Pier 39, San Francisco

tyrrel from Lincolnshire

Last updated at 11:45 11 April 2005

Pier 39 is a welcome retreat from the monotonous shops of Union Square (when you've seen one GAP, you've seen them all).

Thankfully there's no mistaking where you are at Pier 39, ignore the often biting wind, even in July, and browse around the quaint restaurants and shops.

The entrance to the pier is flanked by The Crab house, home to the world famous 'killer Crab'. If you can handle even more excitement, head to the furthest end of the pier to see the bay's local residents forming a naked, open air orgy. I am talking about the Sea Lions of course.

At night the pier is enchanting, with many nearby restaurants offering a variety of tempting dishes, although seafood is a recurring theme.

There is a delightful Carousel at the far end of the pier to amuse youngsters as are the many street performers. Look out for the 'tree man', a personal favourite.

I guarantee that as you wander around the pier at night, casting your gaze to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, the taste of salt in the air and the sounds of laughter carried by the wind, you cannot fail to fall in love with the city by the bay.

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