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San Francisco’s Ferry Building

San Francisco is one of my favourite cities to visit, and, if you haven’t been, the city should be on your list, too.

Every time I’m in San Francisco, one of my goals is to visit the Ferry Building – whether it’s to take a ferry across the Bay, sample some food, or have a coffee and watch people, it’s a beautiful way to spend the afternoon, rain or shine.

Built in 1898, surviving the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, and having endured being “hidden” behind the double-deck Embarcadero Skyway from 1957 until its demolition in 1991, the Ferry Building is not only a landmark for visitors, but is also to local residents a hub for transport and commerce.

Ferry Building, The Embarcadero, San Francisco

The design of the clock tower is based on the 12th-century La Giralda in Sevilla, Spain.

Booths inside on the ground floor provide a variety of products for sale, including meat, fish, wine, milk, cheese, tea, coffee, fruit and vegetables – various foods to nibble, many drinks to sip, and even, a book or two to read. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the Farmers Market brings fresh products from around the area, and is operated by the nonprofit Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.

Ferry Building, Embarcadero, San FranciscoFerry Building, Embarcadero, San Francisco

Grab yourself a coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee or Peet’s, and sit on the benches outside. Check out the ferries as they arrive and depart from the docks; imagine your own ride across the waters of the Bay. Gaze at the fog rolling past the Bay Bridge and into the eastern reaches of the Bay. Watch locals looking to pick up the makings of a meal tonight or tourists wandering about what’s inside.

And if you’re hungry, it’s time for a snack …

Out the Door, Ferry Building, San FranciscoOut the Door, Ferry Building, San Francisco
“Out the Door” (The Slanted Door) : steamed bbq-pork, chicken buns.

Through a separate and exterior entrance, you can go up to the second floor and have a look at the open space above – The Grand Nave. Various companies including the Port of San Francisco have office space here.

Ferry Building, Embarcadero, San FranciscoFerry Building, Embarcadero, San Francisco

By night or by day, you’ll take away good memories when you visit the Ferry Building.

Ferry Building, The Embarcadero, San FranciscoFerry Building, The Embarcadero, San Francisco
View from Pier 1 : top — 640pm, 27 Dec 2011; bottom — thirteen hours later at 8am, 28 Dec 2011.

To reach the Ferry Building, one can naturally hop on a ferry from outlying areas or from across the Bay with Baylink Ferry, East Bay Ferry, or the Blue and Gold Fleet. If you’re within the city or within reach of rapid transit, the nearest BART station Embarcadero is a short walk away. All urban MUNI metro lines pass or stop at Embarcadero; a number of MUNI bus routes pass near the Ferry Building, as well as the historic F Market & Wharves streetcar line.

If you’d like some quiet, walk east from the Ferry Building and onto Pier 14

I made the photos above on 27 and 28 December 2011 with (i) the Canon EOS450D camera, the 18-55mm kit-lens by day, and the 50mm prime-lens at night; and (ii) the 4th-generation iPod Touch. This post appears originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (

4 Responses to “San Francisco’s Ferry Building”

    • fotoeins

      Hi, Amer. I highly recommend a visit to the Ferry Building, whether the Farmers Market is on that day, and whether it’s rain or sun. It’s got a good mix of locals and visitors, and especially so, when the commuters hop on and off the ferries from around the Bay Area.

      Thanks for commenting and stopping by!


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