San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Step aboard century-old ships, watch boat builders at work, browse exhibits about U.S. maritime heritage and enjoy scenic picnics at this historic waterfront district.

Travel back in time to the 19th century maritime heyday of the USA at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Here, original vessels and working boatyards evoke stories of the seafaring traditions of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park sits on the shores of Aquatic Cove. Spot world-famous landmarks from its piers and peruse collections of art and maritime artifacts at its exhibition centers.

Stroll along Hyde Street Pier to see a fleet of ships built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Among these is the magnificent Balclutha, an 1886 square-rigged sailing ship. Marvel at the 4-story-tall steam engine of the Eureka paddlewheel ferry and the 105-feet (32-meter) tall mast of the C.A. Thayer schooner. Set sail around the San Francisco Bay onboard the Alma, a wooden-hulled scow schooner.

Chat to the boat builders at the pier’s small workshop and observe as they carry out maintenance repairs to boats. Go to the end of the pier for impressive views and photo opportunities of the bay. Alcatraz Island, Angel Island State Park and the Golden Gate Bridge are all clearly visible from here.

Spend time browsing the exhibitions at the Maritime Museum, located in an art deco-style bathhouse building. Admire maritime-inspired murals by Hilaire Hiler and Sargent Johnson. Appreciate the talents of dockers and sailors via displays of nautical artifacts and photographs.

Bring your own food and have a picnic on the beach, grass lawns and steps located in front of the museum. Walk around Aquatic Park Pier for more striking views of the district and Aquatic Cove. Continue to the edge of the pier to Municipal Pier, where fishermen wait patiently for a catch.

Located in the Fisherman’s Wharf district, the park is about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from downtown San Francisco. Public buses and trams stop a short walk from the park.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is open year-round, except for select public holidays. There’s an admission fee for Hyde Street Pier. Get an introduction to the park via interactive exhibits and pick up information about the attractions at the Visitor Center.