Mayor Breed Proposes Extending Stay of Skystar Wheel at Fisherman's Wharf

More than 90,000 visitors have enjoyed the waterfront attraction over the last four months, helping bring fun and more foot traffic to one of the City’s most beloved tourist destinations
March 19, 2024

San Francisco, CA - Mayor London N. Breed is proposing to extend the stay of the SkyStar wheel on Fisherman’s Wharf for another 18 months after a successful initial six month run at the Port. The SkyStar Observation Wheel moved to the City’s iconic waterfront in November 2023 just in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit (APEC), after first spending three years in Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse. Since arriving in Fisherman’s Wharf, the SkyStar has entertained riders with unparalleled views of the City’s waterfront.  

The Port of San Francisco’s initial six-month special event license with SkyStar Wheel LLC is set to expire on April 30, 2024. Mayor Breed today introduced legislation to the Board of Supervisors that will allow for the extension of the lease.

Supporting tourism and attracting people to San Francisco is one strategy of Mayor Breed’s efforts to bolster economic recovery. Keeping the SkyStar spinning in Fisherman’s Wharf will secure an attraction within one of San Francisco’s famed tourist destinations, helping attract prospective tenants in and around the area, and bolster visitor foot traffic along the Embarcadero.  

"San Francisco is a city known for its incredible views, and the SkyStar on our waterfront is moving up that list,” said Mayor London Breed. “This is the kind of attraction that can make our City a joy for residents and visitors alike. We are welcoming more people to our city every day, with incredible events like our recent St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Chinese New Year Parade.”

Since opening in November last year, the SkyStar has welcomed more than 90,000 riders, and has doubled ridership compared to the same time in 2022. Additionally, SkyStar will continue distributing 500 complimentary tickets every month to underserved community groups to ensure equitable access to one of San Francisco’s most iconic attractions. To date, more than 1,000 tickets have been comped to various nonprofit groups including the Chinatown Community Development Center and Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.

SkyStar Wheel is located near the famed Bistro Boudin and Pier 39 attractions, helping draw thousands of visitors to the area daily, offering riders unmatched 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 Port looks forward to extending the lease of the SkyStar Wheel, a symbol of the revitalization underway on the Wharf,” said Port Director Elaine Forbes. “Since it began operations last November, the Wheel has thrilled tens of thousands of riders, giving them a unique, awe-inspiring view of Fisherman's Wharf and beyond, and has spurred increased foot traffic to surrounding neighborhood businesses.”

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 in October 2023 so crews could begin carefully dismantling and preparing 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.

“The SkyStar Wheel was a hit in Golden Gate Park, honoring the park’s history as a place to experience joy and make lasting memories,” Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said. “We are thrilled to learn it will continue to charm visitors to the historic Wharf.”

“The SkyStar Wheel has been an incredible addition to Fisherman's Wharf, bringing thousands of visitors to the district,” said Randall Scott, Executive Director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District. “The subsequent increase in foot traffic has provided a much-needed economic boost as our businesses recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Beyond financial benefits, the SkyStar Wheel has already become an iconic emblem of the Wharf—a signature neighborhood for San Francisco—and has generated significant positive media attention that is vital to the revitalization of the neighborhood. As we enter our busiest summer season, extending the SkyStar Wheel's presence is critical to maintaining this positive momentum and reinforcing Fisherman's Wharf's reputation as a must-visit destination and a key part of the 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.

"We are thrilled to continue this partnership with San Francisco for the next 18 months,” said Skystar CEO Todd Schneider. "The Fisherman's wharf community, including residents, small business owners, and tourists have welcomed us with open arms and we are proud to be a part of this community."

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. For information about riding visit: