The Local’s Guide to San Francisco’s Best Views
San Francisco is world-renowned for its incredible vistas. Complete with towering hills, vibrant Victorian facades, iconic bridges and an ever-inspiring coastal setting, this city never falls short of captivating both residents and tourists alike. Yet, while anyone may seek out San Francisco’s most frequented viewing sites, the best spots are often those unbeknownst to many. Whether you wish to experience the subtle vibrancy of sunrise or the pervasive palette of sunset, escape the masses to the following tried and trusted sites for a local’s outlook upon the Golden City.
Top of Lombard and Hyde Street
If it’s both a view and experience you seek, meander your way to the intersection of Lombard and Hyde Street. Perhaps one of the most picturesque and crooked thoroughfares in San Francisco, Lombard is 600-feet of red brick that zig zags downhill, offering a true car show for pedestrians. Yet, while Lombard may be a popular attraction, fewer know of the unrivaled vistas atop Hyde Street. So, make the trek uphill, revel in the boundless beauty of foliage, delight in the zig-zagging cars and, when you reach the zenith at Hyde, take a moment to admire a view that envelops nearly half of the city and Alcatraz just beyond. Here, you’ll find peace and quiet amidst the pandemonium of cars below.
Top of the Mark
The Mark Hopkins Hotel is one of the most elegant and historic locales to both visit and stay in San Francisco. And, perhaps even more glamorous is the Top of The Mark: a posh rooftop bar that revels in awe-inspiring, 360-degree views of the city. Whether you choose to go for a delicious weekend brunch or a matchless sunset experience whilst sipping a signature martini, the Top of the Mark never fails to deliver with its stunning vistas of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, downtown skyline and, come sundown, dazzling city lights.
While one may believe the best views of San Francisco are seen from above, oftentimes the most natural of settings provide the greatest perspective. At the base of the Marin Headlands sits Kirby Cove: a pristine, coarse-sand beach that offers an incredible sightline of the Golden Gate Bridge. To access this treasured inlet, embark upon a mile-long hike from Battery Spencer and wander amongst the colorful hillside until you reach the coastal haven that is Kirby Cove. Bring a blanket and unwind as the sun does the same, illuminating the bridge for a show to remember.
The Harrison boasts access to some of San Francisco’s most coveted views. Each residence and penthouse is replete with floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, revealing unobstructed vistas of the Bay Bridge, Twin Peaks, AT&T Park, the city and marina. Yet, perhaps the most magical views are experienced from Uncle Harry’s: its private penthouse lounge atop the 49th floor, enveloped by 100 linear feet of windows that beguile residents with its vistas of the twinkling Bay Bridge, marina and AT&T Park. Here, you can sit back and relax with a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening, and evanesce into the beauty of the bay just beyond.
The highest natural point in San Francisco, Mount Davidson is best known for the cross that stands tall upon its summit in the distance. But, while many admire the hill from afar, those who climb to the top enjoy sweeping views of San Francisco while secluded from all the hustle and bustle beyond. Offering a vantage point just as spectacular as Twin Peaks but without the chaos of the crowds, Mount Davidson is the ideal destination to seek out peace and quiet whilst absorbing some of the most impressive vistas of the city and bay.