Living in the East Bay suburbs, I get strong waves of homesickness for my City By the Bay, every now and again. I miss being spoiled by a vast array of Asian food, the collection of characters that roam the streets, but most of all I miss those bay views.
It’s hard to deny that San Francisco is one stunning city. After three decades, it never gets old watching the fog rolling over the Golden Gate or catching a glimpse of the city skyline coming over the Bay Bridge.
Here’s my favorite views of the city that remind me why I love my home city so.
Whenever I want to get away from the bustle of the city, (but am too lazy to actually leave it) I head over here. This coastal spot overlooking the Pacific always reminds me of how lucky I am to live in a city by the ocean and how hard it would be to leave it. The ruins of the historic Sutro Baths lends an air of mystery to this magical spot. For a real treat go at sunset, when it seems like both the sky and sea are on fire.
De Young Museum’s Hamon Tower
This tower boasts a 360 view of the city high above the trees in Golden Gate Park. I’m always impressed by how massive the park is when I come up here and see it from above. On clear days, I can see my parent’s home nearby in the Inner Richmond and the bay beyond. Entrance is free, since you don’t need a ticket to the museum to go up to this vantage point.
A favorite walking spot for my family, this is one of my favorite places to get up a close-up of the Golden Gate. Be warned though it can get windy! The paved path makes for easy walking and the scenic marshland nearby allows for the spotting of birds like snowy egrets and great blue herons. Although I love a good bird spotting, I’m not ashamed to say I come here for the dog watching, since there’s nothing better than seeing pups off-leash having a field day on the beach.
16th Street Steps
The sunset was the neighborhood I grew up in and I definitely have a soft spot for this often fog-filled area. On a rare sunny day, these beautiful mosaic steps are worth climbing up to catch a view of the surrounding neighborhood and the gleaming Pacific beyond.
Not the easiest climb to the top of the hill (I’m always out of breath halfway through), but worth it for views of North Beach and the bay beyond. I always daydream about living in one of the beautiful homes that line the steps, with a sunlit room as an office and a million dollar view. Hey, a girl can dream.
Lyon Street Stairs
Located in one of SF’s fancier neighborhoods, this is the place you want to go for bay views amid the mansions. These stairs are also a great shortcut if you want to walk from Pacific Heights to Union Street and get a great workout in the process.