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Be Inspired: The 15 Most Incredible Views in the Bay Area

Be Inspired: The 15 Most Incredible Views in the Bay Area

Are you on the hunt for adventure and breathtaking scenery? Us too. We’ve been so inspired by the 16,000+ photos shared on Instagram with #SFGuide, that we decided to create a list of our 15 favorite views. Guaranteed to keep you coming back time and time again, these scenes will never grow old.

1. Point Lobos (Land’s End)

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Looking Over Sutro Baths. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

Once home to the “world’s largest indoor pool establishment”, the Sutro Bath Ruins are a nostalgic reminder of what used to be. Located below the Cliff House restaurant at Point Lobos, it’s here you will be blown away by breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean and catch glimpses at an array of wildlife — including breaching whales. This is the perfect spot to bring a date, or out-of-towners.

2. China Beach Basin

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Overlooking China Beach Basin. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

China Beach Basin is a hidden gem located between Lands End and Baker Beach along the affluent El Camino Del Mar in the Sea Cliff neighborhood. In addition to panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands, this small, secluded beach is packed with welcoming amenities like BBQ pits, restrooms, a sunbathing deck, and even showers for post-surf session.

3. Golden Gate Bridge Lookout at Battery Spencer

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Golden Gate Bridge Lookout. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

An obligatory destination for anyone who visits the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge Lookout at Battery Spencer is the place to go when you’re in the Marin Headlands. The view of the bridge and arguably the most beautiful city in the world behind it is just surreal. When visiting the lookout, be prepared to be blown away by not only the scenery, but also strong gusts of wind. A jacket is definitely recommended, even on the warmest of days. 

4. Point Bonita

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Point Bonita Light House & SF. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

Located on the southwestern tip of the Marin Headlands, the Point Bonita lighthouse is a brief 11 mile journey from San Francisco, and trust me, it’s worth every winding mile. A quick half mile trek will be required to reach the lighthouse from the parking lot. With panoramic views of the city, the Pacific Ocean, and the rocky Northern California coastline, your journey to Point Bonita will not be taken in vain. The lighthouse is only open between Saturday and Monday from 12:30–3:30PM, so plan your trip accordingly!

5. Mount Davidson

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Cross Atop Mt. Davidson. Photo: Daniel Ramirez, Flickr. Creative Commons.

Towering over the city at 938 feet above sea level, Mount Davidson takes the cake as the highest point in San Francisco. (You heard me right. Twin Peaks is not San Francisco’s tallest summit.) At the top of Mount Davidson you will find a 103-foot tall concrete cross, built to commemorate the early California pioneers in 1934. Today the cross serves as a memorial to the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. From the peak, Mount Davidson offers urban hikers stunning views of San Francisco’s rolling terrain.

6. Alamo Square Park

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Alamo Square at Sunset. Photo: Bigstock.

Made famous by countless postcards and the late 80s hit series, Full House, Alamo Square Park is home to the “Painted Ladies” — seven Victorian homes built by architect Matthew Kavanaugh in the late 1890s, accompanied by a gorgeous backdrop of San Francisco’s beautiful skyline. Alamo Square is currently closed for renovation, but is anticipated to reopen in early 2017. The park is the perfect place to bring your children and furry friends, as there are tennis courts, a playground, and dog area. It’s also a great spot to spend a warm day with friends (and a bottle of rosé) if Dolores Park isn’t your thing.

7. Grand View Park

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View Atop Grand View Park. Photo: Shannon McInerney, 49miles.com.

Located in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district, the view of the city atop Grand View Park is just as “grand” as its name dictates. A short walk up the beautiful mosaic staircase leads to Turtle Hill, where you will be blown away by 360-degree views of the city.

8. Coit Tower

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View from Coit Tower Observation Deck. Photo: Guilhem Vellut, Flickr. Creative Commons.

Built on Telegraph Hill in 1933, Coit Tower’s sole purpose was to add to the beauty of San Francisco. Today, Coit Tower is an iconic piece of the city’s skyline and a major attraction, hosting thousands of visitors every year. From the tower’s observation deck, visitors are presented with panoramic city views and the Bay Area’s finest visuals.

9. Dolores Park

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Sunset Over Dolores Park. Photo: Mitch Altman, Flickr. Creative Commons.

Spanning 16 acres, Dolores Park is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and popular of San Francisco’s 220 public parks. Located in the heart of the Mission district, the park’s vibrant complexion reflects its equally vibrant surrounding neighborhood. With six tennis courts, a soccer field, playground, and basketball court, this dog-friendly park is truly a must visit destination. 

10. Corona Heights

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Foggy Sunset from Corona Heights. Photo: John Leszczynski, Flickr. Creative Commons

Located above the Castro, Corona Heights Park is one of San Francisco’s lesser known parks. On the park’s 16 acre plot are an array of beautiful wildflowers, plenty of visitor friendly amenities like playgrounds, and, of course, panoramic views of the city. 

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11. Bernal Heights

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Bernal Heights, San Francisco. Photo: Todd Lappin, Flickr. Creative Commons.

After a brief hike up Bernal Hill, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of San Francisco. Bernal Heights is a vantage point that seems to be able to offer visitors a clear view of the city, even though it may be foggy everywhere else. 

12. Twin Peaks

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San Francisco Skyline and Bay Bridge at Sunset, California. Photo: Bigstock.

At 922 feet above sea level, Twin Peaks is the second highest point in San Francisco. With an immaculate 180-degree view of the Bay Area, it is no wonder why it is a world famous tourist destination.

13. Palace of Fine Arts

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Palace of Fine Arts at Sunset. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

Photobombing wedding pictures in the Marina district since 1915, the Palace of Fine Arts is a testament to San Francisco’s architectural greatness, and serves as a monument to San Francisco’s reconstruction following the 1906 Earthquake. Surrounded by an artificial lagoon where you’ll find flocks of swans wading in the water, this breathtaking setting is sure to make any couple fall in love.

14. Treasure Island

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Long Exposure of Treasure Island. Photo: Justin Wong, 49miles.com.

Located between San Francisco and the East Bay, Treasure Island is a man made island which served as a military base from 1942–1997. Today the island is a popular spot for tourists to take in views of the city halfway across the bay. With a recreational park area, museum, picnic area, and fishing spot, Treasure Island is the perfect place to spend a nice sunny day.

15. Kirby Cove

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“Moon Over San Francisco”. Photo: The_Tahoe_Guy, Flickr. Creative Commons.

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, Kirby Cove is a mile hike down the Battery Spencer parking lot. Equipped with campsites and a breathtaking view of the bay, this secluded beach is a prime spot for locals to take a break from the busy streets and take in views from across the peninsula.

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