The 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in San Francisco
San Francisco is a beautiful city with thousands of reasons to visit. However, no visit to The Bay Area is complete without taking in a San Francisco sunset.
Here are the top places to get the best sunset views in The Golden City.
The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in San Francisco
1. Bernal Heights Park
Bernal Heights Park is a favorite recreational spot among San Francisco locals.
It capitalizes on the city’s hilly landscape by allowing visitors who make the trek to the park’s hill a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding area. At sunset, this view goes from beautiful, but perhaps able to be recreated to truly one-of-a-kind.
The Bay Area truly comes alive at dusk, and no place captures that beauty and vibrance quite as naturally as Bernal Heights. However, it’s still underrated when it comes to tourists, so you’ll likely have much of the park to yourself.
2. Lands End Trail
Lands End Trail is the perfect place to go to watch the sunset if you consider yourself to be the outdoorsy type.
The trail leads to The Lands End Lookout, located about 1.5 miles away from the start of the path. The entire trail is gorgeous and full of little stops and lookout areas that can make the walk take up to 4 hours in some cases.
However, that just means it’s a perfect way to spend your evening. The view of the bay from the lookout is particularly breathtaking at sunset.
3. Mori Point
If you are looking for a hike that will lead you to a one-of-a-kind Bay Area sunset, head to Mori Point. As part of the Golden Gate National Park Conservancy, this hiking area is pretty untouched by civilization.
You can feel like you’re walking through the California Wilderness without straying too far from the city.
When you get to the point, you’ll have a great scenic view of the water, which glitters and turns orange at sunset.
There are multiple trails to fit multiple hiking capabilities as well, from easy to challenging.
4. Battery Spencer
The Battery Spencer Overlook gives you as close to a bird’s eye view of the San Francisco Bay as you can get without actually being able to fly.
You get a prime cliff-side vantage point at 500 feet above the rest of the city. It’s no wonder it was once the location of a defense fort. No one can approach the San Francisco coast without you noticing.
You do need access to a car to get to Battery Spencer as it’s a bit too far to walk. However, the extra effort is well worth it.
5. Baker Beach
If hiking isn’t your thing, but you still want a more natural vibe when you watch the sunset in San Francisco, Baker Beach is a great option.
You’re just outside the main city area, so San Francisco’s noise and crowds are left behind for a while. Though rugged cliffs surround the beach, it’s still a peaceful place to relax and watch the sun dip over the horizon.
However, swimming here may not be recommended, especially at night due to the tendency for rip tides and strong currents to occur.
6. Mount Tamalpais
If you’re looking for a little escape from the city while visiting the San Francisco area, you should consider spending a day at Mount Tamalpais, known by locals as Mount Tam.
Just a 40-minute drive will take you to this state park, where you can enjoy some of Northern California’s untouched wilderness.
The mountain has a 13.3-mile looping trail that is considered challenging to many casual hikers. However, the sunset view at the end is worth the hours it will take to get there. You’ll also have privacy since many are intimidated by the trail.
7. Billy Goat Hill Park
Billy Goat Hill Park has a humble name that tends to make visitors steer clear of it. However, that’s a mistake.
Behind this cute name is a serene area of greenery in the middle of San Francisco’s densely populated neighborhoods.
Perched atop one of the area’s many hills, you’ll be able to walk around and explore the different walking paths the park has at your disposal. Each path offers a different and unique view of the city, it can be hard to decide which one offers the best sunset viewing experience.
When you think sunset, the famed prison Alcatraz Island likely doesn’t come to mind. That’s what makes this popular landmark one of the city’s best-kept secrets.
In order to get to the island, you’ll have to book a tour which typically leaves from the mainland hourly. However, plenty of evening tours allow you to catch a glimpse of the sun setting in the distance without obstructing your view.
For the best chances, it’s recommended you choose this option in the late summer-early spring when dusk is earlier.
9. Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque places in the city. In fact, it was originally constructed over 100 years ago to exhibit artwork.
With structures inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time and to another culture no matter when you visit.
Sunsets are particularly magical. The sun streams in through the trees and creates incredible shadows while glittering on the water’s surface.
Since it’s mostly used for events, the area is surprisingly empty of tourists on most evenings.
10. Cityscape Lounge
If enjoying your sunsets with a drink is more your speed, make sure to add a visit to Cityscape Lounge to your itinerary.
The lounge brags about its status as the tallest skybar in the San Francisco area. So, of course, the view is as breathtaking as you’d expect.
You get a 360-degree panoramic vista of the city down below, thanks to the bar’s windowed external walls.
Obviously, this isn’t the best place for people who are afraid of heights. For everyone else, it’s an experience you need to have at least once.