December 10, 2010

The historic Ferry Building of San Francisco

San Francisco, one of the most popular cities in the US, has a lot of tourist attractions including Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island. There is another travel destination in San Francisco, which may not be very popular among the international travelers today, but still remains as an important picnic spot/shopping place for the locals and an important travel destination for American travelers. Ferry building is the name of the travel destination that I am talking about, which was once described as "a famous city's most famous landmark".

The Ferry building was opened in 1898, and it became the transportation focal point for those arriving from the East by train and Marin residents who worked in San Francisco. Til 1930s, the only way to reach the city was by ferryboat. In those days, upto 50,000 passengers off the boat traveled through the ferry building everyday. After the opening of Bay Bridge in 1936 and Golden Gate Bridge in 1937, the usage of Ferry building became very limited. Around ten years back, the place was converted into a market place. Today, the Ferry Building Market Place is located in this historic Ferry building.

There are a lot of locals in and around San Francisco who visit the Ferry building market place during the weekends. It has now become more like a picnic spot as well as shopping complex. There are various options for shopping and dining in the Ferry building. You can find all kinds of materials in the two storeyed market place - fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, freshest local fish, wine, bread, cheese, meat, ice creams, cookware, flowers, etc.
Another highlight of the building is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market which operates on specific days in the Ferry building. It is widely acclaimed for both the quality and diversity of its fresh farm products. You can find some of the best knowns chefs and famous farmers of San Francisco here.

The 245 feet long clock tower at the entrance of the building is another highlight of the Ferry building. It was modelled after the famous 12th century bell tower at the Sevile Cathedral of Spain.

The back side of the Market Place is the open space facing the sea where you can find boats even today. You can get a very good view of Bay Bridge from this site. Also, a lot of colorful birds are seen which adds to the attraction of the Ferry building.

When you go to San Francisco, apart from Pier 39, Fisherman Wharf, and Golden Gate Bridge, plan to visit the Ferry Building as well. Transportation is never a problem in San Francisco. You can get a lot of buses and cable cars from the Ferry Building to Pier 39. Travelling by cable car is a unique experience.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: The Ferry Building Market Place 
Site Type: Heritage site, Ferry Building, Market Place
Location: San Francisco, California State, USA 
Highlights: One of the oldest landmarks of San Francisco; even older than the famous Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge
Nearest Train Station: Embarcadero station in San Francisco BART
Nearest Airport: San Francisco
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: A lot of budget and luxury hotels are available within San Francisco; as the local transportation especially BART train system is good, one can even stay in the nearby places too for cheaper options.
Restaurants: Ferry building has innumerable options to dine and wine

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