“Where the hell can I get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge?” is most probably your main question when you visit San Francisco for the first time. The view is abundant, and you can see it from almost everywhere when in the city. But when time and money isn’t on your side, it’s quite frustrating not knowing where it’s best to go to for that memorable and breathtaking photo of this iconic bridge.
There’s a lot going on in this wonderful city and obviously there’s a lot that need to be ticked off from your bucket list. But one thing is for sure – you have to have a mandatory photo of you taken with the Golden Gate Bridge behind you, or you didn’t go to San Francisco at all. And I mean it – you must have that photo by all means!
Here’s a round up of the best Insta-worthy places you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from – it gets more adventurous as we go further down the list so brace yourselves.
These are the Best Spots to Get the Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge
Through the Golden Gate Bridge itself
Always start by passing through the Golden Gate Bridge. No matter what kind of view you’re striving for, you should go through the bridge by default because this is the best place to see it and feel it in all its glory.
You’ll always have the best views of the bridge when walking through it, of course. You’ll never go wrong when you pass along its 1.7-mile stretch, looking at its towering pillars that make your jaws drop in awe.
There is so much history and stories to see too when walking through the bridge. Its infamous ‘International Orange’ color you’ll get to see and feel up-close, as well as the ropes and cables still being used ‘til today. Sadly this is also where this iconic bridge’s attraction of suicidal ‘jumpers’ is more apparent, given the suicide prevention hotlines installed at different points along the pathway.
Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center / Fort Point
Now this place is impossible to miss, since you’ll definitely pass through this place before you even take a walk along the bridge from the bridge’s southern point (a.k.a from downtown SF). Nothing else screams “Welcome to San Francisco” than the sweeping view from this place.
You’ve mostly seen the bridge taken through this vantage point in post cards and travel magazines – and this place is where it all gets real. Taken from the tip of a hill on the northern end of the bridge, this is where you get to see a picture perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge backed by a panoramic view of San Francisco’s financial and historic district. This can’t get any better than this.
You can drive to Battery Spencer by crossing the bridge (costs $8.35 to cross) from San Francisco.
Right after you get views from atop at Battery Spencer, you can drive down to the nearby Kirby Beach for a perfect photo of the bridge with the San Francisco skyline behind it.
Kirby Beach is made famous by picturesque photos of people on a swing while looking at the spectacular views. However sometimes the swing gets taken down, and then somebody else puts it back up so expect the unexpected.
Baker Beach and Marshall Beach
If you want to take a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge from a different scene, try taking it from Baker or Marshall beach at the southern end of the bridge. The waves smashing against the rocks lining the beach add to the scenery, making for a great background for that ‘emo’ shot.
Cheapnik tip: Just so you know, these are nude beaches so don’t be surprised if you find a couple of nudies joining you in your shot.
While driving back to San Francisco from Marin County
Now this you have to take a photo of while on a moving vehicle as this view is taken from the highway going back to San Francisco. The giant bridge seems to swallow the hills whole from this angle, giving it a stunning twist. If your car has a sunroof, just stand up there – taking a photo with it should be Instagram-worthy.
Under the Golden Gate Bridge via a bay cruise
Get a magical experience and a memorable view of the bridge right from a cruise along the San Francisco bay while having a lot of time to pose for that Instagram-worthy shot. There are plenty of different companies offering bay area cruises that take tourists under the bridge, here are some of the best San Francisco cruises you can take.
Cheapnik tip: Legend has it that if it’s your first time to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge while on a cruise, you’re entitled to make one golden wish. Make it special because your first time only happens once.
Under and over the Golden Gate Bridge via a heart-stopping helicopter ride
Starting at around $280, this experience is not for cheap but it’s definitely worth considering, especially because this is one of those tours that you can call a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The helicopter will take you straight under the Golden Gate Bridge – don’t worry because the bottom part of the bridge is tall enough to accommodate a speeding helicopter underneath.
Once that’s all over, prepare for another spectacular view of the bridge – this time from the top of this grand monument where you’ll see this majestic structure with the San Francisco skyline in the background. Check out San Francisco’s best helicopter tours here.
Wish list: Take a photo from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge
For now, only maintenance workers, news media and celebrities doing movies or music videos (like the one above) can go up to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. But due to the budget constraints, bridge officials admit that they need to make more money and are already considering letting people in, bringing in more money for the bridge. Now this may not be free, but I would gladly pay if I had the chance.
But the thing is, they’ve been considering this since 2009 and no word has been said ‘til now.