The Must-See Spots When Visiting the City by the Bay
There can be a lot of pressure to hit all of the best spots when you are visiting a new place but only for a short amount of time. San Francisco, California is a great example of this. Set on rolling hills and surrounded by water on three of its sides makes for endless amounts of views that will all take your breath away. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have been able to see the city from all sorts of angles. It was difficult, but I have narrowed down my favorite views of San Francisco. Here are some must-see San Francisco views:
- Lands End: Located on the most northwest corner of the San Francisco peninsula, Lands End is a park along the coast that is known for having the expansive view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Pacific Ocean. Within the park is the historic Sutro Baths ruins, Labyrinth art installation, and numerous hiking trails. Lands Ends is one of the best spots in the city with its views of the ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, and the coastline all in one place.
- Golden Gate Bridge: It may be a no-brainer to pay a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge while visiting San Francisco. Stop for a great photo-op at Battery Lancaster which is on the southeast side of the bridge. Along with a souvenir shop, there are several hands-on exhibitions to put into perspective how large the cables are and to see a simulation of how the bridge stands against earthquakes. To experience the bridge up close, try walking or biking across. Not only do you get breathtaking views of the bridge, you also get views of the city and the Pacific Ocean. Take your time to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and our biggest tip is to stay alert, you may run into people stopping abruptly for group photos and selfies.
- Ferry Ride on the Bay: Getting the best views can turn into an adventure of its own. A visit to the city by the bay would not be complete without viewing it from the bay itself. Take a ferry or boat ride for unique perspectives of the city from afar, from underneath the bridge, and for closeups of Alcatraz Island. Pier 39 is where you can not only hop on a ferry tour but also enjoy the fun boardwalk, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Grab your jackets and hold onto your hats because riding on the bay will blow you away.
- Coit Tower: The best and most accessible 360 degree view of San Francisco is from atop of Telegraph Hill located in between Fisherman’s Wharf and Embacadero. Coit Tower is a historic landmark that can be seen throughout the city. The relatively short trip up the 350 steps (an elevator is also available) is full of murals on the walls dating back to the early 1900’s.
- Battery Spencer Overlook: Arguably the most iconic image of the Golden Gate Bridge is from from Battery Spencer overlook. Located northwest of the bridge, Battery Spencer is the premier spot to get a view of the bridge with the city behind it. There is parking available along the winding road up the hill so you can pop out and snap your photo with the bridge.
Bonus tip: If you have never been to the San Francisco Bay Area before, you most likely have never experienced fog to this extent. The fog that loves to make frequent visits even has it’s own name, Karl the Fog. Don’t be surprised for the bridge and skyscrapers to mysteriously disappear. The fog can typically burn off by the time the afternoon hits while other days it can last the entire day.