The San Francisco Ferry Building is a terminal for ferries located on The Embarcadero in San Francisco, California, United States. Ferry routes operated by Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry serve the terminal. It also contains restaurants, shops and offices.
History of the San Francisco Ferry Building
The ferry building, designed in 1892 by American architect A. Page Brown in the Beaux-Arts style, was completed in 1898. Up until that time, the city of San Francisco had never undertaken a project that large.
It features a clock tower 245 feet in height with four clock dials, each 22 feet in diameter. It’s so big that it can be seen from Market Street, a major thoroughfare of San Francisco, California.
In the 1950s, following the construction of bridges to carry traffic from the north and east bays and the conversion of many streetcar routes to bus routes, the ferry building saw a decline in use. As a result, it was adapted to primarily office use.
However, in 1992, San Francisco began the creation of a port development plan which would revitalize the ferry building as a tourist and ferry transit destination. The restored ferry building was reopened in 2003 and renamed to the Ferry Building Marketplace. It now featured restaurants, merchants and shops, and an outdoor farmers market.
Ferry service to and from the San Francisco Ferry Building
The terminal at the San Francisco Ferry Building is served by Golden Gate Ferry and San Francisco Bay Ferry. There are six ferry piers — Gate B, Gate C, Gate D, Gate E, Gate F and Gate G.
Gate B is used for the Vallejo Ferry, operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry, and the Treasure Island Ferry.
Gates E, F and G are used by San Francisco Bay Ferry. Gate E is used for the Richmond Ferry on weekdays. Gate F is used for the Alameda Seaplane Ferry, Harbor Bay Ferry, Pier 41 Short Hop Ferry, and the Richmond Ferry on weekends. Gate G is used for Alameda Main Street Ferry and Oakland Ferry.
Farmers market at the San Francisco Ferry Building
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, operated by Foodwise, is a California certified farmers market open year round on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
On Tuesday and Thursday the farmers market is open from 10am to 2pm and take place in front of the ferry building.
On Saturday the market is open from 8am to 2pm and takes place in both the front and back of the ferry building. Upwards of 30,000 people attend the farmers market on Saturday.
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market features produce and flowers from top Bay Area farms. Other products offered include regional meat, seafood, bread, cheese and jams and various food vendors offering brunch and lunch menus.
Restaurants at the San Francisco Ferry Building
The San Francisco Ferry Building currently features the following restaurants.
- Blue Bottle Coffee: A specialty coffee company with two locations in the ferry building. A modern espresso bar in the north nave and a tasting room out front in the North Arcade. The menu includes espresso drinks, individually prepared drip coffee, and iced coffee as well as snacks such as granola and Belgian waffles.
- Boulettes Larder and Boulibar: A restaurant and bar offering a menu that is rotated daily and a larder that offers carefully curated ingredients, condiments and prepared foods.
- Cholita Linda: A Latin American restaurant offering fare such as fish tacos, agua frescas and more, all made from scratch.
- Daily Driver: A bagel shop that sells fresh, wood-fired, organic bagels, hand-paddled butter and fresh cream cheese. It is the San Francisco Bay Area’s only certified organic bagel shop and creamery.
- Donut Farm: A donut shop serving vegan, organic donuts made from the highest quality ingredients. It was started in 2006 by Josh Levine, a San Francisco native.
- El Porteno Empanadas: Offering authentic Argentinian hand-made empanadas.
- Gott’s Roadside: Serving California-inspired dishes and fare like their California Burger with a fried egg and beer from San Francisco based Anchor Steam.
- Hog Island Oyster Company: Oyster bar and restaurant known for their fresh oysters from Tomales Bay. They also offer other shellfish dishes such as oyster stew, steamed clams and clam chowder as well as a full-service bar with beer, wine and cocktails.
- The Slanted Door: A nationally-acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant owned and operated by Charles Phan. The restaurant sits 175 with a menu ranging from Vietnamese street food to more complex meat and seafood entrees.
Shops and merchants at the San Francisco Ferry Building
The San Francisco Ferry Building contains various shops and merchants such as:
- Acme Bread Company: A bakery offering various artisan breads freshly baked throughout the day.
- Bay Crossings: Located immediately to the right of the Ferry Building main entrance, Bay Crossings is where you’ll find ferry and tour information as well as purchase your ferry tickets.
- Benedetta: Offering skin and body care products made from farm-sourced botanicals.
- Book Passage: An independent book store offering fiction and non-fiction books, regional maps and guidebooks, children’s and young adult books as well as hosting author signings and literary events.
- Carmel Honey: Providing pure, raw, unheated and unfiltered honey and honey-based products.
- Epicurean Trader: A premier gourmet food, wine and spirits market with a focus on small-batch, artisanal producers. Oils, vinegars, cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates, wine, and craft spirts and beer can all be found here.
- Fog City Flea Trading Post: A 5,000 square foot store featuring handcrafted jewelry, apparel, housewares, accessories and art from San Francisco Bay Area makers and merchants.
- Heath Ceramics: Offering handcrafted tableware and tile products.
- Stonehouse California Olive Oil: Providing locally-grown olive oils, vinegars and spices. Known for their citrus oils such as Lisbon Lemon, Blood Orange and Persian Lime.
- Village Market: A more general grocery store that provides dry goods and pantry staples such as flour, sugar, tea, pasta and dried beans.