San Francisco was almost made to have gorgeous views from every angle. With hills aplenty, water on three sides, and it’s signature bridges, there’s instagram worthy shots around every corner. Take it from two sisters who grew up here! Here’s our top 10 places to enjoy all the views the city offers.
Top 10 Views to Best Enjoy San Francisco
1. Battery Spencer: This is the place to take that iconic photo with the Golden Gate Bridge that everyone seemingly has. It’s the best for an incredible unobstructed view of the Bridge. Visit: Head there early for a great morning view (hopefully the fog isn’t covering everything) and to snag a parking spot. If not, be prepared to park a little further down and then walk up.
2. Powell-Hyde Cable Car: San Francisco is known for their cable car rides, and this 2.1 mile route is one you shouldn’t miss. It will take you from downtown to Fisherman’s wharf, so riding the whole thing will let you see everything in between. It goes up and down some pretty steep hills which is always fun, and you’ll enjoy views of Russian Hill, Lombard Street, and even Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge from high above. Visit: You’ll often see people lining up at Powell to get on, and it’s fun to watch the cars turn around. But after seeing one or two turn around, head up a couple blocks to where the cable car stops (or basically any stop other than the Powell turnaround) and you can hop on with a much shorter wait. You will want to stand in the open area of the car for the best view and pictures, but be sure to hold on!
I carried my Anti-theft crossbody in the mini size to trek up these crooked hills!
3. Lombard Street: Deemed the “World’s most crooked street”, this is truly a uniquely San Franciscan sight. The street has beautiful hydrangeas lining the street, making a memorable sight from the bottom. From the top you’ll have a great view of the Coit Tower and the bay. Visit: If you’re driving, you can actually drive down the curvy street! Just make sure you’re not trying to snap a selfie while driving. If you’re riding the Powell-Hyde cable car, hop off at this stop for sure. Fun fact: Vermont St. is actually more crooked!
5. Golden Gate Bridge: You can actually walk along the bridge for a up close and personal view of the famous red bridge. Visit: It’s a great walk, but perhaps you’re feeling up for a bike ride! There’s several places where you can rent a bike to cross the bridge and even continue onto various vista points of the bridge in Sausalito, or continue along the water into the Crissy Field and the Marina on the way back. Just a word of caution: Many places are quite hilly so be up for a challenge if you venture further out!
6. Twin Peaks: For a free 360-degree view of San Francisco from above, head to Twin Peaks. Visit: You can hike the steep 922 feet up (takes about 45 minutes to an hour), or drive up Eureka North peak.
7. Alamo Square: To get that iconic view of San Francisco’s beloved Painted Ladies, this spot is a must-see. These six pastel Victorian houses were built from 1892-1896 against a great view of the city skyline and bay. Visit: Go up the hill across the street to get that perfect angle with both the houses and the bay behind.
8. Coit Tower: Located at the top of Telegraph Hill, this white concrete column is a city landmark that offers 360 degree views from its observation deck. Visit: Work your way up through the Filbert Street Steps and take the elevator to the top to see the whole city laid out below you. Keep an eye out for the flock of wild parrots that have made their home here!
9. Baker Beach: The Presidio is filled with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the water in general. For a classic beach and bridge view, head to Baker Beach. Also worth checking out is Marshall Beach, which is even closer to the bridge, and Crissy Field. Visit: The weather is almost always foggy and windy, (other than perhaps a rare warm summer evening in September or October) so come armed with layers if you’re staying late or coming in early. Bring a hot drink and enjoy a sunset there!
10. Alcatraz: This island was once a maximum security federal prison that you can now visit to see how Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelly, Robert Stroud (aka The Birdman of Alcatraz) lived behind the bars and hear the stories of inmates’ attempts to escape. It’s a great place to get a view of the city from across the water and the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit: take a ferry ride from Pier 33 (Book tickets in advance online).
Sisters Karin and Carmen are the co-founders of Arden Cove and creators of the Anti-Theft Waterproof Crossbodies - bags created for women who want all the practicality and safety features without compromising in style. Shop ArdenCove.com.