Is Fisherman’S Wharf Safe? Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting

With its seaside location, proximity to tourist attractions, and lively atmosphere, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf attracts millions of visitors each year. However, some people wonder, is Fisherman’s Wharf safe for tourists?

If safety is a concern for your upcoming San Francisco trip, here’s what you need to know.

The quick answer is: yes, Fisherman’s Wharf is generally safe for tourists, especially during daytime hours. Like any busy tourist area, visitors should exercise common-sense precautions. But violent crime rates in the area are relatively low.

Understanding Fisherman’s Wharf Crime Statistics

When planning a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s natural to have concerns about safety. To make an informed decision, it’s important to understand the crime statistics of the area. By examining these statistics, you can gain a clearer picture of the safety conditions at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Day vs. Night Safety

One aspect to consider when assessing the safety of Fisherman’s Wharf is the time of day. During the daytime, Fisherman’s Wharf is generally considered safe for tourists and visitors. The area is bustling with activity, and there are numerous tourists, locals, and law enforcement officers present.

However, as with any popular tourist destination, it’s essential to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

At night, Fisherman’s Wharf can become quieter, with fewer people around. While crime can occur at any time, it’s important to note that the reported incidents of crime at Fisherman’s Wharf are relatively low compared to other neighborhoods in the city.

Taking basic safety precautions, such as traveling in groups and staying in well-lit areas, can help ensure a safe visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, even at night.

Types of Reported Crimes

The reported crimes at Fisherman’s Wharf are typically non-violent in nature. Incidents like pickpocketing, theft, and vandalism are more commonly reported. These crimes can happen in crowded areas, so it’s crucial to keep an eye on your belongings and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuable items.

By taking simple measures like using a money belt or keeping your belongings secure, you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim of these crimes.

It’s important to note that serious crimes such as assault and robbery are relatively rare at Fisherman’s Wharf. However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surroundings to ensure your safety.

Safety Precautions to Take

While Fisherman’s Wharf is generally a safe destination, it’s wise to take some safety precautions to ensure a worry-free visit. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your belongings secure and in sight at all times.
  • Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or electronic devices.
  • Stay in well-lit and populated areas.
  • Travel in groups, especially at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
  • If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities or security personnel.

By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy your visit to Fisherman’s Wharf with peace of mind.

Notable Recent Incidents in the Area

While Fisherman’s Wharf is generally considered a safe tourist destination, there have been a few notable incidents in the area in recent years. It is important to be aware of these incidents and take necessary precautions when visiting.

1. Petty Theft and Pickpocketing

Like any popular tourist spot, Fisherman’s Wharf attracts its fair share of petty theft and pickpocketing. Visitors should be cautious of their belongings and keep an eye on their personal items at all times.

It is advisable to use a secure bag or backpack and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables with you.

2. Car Break-ins

There have been reports of car break-ins in the parking lots near Fisherman’s Wharf. To minimize the risk, it is recommended to park in well-lit areas and avoid leaving any valuable items visible in your car.

If possible, use a secure parking facility or consider using public transportation when visiting the area.

3. Occasional Street Crime

While rare, there have been isolated incidents of street crime in the vicinity of Fisherman’s Wharf. It is always a good idea to stay in well-populated areas, especially at night, and be aware of your surroundings.

If you encounter any suspicious individuals or situations, report them to the local authorities.

4. Tourist Scams

As with any popular tourist destination, there may be individuals trying to take advantage of visitors. Be cautious of people offering unsolicited services or selling counterfeit goods. Stick to reputable establishments and always confirm prices and terms before engaging in any transactions.

It is important to note that while these incidents have occurred, Fisherman’s Wharf remains a popular and safe destination for tourists. The local authorities are actively working to ensure the safety and security of visitors.

By staying alert and taking necessary precautions, you can enjoy your visit to Fisherman’s Wharf without any major concerns.

Tips for Staying Safe During Your Visit

Remain Alert and Aware

When visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s important to remain alert and aware of your surroundings. While it is generally a safe area, like any popular tourist destination, there can be instances of petty theft or pickpocketing.

Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and be cautious of any suspicious activity around you. If you notice something unusual, don’t hesitate to notify the authorities or the nearest security personnel. Remember, staying vigilant can go a long way in ensuring your safety.

Travel in Groups When Possible

Traveling in groups can provide an added layer of security during your visit to Fisherman’s Wharf. Not only does it make you less of a target for potential criminals, but it also allows you to look out for one another.

Exploring the area with friends or family members can enhance your overall experience and provide peace of mind. Additionally, larger groups tend to deter criminals who may be looking for easy targets.

Use Ride Share Services Cautiously

If you plan on using ride share services like Uber or Lyft to get to and from Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s important to use caution. Verify the driver’s identity and the vehicle details before getting in. Always ensure that the license plate number matches the one provided in the app.

If something feels off or you have any concerns about your safety, trust your instincts and find an alternative mode of transportation. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Keep Valuables Hidden

One of the key measures to prevent theft is to keep your valuables hidden. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry, gadgets, or large amounts of cash, as it can attract unwanted attention. Instead, keep your belongings secure in a bag or a pocket that is not easily accessible to others.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to leave any unnecessary valuables, such as expensive watches or designer handbags, at home. By taking these precautions, you can minimize the risk of becoming a target for theft.

Common Tourist Scams to Watch Out For

Ticket Scalping

One common scam that tourists should be aware of when visiting Fisherman’s Wharf is ticket scalping. Ticket scalping refers to the illegal practice of reselling tickets at a higher price than their face value.

This often occurs near popular tourist attractions where individuals try to take advantage of tourists’ desire to visit these attractions. They may approach you on the street or outside the entrance of an attraction, offering tickets at a seemingly discounted price.

However, these tickets may be fake or invalid, leaving you out of pocket and unable to enter the attraction.

To avoid falling victim to ticket scalping, it is best to purchase tickets from official sources. Most attractions have authorized ticket vendors or websites where you can purchase tickets in advance. This ensures that you have legitimate tickets and can enjoy your visit without any issues.

Counterfeit Goods

Another common scam at Fisherman’s Wharf, like many other tourist destinations, is the sale of counterfeit goods. Vendors may try to entice you with cheap prices on popular brands such as designer handbags, watches, or electronics. However, these goods are usually fake and of poor quality.

Buying counterfeit goods not only supports illegal activities but also leaves you with a product that may not function as expected or last for a reasonable amount of time.

To avoid purchasing counterfeit goods, it is recommended to shop at reputable stores or authorized retailers. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the authentic details of the brands you are interested in, such as logos, packaging, and product features.

This will help you spot any discrepancies and make informed purchases.

Rigged Games

When visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, you may come across various carnival-style games, such as ring toss or ball throwing. While these games may seem fun and innocent, some operators may rig them to make it nearly impossible for you to win.

They may use smaller or heavier balls, manipulate the equipment, or have hidden mechanisms that prevent you from successfully completing the game. This can lead to frustration and wasted money.

If you decide to play these games, it is essential to approach them with a sense of fun rather than expecting to win. Remember that the primary purpose of these games is often for entertainment rather than offering fair chances to win prizes.

If you suspect that a game is rigged or unfair, it is best to avoid it and find other enjoyable activities at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Remember, being aware of these common scams can help you have a safe and enjoyable visit to Fisherman’s Wharf. Always be cautious, trust your instincts, and rely on official sources for tickets and purchases.

Safety Precautions for Specific Attractions

Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

When visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not! at Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s important to keep a few safety precautions in mind. The attraction is known for its odd and unique exhibits, but it’s always a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Here are some tips to ensure a safe visit:

  • Stay with your group and avoid wandering off alone.
  • Follow all posted rules and regulations within the attraction.
  • Be mindful of any interactive exhibits that may have specific safety instructions.
  • Keep an eye on your personal belongings to prevent theft or loss.

By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy an entertaining and safe experience at Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf

The Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular tourist attraction known for its lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and fictional characters. While visiting the museum, it’s important to take certain safety precautions into consideration:

  • Observe any roped-off areas or barriers to ensure you don’t accidentally touch or damage the wax figures.
  • Keep a close eye on children to prevent them from running or touching the exhibits.
  • Exercise caution when taking photos to avoid any accidents or collisions with other visitors.
  • Follow any instructions provided by museum staff for a safe and enjoyable visit.

By following these safety precautions, you can fully appreciate the incredible artistry of the wax figures while maintaining a safe environment for yourself and others.

USS Pampanito

The USS Pampanito is a historic World War II submarine that is now open for public tours at Fisherman’s Wharf. While exploring the submarine, it’s essential to prioritize your safety. Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Wear appropriate footwear to navigate the narrow corridors and steep stairs of the submarine.
  • Listen carefully to the tour guide’s instructions and follow any safety guidelines provided.
  • Be mindful of low ceilings and watch your head to avoid any injuries.
  • Exercise caution when moving through tight spaces to prevent accidental bumps or falls.

By adhering to these safety precautions, you can have a fascinating and secure experience as you explore the USS Pampanito.


In summary, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is generally a safe area for tourists to explore. By staying alert, using common sense, traveling in groups when possible, and keeping valuables secure, visitors can focus on creating wonderful memories.

While no destination is completely crime-free, Fisherman’s Wharf is highly frequented by tourists and locals, especially during daylight and evening hours. So take normal safety precautions, then relax and enjoy the sights, shops, restaurants and entertainment that this popular waterfront area provides.

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