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Where To Find the Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

Admire from the water, sure, but don’t overlook these other options either.

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Hi, I'm Madigan!

Madigan Talmage-Bowers is a writer based in Denver, Colorado. She has also lived in Italy, San Francisco, and New York City, where she studied media theory at the New School. She loves introducing her kids to ancient history, local art, hiking trails, and new foods on adventures around the globe.

A celebrated symbol of San Francisco since its construction in 1937, views of the Golden Gate Bridge are what most Bay Area visitors seek out as part of their trip to Northern California. Fortunately, it's not hard to catch a glimpse, and photo-worthy viewpoints abound. Here are some of the best places to view the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fort Point

Fort Point is right by Golden Gate.
You may recognize Fort Point from an Alfred Hitchcock movie.Foto: yhelfman / Shutterstock

Military history at the foot of the bridge.

Dating back to the Gold Rush, this historic defensive fort at the bridge’s south anchorage is also close to Baker Beach which lies at the foot of rugged cliffs just west of the Golden Gate Bridge. Access is free, and it's a great place to brush up on early California history while enjoying the incredible views. Alfred Hitchcock fans may also recognize Fort Point as the spot where, in the movie, Veritgo, Madeleine jumps into the San Francisco Bay. To get to this popular viewpoint by car, take the last San Francisco exit before the toll plaza.

Lands End Trail

Rock art by the sea at Lands End Trail.
Take a hike on Lands End Trail and witness scenic views.Foto: Pung / Shutterstock

An urban hike with clifftop views.

To see a different side of the Golden Gate Bridge, consider this hiking trail at the edge of the Presidio which is one of the few places you can see the bridge from the west. The vistas from Eagle’s Point and the Lands End labyrinth are the best but keep your eyes peeled for additional glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge as the trail meanders through the woods. Find free parking near the trailhead on Lincoln Highway.

Crissy Field

Historic buildings in Crissy Field.
Have a picnic on the lawn of Crissy Field which is surrounded by ocean views.Foto: kropic1 / Shutterstock

Life’s a beach at this shoreline park.

Located near Golden Gate Park, this vast lawn and public beach boast unobstructed views of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmark as a backdrop and is a perfect spot to picnic. It's also a popular spot for flying kites, frisbee games, and wading in the water—though you'll likely need to pack a jacket as Golden Gate Park weather can be chilly year-round.

Hawk Hill

The view of the Golden Gate Bridge on Hawk Hill.
Watch the bridge from up top at Hawk Hill.Foto: bgrissom / Shutterstock

A bird’s-eye vantage point in the headlands.

For an impressive Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint, head to Marin County, just north of San Francisco. You'll need a vehicle or extreme biking endurance to reach this one—cross the bridge going north, then turn left onto the winding, two-lane Conzelman Road. From the top, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge against the San Francisco cityscape are unmatched.

Bay Cruises

Bay Cruises take people out to Alcatraz.
Take in Alcatraz views and The Golden Gate Bridge on a boat cruise.Foto: Oscity / Shutterstock

A sailor's perspective, without the work.

With a little planning, you can climb aboard a sightseeing boat that departs hourly from Pier 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf. Most cruises venture beneath the bridge into the Pacific Ocean, so you can see the span of the Golden Gate Bridge from below, while bridge-to-bridge tours also include a trip under the Bay Bridge. Angel Island and Alcatraz Island also offer spectacular bridge views, though you’ll need to book well in advance for an Alcatraz tour.

Sausalito

Buildings along the waterfront in Sausalito.
Sausalito is a quaint seaside village.Foto: Sergio TB / Shutterstock

European-style charm across the bay.

Another short distance north of San Francisco, is Sausalito, a quaint seaside village that features a rocky coastline with a direct view of the bridge. For dinner, opt for fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants like the Spinnaker or Bar Bocce. For dessert, grab ice cream from one of the local cafés and stroll along the Bridgeway promenade. If you don't have a car, you can catch a ferry from San Francisco’s Ferry Building or (somewhat) easily get here on a bike.

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