[dogs are not allowed inside, quite the contrary to every other shopping mall in the Bay area]
The Ferry Building is located on Embarcadero and the end of Market. It was built in 1898 and served at the hub for all the Marin County computers entering the city by ferry for many many years. Unfortunately the rise of automobile and the creation of the Bay Bridge caused the Ferry Building to fall to the wayside. In the 1950s, the Ferry Building had fallen on hard times and the stately entrance was covered up by a hideous Embarcadero highway. Then the great quake of 1989 happened. Ah yes, the Loma Prieta earthquake. It destroyed the Embarcadero highway but it could not destroy the 1898 craftsmanship of the Ferry Building. When the Embarcadero highway was removed, the Ferry Building came back to life. And boy, can you just feel like the life inside! It is a wonderful place. (and that, my friend, is you history lesson for the day...and you thought you were just here to read about my random escapades!)
This is one of my most favorite places in San Francisco. There are just so many really cool places in the Bay area, however this is really at the tip top of my list of coolness. The hustle and bustle of the people shopping, going to and fro on the Ferry and working on the second floor all just makes me so happy. AND then! to top it off, it is full to the brim of foodie shops: wine shops, cheese shops, organic gift shops, everything you would ever need to pack your picnic basket full. All the shops promote the idea of sustainability and that eating locally and seasonally can really be tasty. This place is just great. I took my parents there when they were visiting and we really enjoyed walking around and taking pictures of all the store fronts.