Top 10 Places to Watch the Sunset in San Francisco

Kat Bein | November 12, 2020 | Lifestyle Culture Travel

Best Places to Watch the Sunset in San Francisco

San Francisco just might be the perfect place to live. We've got a steady microclimate, skyscrapers by the sea, beaches next to mountains, not to mention a vibrant history of music, art and one of the most welcoming cultures in the States. No city is perfect, but San Fran is pretty close, especially when the sunset hour strikes.

Yes, we get some serious perrennial fog - so much so that we gave the fog a name, but when Karl clears up, you can't beat the view, and the Bay Area is full of stunning vantage points.

Whether you want to climb to the top of hill, commune with nature, have your dinner cliffside or feel the sand beneath your toes, our list of San Francisco sunset spots represents the best of what the Bay has to offer.

See also: The 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Chicago

Baker Beach

Bowley Street and Gibson Road / Website

If you want iconic SF, Baker Beach is the first stop. To the right, you've got the Golden Gate Bridge so close you can count the cars. To the left, you see coastal mansions nestled into the cliff, giving an atmosphere of European luxury. In front of you is nothing but crashing waves and glorious hues melting rainbow in the horizon. It's so beautiful, it's almost surreal. Your Instagram followers will be jealous.

Lands End Lookout

1090 Point Lobos Avenue / Website

The northwestern corner of the peninsula is what we call Lands End, a coastal section of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area with moderate hikes, rocky beaches and sunset views galore. Windblown cypress and eucalyptus trees hug the trails, while the famous Cliff House restaurant and its Lookout Cafe promise stunning views alongside a delicious food and beverages (Cliff House is closed for Covid, but it is doing takeout). Don't miss the famous stone Labrynth, created by artist Eduardo Aguilera in 2004.

Twin Peaks

501 Twin Peaks Boulevard / Website

Not to be confused with the campy David Lynch drama, Twin Peaks emerges from the heart of the city and stands 922-feet above the Pacific. On a clear day, it offers panoramic views of downtown San Francisco, the Bay, the ocean and miles of uninterupted sky. There are hiking trails and 64-acres of grassland. Reader be warned: the park is currently closed due to COVID restrictions, though there have been some partial reopenings. It won't last forever, right?


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5200 CA-1 / Website

Linda Mar is Spanish for "beautiful sea," and that might be an understatement. This scenic slice of surfer heaven will have you California dreamin'. You have to head south on the world-famous and absolutely stunning PCH to get there, but it's the one time you'll actually pray for traffic. Equally romantic as it is peaceful, you can watch the surfers catch waves and enjoy live musicians who sometimes set up buskering on the sidewalk. There's also a famous, beachside Taco Bell unlike any fast food restaurant you've been to, in case your date gets hungry.

Marin Headlands

Sausalito, CA / Website

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and explore the northern side of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Bring your dog to Rodeo Beach and take advantage of the hiking and biking trails. Take pictures at the old military battery, and see if you can spot any black tail deer (there are bobcats and mountain lions too, so don't get too crazy). Overlooking the Pacific Ocean with glimpses of the city and the Birdge, you can't find a bad view in the place.

See also: The 7 Best Places To Watch The Sunset In San Diego

Bernal Heights Park

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3400-3416 Folsom Street / Website

In the southern part of the city, adjacent to the famous Mission district, Bernal Hill soars high above the city with perfect 360-degree views. Hike to the top to see the downtown skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay and all those famous rolling hills. There's a running path along the bottom, just a little more than a mile around. There's also an off-leash dog park for your paw pals to enjoy. It's a real natural wonderland in the heart of the urban sprawl, and the sunsets will leave you breathless.

Crissy Field

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1199 E Beach / Website

Take a break from the hill hikes and stretch out on this oceanside plain. Once a US army airfield, the northern coastal hangout sits on restored marshland with beachy vibes. Just north of the Presidio, it's situated between Battery East and The Palace of Fine Arts, nearby to The Walt Disney Family Museum and yoda fountain (which is exactly what it sounds like). The land is flat and the sea views unobstructed, making for some marvelous sunset hues.

Grizzly Peak

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1 Centennial Drive / Website

Technically part of the Berkley Hills, this scenic view is a favorite among couples and star gazers. Take the winding road toward the top and find a place to park on the side. It's not unusual to find people hanging out on blankets, listening to their car radios. You'll also catch a nice glimpse of the city as the lights turn on.

Top of the Mark

999 California Street / Website

Lookin for a way to impress friends and family from out of town? Want to feel like a tourist in your own city? This high-end cocktail bar at the top of top of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is a local favorite must-see. For more than 80 years, this view has wow-ed clientelle, while menu items such as the Baby Back Bao Buns and Ahi Tuna Tataki make sunsets extra delicious. Top of the Mark is currently closed for COVID, but it'll be back before you know it.

Cityscape Lounge

333 O'Farrell Street / Website

On the subject of dining with a view, the Cityskape Lounge offers a full dinner experience with a panoramic view. All the way on the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square, the dramatic windows offer peeks at the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Transamerican Building and more, depending on where you sit. It's a front row seat to Mother Nature's most stunning daily show, and while hotel services are limited for COVID restrictions, the building and the sunset aren't going anywhere.

Tags: web-og sunset

Photography by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America