When most people go to see the sights in San Francisco they want to go to some of the usual places as well as get some unique memories for their photos. Over the course of our experience building an out-of-the-box walking tour, we have begun to recognize some of the best places to take photos in San Francisco. Not only can we take you to some of these beautiful places but we also can help you capture some amazing family photos for the future as well. Here are some of the top places that you might see on one of our walking tours.
1. Secret Rooftop Garden
On the Free SF Tour we go up to the secret rooftop garden a few years ago. From then on, we have been able to take some wonderful pictures in this area and showcase plants which are unique to California in a one of a kind garden above the city.
2. Ferry Building
The San Francisco ferry building is a food hall and office building located in the San Francisco Bay. With a beautiful outer façade this building which takes up a full Hectare of land was built in 1898. This is one of the few buildings that survived the big 1906 earthquake. It's a popular spot for photos on our tour. While you're here, go to Pier 7 - the walking pier where you can enjoy a great view of the tall buildings at the financial district, the magnificent San Francisco Belle Hornblower ship, and the Bay! Try to get there at sunset and see the new lights of the Bay Bridge how they lid up and make shapes across the bridge.
3. Dragon Gate
The famous San Francisco Dragon Gate is a popular spot to take photos and we are happy to let you have a break while capturing photos while listening to the shocking story that changed Chinatown and the Chinese communities in the USA to what we see today!
4. Union square
Our tour starts from Union Square - the place where Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco! Many people enjoy taking photos with the famous Red Heart before we leave. Right across the square is Macy's building. Go through the main entrance and catch the elevator to the "Fortune Cookie Factory" floor. Turn left and go on the terrace to see the stunning view of Union Square and the magnificent architecture of the surrounding buildings!
5. The Fortune Cookie Factory
We visit the real working fortune cookie factory where you can take pictures of the production line and taste fresh of the oven cookies! Capture the atmosphere in the narrow alleyway covered with balconies tight next to each other, small cargo carts rushing in and out the factory while listening to the tai-chi music coming in the background from the Chinese dance school!
6. Transamerica Pyramid
The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest skyscraper along the San Francisco skyline and it can be captured from many different angles across the city. Because of its interesting form, just standing next to it and looking up feels surreal. We can help you find the best spot for a great photo right next to the building!
Although our tour doesn’t go to Alcatraz, you can often capture a fairly good shot of it from across the city. We can show you the place where you will see the bay and get an excellent shot of the island!
8. Twin Peaks
The twin vistas of San Francisco along the bay bridge make for some amazing panoramic shots.
There are a 60 Privately Owned Publicly Operates Spaces (POPOS) that we know of along our walk where you can capture stunning views of the skyline, discover inside yards, english gardens, galleries or just go down to see the vault of the bank! You can DOWNLOAD the PDF map with all these secret places and make your own scavenger hunt in the city!
10. City Hall
The San Francisco City Hall has a free entrance. The building is open for visitors every workday between 9AM-4PM. Inside it has lots of details that can become part of a great composition. With a wide angle lens you can capture some of the marvelous architecture of the rotunda! Try to get lost inside the building and find your perfect spot for a photo.
11. The Golden Gate bridge
The world famous Golden Gate bridge is the biggest landmark of the city! There are places that you can take breathtaking photos of the bridge with the city in the background! The only thing is that to get there you will need to walk the GG Bridge, or rent a bike/car/Uber to get there! When you step at the edge of the cliff and look at the view you know it was all worth it! This is the million dollar view that you see on the movies. This is the view that people dream of getting there and see it in person. Now, you may be one of them! Enjoy!
12. Ina Coolbrith Park
One of the secret gems in San Francisco is this little hideout. Its on the peak of the Russian Hill and you can get there by climbing a mountain! But the effort is all worth it because there is a wooden bench with a stunning view of the city and the bay! If you feel adventures you can continue going down the path towards North Beach. Its a lovely little garden that hides gorgeous beauties on the way.
13. The Golden Gate Park
If someone leaves you at this park you may need months to walk the whole area and explore everything this park has to offer. From the Hippie Hill to windmills, from modern art museum to academy of sciences, from Japanese tea garden to botanical garden! Here you can find bisons running freely, islands and waterfalls, little lakes and thousands of other things that will grab your interest! Try to find your way to the island with the waterfall! You will be stunned!