Once the second busiest transportation hub in the world, the Ferry Building has long been a major focal point of San Francisco. Sitting along the Embarcadero with the sparkling Bay Bridge as its backdrop, it today serves as the Bay Area’s gastronomic epicenter, where you can gleefully stuff your face with all sorts of local, artisanal goods, including chocolate, cheese, bread, ice cream, “tasty salted pig parts,” and so much more. Here’s a quick history and guide to all the culinary highlights of this jaw-dropping place in San Francisco.
1. Rich in History
Built in 1898, the Ferry Building was one of the few buildings in the city to survive the 1906 earthquake. It was a bustling transit terminal until the completion of the Bay and Golden Gate Bridges drastically cut down on passenger ferry use.
2. Reliving Its Former Glory
After going into a state of disrepair (and being cut off from the rest of the city with the construction of the Embarcadero Freeway—which was removed after the 1989 earthquake), the Ferry Building was restored and reopened in 2003. The original clock made in 1898 is still a prominent feature.
3. A Foodie's Paradise
Today, it's a must-visit spot for any foodie, featuring an incredible showcase of local and artisanal goods.
4. A World-Class Farmers Market
The widely acclaimed farmers market features a vast array of local fresh farm products and artisan and prepared foods, many of which are certified organic. The market is open every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am-2pm, with the largest market happening Saturdays from 8am-2pm.
5. Dandelion Chocolate and Recchiuti Confections
Chocolate lovers must make a stop at
's "Hot Chocolate Stand," where you can sample the small-batch maker's 70% bars or order up a rich hot chocolate or mocha. Next, stop at Recchiuti Confections for rich burnt caramel truffles and other decadent chocolate nibbles.
6. The Acme Bread Company
This acclaimed bread company has been baking breads since 1983 and supplies bread to dozens of revered restaurants around the Bay Area. Their most popular types: the sourdough (of course), walnut levain, olive bread, challah, and cinnamon currant bread.
7. Cowgirl Creamery
You know what goes best with that bread? A nice slab of rich, creamy cheese. Fortunately, nearby Cowgirl Creamery is right there to make that dream pairing come true with their handmade organic cheeses. We're especially fond of the crème fraiche.
8. Blue Bottle Coffee
A pioneer in coffee’s “third wave,” Blue Bottle is one of San Francisco's favorite single-origin coffee purveyors. They’re known for their bright, acidic light roasts, and… long lines. Pro tip: Go to the north arcade area outside for a much shorter wait!
9. Miette Patisserie
This beautiful pastry shop is known for its incredible sugary treats. Come for the macarons—delicately crispy and creamy in all the right places—and stay for the award-winning cakes, cupcakes, and confections. In particular, the Gingerbread Cupcake was given the title as "Best Cupcake in America" by The Food Network.
10. Humphry Slocombe
Inspired by a British 1970s sitcom (hence the strange name), this ice cream shop features flavors just as lovingly goofy (and ridiculously good). Some of their wildest flavors include Foie, Elvis (The Fat Years), Bacon, Ancho Chilies, Hibiscus Beet, Olive Oil, and Potato Chips. But you can just get plain ol' Tahitian vanilla and still be richly satisfied. This place also got the stamp of approval from the Food Network as one of the Top 5 Ice Creams in America.
11. La Cocina
This non-profit works hard to help female entrepreneurs grow their own food-based companies. This outpost showcases some of their most popular items, which range from rich desserts to soup mixes to chocolate-covered mealworms.
12. Boccalone Salumeria
Get "Tasty Salted Pig Parts" and a world-famous meat cone at this carnivore hot spot owned by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino. Their sustainably raised, heritage-breed pork is mixed with Italian sea salt and fresh spices and lovingly cured by hand in small batches.
13. Pepples Organic Donuts
Not into the pig parts? Then, head on over to Pepples' kiosk and get yourself a rich and fluffy donut that's… vegan! Flavors range from classics like cinnamon sugar and chocolate to matcha green tea, Philz coffee, and meyer lemon.
14. Slanted Door
This acclaimed restaurant sits in the back of the Ferry Building, overlooking the Bay, but you'll most likely be head-deep in raw oysters and the carefully crafted modern Vietnamese dishes. (Tip: Can't get a reservation? Get a taste of their goods at their small shop around the corner, Out the Door).