San Francisco is a city full of hills, summits, greenery, and is lined with the coast of the Bay. Put all those aspects together and you get a city full of amazing views and scenic outlooks. Corner to corner, San Francisco has a gorgeous spot for all kinds of people to drink in the views. Hike trails or climb stairs to feel on top of the world or lounge with a drink in hand with the tippy-top floor of a grand hotel to view the San Francisco skyline. These are the places to go for some of the most marvelous views of the city.
The residential neighborhood of Twin Peaks got its name for its two 922-foot-high summits. Twin Peaks is also partly where San Francisco gets its reputation for having steeper-than-steep streets and hills. They might be grueling to climb, and you’ll be out of breath once you reach the top, but the city views are well worth it. A popular spot in Twin Peaks to catch some city sights is a 64-acre hilltop park which offers a 360-degree view of not just the city but the Bay Area.
Grandview Park is located in the Sunset District. It’s a small park, perched on the surrounding 14th and 15th Avenues. Not too far is also the city’s iconic Mosaic Stairway, or the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. It’s easy to climb your way up the Stairway and walk a bit more to reach Grandview. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone in terms of unforgettable San Francisco views and experiences.
Located in the Corona Heights and Castro neighborhoods, this park has some of the most breathtaking views in San Francisco. There’s a lot more on offer here too: a children’s playground, a designated dog area, and the Randall Museum. Once you reach the summit though, prepare to be amazed. If you visit Corona Heights Park on a clear day, 360-degree views of nearly all of San Francisco and as far as the East Bay can be admired.
If you’re looking for a more iconic San Francisco sight, head to Lands End in Golden Gate Park. Multiple hiking trails through this rocky shoreline area will take you through jaw-dropping scenes of the San Francisco Bay and what could probably be considered the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge as its backdrop. Beach and coastal sights await at Lands End, with trails leading around Baker Beach, Marshall Beach, Mile Rock Beach, and more.
Switch it up from hiking and park exploring by sipping a craft cocktail as you marvel in the city sights from the 19th floor of one of the city’s grander buildings. Top of the Mark is located at the top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in Nob Hill. This high-class cocktail bar offers panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay, all from within the city. Grab a drink here just before sunset to catch some real mind-blowing sights.
A staple in the city’s skyline for almost 90 years is the Coit Tower. Climb the stairs in this 210-foot tower to get a look at San Francisco in all its glory. Docent tours are also available to really soak in the history along with the scenic outlook. If the views from the top aren’t enough to get you to the Coit Tower, the lobby on the ground floor is covered in a series of art deco murals that were commissioned as part of the tower’s building in the 1930s. There’re even tickets available for tours with elevator use for those who can’t make it up the Coit Tower stairs.
Another great upscale spot for some stunning views is Waterbar. Trade in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge that everyone surely flocks to for the less appreciated but just as beautiful Bay Bridge. This seafood spot is famous for its oysters and its views of the Bay Bridge. It’s nestled right on the Embarcadero; you’re practically under the Bay Bridge on the water itself. Reserve a table on the outdoor patio at this fine restaurant, order a round of delicious sustainably caught oysters, and soak in the beauty of the Bay up close and personal.
This swanky lounge features huge arched windows, creating a timeless scope into downtown San Francisco. The View Lounge got its name from, of course, the classic views of the city patrons have. Take the elevator in the Marriott Hotel all the way to the 39th floor, get yourself a drink or small bite at the bar, and get ready for some of the most gorgeous views of the city in this classic setting.