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Where to Find the Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge


A hiker checks out the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco beyond
Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

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Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

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A celebrated symbol of San Francisco since its construction in 1937, this gateway to the Pacific is a landmark that most Bay Area visitors yearn to lay eyes upon. Fortunately, it's not hard to catch a glimpse, and viewpoints abound that showcase the bridge’s beauty from all angles. Here are some of the best.

Fort Point

You may recognize Fort Point from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. | Photo Credit: yhelfman / Shutterstock

Military history at the foot of the bridge.

Dating back to the Gold Rush, this historic defensive fort at the bridge’s south anchorage is about as close as you can get to the Golden Gate without actually going across. Access is free, and it's a great place to brush up on early California history while enjoying the incredible views. Alfred Hitchcock fans may also recognize Fort Point as the spot where Madeleine jumps into the San Francisco Bay in Vertigo. To get there by car, take the last San Francisco exit before the toll plaza.

Lands End Trail

Take a hike on Lands End Trail and witness scenic views. | Photo Credit: Pung / Shutterstock

An urban hike with clifftop views.

This hiking trail at the edge of the Presidio is one of the few places you can see the bridge from the west. The vistas from Eagle’s Point and the Lands End labyrinth are the best, but look for additional glimpses as the trail meanders through the woods. Find free parking near the trailhead on Lincoln Highway.

Bay Cruises

Take in Alcatraz views and The Golden Gate Bridge on a boat cruise. | Photo Credit: Oscity / Shutterstock

A sailor's perspective, without the work.

With a little advance planning, you can climb aboard one of the sightseeing boats that depart almost hourly from Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf. Most cruises venture beneath the bridge into the open Pacific Ocean, so you can see the span from below, while bridge-to-bridge itineraries also loop in a trip under the Bay Bridge. Also accessible by boat, Angel Island and Alcatraz Island offer spectacular bridge views, though you’ll need to book well in advance for an Alcatraz tour.

Crissy Field

Have a picnic on the lawn of Crissy Field which is surrounded by ocean views. | Photo Credit: kropic1 / Shutterstock

Life’s a beach at this shoreline park.

Pack a picnic and drop a blanket along this grassy expanse on San Francisco's northern shores. The vast lawn and public beach boast unobstructed views of the bridge as a backdrop. It's a popular spot for flying kites, frisbee games, and wading—just keep in mind that the bay waters are frigid year-round.

Hawk Hill

Watch the bridge from up top at Hawk Hill. | Photo Credit: bgrissom / Shutterstock

A bird’s-eye vantage point in the headlands.

One of the most impressive bridge viewpoints is tucked in the Marin Headlands, a landscape of rolling green hills north of San Francisco. You'll need a vehicle or extreme biking endurance to reach this one—cross the bridge going north, then turn left onto the winding, two-lane Conzelman Road. From the top, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge against the San Francisco cityscape are unmatched.

Sausalito

Sausalito is a quaint seaside village. | Photo Credit: Sergio TB / Shutterstock

European-style charm across the bay.

Also just north of San Francisco, this quaint seaside village features a rocky coastline and harbor with a direct view of the bridge from an alluring angle. Dine on fresh seafood with a view at a waterfront restaurant like the Spinnaker or Bar Bocce, or grab an ice cream from one of the cafés on Caledonia Street and stroll along the Bridgeway promenade. If you don't have a car, it's a fairly easy bike ride to get here, or you can catch a ferry from San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

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Sightseeing on a Budget in San Francisco
Sightseeing on a Budget in San Francisco