Golden Gate Bridge Photos & Views: 15 Spots to Explore

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: May 20, 2022

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. 

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. Golden Gate Vista Point South

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Vista Point SouthViews and typical photos you can get from Golden Gate Vista Point South.

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.

2. On the Bridge

The southern tower of the Golden Gate BridgeThis is on the eastern pedestrian walkway and is a view of the southern tower.

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.

3. Golden Gate View Vista Point (North)

golden gate bridge from the north

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. 

>> More tips to visit Vista Point

4. Baker Beach

Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge from the eastern end of Baker Beach.Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge from the eastern end of Baker Beach.

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. 

5. Marshall's Beach

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. 

>> More about Marshall's Beach and how to get here

6. Crissy Field

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. 

7. Fort Point National Historic Site

The Golden Gate Bridge from Fort PointThe Golden Gate Bridge from the top floor of the Fort Point National Historic site.

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

8. Marin Headlands

Views from the Marin HeadlandsViews of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco from the Marin Headlands.

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:

  • Hike: This option takes a lot of effort and time. You can walk across the bridge and then hike to the top. Again, you don't have to go as far as I did in the picture above, as the climb is steep. It will take you at least another 30 minutes to an hour to get here after you come off the bridge. 
  • Drive: There is also a road that leads to the top of the Marin Headlands. It makes the effort to get here quite a bit easier. 
  • Drive & Hike: As a compromise, you can also park at either Vista Point North or at a parking lot on the northern end of the bridge at the trailhead (find out more about both of these parking options here). Once you arrive on the northern end, you can then make the 30-minute to 1-hour hike to the top for some amazing views of the bridge. 

9. Pier 39

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.

10. Alcatraz and Angel Islands

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. 

11. Pier at Aquatic Park

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.

12. Coit Tower

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.

13. China Beach

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.

14. Lands End Trail

Views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Lands End Trail.One of several places you will find views of the Golden Gate Bridge along the Lands End Trail.

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 Rock 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. 

>> More about visiting Lands End

15. Fort Baker

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. 

Golden Gate Photos at Night

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 Lands End trail. It's very dangerous at night because it's right next to the cliff. 

Map for Top Golden Gate Bridge View Points

Map for the 15 best places to photograph and view the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

This is a review of the 15 best places to take Golden Gate Bridge photos.

  1. Golden Gate Vista Point South
  2. On the Bridge
  3. Golden Gate View Vista Point (North)
  4. Baker Beach
  5. Marshall's Beach
  6. Crissy Field
  7. Fort Point National Historic Site
  8. Marin Headlands
  9. Pier 39
  10. Alcatraz Island: You will find Angel Island just to the north.
  11. Pier at Aquatic Park
  12. Coit Tower
  13. China Beach
  14. Lands End Trail
  15. Fort Baker

Golden Gate Bridge Views from Above and Below

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. 

  • 60-Minute Bay Cruise: This is the most popular option since it runs several times each day. The first cruises leave around 9 am and the last cruise out is around 4 or 5 pm. You'll get the chance to go under the Golden Gate Bridge twice. Find availability for tickets for this cruise.
  • Sunset Cruises: These are also very popular and run most nights of the week. Some offer drinks while others offer a full meal with dancing. These cruises usually run for about 90-minutes to three hours. Find some of the best options here

Additional Golden Gate Bridge Pictures

Here are some of my favorite Golden Gate photos from my years of living in San Francisco.

Looking up under the Golden Gate Bridge from a Bay Cruise

I took this one while on the 60-minute Golden Gate Cruise around the bay.

The northern tower of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

I took this one from the walkway on the bridge. I just love looking up at this amazing structure.

A shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge in the water

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. 

The golden gate bridge from far away with fog rolling in underneath

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. 

The Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point in SF

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.

Golden gate bridge at dusk in San Francisco

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.

Golden Gate Bridge at Baker Beach, Pinterest Pin

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