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San Francisco Maritime Museum

What to Expect When You Visit This Fisherman's Wharf Tourist Attraction

The San Francisco Maritime Museum is a popular museum in the Fishermans Wharf neighborhood. It's just one of the museums found in the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.

This San Francisco museum shows you the real story about those that made their living on the water here. It includes educational exhibits on the history of the area. Some of the exhibits are hands on with additional videos and other interactive elements.

Another great thing about the Maritime Museum is that it's free!

maritime museum san francsico

Part of the Maritime Museum is in the old white Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building on Beach and Polk Streets. This is a work in progress right now and only has a few small traveling exhibits. The plan is to add more permanent exhibits soon - I'll keep you posted on this and let you know when the permanent exhibits are on display.

Even though there is little to see in the official San Francisco Maritime Museum, you should also head over to the recently opened Visitors Center. This is where you will find several new interactive exhibits. You will find this on the first floor of the Argonaut Hotel on Jefferson and Hyde Streets.

If you have the time, I recommend you visit both. The Aquatic Park Bathhouse building is beautiful on the inside with some great views of the bay. When you enter, they might direct you over to the new Visitors Center - but feel free to spend a little time looking around.

Here is just one of the exhibits that was still on display during my last visit. As you can see, the building also has several fun, colorful murals.

san francisco maritime museum

Your visit here won't take too long - maybe 10 to 15 minutes (until the permanent exhibit is on display), but they have a couple of cool things to see here. You'll also want to walk onto the outside deck in the back. Here you can get some great shots of Alcatraz Island...

alcatraz island from maritime museum

...and the Hyde Street Pier.

hyde street pier

Once you are done with this part of the San Francisco Maritime Museum, take a stroll through Aquatic Park. Here you can snap a couple of photos of the water with with the Golden Gate Bridge off in the distance...

aquatic park

When you walk into the new Visitors Center - an extension of the San Francisco Maritime Museum - you will be greeted by this old lighthouse light. It's the only time I've seen one so close up. It's fun to watch it spin around and to learn more about these amazing - but mysterious - lights.

light at maritime museum

After you are done in the entry way, you will move into the Waterfront Exhibits in the San Francisco Maritime Museum. This is where you learn even more about the men and women who worked on the waters along the San Francisco bay.

maritime museum san francisco

Here are a few other pictures from my visit.

maritime museum crissy field

This is an early view on Crissy Field. It shows all of the original wildlife that lived here and a few important historical facts.

buried ships in san francisco

This exhibit showcases the history of some of the ships buried below the streets of San Francisco.

ferry pics maritime museum

You can also see some great, old pictures of some of the boats and ferries that called San Francisco home.

Your entire visit to the San Francisco Maritime Museum will take around an hour to an hour and a half. This includes visiting both buildings and spending a little time taking pictures in Aquatic Park.

Hours of Operation

The San Francisco Maritime Museum is located at 499 Jefferson Street and the corner of Hyde Street.


  • Monday - Sunday: 10 AM - 4 PM.
  • The Visitors Center (where you'll find the interactive exhibits): September - May: 9:30am - 5pm / June - August: 9:30am - 5:30pm
  • They are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Both are free to visit.

If you want to visit other attractions in the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, just ask the rangers at the information desk. They will be happy to get you pointed in the right direction.

Here are some other top Fishermans Wharf attractions and activities.

Best Fishermans Wharf Hotels

Fishermans Wharf is also one of the most popular neighborhoods for people to stay in when visiting San Francisco. Most hotels are close to the action. There is also plenty of public transportation, so you can easily get to other parts of the city.

Although there are plenty of hotels to choose from, there are a few that stand out. Read on to find some of my favorites.

Learn More: Fishermans Wharf Hotels

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