Best Photo Spots in San Francisco
More than 25 million visitors explore San Francisco each year. This Californian metropolis is home to lots of famous sights, including Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge, the Painted Ladies, and Fisherman's Wharf. This guide covers the top spots to get a great photo of your San Francisco adventure. The most iconic Instagrammable locations are in here. We've also include great spots that are off the beaten path. Pick the ones best for you and your memories of the best places in San Francisco.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge is San Francisco's most iconic attraction. The suspension bridge can often be submerged in fog, but you can use the fog to your advantage for some interesting photos. There are many locations to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, including Baker Beach, Fort Point, and Battery Spencer. The photo above was captured while riding across the bridge, which provides another unique vantage point.
Keep heading south from the Golden Gate Bridge to get more views of the city from Golden Gate Park.
Lombard Street is San Francisco's famous crooked street. It features eight hairpin turns within one city block as well as some pretty flower beds. You can photograph Lombard Street from above at Hyde Street or below at Leavenworth Street. To capture cars attempting to navigate Lombard Street, visit during the day. But for a quiet sight, head here first thing in the morning.
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay. Get an uninterrrupted view of the San Francisco skyline. Night views from the former federal prison look amazing. To photograph the island itself, head to Fisherman's Wharf. You can get a great exterior shot from Pier 41. Both views can also be captured while aboard Alcatraz Cruises.
Fisherman's Wharf stretches from Ghirardelli Square to Pier 35. Head to Pier 39 for a fun photo of the resident sea lions. The Musée Mécanique at Fisherman's Wharf is filled with 20th-century penny arcade games. Head inside to photograph the artifacts or to get interesting gaming action shots of the natives and tourists.
Known as simply "The Mission," San Francisco's Mission District is primarily a Latin neighborhood. Today, it's known for its hipster eateries and many gorgeous murals. This particular mural is just one located in Balmy Alley, where murals first appeared in the 1980s. Clarion Alley is an alternative, as is the Carnaval Mural above the House of Brakes on 24th Street and S Van Ness Avenue. Another excellent photo opportunity in The Mission is the city views from Dolores Park. Visit during the golden hour (before sunset) to see the city's skyscrapers tinted gold.
The most famous ladies and buildings in San Francisco, the Painted Ladies are a set of colorful Victorian houses. They've been used in several movies and TV shows over the years to represent San Francisco. Stand opposite the ladies in Alamo Square Park to see them backdropped by the city. Head here earlier in the morning before the park fills with other visitors.
San Francisco Cable Cars
The San Francisco Cable Cars are the world's last manually operated cable car system. The most popular route starts at the intersection of Powell and Market Streets and finishes at Fisherman's Wharf. The views of and from the cable cars are absolutely worthwhile. For a different photograph, capture the cable car at night when it's not overloaded with visitors.
The main thoroughfare in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, Haight Street is a must-visit location for unique photographs. Haight-Ashbury is known for being the origin of the hippie counterculture. Today, it's home to interesting boutiques, record stores, and colorful street art. The best time to visit is in the early morning when there are fewer people and cars to interrupt mural photographs.
For a wide-angle view of sprawling San Francisco, head to Twin Peaks. From the 64-acre park, you can see from San Francisco to the outer Bay Area (on a clear day, of course). Other popular viewpoints include the Coit Tower and the nearby Corona Heights Park. It's recommended to visit these places at night so you can see San Francisco sparkling
It's undeniable that San Francisco is an extremely photogenic city. From up high in the parks to down below on a boat in San Francisco Bay, this guide will certainly keep any photographer busy during a visit to San Francisco.
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