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Posted on: November 14, 2023

Skystar Ferris Wheel Opens at Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco, CA - Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced the arrival of the City’s beloved Ferris Wheel, which will begin operations in its new location at the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf this evening at 6 p.m. After a three-year run at Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse, the attraction, also known as the Skystar Wheel, will now entertain riders with unparalleled views of the City’s waterfront. 

Riders of the Ferris Wheel, now located near the famed Bistro Boudin and Pier 39 attractions, will enjoy breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay, including Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. The wheel’s presence at Fisherman’s Wharf, which attracts about 13 million people each year, adds to the area’s fun environment that will delight visitors and residents alike. 

The Skystar Ferris Wheel’s arrival at Fisherman’s Wharf comes as San Francisco hosts APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), the leading economic forum for the 21 Member Economies of the Asia-Pacific region. 

“With APEC underway, along with so many other activations happening throughout the City during the holiday season, the Ferris Wheel’s move to Fisherman’s Wharf couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Mayor London Breed. “As it moves from one iconic location to another, the Wheel has now become an important part of San Francisco’s history and I’m thrilled to see it continue its run in this vibrant and lively neighborhood, creating more experiences for our tourists and residents to enjoy.” 

The Wheel will operate at its new location for six months under a special event permit from the Port of San Francisco. For future planning consideration, the Port is open to extending that timeline after first engaging with community, residents, businesses, and the Port Commission.  

“When the sunrise hits the crest of the Ferris Wheel on the waterfront, there can be no doubt that we made the right decision to relocate it here,” said Board of Supervisors President and Bay Conservation and Development Commissioner Aaron Peskin, who helped bring the Ferris Wheel to Fisherman’s Wharf. “It belongs among other boardwalk attractions, and now it can inspire awe and fun alongside the Musée Mechanique, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, the Maritime Museum, and Boudin’s legendary bread bowls. I’m delighted we could pull this off in time for the APEC Summit and even more delighted by the positive responses from locals and tourists alike.” 

“The Port is delighted to welcome the Wheel to Fisherman’s Wharf,” said Port Director Elaine Forbes. “It’s a thrilling ride and a symbol of the revitalization underway on the Wharf. From new murals and activations to larger proposed efforts like Fisherman’s Wharf Revitalized, the district is alive with interest and opportunity.” 

The Skystar Wheel arrived at Golden Gate Park in early 2020 as part of the park’s 150th anniversary. The wheel closed to the public last month and crews began carefully dismantling it to prepare for its installation at the new waterfront location. 

At Golden Gate Park, the wheel’s proximity to popular spots such as the de Young Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Bandshell, and the Japanese Tea Garden made it an instant favorite. During its three-year stay, more than 650,000 people enjoyed the wheel and its breathtaking views. Of those rides, Rec and Park distributed nearly 14,000 free tickets to children, families, and seniors through its partnership with more than 100 schools, camps, and community organizations. 

“At Golden Gate Park, the Skystar Wheel provided so much joy to visitors and residents, while also honoring the park’s long history,” Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said. “We’re elated to see it come to another historic San Francisco area where it will continue to bring happiness to people of all ages.” 

"Today marks a new chapter for Fisherman's Wharf as the iconic Ferris wheel becomes part of our skyline,” said Randall Scott, Executive Director, Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District. “Like a Phoenix rising, this addition symbolizes the resilience and renewal of our community. The Ferris wheel is more than just a fun ride - it represents the spirit of Fisherman's Wharf and its place as the heartbeat of the waterfront. We're proud the Ferris wheel can now offer its thrills against the backdrop of the Bay as the newest attraction for all to enjoy. It will become a landmark celebrating the Wharf's renaissance." 

Skystar Ferris Wheel is 150 feet high and features 36 gondolas that can accommodate a maximum of six people. General admission to the ride is $18. Seniors (65+) and children 12 and under $12. People who are two years old and under ride free. Skystar has committed to providing 500 complimentary tickets per month to community organizations. For information about riding visit: skystarwheel.com

“Today is an exciting day for San Francisco and Skystar,” said Skystar CEO Todd Schneider.  “This would not have happened without the leadership and commitment of Mayor Breed and the dedication of Port Director Elaine Forbes and her staff.  My hope is this attraction is one more reason for people all over the region and world to enjoy this amazing city.” 

Pier 39 ranks among the City’s most visited attractions, second only to the Golden Gate Bridge according to the San Francisco Travel Association’s 2022 Visitor Profile Study. The SkyStar Wheel was the 9th most visited out of 35 sites included in the study. Sales at the Pier are at 95% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Home to San Francisco’s fishing industry, Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to Aquarium of the Bay, Musée Mécanique, and many world-class attractions, cafés and restaurants, many of which serve fresh seafood.   

For additional information on things to do in Fisherman’s Wharf, visit this link.  

For a list of services, retail, and dining experiences during APEC, visit this link. 

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