The Ferry Building Marketplace
The Ferry Building was one of the first places I ever explored in San Francisco - even before I moved to the city. I was visiting for a friend’s bachelorette party and we stopped on our way to wine country to grab a quick cup of Blue Bottle coffee. I was immediately struck by how well curated the space is. I had assumed only Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards could achieve the level of adorable, artisan perfection that surrounded me.
The Ferry Building has become a top tourist destination in San Francisco. It was originally built in 1898 and served as the main portal to the city until the 1930’s. After the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridges were built, ferry travel became less popular and efficient. Much of the building was converted to offices in the 1950’s. In 2003, after a four-year renovation, the building was reopened to the public as the marketplace. Currently, they are expanding the south plaza (which houses the farmer’s market) and adding additional ferry terminals!
The Building’s iconic clock tower terminates one of San Francisco’s main streets - Market. The architect, A. Page Brown modeled the tower off of the Giralda in Seville, Spain. An outdoor colonnade runs the length of the building, interrupted in the center by the clock tower and main entrance. Inside, the building is a single grand hall, lit from above by beautiful clerestory windows (one of my favorite details in the building). Vendors representing just a small sample of San Francisco's artisan food and craft culture line the hall on both sides. The hall is intermittently broken by access points that lead you to the ferry terminals behind the building and panoramic views of the Bay Bridge - assuming it isn’t too foggy!
Now that I live in the city, I still enjoy taking the Muni down to the Embarcadero, grabbing a Blue Bottle coffee (see pro tips below) and window-shopping. Saturday mornings there is a farmer’s market in the plaza. It’s incredibly popular and locals know to go early for the best produce! – Rebecca
Some of my favorite spots in the building:
Blue Bottle Coffee - Their New Orleans iced coffee is perfect on a warm day. Pro tip: there is a Blue Bottle annex in the colonnade to the left of the main entrance. The line is never as long outside as it is inside!
Cowgirl Creamery - The Mt. Tam Triple Cream is a guilty pleasure.
Fort Point Beer Company - Currently their only taproom, it’s also located in the exterior colonnade. I love their fun geometric graphics and branding (they also make really good beer)!
Heath Ceramics - Beautiful, local ceramics. Not only do they have gorgeous dishware, they also have a line of tiles. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to use them in a project soon.
The Slanted Door - A great special occasion restaurant. It has beautiful views of the Bay lights at night. I always insist on getting the confection plate - which includes a pillow of cotton candy the size of your head!