After doing the Alcatraz tour, we were trying to find a place to regroup and figure out how we would spend the rest of the day. We saw Pier 39 and were looking for a place to sit down. After not really finding anything since it was raining outside, we finally went into the California Welcome Center office (second floor) which was really helpful. While there, I remembered that there are sea lions on one of the piers. Turns out it was that pier! We asked one of the employees where to find them and he pointed the way (plus gave me a great recommendation on where to find good dim sum in China Town — as we weren’t sure where to go). Once we got outside we realized we wouldn’t have missed the sea lions anyway, as there are several signs. Basically if you’re facing the pier / water ... they’re to the left of the pier. Also, if you’re at the front of the pier (near the road, not the water), you’ll see the Sea Lion sculpture ... and the sea lions are straight ahead, behind the statue, on wood docks floating in the water. There are two ways to view the sea lions — at water level or on the second level. The best view is on the second level, plus it is less crowded. It was cool being able to see the Sea Lions, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge — all in the same view. I took a lot of pictures and video (which is unusual for me), but they’re really loud and cute. As far as history goes, the sea lions showed up uninvited back in 1989 after an earthquake and never left. Since they’re wild animals, please do not feed them — as they need to retain the ability to hunt for their own food. Having said that ... there must be a lot of fish in the area as they’re pretty fat.
We're glad you enjoyed time with the beloved sea lions during your stay in San Francisco! Until your next visit to PIER 39, look in on them anytime with the Sea Lion Webcam on our website. We look forward to welcoming you back again soon for more fun by the bay!