Where to Watch the Sunset in San Francisco
This year, we've learned not to take anything for granted. Why not get out and enjoy the natural beauty of a San Francisco sunset? Whether indoors or outdoors, on land or at sea, here are a number of ways we recommend to watch a gorgeous sunset in San Francisco.
(Note: you may want to check hours of operation for some of the indoor options.)
This popular beach in the Presidio offers the best ocean view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. We can't think of a better way to frame a beautiful sunset.
Bernal Heights Park
Head to Bernal Heights Park, adjacent to the Mission District at the southern end of the city. After a short hike to the park’s summit, you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree vista—beautiful at any time of day but even lovelier under a cotton candy pink sky. On a clear evening, you can see all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge on one side and Bayview-Hunters Point on the other. There’s also a charming tree swing atop the hill, which you might recognize from its Instagram fame.
It’s all in the name. Located on the 46th floor of the Hilton at Union Square, this bar offers an incredible 360-degree view of San Francisco’s cityscape. This essentially guarantees you’ll have one of the best views in the city of the California sunset. And don’t worry if the fog starts to roll in because at 46 floors up, the sights can be just as astonishing. Meanwhile, be sure to take advantage of the kitchen’s tapas and bartenders’ specialty drinks.
Grand View Park
Want the inside scoop on where the locals go to watch the sunset? They head to this secluded, romantic hilltop park in the aptly named Sunset neighborhood. You'll have peaceful, panoramic views to enjoy with your special someone.
Lands End & Sutro Bath Ruins
One of San Francisco’s most picturesque beaches, Lands End is tucked behind the dramatic cliffs west of Lincoln Park and accessible via a hiking trail. The trek along the bluffs is gorgeous but steep, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes. The sight of the crashing waves, cypress hillsides and the Golden Gate Bridge against an electric sunset backdrop is unforgettable. Within walking distance of Lands End are the Sutro Bath ruins, a large and impressive structure that consisted of six saltwater pools and one freshwater pool. It was slated to be demolished in favor of condos, but before that could happen, the baths were destroyed by a fire. Today, the ruins are a testament to the vision of one San Franciscan and how he saw the city.
Just south of Lands End is Ocean Beach, a classic California beach that stretches along the west side of the city. Its dreamy seaside views make it the ideal place to relax and watch the sun dip in into the Pacific, but don’t forget to glance back east and catch the city in its golden-hour glory, too. It’s chilly at Ocean Beach most of the year, but that’s what bonfires are for.
The San Francisco Bay With Red and White Fleet
There's no reason not to take advantage of Red and White Fleet's Sunset Cruise, a romantic cruise on the bay that features live music and complimentary appetizers and drinks. It's the perfect opportunity to sail past San Francisco landmarks like Alcatraz, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge. As expected, these sunset cruises are very popular and require reservations, so book the Sunset Cruise today.
Located in the geographical center of San Francisco, Twin Peaks towers over the city at an elevation of about 925 feet. The panorama from the top of each peak, which spans from Ocean Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge to the Mission District and Potrero Hill, will leave you breathless. Twin Peaks should be firmly planted on any visitor’s AND local’s sunset-chasing list.
An artificial island built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, Treasure Island offers some of the most spectacular views of the Bay Bridge and the skyline. Come sunset (or sunrise, for that matter), you’re certain to see camera tripods dotting the island’s edge in anticipation of snagging the perfect shot. The entire northern waterfront from bridge to bridge is on display from Treasure Island’s Avenue of the Palms.
Restaurants with a View
Sometimes the perfect complement to a stunning sunset is a glass of wine in hand and a delicious meal within reach. Note: Indoor dining is scheduled to return to San Francisco July 13. Please check directly with the businesses below on their availability.
Hornblower Cruises & Event’s yachts (Pier 3, The Embarcadero) are floating restaurants where you can watch the sunset from a whole new perspective. Hornblower offers everything from dinner-dance cruises to private custom charters on the San Francisco Bay.
Top of the Mark (999 California St.), a popular destination since its opening in 1939, is a unique lounge with priceless views that has continued to captivate visitors from all over the world. The glass-walled cocktail lounge offers amazing wraparound views from one on the highest points in the city.
Find even more restaurant options for dinner-with-a-view here.