Transition Service which is part of the Golden Gate Bridge Association and it provides daily trips from various places in Marin County to San Falrancisco and then back to their origins.
One of the coolest rides is to take the Golden Gate Ferry from San Francisco to Larkspur Landing in Marin County. Taking the Ferry at as close to 4:20 as possible will provide you with a ride that is like the Journey song with the sun setting on the bay. Bring a heavier jacket and wear it so you can ride outside. There is a snack bar that serves hot chocolate inside.
Once in Marin, walk across the pedestrian bridge to Larkspur Landing and the Marin Brewing Company where they have an amazing selection of beer. Eat dinner there and enjoy Larkspur Landing and then take the ferry back to San Francisco. Inside the Ferry the snack bar serves alcohol and wine, or did last time I rode it.
Once back in San Francisco you will be at the foot of Market Street. Take the street car to Fisherman’s wharf or walk a few blocks up the Embarcadero and enjoy the waterfront. If you do this on a Friday night around 9 or 10, you will see the impromptu Rollerblade group. The Friday before Halloween is always the best show although most Friday nights it is a lights, music and action show.