Home Pets Best San Francisco Views: Top 7 Lookout Points in The City For Spectacular Skyline Views

Best San Francisco Views: Top 7 Lookout Points in The City For Spectacular Skyline Views

written by ParoChak February 18, 2016

San Francisco is one gorgeous city with gently rolling hills and lots of elevated spaces providing spectacular views of the city. Most of these places with panoramic San Francisco views are easily accessible via short hikes and are dog friendly. Presenting, in no particular order are these must visit San Francisco best views spots:

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 1: Ina Coolbrith Park

Ina Coolbrith Park, is a tiny patch of green tucked away in Russian Hill, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of San Francisco. This park, meant for both humans to admire the a great view of the bay bridge, the city skyline and Coit tower in the yonder, and canines to have a stroll, consists of a stairways and pathways intercepting plants, shrubs and other vegetation. The park is named after San Francisco’s beloved librarian and literary figure Ina Coolbrith, who was also the first California poet laureate (the first of any state).The park is located at the corner of Taylor and Vallejo and is at an elevation good enough to get a vantage point for some of the best views of the city and the Bay. The Transamerica pyramid, the tallest skyscraper of the city, dominates the cityscape in one direction while the Alcatraz island stands stoically on the blue waters of the bay in the other and is visible on a clear day. You will also see Coit Tower, the star attraction of the neighboring hood of North Beach, peeking out at a distance. The latter is one of the must visit attractions if you are in town for its fantastic murals and bird’s eye view of the city from the top (read my 20 things to do in San Francisco in this post here).

San Francisco views
San Francisco views
San Francisco views

The park has steps to go up and steps leading down to the other side facing the Bay Bridge and is dog friendly. Please have your pooch leashed at all times since the park is a tiny one with considerable traffic from pedestrians and joggers. If you are at the park, climb down the steps and explore Russian Hill for its beautiful houses, good restaurants, hidden gardens tucked away in alleys and the undulating streets with the cable car chugging downhill/uphill, which makes for a very quintessential SF experience. A short walk leads to the bustling neighborhood of North Beach/Little Italy where you can have lunch at Tony’s for some unforgettably yummy pizza or brunch at Mama’s (if you have the patience to stand in the unbelievably long line) or Wayfare Tavern.

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 2: Kite Hill Open Space

Kite Hill Park, another open space in the heart of the city which offers sweeping views of the city skyline, is dog-friendly.Kite Hill open space is a grassland community and is near the neighborhood of Castro, flanked on either side by Tank hill Park and Corona heights park (another pet friendly romping area). The park is easily accessible via steps leading to the topmost point and there are some benches strewn around should you want to rest and take in the awesome views. Perfect for a day out to hike or stop in and take the magnificence of the city and for tourists looking to stretch their legs, a moment of solitude and escape from the ugly touristy Fisherman’s wharf! The Sutro tower looming over the park is quintessentially San Francisco and adds a nice touch to the landscape.

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

On your way back, stop by the Seward street mini park with its legendary giant sliders where adults and kids alike have fun sliding down on flattened cardboard boxes (bring your own). Totally worth a quick visit and worth adding to your kitty of hidden San Francisco gems!

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 3: Tank Hill Park

Tank hill park offers jaw dropping views of the city skyline and is dog-friendly as well. It is located in Cole Valley, a sleepy little neighborhood right next to the craziness of Haight and therefore often overlooked by tourists. It has several local jewels, the most  famous one being Zazie’s-a super famous French brunch place notorious for long lines. However there are several other equally awesome eateries for brunch/lunch such as Padrecito and Cafe Reverie and we had some great lunch at the latter. Cole hardware, a great little grocery store with the freshest fruits (mangoes, lychees and all kinds of yum) and a quaint pharmacy are some other businesses along Cole street.

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 4: Corona Heights park

Corona Heights Park, another dog-friendly patch of green in the city also provide some of the best panoramic San Francisco views.There are several ways to trek to the very top, such as easy steps from the main entrance of Museum and Roosevelt drive, but if you are a bungling pair like us, you will probably hike up the arduous trail starting all the way from the other end which meanders upwards from a tennis court. The “hike” sign at the bottom is a give-away for the uphill task of trekking but if you chug along and get to the very top, all that huffing and puffing will be so rewarding once you set eyes on the 360 degree view of the city. It is so worth the pain and the joint groans and moans. The spectacular view of the city skyline as well as the Sutro tower looming at a distance is most enjoyable as is the sight of several pooches running around with their owners (on leash or without).

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 5: Bernal Hills

Bernal Hills, is a green elevated Shangri-La in the southern part of the city adjacent to the neighborhood of Bernal Heights and provides fantastic views of the city  (sky scrapers, water, Sutro tower and Bay Bridge). Added bonus, its dog friendly and dogs can happily run around off leash.

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 6: Mt. Davidson park

Mt. Davidson park, in the beautiful neighborhood of Diamond Heights, is an elevated grassy woodlands with several dog friendly trails. The fog transforms the woods into a scene straight out of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings movie. This is also home to the huge white cross belonging to the Armenian-American association that looms over its surroundings.

 

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

SAN FRANCISCO BEST VIEWS SPOT # 7: Grand View park

True to its name, Grand View park offers a nearly 360 degree view of the city, with the entire skyline line visible from its elevation and the golden gate bridge playing peekaboo at a distance. But what is even more charming is the path that leads up to the street bordering the park, i.e. a flight of tiled/mosaic-paved steps created lovingly by the residents of Golden Gate heights to brighten your steps, starting from 16th Street and Moraga Avenue. With their colorful and intricate motifs of plants and animals ( spot a meandering snake fashioned cleverly out of bits of blue tile on every step), these tiled stairs are an instant mood lifter and a prized addition to the cityscape, something that lifts the mundanity out of our lives as we step on them and make our way up to the park. Remember to get clicking the as you ascend!

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

 

San Francisco views

San Francisco views

Like this post? Hover on the images below to pin

San Francisco Best Views and where to find them: Looking for the best views in the Bay Area, California? This local's guide tells you about some of the best San Francisco lookout points to get San Francisco best views! Read this guide to locate these spectacular lookout points and pin it to your San Francisco board. #sanfrancisco #lookoutpoints #bestviews #photography #california

San Francisco Best Views and where to find them: Looking for the best panoramic views San Francisco? This local's guide tells you about some of the best San Francisco lookout points which are only known to SF residents! Read this insider guide to locate these spectacular Instagram worthy lookout points for photography and pin it to your San Francisco board. #sanfrancisco #lookoutpoints #bestviews #photography #california#instagrammable

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21 comments

Carmelatte October 21, 2017 at 9:01 am

This city is a dream! Such a shame we didn’t have enough time to go there once in Cali 🙁

Carmelatte

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Kristin October 21, 2017 at 9:22 am

I love the pictures of your dogs! I have a dog, too, so I need to know whether or not I can bring him with me on my travels. All these views are so pretty!

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Emma October 21, 2017 at 10:46 am

Amazing views! I’d love so sit back and relax on the bench on Tank Hill Park! Bonus that it’s dog friendly as well 🙂

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Corinne October 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

I’ve been to San Francisco once and I’d love to go back. I love that these suggested spots aren’t the most obvious. Secret insider tips! 🙂 I think Tank Hill Park is my favorite because you can see the water, too.

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Char October 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

The view from Bernal Hill looks INCREDIBLE! I hope I get to visit one day.
PS. Your photos are incredible, they have a lovely vintage feel.

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Hannah October 21, 2017 at 5:57 pm

These are all so gorgeous!! I haven’t been to San Francisco is like 10 years so when I go back I’ll definitely be sure to check these out. I think Grand View park is where I went the first time I went to San Francisco.

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Martha October 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Wow, this post is amazing! Wish I had seen it years ago. Been to San Fran twice (big Full House fan growing up). Stayed on Balboa Street at Golden Gate Park but didn’t get views as good as this. My husband would’ve died to take photos there. Well, guess it’s a reason to come back. Are you a local San Franciscan?

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ParoChak October 21, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Hi Martha! Yes, I have been living in SF for the last 8 yrs. thanks so much for stopping by

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Anisa October 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

I have been to SF many times, but didn’t know about these. Going to pin this so I can check them out on my next visit.

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Tracy October 22, 2017 at 12:59 am

So many great spots! Love them and the photos!

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Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate October 22, 2017 at 3:22 am

I literally just booked a ticket back for February! Can’t WAIT. Husband is from there and I lived in SF for four years, but we don’t get back nearly enough!

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Melai October 22, 2017 at 7:14 am

You selected the best views spot on! I have yet to visit San Francisco and this makes me really want to go. 🙂

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Anna October 22, 2017 at 8:07 am

I’m so disappointed to say I didn’t go to any of these on my trip to San Francisco! I was only there for a couple of days 10 years ago so completely missed out. I’ll have to go back to tick them all off my list 😉

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Restless Heart Blog October 22, 2017 at 8:18 am

Such an original post! I don’t own a dog, but always end up on dog-friendly places somehow, the vibe is way better than in super crowded people places 😀

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Harmony, Momma To Go October 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

I love that pic of the dog on the stairs! We just went to San Fran at the end of August, it was amazing of course. But we only went to Dolores Park with some local friends. Nice views there but these are really stunning. Wish we would have read this before going! I love the park with the slide, my kids would have liked that! Plus we were lucky to have visited when the weather was warm and clear!

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Lynne October 22, 2017 at 1:41 pm

I’m bookmarking this for my next trip to San Francisco. Great list!

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Kate October 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

San Francisco has always been one of the places that I’ve been wanting to see. Perhaps one day. I hope to come across this view in the future! Great recommendations!

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Cristina October 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

You had me at “giant sliders for adults”! OOohh I love dogs so much, but yours is so cute I can’t!!

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Lindsey October 22, 2017 at 6:45 pm

I’m all about finding the best viewpoints! Loved this

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Aireona October 22, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I have only been to SF once, and I would have loved to have had this guide. There is just so much there that it is hard to know where to start and we definitely didn’t manage to catch any views this cool.

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jin October 23, 2017 at 7:35 pm

Hey girl! I think I’ve only been to half these places that you’ve mentioned! I’m always down for spectacular views in SF – one of my fave American cities!

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