The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the mental image you think of when you hear “San Francisco.” The iconic red (some argue it’s orange) towers pop against the green headlands behind it, and the blue bay waters below it. You can see the bridge from a lot of places in the city – even if it’s just peaking out from behind a hill. With so many options it’s hard to know where to head to get that amazing, killer Instagram photo. After 3 years in the city, I know all the good spots.
How to Take The Most Instagramable Photo of the Golden Gate Bridge
On the Bridge: Obviously, a unique view of the bridge is on the bridge itself. The key is to go before 8am when there is free parking and usually no other tourists around. It gets really busy starting at around 8:30am-9am and the flood of people don’t stop. So, if you want a cool photo that looks like you are the only one on the bridge, get there early.
Marshal’s Beach is my next favorite spot to get up close and personal with the bridge. This spot requires a small hike to get down to the beach, and there’s a good chance you may encounter a nudist… it’s a famous nudist beach. That being said, come here at sunset for a stunning view of the bay filled with golden light.
Kirby Cove is another hidden place that most people don’t know about. This little beach is across the bay and has a rope swing. It also needs a hike, but the shot of you swinging with the bridge behind you is so worth it.
Take a sunset cruise around the bay for one of my favorite views of the Golden Gate Bridge. I suggest the Red & White fleet. They time it just right so you are going under the bridge at dusk. Think pink skies, the bridge coming alive with lights. It’s magical. And it can get cold, so bring a warm jacket!
Marin Headlands behind the Golden Gate Bridge is an obvious choice (the spot in these photos). You can get really close to the bridge – it feels like you can almost jump on it. The problem? Everyone goes here. It can get really hard to find a parking spot and it can be really crowded. But, I find it’s worth the stalking for one of the limit parking spots because if you pick a warm, clear night to go, you’ll be rewarded with a magical view.
Hawk Hill is a great choice visit if the first hill is just too crowded. Head all the way up the road to the end. You’ll see signs that indicate the road turns into a one-way – stop here. Park in the lot and walk down the hill to the little hump that extends out into the bay. You’ll still get that iconic bridge in the background view, just father way (but with fewer people).
Fort Point is my last stop. There’s a small lighthouse and battery point beneath the bridge on the city side. There’s also a parking lot that usually has a spot to two. You can tour the lighthouse for free and climb all the way to the top of the building to get to the roof. Here, you’ll be standing directly under the bridge, which offers a really unique viewpoint for your IG shot.