As a local, I have found the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. There are so many places to see and photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of my favorite places include Battery Spencer, Baker Beach, Marin Headlands and Crissy Field. Keep reading for all the beautiful places to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
I have far too many Golden Gate Bridge photos after years of living here. Biking over the Golden Gate Bridge never gets old no matter how many times I eagerly bring my visitors on a day of biking over the bridge. Catching a glimpse of the bridge as we whizz out of a tunnel still never fails to have me scrambling for my camera. The view from my old apartment had a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Yet I still take a photo everytime I pass it.
Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous and most photographed bridges in the world for a reason. There are so many beautiful places to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Each is beautiful and so unique in their own way. I am already excited for your adventure in San Francisco!
Before I share the best place to see Golden Gate Bridge, I want to share three tips with you on how to have the best time when visiting San Francisco.
- Lock your car and leave no valuables in your car. Whether you are in a busy parking lot or a quiet neighborhood, never leave ANYTHING valuable in your car. Leave nothing on the seat or visible. No backpacks, plastic bags (even if it’s trash) or even a bottle of water.
- Dress warmly – although San Francisco is in California, it gets rather cold here in the evenings. Areas near the water and near the bridge can be particularly colder due to the wind. Dress warm in layers! July and August are often very foggy in San Francisco. September and October are our best months for clear skies.
- Check for Fog – the bridge sometimes is invisible due to Karl the fog. Make sure you plan to visit the Golden Gate Bridge on a day when there is little to no fog.
Now that you have my 3 top tips for enjoying San Francisco, let’s get into the best places to see Golden Gate Bridge.
The Best Places to View Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
One of the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge is Battery Spencer on the North side of the bridge. This is the best way to get to a high vantage point for a beautiful view of the bridge and the city of San Francisco skyline together.
The best time to visit this golden gate view point is during golden hour. The Golden Gate Bridge feels so close at Battery Spencer and you realize just how massive the bridge truly is.
This is a favorite spot for tourists so it does get quite busy for parking. People generally only stay a few minutes so you won’t have to wait too long for a parking spot to free up. This great spot is just a few minutes after you exit the bridge and is located on Conzelman Road. It’s the perfect place to capture your Golden Gate Bridge photos.
If you are planning on biking or walking over Golden Gate Bridge, when you get off the bridge, you’ll be able to walk to Battery Spencer. Use google maps to navigate when you get there as it will depend on what side of the bridge you walk/bike on. FYI, there is a bit of a hill to climb to get to the view point. It is worth it!
I highly recommend adding Battery Spencer to your list of the best places to visit when exploring San Francisco. This is a bucket list spot to check off on your California road trip.
H. Dana Bowers Memorial Vista Point
The H. Dana Bowers Memorial Vista Point is definitely a Golden Gate view that you have seen before. This golden gate scenic view is to the right side of the bridge when you are adventuring from San Francisco.
The popular spot offers scenic views and some of the best shots of the city skyline with the bridge. This is one of the more popular spots for tour buses to stop at. There is plenty of space for everyone to get their perfect Golden Gate Bridge photo.
You can park at this vista point and cross over to Battery Spencer if you want to see the two Golden Gate vista points as they are very close to one another.
Battery Cranston is another one of the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge. It’s another iconic Golden Gate Bridge view. Battery Cranston is on the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, beside Langdon Court parking lot.
One of the reasons why this is one of the best Golden Gate Bridge views is because of the unique way the trees line up to frame the bridge. It’s a unique perspective and so beautiful on a clear day.
This is a great spot for engagement photoshoots or wedding photoshoots to capture the iconic bridge. The parking area gets a little crowded on the weekend, so arrive early or park nearby and enjoy the beautiful trails around Battery Cranston.
If you fancy getting some more iconic San Francisco views, read all about the top rooftop bars in San Francisco.
Crissy Field is a firm favorite with locals as there are picnic areas and lots of grassy areas to enjoy the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge while catching up with friends.
Crissy Field is on the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge and one of the best locations to stroll along and capture the best pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a great spot to catch golden hour and the sun set over Golden Gate Bridge on a sunny day. I used to live really close to Crissy Field for years so I would always meet friends to walk and talk from the Marina, all the way along Chrissy Fields. It’s one of my favorite walks in San Francisco.
Walking or Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
Walking or biking along Golden Gate Bridge is always a great idea. Most bike rentals can be found around Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building. Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf are nearer so I recommend starting there. I rented from Unlimited Biking before and had a great experience (they are located at Ghirardelli Square).
One of the best ways to see all the popular golden gate overlooks is to walk or bike along the well defined paths. I have biked the bridge so many times that it is hard to recount. Each time feels as magical as the first (once you are wrapped up nice and warm!)
Depending on where you start your walk or bike of the Golden Gate Bridge, add a stop at Palace of Fine Arts into your itinerary. It’s another amazing San Francisco must see. Another great stop if you are walking or biking the bridge, is the warming hut. You can stop here to get a tea or coffee or visit the bathrooms.
There are so many beautiful vista points along the way including the experience of being on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge itself. Bikers go on one side of the bridge and walkers go on the other side of the bridge. It gets really busy on the weekend as everyone is eager to explore the bridge. Definitely take time to take it all in when on the bridge itself. 100% one of the best views of Golden Gate Bridge is on the bridge itself. A bucket list thing to do in San Francisco.
Fort Point National Historic Site
Fort Point National Historic site is a short walk from the warming hut. This spot allows for another beautiful shot of the Golden Gate bridge. The Fort Point National Historic site is right under the Golden Gate Bridge. If you do not have a rental car during your trip, public transportation or Uber will take you to this point and you could walk the rest of the way over the Golden Gate bridge.
There are multiple beaches in San Francisco that offer some of the best Golden Gate Bridge views. I love a late afternoon walk on some of these beaches over the weekend. They are the perfect spot to enjoy a unique perspective and some of the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge on a sunny day. The pacific ocean waves, blue skies and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge views makes Baker beach one of my favorite places to relax.
There are parking areas right by each of the beaches but on a clear day, parking gets really crowded. The first thing I should have mentioned about San Francisco beaches is to dress warm. A cool breeze is almost guaranteed on these beaches!
Marshall’s beach is another one of the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge. You can take the Bluff trail to make your way to the beach (it is a bit of a hike to get to the beach). There are beautiful large rocks that create a beautiful contrast with the ocean, wildlife and the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a hidden gem and usually quiet due to the hike to get there.
This is another great place to find incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge at golden hour. A word of warning, it is a nude beach and some brave souls brave the cold there!
Hawk Hill or Slacker Hill
If you want to do a hike when visiting San Francisco, Hawk Hill or Slacker Hill are great hikes on the North side of the bridge in the Marin headlands in Marin county.
The views of the bridge and San Francisco skyline are so beautiful as you hike. You’ll be stopping multiple times on the hike as a new views of the beautiful bridge appears. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some nature and scenic views. This is the view at the top of Slacker Hill. It’s definitely one of the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge while hiking.
Lands End on the San Francisco (South side of the bridge) is another one of my favorite hikes in the city with dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Lands End is a popular hiking trail with beautiful spots such as the Lands End Labyrinth and Sutro Baths.
Lands End can be a short hike or a much longer hike depending on where you start and end the hike. Either way, Lands End will allow you to capture beautiful photos of the bridge, whether early morning, late afternoon, or at sunset. It’s a great location and a beautiful place to unwind in nature if you want a break from city life.
Fort Baker is another great spot to capture beautiful photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a great spot to stop on your way to Sausalito. It offers great views and is very quiet compared to some of the other famous spots to see Golden Gate Bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center
The Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center is another popular spot to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Within a short walk, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from multiple angles (what more could you want!).
Public transportation will take you to this spot so you can even walk over the Golden Gate Bridge from this spot. It’s one of my favorite places to stop for a photo when I have visitors as we cycle by. The Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center has lots of information on the history and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge for any history lovers.
As you walk along this area and onto the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll see some of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Kirby Cove Beach
Another great way to see Golden Gate bridge is to enjoy some time at Kirby Cove. Kirby Cove is very near Battery Spencer so you could fit both of these spots in your itinerary in a morning or afternoon. To get to Kirby Cove, you do need to hike down about 20-25 minutes.
The beach is usually very quiet as it is off the beaten path. It’s a great spot to get Golden Gate Bridge photos with nobody in the background (the best shots!)
If you are looking for a swing with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Kirby Cove often has a swing. Sometimes, it’s cut down but someone puts it back up again in time.
Sailing on the Bay
Another one of the best ways to get a great up close view of the famous San Francisco landmark is to go for a sail on the bay.
The best time to sail the bay is late afternoon to enjoy the sunset. On sunny days, it’s the perfect spot to get the best Golden Gate Bridge views. Lots of the sailing tours will go right up to the bridge so you get to see it up close. You also get to see the city of San Francisco from the water on the way back.
If you cycle to Sausalito and get the ferry back, you’ll have great views of the bridge on the way back too. See more fabulous San Francisco views at the top rooftop bars in San Francisco.
Point Bonita Lighthouse
Point Bonita Lighthouse offers the perfect spot to have a short hike, see a historic landmark and see some very instagrammable views of the Golden Gate Bridge. We ventured late afternoon one sunny day and it offers such pretty views. Make sure to check the opening hours as they are quite irregular.
Boating to Alcatraz Island
If you are going to take a trip to see Alcatraz, the only way to get there is by boat on the San Francisco Bay. While the Alcatraz tour won’t go as close to the Golden Gate Bridge as some of the other tours, you’ll be able to see the iconic Golden Gate Bridge from your tour boat.
The Alcatraz tours leave from near the Ferry Building and the Financial District so make sure you take a walk down the embarcadero to see San Francisco’s other most loved bridge – Bay Bridge.
For the latest Alcatraz Tours, you can check all the details here.
Another great San Francisco beach that allow you to catch a glimpse of the famous San Francisco attraction is China Beach. It is at the South end of the bridge and has one of the best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints in the bay area. On a sunny day, the pacific ocean glistens with the backdrop of the stunning Golden Gate Bridge.
That finishes my blog post on the best places to see the golden gate bridge. As you can tell, I love finding new beautiful ways to see the bridge. It’s one of the best things to do when visiting San Francisco. It’s an iconic landmark in San Francisco that is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.
Hope you enjoyed reading all about the best places to view Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Some of these places are the best places to visit in San Francisco regardless of the iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge that you will be treated to.
Napa River Inn is located in the heart of Downtown Napa and it the perfect resting spot after a day of delicious wine tasting.
As I mentioned above, wrap up while in San Francisco. Although it is sunny California, that wind can be rather cold! Stay safe by leaving NOTHING valuable in your car, whether you are at Battery Spencer for ten minutes, or at Baker Beach for hours, don’t leave anything visible. Enjoy the views of the golden gate early in the morning so parking is easier and there are less people around.
I’d love to learn about your favorite view of Golden Gate Bridge!