Best Spots to Take a Photograph in the Presidio
The Presidio is full of Instagrammable locations. Here are eight overlooks in the park perfect for getting the perfect picture for your feed.
Crissy Field Overlook
Located along the Presidio Promenade, the Crissy Field Overlook is a popular stop for those on their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. A landscaped plaza with benches set along a curved, stone wall invites guests to take in the view. Look out into San Francisco Bay and spot Alcatraz and Angel Island. Crissy Field itself lies below, offering perfect views of its beaches, trails, and attractions, such as the House of Air. Learn more here.
Golden Gate Overlook
This overlook is well-known for its direct view of the Golden Gate Bridge's twin towers framed between two Cypress trees. It's a popular Instagram and wedding shot location. Golden Gate Overlook was built in 2012 to honor the 75th anniversary of the bridge, and is located just off Lincoln Boulevard. The curved plaza hugs the coastal bluff. Visitors are free to explore the former military batteries. The setting offers native flora and views of the trails below. Learn more here.
Immigrant Point Overlook
Head here for a direct view of the Pacific Ocean, the Marin Headlands, and, on a clear day, Point Reyes National Seashore. Named in honor of those passing through the Golden Gate toward a new home, Immigrant Overlook features the words of President Woodrow Wilson: "We opened the gates to all the world and said, 'Let all men who want to be free come to us and they will be welcome.'" carved into stone. This overlook connects easily to hiking and beach options in the park when you've photographed enough magnificent ocean seascape. Come for sunset on a fog-free day for an especially memorable visit. Learn more here.
Inspiration Point Overlook
Inspiration Point is a popular stop, given its convenient location near the Arguello Boulevard entrance to the park, as well as the Presidio Golf Course, El Polin Spring, the Julius Kahn Playground, and one of artist Andy Goldsworthy's outdoor works, the Spire. Overlooking the park's largest watershed, Tennessee Hollow, Inspiration Point offers a view of San Francisco Bay, as well as the surrounding grasslands and nearby historic homes and eucalyptus canopies. Learn more here.
Lobos Valley Overlook
Located toward the southwest corner of the Presidio, Lobos Valley Overlook is a great place to consider the history of the park. Lobos Valley has alternatively been a site for grazing cattle, vegetable gardens, and army training facilities. More recently, though, the Presidio Trust's efforts at rejuvenation can be seen from this overlook, with rebuilt sand dunes inviting native plants back in and initiating a positive environmental transformation. This is another overlook showcasing views to the Pacific Ocean and its sunsets. Learn more here.
Marine Cemetery Vista
Immediately behind the former U.S. Marine Hospital site along the Mountain Lake Trail, the Marine Cemetery Vista is a restored dune habitat. This is a great location to ponder and respect U.S. history. From 1881 to 1912, sailors who died at the hospital and whose remains could not be returned home were buried in the adjacent hills. If you're driving, paid parking is available on nearby Wedemeyer Street. Learn more here.
National Cemetery Overlook
In the middle of the Presidio forest, high above San Francisco National Cemetery sits this overlook's peaceful plaza. Dedicated on Veterans Day 2009, this serene spot offers a dramatic view of the 28-acre military cemetery and pays homage to the thousands of American soldiers who are buried there. Beyond the cemetery, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands, and San Francisco Bay. Using the Bay Area Ridge Trail, National Cemetery Overlook is about a 15-minute walk from the Arguello Gate park entrance. Learn more here.
For a quintessential west coast view of the Pacific Ocean, from Land's End to the Golden Gate Bridge, head to the Pacific Overlook. This is a popular stop, as it is easily accessible off many hiking trails, including the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. Rustic wooden benches made from reclaimed Presidio Monterey cypress trees allow for a moment of rest. Learn more here.
Many of the park's hiking trails connect directly to one or more of these overlooks. Alternatively, the PresidiGo Shuttle can bring you to many of these stops as well. PresidiGo is a convenient and free option for getting around the park. PresidiGo also offers transportation from downtown, and the Presidio is easily accessible via San Francisco's Muni system. Biking is another popular method to get to and around the park. Click here for ideas of routes, electric bike shares, and rental opportunities.
For complete information on the Presidio's scenic overlooks, visit the Presidio online or in person. You'll find resources, guides, and tips for enjoying a visit to the park.