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A Visit to the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace

Updated: September 27, 2021
 By Britt

San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace Building Exterior Many of our walking tours (and many hop-on hop-off bus tours) finish near the San Francisco Ferry Building, which makes it a convenient place to get a drink, a snack, or a souvenir to take back home. But in addition to being incredibly convenient, this is also one of the best places in the city to spend an afternoon. So read on and we'll show you the best way to have a great time at the Ferry Building, some of the best food and drinks, and we'll take you to the world class views the area has to offer.

The Food:

San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace Cowgirl

While you're at the San Francisco Ferry Building, whether you’re looking for take-away, a quick bite or a sit-down experience, the San Francisco Ferry Building has everything you might want. Right inside the main entrance, Cowgirl Creamery offers sandwiches and sides made with their local cheeses (we recommend the mac ’n’ cheese!), as well as soup and salad. Or, go next door to the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop and pick up a small wheel of their cheese to go with the fresh baked bread from Acme Bread Company. Frog Hollow Farm Market & Café serves breakfast and brunch food – until they run out for the day. And if you’re looking for “tasty, salted pig parts,” Boccalone has you covered. For dessert, would you prefer local ice cream from Humphry Slocombe or something from the local bakers at Miette Patisserie?

If you’re looking for a more comfortable place to sit down, there’s nothing like slurping oysters while looking out over the Bay at Hog Island Oyster Company. The Slanted Door offers Vietnamese cuisine with lots of options for vegetarians, or you could grab a table on the Market Bar patio for happy hour.

The Drinks:

Between Blue Bottle Coffee, Peets Coffee and Tea and the Wine Merchant, the Ferry Building has your beverage needs covered. Sip a pot of tea at the Imperial Tea Court or take some of their house blends home. If you don’t want alcohol or caffeine, there are also many options for fresh lemonade, fresh juices or milkshakes.

The Souvenirs:

San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace Olive Oil

Between the agriculture to the south and the wine and cheese to the north, the best San Francisco souvenirs are food related. And the San Francisco Ferry Building has some great ideas for you! In addition to the delicious, perishable cheese, bread and produce, the Ferry Building also has many options that are easy to bring back home – if you can manage to avoid eating them before they arrive. For example, Stonehouse Olive Oil has a fantastic tasting bar of their many selections of local olive oil and vinegars, and they sell airplane-sized bottles of their best sellers as well as smaller sample bottles. Several different shops sell plates, mugs and kitchen pottery made by local artists. McEvoy Ranch will ship its wine and olive oil to your house, but they also make soap and lotion with the flowers they grow on their property. And don’t forget to pick up a hand-painted, reusable canvas grocery bag to carry all your treasures home.

The View:

San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace View

If you’ve got a few extra minutes (or an extra hour!), The ferry building marketplace also has a fantastic place to hang out, with a world class view of the bay. If you’re willing to wait, there are a few sit-down restaurants that have outside seating with the view. If, like us, you’re too hungry to wait, bring your take-away to one of the benches in the back. But while you're out there, make sure you keep an eye on the hungry, opportunistic seagulls. They'll swoop down and grab your food while you aren't looking!

An additional note about the view: if you come to the Ferry Building at night, the entire Bay Bridge will light up with an amazing light show. So even if you come here for lunch, come back sometime for dinner!

The Farmer’s Market:

If you happen to visit the Ferry Building on Saturday, Tuesday or Thursday before 2pm, you’ll find a bustling Farmer’s Market outside this San Francisco landmark. In additional to local farmers selling fresh produce, you can also find vendors selling fresh oysters, cow cheese, goat cheese, flowers, meat, bread as well as prepared meals. Many of the people selling the produce are also involved with the growing process, so they are happy to answer questions and share some samples. Even in the middle of winter, the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market has plenty of beautiful, local fruits and vegetables, and we often come home with more than we can eat.

Farmers Market Hours:
Saturday 8am – 2pm
Tuesday 10am – 2pm
Thursday 10am – 2pm

About The Author


Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city. A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.
Updated: September 27th, 2021
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