11 PICTURE-PERFECT VIEWS OF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IN SAN FRANCISCO
As the most photographed bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco’s most popular landmark and is at the top of every visitor’s bucket list! If you didn’t take a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, did you even go to San Francisco? Not to worry — after living in the Bay Area for a little over 3 years, I’ve scoped out and rounded up a list of the best places to photograph this iconic structure!
Here are 11 Unbelievably Picture-Perfect Views of the Golden Gate Bridge:
1. Battery Spencer
This view point atop the Marin Headlands has got to be my favorite view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I love to take family and friends here when they visit, mainly for the classic postcard view. The unobstructed views of the bridge make it perfect for photos! Parking is hit or miss here, but circling the area a few times is totally worth the wait for this breathtaking view.
2. Golden Gate Overlook
You’ll probably recognize this iconic view of the Golden Gate Bridge peeping through two big, beautiful trees from Instagram. Well, here it is! Perfectly framed and great for the ‘gram, the Golden Gate Overlook can be reached by routing to the Langdon Court Parking Lot (parking is free). From the parking lot, follow the trail towards the bridge for this view. This spot gives you a beautiful head-on view of the Golden Gate Bridge. From here, you can venture around by foot to other areas for different perspectives of the bridge.
3. Baker Beach
One of my favorite local spots to relax and take in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge is Baker Beach. If it’s a sunny Saturday or the weather is decent on Wine Wednesday, you can find me here watching the sunset on a cozy blanket with a bottle of wine, a little picnic spread & my best gal pal or the hubby! Head down to the beach from the parking lot and continue walking towards the bridge for a closer view. Be prepared, as this beach is notorious for unofficially being a “nude beach”. Though, this is not always the case when I go — just on those sunny Saturdays ;)
4. Marshall’s Beach
This was one of the first places that made me fall in love with sunsets in San Francisco. If you're up for it, Marshall’s Beach calls for a bit of a hike, but it’s totally worth it. You'll mainly find locals here, leaving you to enjoy the beach and the bridge in seclusion. This epic view of the Golden Gate Bridge is surrounded by big, beautiful rock formations. You should allocate 15-20 minutes to make your way down and another 20-30 minutes to climb back up again.
5. Kirby Cove
Kirby Cove is a little stretch of beach below Battery Spencer. I love the view from here — from the beach, you can look right up at the Golden Gate Bridge! When I first moved to San Francisco, I explored this little gem with a few friends in search of the famous swing at Kirby Cove and it was so magical watching the fog roll in. If you too are in search of the swing, be sure to check recent Google & Yelp reviews before you visit — this is one of the Bay Area swings that come and go. The hike down to Kirby Cove is only about a mile downhill and not at all crowded (but don’t forget, you will have to hike a steep mile UPHILL afterwards).
6. Crissy Field
Once a military airfield, Crissy Field is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Waves crashing against the shore, children flying kites high in the wind, dog-walkers and a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge are what you’ll find at Crissy Field. I’ve hiked here from the Presidio, picnicked on the grassy green knoll and watched the sunset on the edge of the San Francisco Bay here on so many occasions — and whether you’re a local or visitor, I highly recommend all of the above! Under the bridge, you’ll catch sight of boats in the Bay; across the bridge, a view of Marin Headlands. The boardwalk, pier and paved paths make it an easy place for anyone to explore!
7. Fort Point
If you’re a history buff, an architectural enthusiast, or just someone that would enjoy a truly unique view from under the Golden Gate Bridge, this gem is right up your alley! Sitting below the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point National Historic Site is free to visit and gives visitors a peek into the city’s historic roots! The beautiful brick fort was built in the Civil War era to protect the San Francisco harbor from foreign attack, and ultimately was used as the base of operations during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. My Tip: After you’ve marveled at the beauty of the bridge from the outside, walk around and explore the inside to find a hidden window with a bonus view of the bridge!
* Check the National Park Service website for hours and potential closures *
8. Hawk Hill
If you continue a little further up from Battery Spencer you will reach Hawk Hill, which offers an even higher vantage point for you to take in views of the Golden Gate Bridge! From Hawk Hill you will get a complete panoramic view of the bridge and a glimpse of the city's skyline.
9. Lands End
On a clear day, the Lands End Trail is my favorite hike in the city. Make your way from Sutro Baths to the Lands End Labyrinth for a unique hiking experience and an unbeatable view of the Golden Gate Bridge framed by the ocean and rugged coastline. Then, continue on towards (#2) the Golden Gate Overlook! The entire route will take a little over 1 hour and is an easy-to-moderate hike.
10. From A Bay Cruise
This may be the most touristy way to see the Golden Gate Bridge, but this is one of those times it’s totally acceptable to embrace being a tourist! Hop on one of the many bay cruises from Fisherman’s Wharf and snap away from the comfort of your boat as you cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge! You can choose to indulge in a dining cruise or book one at sunset if you’re looking to make the experience extra special.
11. On the Golden Gate Bridge
What better way to see the Golden Gate Bridge than from the bridge itself? If you’re willing to brave the winds, make your way across by foot or by bike! My favorite way to experience it is by driving across it. It always makes my heart skip a beat, and no — it never gets old!
* Note: There is a $8 toll to cross over the GGB by car, traveling southbound into San Francisco *