Best Views in the Bay Area

With scores of hills and peaks, there is no shortage of vantage points in the Bay Area from which you can produce those Instagram-worthy pics. But not all of the incredible views require a hike; there are many great spots down on level ground as well. In an area known for panoramas and gorgeous vistas, several stand out. Here are some of the best:

  • Alamo Square

    • Featured in the opening credits of Full House, this view of the Painted Ladies (with the skyline and the bay in the background) is one of San Francisco’s most iconic.

  • Hawk Hill

    • This spot in the Marin Headlands offers a view of the entire Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the San Francisco skyline. Bring your binoculars for some great bird-watching, as Hawk Hill is home to many species of raptors.

  • Twin Peaks

    • If you can navigate the trailhead all the way to the top, you’ll be rewarded with the best 360 degree views the city has to offer. If hiking is not your thing, drive up the Eureka North peak.

  • Battery Spencer

    • The view of the Golden Gate Bridge plastered on postcards worldwide? It’s from Battery Spencer. From this vantage point, there are no obstructions and the eye-level views mean you can get some incredible photographs.

  • Coit Tower

    • The observation deck of this landmark offers 360 degree views of the city and the bay. Visit just before sunset to see the Transamerica Pyramid shimmering in golden light.

  • Lombard Street

    • At the top of “the world’s most crooked street”, you'll see the first two hairpin curves being negotiated by cars in front of you with a view of the Coit Tower and the scenic bay before you. Walk down to the bottom, and the views are even better. For added fun and adventure, drive it!

  • The Powell-Hyde cable car

    • On this line from Powell and Market to Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll see San Francisco neighborhoods at their finest. Best of all is the exciting stretch of Hyde between Chestnut and Bay streets as you zoom down the system's steepest grade and enjoy a view of Alcatraz and the bay.

  • Alcatraz

    • Take time to savor a multitude of views: the island itself on your ferry ride over, the Golden Gate Bridge from the dismal recreation yard, and the city skyline from the yards and paths surrounding the Cell House.

For more information and pictures:

San Francisco Views

Marin Views