I’ve been going to PIER 39 for years. While stores and attractions have changed over time, the overall feel has always been that of a hub of activity in the heart of San Francisco. Last week, my family (and one of my daughter’s friends) played “tourists” and experienced PIER 39 in a whole new way thanks to the Local Advantage program. I’ll share more about that later 🙂
What to Do with Kids (or Without) at PIER 39 in San Francisco
Our first stop at PIER 39 in San Francisco, after we picked up a crêpe to quench our munchies, was Aquarium of the Bay. To get to the entrance, you have to go through the gift shop on the second level. This aquarium is fairly small with a modest number of exhibits. However, the two underwater tunnels are fascinating and children just can’t get enough of the touch pools and river otters.
Lunch was at Fog Harbor Fish House. Just like the other two Simmons family’s restaurants (Wipeout Bar & Grill and Pier Market Seafood Restaurant), all of the seafood offerings are sustainable. Fog Harbor is famous for its Dungeness crab so Frans ordered the garlic one. It was his first time eating a whole crab and, aside from being delicious, he had quite some fun cracking it open. I went with the Filet Mignon. Man, oh man, was it good! The girls loved their meals and we all devoured the dessert. The waiter (who provided excellent service) even brought out a gluten-free crème brûlée for Frans.
More Family-Friendly Activities at PIER 39
After all that yummy goodness settled, we headed over to RocketBoat. The ride is so ridiculously fun and, even though we got totally drenched, all of us had such a blast! The giant speedboat raced across the San Francisco Bay for a solid 20 minutes with some wild turns thrown in here and there. If you would like to enjoy a slower ride with amazing photo ops, the hour-long Bay Cruise on Blue & Gold Fleet would be a better option. However, if you have tweens, teens, or young adults with you, RocketBoat is awesome!
Back at The PIER, we did some window shopping and the girls took a ride on the carousel. Did you know that there is a Sea Lion Center on the second floor with pelts to feel and docent-led presentations throughout the day? I sure didn’t! Turns out that all of the sea lions are completely wild and that, after discovering the vacant dock in PIER 39’s Marina back in the 90’s, decided to stay. They are such lively animals to watch and listen to!
7D Experience actually houses two activities. The Dark Ride takes place in a theater with two rows of brightly colored chairs. After you strap yourself in and put on your 3D glasses, you join the adventure on the screen and shoot lasers at the targets. The laser maze was one small room with light beams that you either have to avoid or break, depending on the gameplay you choose. Both are interesting options if you’re looking to entertain older teens or young adults.
If your crew is into shopping, eating, and having fun, there’s plenty more to do and see at PIER 39. Look for discount offers on your parking ticket (from the PIER 39 Parking Garage across the street) or in brochures found at nearby hotels. The brochures generally have an offer inside which can be redeemed at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39 for a Savings Fun Pack full of coupons. Or, you can just click here.
PIER 39 Local Advantage Program
Northern California residents can take advantage of PIER 39’s Local Advantage program. By signing up for Local Advantage, “locals only” discounts will be delivered to your inbox to print and save. Buy one get one free deals are happening now until October 31, 2015. Here are just a few of the BOGO coupons:
- 7D Experience – Buy One DarkRide Admission, Get One DarkRide or LaZer Challenge Admission Free
- Aunt Fanny’s Hot Pretzels – Buy One Pretzel or Hot Dog, Get One Pretzel or Hot Dog Free
- Blue & Gold Fleet – Buy One Adult or Child Bay Cruise Ticket, Get One Adult or Child Bay Cruise Ticket Free
- Hana Zen – Buy One Adult Entree, Get One Kid’s Entree Free
- PIER 39 NFL/College Shop – Buy One 2-Pack of NBA, MLB or NFL Jazz Pens, Get One 2-Pack of Jazz Pens Free
- RocketBoat – Buy One Adult or Child RocketBoat Ticket, Get One Adult or Child RocketBoat Ticket Free
- Shell Cellar – Buy One Alphonso Jelly Plant, Get One Alphonso Jelly Plant Free
- Shirtique Buy – One Barking Sea Lion, Get One Barking Sea Lion Free
- Vitality – Buy One Aqua Massage or Oxygen Session, Get One Aqua Massage or Oxygen Session Free
- Waffle Cone Shop – Buy One Scoop, Get One Scoop Free
- ++ Restrictions apply – please see website for all details
After Buy One, Get One Free ends in October, keep an eye out for upcoming Local Advantage promotions like Holiday Half-Off and Kids Eat & Play Free. You will definitely want to take advantage of these! How can I be so sure? That was the reason for our trip to San Francisco! I had to test out some of featured attractions to share the experience with you! So sign up for Local Advantage and start planning your next day out in the city! Don’t forget to “like” PIER 39 on Facebook to get the latest news and offers too!
As an added perk, PIER 39 is generously offering one of our readers a family four-pack to enjoy some of the complimentary activities we did, including a 6-hour parking validation for the PIER 39 Parking Garage. The PIER 39 Prize Pack is valued at about $250 and includes four (4) Premier Passes, each redeemable for one (1) complimentary admission to Aquarium of the Bay, one (1) ride on the San Francisco Carousel, one (1) admission to 7D Experience and one (1) Bay Cruise Adventure or RocketBoat ride. Enter below.
What do you want to see or try at PIER 39?
This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and PIER 39 blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.