Like Salem Maritime National Historic Site, its counterpart in the East, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Site celebrates the history of America’s relationship with the sea—in this case, with the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate.
The site—a short walk from popular tourist destinations Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square—is comprised of three main sections: the Maritime Museum , the Visitor Center/Museum, and Hyde Street Pier. The Maritime Museum is located at Polk and Beach Streets in Aquatic Park and contains ship models as well as a section of a gold rush ship. The Visitor Center/Museum is a permanent addition to the Maritime Museum. It contains a beautiful Fresnel lighthouse lens and portrays the story of old San Francisco's waterfront.
The best part of the site, however, is the Hyde Street Pier. On the pier, visitors can explore a working boatbuilders’ shop and several restored 19th and early 20th century ships, including a steam ferryboat and sailing vessels. A small boat collection includes a replica of a Chinese junk. The end of the pier offers wonderful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Rangers offer ship tours, and it's even possible to take boat building classes here!
If You Go > >
Make sure to wander through adjacent Fort Mason, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and don’t miss the WWII submarine located on a nearby pier, but still part of the Historic Site.