We all know that if there's one iconic structure to represent San Francisco, California, it's the Golden Gate Bridge! It's a must-see on every tourist's trip, and it's in fact not golden, but a striking red color. The bridge is actually named for the Golden Gate Strait that connects the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Bay.
During the five months that Brandon and I lived in the Bay Area, we had the chance to see the Golden Gate Bridge from many angles - high, low, near, far, through trees, from being on the bridge itself, etc.! Here I'm rounding up what I think are the five best viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge:
Lands End Labyrinth
Location: Lands End Trail, San Francisco, CA 94121
This viewpoint takes a little bit of work to get to. Taking the Lands End Trail, you'll twist and turn through trees and sandy pathways to arrive at the Lands End Labyrinth - a labyrinth of rocks on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The labyrinth itself isn't incredibly impressive in real life, but it has the added benefit of far-away views of the Golden Gate Bridge. And of course, on a sunny day it's even more gorgeous, and there's something to see in every direction.
Important to note: Wear comfortable shoes for mild hiking. I didn't realize how involved the trail would be (not difficult, just complicated), and my sandals suffered!
Location: 1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129
This is a classic viewpoint bound to be on any "best views of the Golden Gate Bridge" list. Here you can find a green field and a sandy beach for plenty of angles and options. This is the one location on my list that provides an opportunity for more of an upward view - we took photos from further away, but there's plenty of space here to explore.
Location: Fort Winfield Scott, San Francisco, CA 94129
Here you can get a great view of the bridge itself and the cliffs overlooking the Golden Gate Strait. Be careful around this area, as the the terrain and the battery itself may not be well maintained. Use caution along the cliffside to snap your photos from a safe position.
Background info: A battery refers to a location housing weapons for war. Because San Francisco was a major coastal city, it was equipped for seacoast defense. There are several batteries on either end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and now they make for great bridge-viewing and photo-taking locations!
Golden Gate Overlook Near Battery West
Address: Langdon Ct, San Francisco, CA 94129
Depending on where you park, just before getting to Battery Boutelle you may walk near this Golden Gate Overlook. It's a circular platform with park benches and a few stairs. You'll find the most perfect straight-on view of the Golden Gate Bridge framed by two trees.
Get the shot: The trick is for the photographer to get wayyyy down and to zoom! It doesn't look as close in real life, so you have to get a little creative.
Address: Conzelman Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965
Battery Spencer is one of the most iconic spots to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and we visited several times during our stay in the Bay Area! There are actually quite a few viewpoints and overlooks leading up to the battery, so you can stop as many times as you'd like. This was my favorite of all of the Golden Gate Bridge viewing locations we tried.
Pro tip: It gets v crowded here, so you may want to try to visit at a time when it's less likely to be busy, or be prepared to wait and/or try a few times for a parking spot. I never felt unsafe here, but there are signs posted warning about the possibility of theft from your vehicle, so don't leave any valuables inside.
While a trip to San Francisco may not be in your near future because of the coronavirus pandemic, I hope this post might be helpful for your next (or first!) trip to the Bay Area when it is safe to travel again. In the meantime, start planning your San Francisco itinerary on Google Maps and pin a few of these Golden Gate Bridge photo spots to save for later!
For now, stay safe + stay home <3