Built in 1943, the USS Pampanito is a Balao-class fleet submarine that served a vital role in the Pacific during World War II. Today, the submarine is a National Historic Landmark that serves as both museum and memorial highlighting America's naval history. Visitors can opt for self-guided audio tours or book docent-led tours by appointment. Several San Francisco city tours, including Segway tours, pass by Pier 45, where the Pampanito is docked.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Pampanito is a must for World War II–history enthusiasts.
Tickets for seniors, families, and active duty military members are offered at a discount.
The vessel is popular, hosting more than 100,000 visitors each year, so consider purchasing tickets in advance.
The San Francisco waterfront is windy, so remember to wear a jacket.
How to Get There
A great option for transportation to the USS Pampanito is the historic Powell–Hyde cable car from Powell and Market streets to the turnaround at Victorian Park, then a 10-minute walk through Fisherman’s Wharf to Pier 45. You can also hop the historic F-Line streetcar, which runs down Market Street and along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. Driving is an option, and there are several parking garages in the area.
When to Get There
It's always a great time of year to enjoy the San Francisco waterfront, including the USS Pampanito and historic Pier 45. September to November are the warmest months in the city, though you can expect pleasant—but occasionally chilly—year-round weather. The Pampanito is open Sunday to Thursday, from 9am to 6pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 9am to 8pm.
What to See at Fisherman's Wharf
A perfect family day in San Francisco should include a visit to the diverse offerings on Fisherman's Wharf. Beyond the Maritime Museum and USS Pampanito, Fisherman's Wharf has numerous attractions. Enjoy a seafood meal, check out the barking sea lions, and consider a visit to the Musée Mécanique, a free attraction showcasing mechanically operated instruments and vintage arcade machines.
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