There’s just something timeless and captivating about a sunset. However, it’s often the location that really makes a sunset. The west coast has made a name for itself because of its beautiful sunsets, some of which light up snow-capped mountains, others that lower behind skyscrapers, and others that reflect off the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco is no stranger to beautiful sunsets, but while many people head to the beaches to catch the sunset, San Francisco offers a wide-range of different views because of its contrasting landscape that includes rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and recreational areas that rise above the city. Below you’ll find the five best views to watch the sunset from San Francisco.
Lands End Trail
Did you know that you can hike in San Francisco mere miles from downtown? While one end of Geary Street features downtown San Francisco restaurants and bars, the other end of Geary Street meets the trailhead for the Lands End Trail. The trail begins at 48th and Geary Street, at San Francisco’s very own ruins, Sutro Baths, close to Ocean Beach. The trail winds its way north, offering several different overlooks with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are several different views that look straight on to the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, including a labyrinth atop one of the rugged cliffs directly above the crashing waves, with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. If you’re visiting San Francisco, it’s well worth your time.
While the San Francisco Bay Area has numerous beaches for watching the sunset, the views at Baker Beach are unrivaled because you could view it from several different parts of the beach, and each view will offer something that the others don’t. One view may be a straight-ahead view from the beach itself, while another view is atop a military battery sitting above the beach, and another from atop a boulder with views of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. However, make sure you bundle up; while you may see a couple people enjoying Baker Beach in the buff on a warm day, it can get quite windy and chilly when the sun starts to set.
The Cliff House
While many visitors to San Francisco may be familiar with icons like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, they might not be as familiar with the Cliff House above Ocean Beach. The property has gone through many different phases, including the first house in 1863 and the second in the late 1800s that looked more like a mansion from an old horror film flick. Today’s Cliff House has a much more 21st century look to it and includes a restaurant and bar. Enjoy a drink from the Balcony Bar as the sun sets or take a short walk to Ocean Beach just below it.
Alcatraz can take a little bit more work than the other locations on this list, that and you’ll have to pay to get there. During the right time of year, if you take the night cruise to Alcatraz, you’ll be able to catch the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge. Compared to some of the other locations on this list, you may want to have a camera with a stronger lens, rather than just your smartphone. While there are a few different places on Alcatraz to view the sunset, the most unobstructed view will be from just outside the prison near the lighthouse.
Golden Gates Height Park
One of the perks of San Francisco, and one of the reasons there are so many outdoor activities in San Francisco, is that some of the best views of the city are not from the top of a skyscraper, but rather from one of the city’s parks that stand at an elevation taller than the downtown buildings. Golden Gate Heights Park is one such park. Golden Gate Heights Park is unique in that it provides a 360-degree view of San Francisco and as such, it’s one of the best views to watch the sunset from San Francisco. Hike the steps up to the top of the park and try to grab either one of the benches or a grassy spot to watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean.
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