Here comes the sun!
There’s truly no shortage of excellent places to see a sunset in the Bay, but we wanted to get to the bottom of where locals love to watch the sky light up. That’s why we posted an Instagram poll asking for our followers’ best recommendations! They didn’t disappoint, and we have almost 30 different places to tell you about. Here are some photos and descriptions of the 10 most essential ones in no particular order, but be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a full list!
1. Mori Point
If you’re on the south end of the city, Mori Point in Pacifica is a must-see for dramatic cliff views. This is a family-friendly route featuring amazing bluffs for a study in geology and erosion. Bring a jacket because it can get windy!
2. Lands End
The immensely popular Land’s End Trail offers dramatic views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. This moderate hike will take you to the Sutro Baths, the ruins of a public swimming pool dating back to 1896. You can take a more accessible route along the Golden Gate Promenade and snap some incredible photos along the way.
3. Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais is a gorgeous hiking destination just an hour outside of the city. Cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge and you’ll find dozens of beautiful spots in Marin, but Mt. Tamalpais really takes the cake for its panoramic views, grassy meadows, and magical forests. See more photos here.
4. Palace of Fine Arts
This popular spot is right on the edge of the Presidio. The Palace of Fine Arts was famously designed by Bernard Maybeck for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition, and it’s stood as one of the most iconic landmarks in the City ever since! Sprawl out on the grass and enjoy the beautiful palace with a sunset backdrop.
5. Twin Peaks
These 2 adjacent peaks in the City stand 922 feet tall, making them second only to Mt. Davidson. The park itself is 64 acres, and you can see breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay by hiking the 0.7 mile trail network to the top. You can also observe plenty of animal and plant diversity during your journey.
6. Baker Beach
This romantic spot provides gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands’ lovely landscape. Keep an eye out for porpoises playing in the water, or otherwise spot the dogs of San Francisco running around the beach!
7. Ina Coolbrith Park
This small, unassuming park in Russian Hill is really a hidden gem when you’re looking for great city views. Climb the steps all the way to the top for a spectacular sunset reward, or lounge on the benches for a romantic evening.
8. Fort Funston
This picturesque, slightly less touristy area of the City is worth a trip for beach views and exploring, especially by bike. Take the Great Highway trail, which starts at Fulton Street, and bike down through the park. You can stop to watch the hang gliders, loop around Lake Merced, and breathe in some fresh sea air.
9. Muir Beach Overlook
If you find yourself on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps for a day trip or a bit of hiking, this is a great way to finish your day! Muir Beach Overlook features a dirt pathway leading out to the edge of a cliff, so you literally feel like you’re walking into the sunset! Whether you make it there for sunset or not, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Ocean Beach
This beach on the west coast of the city can get windy, but it’s especially where you should be if you want to see a quintessential ocean sunset. The beach is quite long and widest at the northern end, so it provides a truly expansive sunset viewing experience. You can access it easily from Golden Gate Park or the Sunset District. What’s more, bonfires are allowed at Ocean Beach in provided fire rings, which can be found between stairwells 15 and 20. Go for a walk along the shore and watch the windsurfers!
Bonus spots recommended by San Franciscans:
- Point Lobos
- Portrero Hill
- Fort Point
- DoLo at the top of Gay Beach
- Battery Spencer
- Bernal Heights
- Golden Gate Heights Park west slope
- Thornton Beach
- Corona Heights
- Marina Green
- Castro Valley Sunset View
- Cliff House
- Russian Hill Hyde Street tennis courts
- Battery Boutelle
- Panoramic Trail in Claremont Reserve Park
- Crissy Field
- Grandview Park
- Beach at Ghirardelli Square
Featured image: @cookdog77 via Instagram