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Day trip: San Francisco Ferry Building

You could easily spend weeks exploring San Francisco, but if you only have the day, the Ferry Building is the perfect spot to go. Explore shops, restaurants and more in one waterfront stop.

Ferry building in San Francisco

San Francisco is full of must-see sights, historic landmarks, five-star restaurants, plenty of shopping and so much more. But if your time in this iconic city is short, head to a place where you can get all the local flavor in one convenient location.

If you want to take a ferry across the bay, the ferry terminal is the place to go. But did you know that the San Francisco Ferry Building is also home to a 65,000-square-foot marketplace? Originally opened in 1898 to serve as a transportation and commuter hub, the recently renovated Ferry Building is enjoying a new renaissance. Regional small production merchants, artisans, farmers and business owners have set up shop to make the Ferry Building a mecca for both tourists and locals, and especially food lovers. Located along the Embarcadero at the water’s edge and boasting a 245-foot-tall clock tower, this San Francisco landmark is not to be missed.

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Whether you’re in the mood for a cup of joe or a glass of wine, the Ferry Building has you covered. If a long line is a sign of good coffee, head straight to Blue Bottle Coffee and get ready for the perfect cup of freshly roasted coffee. Their approach to making the freshest cup using small-batch roasting is not something you will find at larger chain coffee shops. After the caffeine wears off, stroll down to Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant for a sampling of wines from around the world, all curated by knowledgeable staff. You can enjoy a flight, a glass, or even a beer, which can all be paired with local cheeses and small bites.

Specialty food

Ferry building in San Francisco

Foodies, take note — you will never want to leave this gourmet paradise, and you just might start scheming as to how you can promptly move to San Francisco to hit the Ferry Building once a week for all your epicurean needs. Charcuterie lovers, head straight to Boccalone Salumeria and order up a salumi cone filled with several different choices. They also offer sandwiches, as well as a full selection of handmade cured meats. Since you’ll need some cheese to go with your charcuterie, Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop is the place to go. Not only do they sell dozens of varieties of farmstead cheeses, you can also sample them before you buy. Lastly, to round out your day of food, pick up a freshly baked baguette from Acme Bread Company. With all this, there’s no need to cook dinner, but should you need to pick up a few necessities, stock up at Village Market, a general store with a little bit of everything.

Farmers market

If you happen to visit the Ferry Building on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, you’ll be lucky enough to experience the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. More than 25,000 shoppers come to this market each week, which is considered to be one of the top farmers markets in the country and known for having high-quality products. You’ll find farm-fresh produce, prepared foods, and you might even bump into one of San Francisco’s finest chefs.

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