San Francisco has its charm laid out in more ways than I can count, but one of my favorite evening pastimes is discovering new places to watch sunset! While there's no shortage of sweet spots to soak up the sunsets in San Francisco, some in particular outshine the rest. Personally, I think the best part is just after the sun dips below the horizon and you're left with hues of pinks and purples. Cotton candy skies simply take my breath away!
And because nobody loves chasing sunsets more than the hubby and I, after a year and a half of SF-living, you could say we've got our favorites. So where should you go if you're looking to wind down at the end of the day? I've got you covered with a list of the best places to watch the sunset in San Francisco!
1. Bernal Heights
For the most spectacular view of the SF skyline and my number one pick for a sunset in the city, make your way to the Bernal Heights Summit. A short hike (read: inclined walk) will take you to the top of the hill to enjoy a cotton candy sky and twinkling city lights as you witness the sun disappear into the scenic landscape. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that there's a tree swing at the top of the hill from which to take in the breathtaking views!
2. Crissy Field
Waves crashing to the shore and a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge are reason enough not to miss the sunset here. Bring along a bottle of vino, some snacks and a blanket to enjoy a picnic as you watch the sun dip behind the bridge and into the ocean.
3. Muir Beach Overlook
With the stillness of the Pacific Ocean and miles of California coastline, this is a great place to take friends and family when they visit. Walk down the dirt trail until you reach the end of the overlook to soak in the dramatic views of sunset in this dreamy spot. If you've got a couple of hours to spare and are willing to make the 50 minute drive from San Francisco, I promise you won't regret a sunset at Muir Beach Overlook.
4. Twin Peaks
One of the best views in San Francisco becomes even sweeter at night! With a 360 degree view of the city, you can see many of San Francisco's famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Building, the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Market Street and the skyscrapers that make up the incredible SF skyline. Climb the stairs to the top of each peak for unforgettable views.
5. Marshall's Beach
If you're up for it, one of my favorite spots calls for a bit of a hike. Getting to Marshall's Beach can be tricky, but it's so worth it. Why? You'll never see it crowded with tourists -- you'll mainly find locals here and the beach is pretty secluded. What's more, you'll get a pretty epic view of the Golden Gate Bridge surrounded by big, beautiful rock formations. Watch the sunset here, but head back soon after. Finding your way home in the dark is no fun!
Travel Tip: Allocate ~15-20 minutes to make your way down and another ~20-30 minutes to climb back up again. Bring a flashlight with you for the walk back. And don't forget to take some silhouette shots as you watch the sky turn fifty shades of pretty!
6. Sutro Baths
If you're looking for the most magical sunset in San Francisco, look no further. There's not a single place more stunning to catch that ball of fire as it sets into the Pacific Ocean. There's always a proposal, a photoshoot or camera-ready photographers here and for good reason! No matter how many times I come here, I can never get enough of this view. If you're not up to brave the cold outside, settle in to watch the sunset with a drink in hand at The Cliff House restaurant from above.
Tips Before You Go
- Bring a jacket, as many of the spots are located near the ocean or at high altitudes, which means ... crazy winds!
- Arrive at least 30 mins prior to sunset so you have enough time to search for parking, climb any hills and claim a spot to settle down.
- Pack a picnic blanket and a bottle of wine to enjoy into the sunset (but make sure to clean up afterwards!).
- Don't forget your camera so you can capture the moment!