The San Francisco Ferry Building is a place where worlds meet. It is the port from which ferries leave to take visitors to the East Bay and the North Bay. It is the home to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, a place where farmers sell their homegrown foods and artisans showcase their handcrafted work. Locals go to the ferry building in San Francisco to linger over coffee at one of the cafes, grab a quick lunch with co-workers from the Financial District or to pick up a bottle of wine for an evening celebration. And visitors from around the world grace the San Francisco Ferry Building with their accents and foreign currency to learn about the history that the Ferry building holds.
That history dates back to 1898 when the San Francisco Ferry Building was first constructed on top of a site that once held a wooden ferry building in San Francisco. From 1898 until the Gold Rush era over three decades later, the Ferry Building San Francisco, CA was the main port of entry for anyone coming to the area from any place except south of the city. Travelers who lived in the East Bay and wanted to spend time in San Francisco didn’t have the option of the Oakland Bay Bridge back then and so used the San Francisco Ferry Building to get to what they wanted to see in the city. The ferries that came to this building were the main mode of transportation for people in the area.
And even today, many people who begin their experience of the Ferry Building San Francisco and the surrounding area do so on the transportation that gets them there. For some, the arrival is via the port itself on one of the traveler ferries that navigate the beautiful bay. For others, it is a ride on the Historic F-Line Trolley Car that runs along The Embarcadero and drops visitors off in front of the San Francisco Ferry Building. And even for those who walk, taxi, ride the BART to the Embarcadero station or take MUNI buses to the area, the experience of being out amidst the pedestrian traffic surrounding the ferry building in San Francisco is one which is steeped in the history of the area. In fact, from the San Francisco Ferry Building, you can see the Bay Bridge which sweeps across the bay with a history that is important to the area.
The Bay Bridge was constructed in the late 1930’s and was followed quickly by construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. These two bridges began to serve as the main means of transportation for the area and interest in the San Francisco Ferry Building was lost. Over the next few years, the building became abandoned although its exterior structure remained in place. It wasn’t until nearly 50 years later that people began paying attention to the ferry building in San Francisco once again. By this time, the traffic on the Bay Bridge was always crowded and commuters were looking at new ways of reaching the city. This placed their eye back on the San Francisco Ferry Building and its port as a means of transportation. Combined with the damage done to the bridge in 1989 from the Loma Prieta Earthquake, interest in the ferry building in San Francisco soared. By the early 1990’s, the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace was in place and bustling activity began again. To learn more about this history of the San Francisco Ferry Building, many people opt to take one of the free walking tours that are provided there on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
Despite its historic importance, the Ferry Building in San Francisco is a modern place bustling with daily activity. One of the most common reasons for stopping in to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace is to get a bite of food overlooking the Bay. There are three restaurants housed in the ferry building in San Francisco: Slanted Door, Taylor’s Refresher and MarketBar. There are also six smaller eateries where light lunches can be picked up as well as a coffee shop, a “tea court”, and five dessert or ice cream spots. Yes, the amount of delectable dining that you can do in the San Francisco Ferry Building is quite substantial.
Of course, if you don’t want to dine there, you can also do some gourmet grocery shopping to have something to indulge in after you’ve left the ferry building in San Francisco. Two meat companies, three seafood companies (including one specializing in oysters), one bread company, one gourmet cheese shop, six specialty grocery stores and several stores selling fresh fruit provide visitors of the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace with such a range of food choices that it would be hard to decide on just an item or two. That’s one of the reasons that many locals make the ferry building in San Francisco a regular stop. Another is to enjoy the twice-weekly San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market that is held at the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace year-round. On Saturdays, there may be as many as 15,000 people purchasing fresh food from the market; on Tuesdays a smaller crowd gathers to pick up additional items.
The ferry building in San Francisco is a landmark which can be seen by visitors entering the city via the Bay Bridge. It holds the history of this vibrant city dating back to the 19th century when the San Francisco Ferry Building was first constructed. And it continues to be a meeting place for people from all walks of life and corners of the globe. Whether you’re a local resident or a world traveler, a professional or a poet, you can find a reason to stop in to the San Francisco Ferry Building and indulge in the scents and sounds of the city that are held there.