When in San Fran, there are many reasons why you should get yourself down to the Ferry Marketplace. 

Here are our top 5:

1 – The building & history 

You know how we love a good building? Well, this is an excellent one. And it comes with good story.

Located on the Embarcadero at the end of Market Street, it opened in 1898 as a transport and commuter hub for those coming into the city.


Its beautiful clock tower was modelled on the bell tower at the Seville Cathedral in Spain

At its peak, about 50,000 people a day used the building when commuting by ferry to the city.

In the 30s, the opening of the Bay Bridge and the famous Golden Gate Bridge meant ferry usage dwindled and the space was largely converted into office space.

In the 50s a freeway was built right in front of the building, sadly making it much less visible. In 1989, an earthquake damaged that freeway and it was removed in 1991.

Happily, extensive renovations completed in 2003 have seen the building’s historical details restored.  The first floor is now a beautiful marketplace, showcasing the bay area’s best produce.

Ground floor of the Marketplace, today

Ground floor of the Marketplace, today

You can find more info about the architecture and the impressive restoration here.

2 – Farmers market

You can’t beat a vibrant, happening farmers market for a great start to the day.


Kicking off at 8am on a Tuesday and 10am on Thursdays and Saturdays, you’ll find beautiful Californian produce and plenty of good people watching in a stunning location.


Saturday hosts the largest of the markets, with stalls set up both in front of the Ferry building and behind, overlooking the bay.



It’s a California Certified Farmers Market and features lots of organic produce, as well as ready to eat meals and snacks.

3 – Blue Bottle Coffee

If you’re going to hit the markets, best to do so caffeinated. For good coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee is the go.

One of the hallmarks of Blue Bottle Coffee, is that they use beans that have been roasted within just the last 48 hours so the coffee is at its peak in flavour.


The line is a testament to its deliciousness

4 – Frog Hollow Farm Cafe

When in San Fran, we politely suggest that you cancel your breakfast plans and come here instead.

Frog Hollow Farm is an organic fruit farm located in Brentwood California. Alongside their gorgeous produce, their cafe at the Ferry Marketplace serves up savoury and fruit pastries, Verve Coffee and (drumroll please) perfectly-executed avocado toast and granola parfait. San Fran brunch sorted.

Care for a pastry?

Care for a pastry?

They even offer a cute little half-serve of avo toast, so you can have plenty of room left to sample some of the other goodies at the marketplace.

On Saturday market day we also found a small stand serving incredibly good hot chocolate, right opposite the entrance to the Frog Hollow Cafe.

5 – Did someone say shopping?? 

Whether you’re in the market for some fruit & veg, or even a touch of gift shopping, the market building is home to some pretty good finds.


Even on non-market days, there are tons of stores featuring fresh seafood and local produce, like Farm Fresh To You, below.


You can enjoy wine tasting, or even cheese tasting, like these people at Cowgirl Creamery.


Don’t forget to make a stop at Dandelion Chocolate, which stocks small batch creations from their factory in the Mission District.

And finally, my favourite store was The Gardener. Here you’ll find lovely tabletop, cooking and garden items curated by former garden designer Alta Tingle.

Trip Notes: 

You can get to the Ferry Building by MUNI, BART or an actual ferry – the building still serves as a terminal for ferries travelling across the bay.

Line F of the historic trolley cars also conveniently stops right out the front.

For walkers, it’s easy to find just strolling down the Embarcadero itself, which is a very pretty walk.


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