Fisherman’s Wharf Accessibility Guide: Exploring Pier 39 and More

Fisherman’s Wharf attracts tourists from all over the world with landmarks like Pier 39, Alcatraz Island, Ghirardelli Square, and the Aquarium of the Bay. But how wheelchair accessible is it? This guide has everything you need to know! 

What Is Fisherman’s Wharf?

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, known for its fresh seafood and lively atmosphere. It offers various attractions, including restaurants, shops, and historic landmarks. Here are some highlights you can explore: 

Ghirardelli Square 

Ghirardelli Square is a historic landmark located near Fisherman’s Wharf. This iconic chocolate factory-turned-shopping complex is a must-visit for chocolate lovers. While the area is on a steep hill, there are accessible entrances on Beach Street and Larkin Street. Ramps and elevators also make it easy to get around inside. 

Aquatic Park Cove 

Aquatic Park is a beautiful open space with a small beach and access to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. It features accessible walkways and ramps that lead up the slope towards Ghirardelli Square and the Maritime Museum. The westernmost walkway has the most gradual slope, so it’s easiest for wheelchair users to navigate. 

Maritime National Historical Park

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park includes several attractions, such as the Hyde Street Pier, the Maritime Museum, and the 1980 steam ferryboat Eureka. Here’s what you need to know about their accessibility:

  • The first deck of the Eureka and the main deck of the 1886 clipper ship Balclutha are wheelchair accessible. 

  • The Maritime Museum’s first floor is wheelchair-friendly, allowing people to explore maritime history and artifacts. 

  • Computer kiosks on the Eureka’s deck and in the visitor center and museum offer virtual tours of inaccessible areas. 

Pier 39 

One of the main highlights of Fisherman’s Wharf is Pier 39, which has stunning views of the Bay and is a great place to soak in the atmosphere of San Francisco. 

The pier is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators that allow easy navigation throughout the area. Wheelchair users can explore the shops and restaurants without any major obstacles. 

Aquarium of the Bay

The Aquarium of the Bay is a must-visit attraction at Pier 39. The aquarium offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life in the San Francisco Bay. It features various exhibits, including a touch pool where visitors can interact with sea creatures. 

The aquarium is wheelchair-friendly, with wide pathways and accessible restrooms. 

Alcatraz Island 

Another popular activity at Pier 39 is the Alcatraz Island tour. While the island may not be fully wheelchair accessible due to its historic nature, Alcatraz Cruises provides accessible options for visitors with disabilities, including ramps and ADA-standard restrooms. They also offer accessible transportation and accommodations like a lift-equipped shuttle bus from the pier to the prison building. 

Accessibility Tips and Recommendations

Here are some additional tips and recommendations for your visit to Fisherman’s Wharf: 

  • Plan your visit during non-peak hours to avoid the crowds and make getting around easier. 

  • Use accessible transportation options, such as wheelchair-accessible taxis or the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. 
  • Check the accessibility options and make reservations in advance for attractions like Alcatraz Island. 

  • If you need help or have accessibility concerns, ask the staff at the attractions or visitor centers. 

Do You Need a Power Wheelchair in California?

If you’re a California resident with complex rehab needs, Freedom Mobility can help you get into a power wheelchair so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. We’ll work closely with your doctor and insurance to make the process as smooth as possible. 

Contact us today to learn more or schedule a free consultation.