Support Local Artisans as You Enjoy the Ambiance of San Francisco’s Historic Ferry Building


If you’re looking for a fun activity that boosts the local community, you’ll love the historic Ferry Building, one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks. In the Ferry Building, you can support a variety of local artisans while you enjoy the unique ambiance of this well-known structure.

Why Is the Ferry Building so Significant?

The Ferry Building opened in 1898 and became a hub for anyone arriving by train to the area. Between the Gold Rush and the 1930s, most people coming to the area arrived by ferry boat; passengers disembarking from boats passed through the building, a luxurious public space with beautiful skylights and arches.

By the 1950s, the building’s use was eclipsed when the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge opened, greatly increasing the use of cars in the area. In 1955, the Ferry Building interior was converted to office space. In 2003, however, the famous building reopened after four years of restoration work.

Today, the building includes The Ferry Building Marketplace, a public food market along an “indoor street” known as the Nave.

Marketplace Provides Connection to Artisan Food Vendors

The Marketplace at the historic Ferry Building supports local members of the artisan food community and is intended as a thriving place for artisan producers, local farmers and independently owned and operated businesses related to food to gather and interact with their customers. It stands as a primary location for promoting the distinct wines and foods of the Northern California region.

The building serves as a showcase for small, regional food producers that engage in traditional farming and production practices. In addition, the Marketplace is intended to further the ethnic diversity in the Bay Area. It also functions as an incubator for artisan food producers.

A Variety of Artisan Wares

The Ferry Building is home to a variety of artisan vendors, including cafes, shops, and purveyors of beverages, groceries and desserts.

For example, Heath Ceramics is a now-rare, mid-century American pottery that has created tiles and table wares for more than 50 years in its factory in Sausalito, California. A husband-and-wife team bought the ceramics vendor in 2003 with the intent of focusing strongly on handcrafting and unique designs. The company’s dinnerware is used in well-known restaurants around the country, and its tiles can be seen in famous buildings like the UC Berkeley East Asian Library.

Imperial Tea Court is a traditional Chinese salon and tea vendor known as a source for many unique and sought-after teas. The vendor offers more than 50 varieties of tea, including organic selections, and features an elegant array of tea pots, many made by hand by Chinese masters.

In the Bay Area, you’ll only find the offerings of Acme Bread Company in two places: the company’s original location in Berkeley and the Ferry Building Marketplace. The longtime artisan bread maker continues its efforts to bake the highest-quality bread, using organic flour only, and works with farmers to select the perfect grains each year. At the Marketplace, bakers make fresh breads in the hearth oven throughout the day.

Feed Your Senses at the Farmers Market

While you’re at the Ferry Building, be sure to visit the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. The market is certified by the state and is operated by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. The market receives wide praise for its fresh and artisan-produced offerings, and it’s known around the country as one of the leading farmers markets. Nearly 40,000 shoppers visit the market each week.

Visiting the Ferry Building

You can get to the Ferry Building and Marketplace via ferry boat, BART and MUNI, and Line F Market of the historic trolley cars stops right in front of the Ferry Building. While you’re in town, plan to stop by Lake Park, where you can enjoy stunning views of Lake Merritt and convenient proximity to downtown Oakland along with San Francisco and Berkeley. To schedule your visit, please contact us today.