Fisherman’s Wharf- San Fran’s most touristy district

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf gets its name and characteristics from the city’s early days of the mid to late 1800s when Italian immigrant fishermen came to the city to take advantage of the influx of population due to the gold rush. Most of the Italian immigrant fishermen settled in the North Beach/Telegraph Hill area close to the wharf. The character of Fisherman’s Wharf changed significantly in the 1970s & 1980s as the area diversified and became a major tourist destination. This also brought a significant amount new blocky buildings to replace the district’s older stock. Despite this transition, Fisherman’s Wharf remains an active wharf.

From an urban perspective the district is a bit unique due to its active wharf and strong tourism. Compared to the rest of San Fran population is pretty limited. About 1/2 of the district has been redeveloped for bland 70s/80s buildings, albeit generally with good urban form. The neighborhood also has pretty limited tree canopy. But there are still many positives to the living in the Fisherman’s Wharf including excellent public transit access, good bike infrastructure, quality schools nearby, several excellent parks, tons of restaurants & cafes, and plenty of retail amenities.

Click here to view my Fisherman’s Wharf Flickr Page


* Excellent Public Transit Access and great access to Dwtn and the financial district.
* Good bike infrastructure with a couple good dedicated bike paths and lots of bike stations.
* Very good diversity overall. Excellent economic diversity, good racial diversity, and decent generational diversity.
* About 65% of all units are rental controlled.
* No schools directly within district but several highly rated public schools within walking district in adjacent districts.
* Several nice parks in the Fisherman’s Wharf including: Russian Hill Park, Maritime Park, Golden Gate Nat. Park Conservatory, and a couple smaller parks.
* High pedestrian traffic thanks to all the tourist.
* Culturally lots of restaurants, but mostly seafood ones or ones catering to tourist, some bars & breweries, plenty of cafes, and tons of dessert joins including Ghirardelli’s. Other cultural assets include plenty of art galleries and tons of museums catering to the strong tourism.
* Retail amenities include: lots of clothing stores, boutiques, gift stores catering to tourism, lots of unique retail, plenty of banks, a Trader Joe’s & Safeway, several drug stores, and a handful of gyms.


* One of the least dense districts in San Franc. But this has a lot to do with the fact that Fisherman’s Wharf is more of a tourist destination than neighborhood to live.
* Modern architecture has decent urban form but generally bland or ugly 1970s/1980s design. Much of it is also parking lots.
* Historic architecture is pretty limited to the Western section of the district. Its good where it exist.
* For sale product is pretty limited but sales comps show district is a tad cheaper than surrounding areas. 1- bedrooms sales btwn 750K-1M, 2-bedrooms in the low 1 Millions, and 3-bedrooms in the high 1 Ms.
* Rental product also pretty limited. 1-bedrooms lease in the mid-high $2,000s, 2-3 bedrooms anywhere between high 3Ks and 7K.
* Medium rent at $2,500 is pretty high compared to City average.
* Generally good urban form but a fair amount of surface parking and industrial uses near the wharf.
* Tree canopy still good but less than other San Fran Districts.
* District is well known Nationally but not terribly desirable by locals.
* Really no theaters or live music in the district.
* No libraries or post office within the District but still nearby. Very few churches here nor walkable hospitals.
* Night live is good but sup-bar compared to most San Fran districts.

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