california photography travel

Top Photography Spots in San Francisco

Top Photography Spots in San Francisco

There’s really no place like San Francisco. Some say it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I can’t disagree with that! The hilly terrain, the architecture, and the abundance of bay views are all reason enough for a weekend getaway. There is no shortage of photo-worthy spots when visiting San Francisco. In this blog, I outline the Top Ten Photography Spots in San Francisco!

Battery Spencer

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This view is atop the Marin Headlands and is by far the best view of San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge.Β  It’s a national park and can get very busy during peak times. For that reason, parking can be hit or miss since there are limited spots (but it’s free to park). For the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge, head towards the very end lot and walk about 5 minutes through the battery to the viewpoint.

Address: Conzelman Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965

Golden Gate Overlook

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A unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge since the bridge view is straight on. In order to get to this exact spot, you’ll want to park in the Langdon Court Parking Lot (free to park). It’s one of the lesser-known views so it is not typically busy.

Address: Langdon Ct, San Francisco, CA 94129

Palace of Fine Arts

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If there’s any place in San Francisco that makes you feel regal, it’s The Palace of Fine Arts. A little slice of Rome in the middle of the Marina in San Francisco. The architecture here is quite stunning and the homes surrounding the park are equally as beautiful. For the best time to visit, head here in the morning when the lighting is prime and there are no crowds. It’s free to roam around the grounds. Learn more about the palace here!

Address: 3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The Painted Ladies

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An iconic row of Victorian houses that became famous from the TV Show Full House. You can view the houses best from Alamo Square. The lighting here is best in the morning or late afternoon! Try not to get here at high noon since the lighting is super harsh.

Address: Steiner St &, Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Bernal Heights Swing

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A local’s only spot! One of San Francisco’s best-kept secrets is The Bernal Heights swing. It has sweeping views of the entire bay area. In order to get to the swing, you’ll need to hike up a steep hill. There are a ton of trails and steps to help you get up there but it’s a short hike so wear comfortable shoes.

There is a small parking lot at the entrance that fills up quickly. However, there is plenty of street parking available.

Address: 3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Lyon Street Steps

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The Lyon Street Steps have beautiful views of the bay, The Palace of Fine Arts, and billionaires row. The steps are surrounded by multi-million dollar homes that are gorgeous enough to warrant a visit here. You may even see a coyote or two in the morning! I witnessed my first coyote sighting here, random, I know!

Address: Lyon street & Broadway (top of the steps)

Sausalito

Sausalito Marin CountySausalito view of San Francisco

The cutest little city in Marin county. Sausalito has gorgeous views of the city, quaint boat homes, and the cutest little shops. It’s a perfect day trip from San Francisco, you can drive or take the ferry. I would highly recommend going to the Barrel House Tavern for lunch since the views are great and the food was delicious.

Chinatown

lanterns in chinatown San Francisco

Home to one of the largest Chinatowns outside of Asia. San Francisco Chinatown is rich with culture and colorful streets. You need to head here when visiting the city. You can head to the bar Lipo for the best Mai Tai’s in town or to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory where they hand out free samples. The streets are filled with lanterns and pagoda buildings that act as a perfect photo opportunity.

Address: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108

California & Stockton

San Francisco California & Stockton

The cross streets of California & Stockton have an amazing street view of San Francisco. Pictured above, there is a trolley that runs down the middle of the street and it makes for the fun photo opportunity. Please be super careful when taking this photo as you are literally in the middle of the street. Always use your best judgment!

Address: California St & Stockton

Muir Woods

Redwood Creek Trail - 1.2 miles in Mill Valley, CA at Muir Woods ...

Muir Woods is a national monument filled with old-growth coast redwood trees that are massive. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it to Muir Woods because you have to book your parking in advance. However, you need to visit this place when you’re in town so make sure to book your parking days in advance so you don’t end up like me. Head to this page in order to book your parking!

Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Powell Street Cable Car

San Francisco cable car

The San Francisco cable car system is truly iconic and a historical landmark. The cable car system is the world’s last manually operated system. When visiting San Francisco for the first time, you’ll need to hop on one of these cars for a ride to truly experience the city. There are three different lines you can take they are all outlined here. In order to get this picture above, head to the Powell St turnaround station on Market street.

Address: Powell St & Market St

I hope you enjoyed my Top Photography Spots in San Francisco and are ready to book your trip to San Francisco. Is there any place on the list that you’ve been to? Let me know below and for more of our California guides head here!

XO,

Courtney

SF0

SF1

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12 Comments

  • Reply Taylor

    San Francisco truly does look like the most beautiful city. It’s so high on my USA bucket list and I’m hoping to go in the fall. πŸ™‚

    April 3, 2020 at 8:59 pm
  • Reply Charu Goyal

    Beautiful photos and love your outfit in Golden Gate Overlook picture so much!

    April 4, 2020 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Linnea

    I need to go back to San Francisco! I’ve always wanted to see the Bernal Heights Swing! It’s such a fun city!

    April 4, 2020 at 6:39 pm
  • Reply Suvarna Arora

    So many beautiful spots. I would love to visit them all someday.

    April 4, 2020 at 6:47 pm
  • Reply Maria

    These are really cool photo spots! Especially the Bernal Heights Swing looks amazing. Totally missed out on that when I was in San Francisco.

    April 6, 2020 at 6:59 pm
  • Reply World of Lina

    All your photos are absolutely stunning Courtney! Saving this πŸ™‚

    April 7, 2020 at 9:19 am
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