History of PIER 39

August 1977 – PIER 39 breaks ground. Authentic 1910 wood from Piers 34 and 3 are used to erect the new structure.

October 1978 – PIER 39 opens on schedule to fanfare in San Francisco. Originally, PIER 39 had 50 stores, 23 restaurants, a diving pool and street performers.

May 1979 – Blue & Gold Fleet launches its first Bay Cruise.

August 1981 – Moor + South acquires property, forming the PIER 39 Limited Partnership.

May 1983 – Diving pool at Bay End of The PIER replaced with Venetian Carousel from inside Palace of Fun Arts.

January 1989 – PIER 39 is named the third most-visited attraction in the country by USA Today.

January 1990 – California sea lions begin arriving in droves on PIER 39’s K Dock, creating a local and international sensation. To date, the population has grown as high as 1,701.

April 1996 – Underwater World (now Aquarium of the Bay) opens to the public.

October 1996 – Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market opens at PIER 39.

July 1998 – PIER 39 is named “Best Place to People Watch (San Francisco)” and “Best Video Games Arcade” as voted by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Readers’ Choice competition.

July 1999 – PIER 39 is named “Best Place to People Watch (San Francisco)” as voted by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Readers’ Choice competition.

May 2002 – Riptide Arcade family entertainment center (now Players Sports Grill & Arcade) opens with more than 100 video games, virtual reality units, novelty and prize redemption games.

August 2002 – Hard Rock Cafe opens.

October 2003 – PIER 39 celebrates its 25th anniversary on San Francisco’s historic waterfront.

December 2008 – Arrival of the new, two-story San Francisco Carousel. The Carousel was hand-crafted in Italy and featured paintings of famous San Francisco landmarks.

May 2009 – Blue & Gold Fleet officially debuts RocketBoat, the high-speed thrill ride on San Francisco Bay. RocketBoat is open seasonally (May through October).

July 2009 – Riptide Arcade is remodeled into an arcade and restaurant, and renamed Players Sports Grill & Arcade.

November 2009 – A record 1,701 Sea Lions haul out on PIER 39’s K-Dock. Six new floats are added to accommodate the sudden influx of these marine mammals. San Francisco Whale Tours also joins the PIER 39 Marina.

January 2010 – Aquarium of the Bay obtains non-profit status after it is acquired by The Bay Institute.

May 2011 – PIER 39 is ranked most-visited attraction in San Francisco by San Francisco Travel Association’s 2010 Visitor Profile Study.

October 2012 – 7D Experience – a simulated roller coaster and laser blaster attraction – opens their doors at PIER 39.

June 2013 – Musical Stairs by Remo Saraceni, creator of the famous piano from the Tom Hanks movie Big, are installed at PIER 39.

October 2013 – PIER 39 celebrates its 35th Anniversary on San Francisco’s historic waterfront.

January 2014 – The Sea Lion Center, owned and operated by Aquarium of the Bay, opens at PIER 39. The Sea Lion Center is a free interpretative learning center focusing on the California sea lion.

July 2014 – PIER 39 unveils Open Heart—part of San Francisco General Hospital Foundation’s 2014 “Hearts in San Francisco” collection—at the Bay End of The PIER.

January 2015 – PIER 39 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival to PIER 39.

April 2015 – PIER 39 once again ranked most-visited attraction in San Francisco by San Francisco Travel Association’s 2014 Visitor Profile Study.

October 2017 – PIER 39 celebrates its 39th anniversary on the San Francisco Waterfront.

June 2018 – The “Skip The Straw” Campaign launches at all restaurants and eateries on PIER 39.