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Our first impressions of San Francisco weren’t the best but that all changed on our second day when we finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge. No matter how many times you’ve seen photos of the bridge, and despite the fact it’s not actually golden, the many views of the Golden Gate Bridge are spectacular!
Here are some places in San Francisco to get the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from up close and far away!
The best views of the Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Overlook
Given its name this is one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. From here you get a great view of the Bridge framed between two Cypress trees.
It’s a popular spot for bikers, hikers and runners and it’s a bit less busy than some of the viewpoints in this list!
The climb up to Battery Spencer is well worth it and gives you some of the most up close views of the Golden Gate Bridge. When you come to the top of Battery Spencer you’re pretty much eye-level with nothing obstructing your view of the bridge. There’s plenty of space here (even with crowds!) and if you go for sunset you’ll get an even better snap.
At Fort Point you’re even closer to the Golden Gate Bridge – you’ll be directly underneath it! This viewpoint is the best way to appreciate just how big the bridge is. Fort Point is only open Friday – Sunday so make sure you plan your visit for then if you want this view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Presidio coast has fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but Marshall Beach is one of the best. There are large rocks scattered all over the beach for atmospheric photos.
At low tide you can walk all the way along the beach towards Fort Point (but unfortunately not up to it from the beach!). Oh and Marshall Beach is also a famous nudist beach 😉
Crissy Fields are a former military airfield located south of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Presidio. Nowadays there are lots of walking and cycling trails with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll find locals sitting with a picnic here on nice summer days and people making the most of the wind when the sea swells.
It’s a scenic walk and there are plenty of places to stop at a cafe for lunch or a drink should you need refreshing!
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Many visitors to San Francisco visit Alcatraz Island to learn about the dark history of the prison. Whilst you’re on the island you also won’t fail to see that there are some incredible views of the bridge across the water.
The former military post of Fort Baker is just a short trip across the Golden Gate Bridge from downtown San Francisco. There are picturesque vistas of San Francisco itself here too.
This half mile of sandy beach, Baker Beach, gives you panoramic views of the Marin Headlands, Golden Gate Strait, and even Point Bonita. It’s on the southwest side of the Golden Gate Bridge and the park not only has great bridge views but is a great place to enjoy a fog-free afternoon.
Lover’s Lane, The Presidio
Lover’s Lane is one of the oldest trails in the Presidio area of San Francisco. It’s half a mile long and pedestrian friendly and begins at Presidio Gate.
The trail is protected by majestic eucalyptus groves and provides a Hollywood-style glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge which disappears as you continue walking toward the Presidio’s Main Post.
Library at the University California, San Francisco
A little known secret is that the Library at the University California on 530 Parnassus Avenue has great views of the Golden Great Bridge from its main reading room!
Seven dollars gets you tickets up the Coit Tower and to its observation deck. Once on the deck you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of San Francisco and the bay as well as views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Eagle’s Point trailhead of Lands End near Lincoln Park has jaw-dropping views of the Bridge. There are several benches and photo opportunities here too.
The Seacliff neighbourhood’s China Beach is a tiny pocket of sand with unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The beach is only accessible by a steep, paved drive or natural stairway of approximately 100 steps which puts some people off, so more room for you!
The Marin Headlands are a vast expanse of rolling hills directly north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Anywhere you see a bunch of cars parked, stop as the view will be amazing.
Hawk Hill is one of the best places up here to see the Golden Gate Bridge framed against the entire city of San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge Stats
- Total length: 2737.4m
- Completion date: May 28, 1937
- Cost: $35 million
- Height: 79m
- Gallons of paint annually: 10,000
- Color: International Orange