Golden Gate Bridge photos are everywhere. Where do people go for the perfect view of the bridge? Discover my list of 15 view points and vistas where you can get that perfect picture.
There are numerous locations in San Francisco where you can take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, there are a few specific places that allow you to capture it at its best angle.
My top picks offer full views of the bridge, close-up shots, and spectacular night photos. There are options on the San Francisco side of the bridge as well as on the northern end in Marin County.
To make planning easier, I've included a map of all of these Golden Gate vista points. This will allow you to quickly see how close some of them are to each other in case you want to take pictures from several different points in one single outing.
As you explore, make sure to look around for the golden towers, as it's always a fun surprise to spot this gorgeous San Francisco bridge from additional locations throughout the city.
This is probably one of the most popular Golden Gate Bridge vista points. It's so popular because it's right behind the Welcome Center. It's also where thousands of people stop every year for a quick photo before starting their stroll across the bridge (or partially across it).
Here you will be very close to the bridge, and still able to see the entire thing including both of the towers. You'll be able to see some of the water as well.
Even though this is a top spot to view the Golden Gate Bridge, I think you will find that some of the other options below are even better.
You can also get some amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge while you're on it, from the pedestrian walkways.
The walkway is on the eastern side of the bridge. You can walk the entire way across, which is just over a mile and a half. From the bridge, you can also get amazing shots of the city and Alcatraz Island.
If you do decide to walk the bridge, bring along a warm jacket. Due to its location, it is really windy and cool. It is also crowded, so watch your belongings when you are taking your Golden Gate Bridge photos.
On the northern end, you will find another popular place with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It's called Golden Gate View Vista Point.
From this location in Marin, you will get just the opposite view from what you see at the vista point on the southern end.
The picture above is a view of the bridge from the northern lookout point. This is just one vantage point. You can get a number of different shots from this location. You'll notice you can't see the southern tower from this angle, but this viewing area is large, and you can walk toward the eastern edge of it to get the entire view.
You've probably seen dozens of Golden Gate Bridge photos from Baker Beach. This long, thin beach sits inside the Presidio.
Since it's so easy to get to, you will find a lot of people here viewing and photographing the bridge.
The shot above is from the eastern end of the beach, where part of the bridge gets cut off. If you want a full view, you can head west along the beach (which is about a mile long) and get some full views.
Marshall's Beach, a lesser-known spot just east of Baker Beach, offers dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
While the photos from this beach are quite a bit better, you will have to walk down a little more of a rough terrain to get here. It isn't far, but does take more effort (vs. walking down some stairs to get to Baker Beach).
If you are really into photography, you can't miss the Golden Gate Bridge view from here.
Another great location for photos is from Crissy Field looking west. You can access this beach and grassy area on the north side of the city through the Marina neighborhood.
Tips: It's a great place to photograph the bridge at night with the sun setting behind it. It's also a great place to get dramatic photos of the bridge as the fog floats into the SF Bay Area in the late afternoon or early evening.
Take the 30 bus from Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf all the way to the end of the route. Once you get off the bus, walk all the way to the water. You can pick any spot along the beach for some amazing shots.
This is a hidden gem in San Francisco. This old military fort was almost torn down to make way for the Golden Gate structure. However, the engineers took a good look at the building and realized its historical significance. They then reworked their plan to make room to keep this landmark.
This building is right under the bridge, and you can get some amazing shots from this location. The site is free, so you can walk in just to take pictures. However, I also recommend looking around a little while you're there.
The best shots are from the top floor of the building. When you arrive, head to the courtyard and you will see several sets of stairs leading to the top. It's a four-story building, so prepare yourself for a hike up the stairs.
Take the stairs on the southern side of the building -- this way you can stop along the way and take some photos as you climb. Find out more about and how to get to the Fort Point National Historic Site.
My next recommendation is on the northern side of the bridge in the Marin Headlands. This area offers sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge with downtown San Francisco in the background.
The photo above is just one example of the type of Golden Gate Bridge photos you can get from here.
There are a few ways to get here:
If you happen to be at Pier 39, make sure to head out to the patio section near the water. From here, you can get great views of both the bridge and Alcatraz Island.
I wouldn't say this is the ultimate place to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge, but if you happen to be here already, you will find unobstructed views of it. At times, being this far away, it will look a bit hazy. However, it's fun to see the entire bridge from this spot in Fisherman's Wharf.
Both options take a little more work, but some of the best Golden Gate Bridge images come from these two islands in the San Francisco Bay.
The only way to get to Alcatraz is to sign up for one of their tours. If you are just in town for a few days, the Alcatraz and San Francisco City tour has a number of stops that will allow you to get great photos. Learn more about this tour.
You can also head over to Angel Island, where you'll find several views of this SF attraction in addition to some amazing shots of Alcatraz Island and the city of San Francisco.
On the western side of Fisherman's Wharf is Aquatic Park. This is in front of the famed Ghirardelli Square. On the west side of Aquatic Park, you will find a pier that takes you out over the water.
With few obstructions in your way, this is another perfect place for photos. From the pier, you can also get some amazing shots of Alcatraz Island.
Located in the North Beach neighborhood, Coit Tower is the tall, skinny tower on a hill that sticks out above the city. The best place to get a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge is from the parking lot of the tower.
The parking lot has short cement walls around it (only about a foot tall), from which you will get amazing shots of this SF attraction, as well as Alcatraz and the entire San Francisco Bay. Read the North Beach page for tips on getting up to Coit Tower.
You will also find some full views of the Golden Gate Bridge at China Beach. This is another option that takes a bit more effort to get to, but you will love the views from here.
Visit my China Beach page to learn more and see pictures from this vantage point.
If you love hiking and views, you will love the Lands End Trail. The trail sits along the cliff on the northwest side of the city.
You will find some really great places for Golden Gate Bridge photos right on the trail. You can also head down to Mile High Beach, where you can find some additional vistas and a nearby labyrinth created out of rock. If you stand in certain spots, you can get a picture of both the labyrinth and the bridge in the background.
My final recommendation is again on the northern Marin side of the bridge. Fort Baker is an old fort that sits just below and to the east of the bridge. You can get some amazing Golden Gate Bridge photos from here.
To get here, you have two options. You can walk across the bridge and then walk down, or you can drive across the bridge and into Fort Baker. From here, you will find several spots with dramatic views.
Crissy Field, Baker Beach, and the lookout points on either end of the bridge are the best places to take Golden Gate photos at night. If you have a great camera with an expert lens, you might also be able to get a good shot from far away at Coit Tower.
Other top places to take photos at night include the Marin Headlands and Fort Baker.
Fort Point is not open at night, but you can get into the parking lot for photos. You will need to walk along the waterfront to get there.
I don't recommend taking photos at night along the Land's End trail. It's very dangerous at night because it's right next to the cliff.
This is a review of the 15 best places to take Golden Gate Bridge photos.
In addition to viewing the bridge from the locations mentioned above, you can also fly over it or take a cruise under it.
Flying Over: I've been fortunate enough to fly over the bridge just once. It's an amazing experience and worth every penny. Of the two options, I went over on a four-seater plane, but I'm sure the experience in a helicopter is just as amazing. Find out more about flying over on a helicopter. Find availability for these tours.
Views from Below, Cruises: There are dozens of cruises every day and it's a common way to get some amazing pictures from underneath the bridge.
Here are some of my favorite Golden Gate photos from my years of living in San Francisco.
I took this one while on the 60-minute Golden Gate Cruise around the bay.
I took this one from the walkway on the bridge. I just love looking up at this amazing structure.
This is the shadow of the south tower on the water. It's not exactly a picture of the bridge, but I thought it was fun.
This is a far-away Golden Gate Bridge photo. You can see the fog rolling into the bay from underneath the bridge. This happens most nights in the summer around 4 or 5pm, a great time to get some foggy Golden Gate photos.
This is a slightly different shot and is from Fort Point. I like this one because it shows its size in comparison to the four-story Fort Point building. This was taken from the third story of the building.
This shot is from Crissy Field at dusk. This was in the winter, so there was no fog rolling into the bay at this time. The area in the foreground is the beach at Crissy Field.