The best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

As someone who is positively obsessed with photography – when we decided to visit San Francisco, one of the thing I was most excited for was finding the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. But, as someone who is neither a local to San Fran, or a Lonely Planet geek, I had absolutely no idea where I was going to get the best view of Golden Gate Bridge, in order to take amazing photos.

So after my own trip to the city and tracking down some incredible views and the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, I decided to make a list for everyone else! I’m guessing that if I spent hour googling the best places to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, that there are other people out there doing it too – so here are all the places I found that offered up amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I made the little map below to help explain it a bit more, and help you find the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge. Each number on the map corresponds to a place in the list below. Hope this helps!

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1) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Battery Spencer 

If you don’t mind the wind, and the hike, Battery Spencer offers some of the most incredible up-close views you could ask for. You’re basically eye-level with the bridge and it’s right there in front of you with no obstructions, and there’s an awesome viewing platform with lots of space (no need to elbow in for the best view). It’s a great place to watch the sunset too – as you’ll get the sun setting over the ocean right next to the bridge.

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge:

2) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Fort Point

Fort Point was really popular with bikers when we were up there, and it’s a little bit of a walk up, but not a difficult one. Our friends Matt and Nic pushed a pram up and didn’t struggle – so it’s no big deal.

Once you’ve walked up and taken your first bunch of photos, you can then follow a path down and round to Chrissy Fields, which offers a few more picture perfect opportunities along the way. I recommend this view for those people who want to do a bit of walking – but don’t fancy arriving at the top sweaty and out of breath! The view of Golden Gate Bridge from this spot is beautiful… of course! This has to be one of the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge.

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

view of golden gate bridge

3) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Marshall Beach

Now, we didn’t actually go to Marshall Beach as we didn’t have time – but it’s one of the reasons I’d give myself to visit San Francisco again. I wish we’d had the chance to visit and enjoy the view of Golden Gate Bridge from this spot! It offers something a bit different to the other views, as it’s from the other side of the bay.

Here’s a gorgeous photo I found from blogger Gaizattheworld who did have time to visit the beach and take some incredible photos!

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

4) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Boat tour 

On our second night in the city we took a boat tour around the bay and the views were amazing. The boat tour lasted a few hours (there was food and dancing too – click here to book it) and left from Fisherman’s Wharf – which is quite a touristy area and pretty easy to get to. Because you’re moving around on the boat tour, you get loads of shots of the bridge from a millions different angles, so it’s perfect for people who want to get a massive variety of photos. There is also a ‘Bridge to Bridge’ boat tour which includes both of the impressive bridges in San Fran – the other one is super pretty too!

Our cruise was the sunset cruise too – so the colours were just perfection. It was one of our highlights of the whole trip, incredibly romantic and just beautiful. Even Pad got his phone out and took some photos – and when that happens I know the view must be amazing. Just remember to take a coat or a jacket – because holy crap did it get cold once the sun went down! Here’s a slightly cheaper alternative (click here) if you just want a no-frills boat ride.

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

view of golden gate bridge

Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

5) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Chrissy Fields

You could do Chrissy Fields and Fort Point in a couple of hours – so it’s a nice idea to do both of these spots together. If you walk down from Fort point, you’ll end up in Chrissy Fields, so it makes for a nice route to take. That’s what we did anyway 🙂

Chrissy Fields is a beach and public park (don’t worry – you don’t need to pay!) that stretches along the bit of coastline after the bridge, and before you get to the city. It’s beautiful, and there are some lovely lifeboat houses to see, and even a little cafe you can stop at and grab lunch or a drink.

The views might not be as epic as some of the other higher-up vistas, but they’re equally as beautiful. At Chrissy Fields you’ll get photos of the bridge in the context of people and life. Whether it being a couple of dogs playing on the beach, or a few wind-surfers catching waves.

view of golden gate bridge
view of golden gate bridge

view of golden gate bridge

6) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Alcatraz Island

The one thing I could believe when we visited Alcatraz was how AMAZING the views were across the city and over to the bridge (click here to book tickets to Alcatraz). It was one of the most stunning views of the bridge we found, and it must’ve been torture for the prisoners, to live captive in the prison, having incredible outlooks like that. The phrase ‘so close yet so far’ never rang more true.

When you do the prison tour you get taken out into the outdoor recreational area that the prisoners used. From this area you literally have the most stunning view of the bridge imaginable. Funny how the lowest society in San Francisco once had the best view – money couldn’t even buy.

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7) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: Hotel with a view

There are loads of hotels in the city which offers incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I’d recommend looking on booking websites, and filtering my cit views (to find the best ones). Always make sure you look at the different room types available too – if a hotel has a ‘bridge view’ room it’ll usually cost more – but it’s worth it to have one of the best places to take photos of the golden gate bridge right from your bedroom!

8) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: A helicopter ride

Of course, is you want uninterrupted views of the Golden Gate Bridge and you want to combine it with something super romantic and memorable – you really can’t get better than a helicopter ride over the Golden Gate Bridge. You’ll get so many photographs of the golden gate bridge from a helicopter ride, and it’ll be from angles most wouldn’t be able to. Yes, it’s one of the more expensive options on the list – but if your passion is photography – then this is an amazing way to challenge yourself and take some seriously cool photos.

best places to photograph the golden gate bridge

9) Best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge: A open-top bus tour

The open top bus tour in San Francisco will actually give you loads of opportunities to snap photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge, so it’s worth the small investment to ride around on it for a day. If you’d like to find the best places to take photos of the golden gate bridge, but also do a little sight-seeing, this is a great choice. A lot of the places on this list are actually stops the bus makes too – so it’s a really easy way to make sure you can get round a lot of them and take as many photographs as possible. Tickets are around $45 – $55 so it’s well worth the money. You can book tickets here.

best places to take photos of the golden gate bridge

Check out these other blog posts from San Francisco, which might be useful!

Photos of Beautiful San Francisco Streets

Behind bars: My trip to Alcatraz Prison

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6 Comments

  1. Richie Wagner January 31, 2016 / 8:17 pm

    Thank you very much for writing this page! We’ll be heading to SF tomorrow by way of Sacramento.

  2. David Carle May 1, 2016 / 1:38 am

    Awesome post, very useful, thank you !

  3. pcpy May 29, 2016 / 8:01 am

    Thank you for sharing!!

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