Start off with a hearty breakfast at the Eagle Café, a 1920s longshoremen’s haunt transferred in 1978 to PIER 39, where you’ll find filling dishes like their homemade corned beef hash and eggs, or Dungeness crab benedict.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
At the end of the Hyde Street Pier, jutting into San Francisco Bay, historic ships such as the 1895 schooner C.A. Thayer, the 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka and the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha highlight a collection of vintage watercraft. An open-sided boat repair shop on the pier gives visitors a good look at repair and restoration work, free of charge. The park visitor center is located on the landward side of Jefferson in a beautifully restored former cannery, a 1908 brick structure that also houses the Argonaut Hotel.
Buena Vista Café
Across Jefferson Street from the Hyde Street cable car turnaround, grab lunch or a pick-me-up at the always-popular Buena Vista, which introduced Irish coffee to America back in the 1950s.
Alcatraz is a must-see for everyone and especially first-time visitors. Aptly named Alcatraz Cruises, the National Park Service concessionaire operates visits to Alcatraz. Visitors can tour the eerie old cellblocks and listen to recorded memories of former prisoners and guards. The night tour is especially spooky.