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The Golden Gate Bridge

Best Places to See the Golden Gate Bridge and Photograph It


The Golden Gate Bridge

This view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the south side is one of several you can see - or photograph. If you don't know the surroundings and the lighting, you might be disappointed, though. This guide lists all the best vista points and the best time to see them - to help you avoid a photo "fail."

©2011 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission. The Golden Gate Bridge

If you want this kind of dramatic, upward-looking view, you'll have to take a walk. Or a car with a sun roof.

©2007 Images of San Francisco by Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission. The Golden Gate Bridge
©2011 Images of San Francisco by Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

There are many places to view and photograph the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge Views

Before you go, you may want to take a look at our best shots.

These are some of the best view the Golden Gate Bridge and take a picture:

Golden Gate Bridge From the South (San Francisco) Side

South Vista Point: The best "postcard" views are from above the bridge on the San Francisco side. Access it from the "Last SF Exit" off the approach road, or from Lincoln Avenue. Try your Golden Gate bridge photo from the bus stop above the parking lot (70-mm lens). Best in the morning.

Fort Point: The historic fort at the base of the south end of the bridge is a good place for a long, low Golden Gate Bridge photo with the bridge receding into the distance. Reach it from Lincoln Avenue.

If you're not embarrassed about getting down on your tummy, the hillside flowers make interesting foreground accents. Go inside the historic fort and climb to the top level for unique views and angles. Best in the morning.

Lincoln Avenue and Baker Beach: There are many nice views of the bridge from the ocean side along Lincoln Avenue. Turn right out of the south vista point parking lot onto Lincoln.

Baker Beach is a good place for a view and Golden Gate Bridge photo from water level, but be aware that part of Baker Beach is a nude beach. Best in late afternoon.

On the Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge photos taken straight up the towers are interesting. If you're in a convertible or a car with a sunroof and traffic is going slowly enough, try taking a picture straight up the towers, but be careful not to distract your driver and cause an accident. Photograph both sides of the tower - one will probably be better lit than the other. Getting this photograph will cost you one bridge toll to get back into town.

You'll also find plenty of great photographic opportunities by walking on the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge From the North (Marin) Side

If you visit any of these vista points and plan to return to San Francisco by driving back across the bridge, you'll have to pay a toll and the bridge no longer has human toll-takers to take your cash. Find out what your options are in the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Guide which is written just for visitors.

Marin Headlands: On the north side of the bridge, your Golden Gate Bridge photo will show the city skyline behind it. Going north, exit US Hwy 101 at Alexander (just north of the vista point), turn left onto Battery and go under the freeway, then just before the road joins the highway going back across the bridge, turn right onto Conzelman Road.

There are several places to stop on the hill, and each has a different perspective. Light is best in the afternoon. In the fog, you can get a Golden Gate Bridge photo with the towers rising above it, and on a clear night, this is the best place for an evening shot (about half an hour after sunset is best).

Fort Baker: Exit Highway 101 on Alexander, but go east instead of west into the Marin Headlands, go down the hill and follow the first road on your right into this former military complex. From here, you're looking up at the bridge from near its base.

More: Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge | Golden Gate Bridge Facts | Golden Gate Bridge History

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