With the luxury of nearly two months of planning, our list of things to see and do in San Francisco was over a mile long. Streetcars, Alcatraz, The Wharf, Coit Tower, Golden Gate, Top of the Mark...The list went on and on, yet nowhere on my radar was the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.
That is until a few days before our departure, when I stumbled across the post 5 Reasons to Love San Francisco's Ferry Building by Jenna at This Is My Happiness. The pseudo-farmers market that she described certainly piqued my interest, but I decided the sightseeing list was already far too long. We'd stop if we happened to be in the neighborhood, but that's about it.
The first order of business after arriving to our hotel was to find some desperately needed lunch. We asked the concierge for some ideas, and his suggestion was quite clear... "Trust me, this is where you want to go." That was good enough for us. Less than an hour after arriving in San Francisco, we found ourselves making a bee-line to this "if we're in the neighborhood" destination.
The San Francisco Ferry Building was once a bustling transportation hub, serving thousands that commuted to the city each day. The development of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge resulted in much of the city's ferry service to shutdown, leaving this beautiful building vacant and in disrepair. In addition, the Embarcadero Highway was built across the front of the building, pushing it into a "no man's land" on San Francisco's waterfront.
The earthquake of 1989 caused the destruction, and eventual removal, of the Embarcadero Highway, allowing the Ferry Building to see the light of day once more. Today, ferry service operates once again from its terminal, but the real reason to visit the San Francisco Ferry Building is what's inside. Food...insanely great food.
Coming to the Ferry Building hungry might have been the biggest mistake I've made all year. I wanted it...all of it. And every time I turned around, there was yet another place that made my eyes grow as big as baseballs.
A shop with nothing but mushrooms...
|I don't like mushrooms, but I love truffles. There's a difference.|
The sign says it all....
A table selling oysters on the half shell to passers-by blew my mind...
Eventually MJ reeled me in and suggested we pull up a stool at the San Francisco Fish Company for lunch. I chowed down on a soft shell crab sandwich, and while I've only had a couple of these in my life, I'm sure if I'd had more I would still rank it #1 of all time.
The crab sandwich was great, but the donut stand we passed on the way in was really what was calling my name. This wasn't your ordinary donut stand however, because the little drops of heaven from Pepples Donuts are vegan. I like to consider myself a bit of a donut connoisseur - read: addict - and these blew my mind in such a way that I'm still not buying they were really vegan.
In addition to the historic setting and the mind-numbingly awesome food, the Ferry Building is a great place for an alfresco lunch with a view. We took our iced coffee and vegan donuts outside, and wondered how amazing the next three days would be considering this was just the first hour.
The San Francisco Ferry Building combines three things which always pair well together...history, food, and a view. If you only have a short time in the City by the Bay, skip the tourist traps at Pier 39 and the Wharf, and instead treat yourself to this slice of quintessential San Francisco.
If you go...
- Open 7 days a week.
- Easily accessible via BART, MUNI, or the Trollies.
- Walking tours available on Tuesday and Saturday at noon.
- Have a donut for me.