Are you planning a trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco, California? You’ll likely want to get an iconic photo with the Golden Gate Bridge during your trip! Here are my top 6 places to get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A few things to note:
- Karl the fog is heavier in the summer months of June-August, so plan accordingly. You will want to check the weather forecast before your trip or the night before to modify your itinerary throughout your trip to find the best weather conditions to see the Golden Gate bridge!
- Tolls: You’ll only pay tolls coming into the city, not going out of the city. So if you choose to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge away from the city towards Marin, you won’t pay the toll heading north, but you’ll pay the toll coming back across the bridge. As of July 2022, the toll to drive across the bridge is between $8.40 with a FasTrak pass to $9.40.
Throughout my many visits to California, I keep coming back to the city of San Francisco and just love seeing the Golden Gate Bridge every time I go into the city! Here are my top six spots, many which are completely free to visit, for the best vista point of the Golden Gate Bridge (with my favorite saved at the end):
1. Be ON the Golden Gate Bridge!
If you have time and want a great view of the city, the bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll want to park on either side of the bridge and walk across it or at least half way. There are walking paths along the bridge and it’s a unique perspective to see the bridge up close and personal. Plus, you’ll enjoy a nice walk across the bridge as well. Don’t forget to pack layers because it can often be chilly on the bridge. A few of my favorite jackets that I like to pack are from Stio (use the code Halesyah for 20% off) and Patagonia. For my go to shoes around the city, I recommend my Allbirds (.https://rstyle.me/cz-n/grutxcdpp6x) or a pair of Rothy’s. https://rstyle.me/cz-n/gumexsdpp6x (Rothy’s)
2. Marshall’s Beach & Baker Beach
You’ll start at Baker Beach (plug this into your Google Maps to find parking) and then walk towards the bridge. This is a great viewpoint from a beach and the perfect way to spend a few hours of your day. I recommend packing a picnic, your swimsuit and towel if it’s warm enough, and your camera to enjoy the views along both Marshall Beach and Baker Beach.
3. Presidio Tunnel Tops
This park recently opened in July 2022 and has great views of the Golden Gate Bridge! You can find several food trucks and stands, picnic tables, the lawn for picnics with epic views, and more all in this new park! I was able to public parking for $3/hour at 148 Halleck St, just steps from Presidio Tunnel Tops.
4. Crissy Field
Crissy field is a short walk across the bridge from Presidio Tunnel Tops and another great view of the Golden Gate Bridge from a beach! If it’s a windy day, you’ll often see a lot of kite surfers as well! If you love photography, I highly recommend bringing a zoom lens since you’ll be a little farther from the bridge than the last two spots.
5. Golden Gate Overlook
This is my favorite spot on the city side of the Golden Gate Bridge! And, this viewpoint is FREE! I love the natural framing that the trees have along the bridge. This viewpoint is a short walk from the free parking lot and offers several areas to walk around in this area.
6. Battery Spencer
This is often the iconic photo spot you have seen online! It’s personally one of my favorites because you get an amazing view point of the Golden Gate Bridge AND the entire city of San Francisco. This viewpoint is beautiful at sunrise and sunset, though sunset will be busier so make sure to arrive at least an hour beforehand to find parking and enjoy the entire sunset into blue hour. Note that since this location is on the north side of the bridge, you’ll be required to pay the bridge toll mentioned above (about $9).
I hope this list helps you plan your next trip to one of my favorite cities in the USA! There’s seriously so much to do in the bay area, you could spend weeks here! If you are short on time, I recommend heading to Battery Spencer then stopping at Golden Gate Overlook on the way back since it’s an easy right turn to Golden Gate Overlook after you cross the bridge.