The Ultimate Guide to Taking Instagram Photos in San Francisco

As a self-proclaimed part-time San Francisco native, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite photo spots to anyone who is planning a trip. San Francisco is such a historical city, and I hope everyone gets the chance to witness the beauty of it at some point in their lifetime.

Spending only a day in San Francisco is, of course, way too little. But you can manage to see and do quite a lot if you’re strategic. Here are the Instagram hotspots you can visit in just one day:

Tip: Parking in San Francisco can be a pain if you don’t plan on using public transportation. I’ve provided addresses to each of these locations, use the Waze app to find the closest parking spot. Just be sure to click “where to park” and it’ll send you to the nearest parking location. 

1. Battery Spencer

Best view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Photo: Ranja Ronntoft

You can’t go to San Francisco and not take pictures at the Golden Gate Bridge. In my opinion, Battery Spencer has the best view on a fogless day. Be sure to check the weather for clear skies when planning your trip!

Other places with breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge:

  • Baker’s Beach
  • Fort Baker
  • Crissy Field

Battery Spencer, Conzelman Road, Sausalito, CA 94969

2. Painted Ladies

The most iconic houses in San Francisco

Painted Ladies
Photo: Katarina Wohlfahrt

If you’re a 90s baby, you’ll recognize these houses from the intro of Full House! The pastel colors and retro architecture is perfect for Insta.

Steiner St. & Hayes St, San Francisco, CA94117

Pro-tip: The “Full House” house is located at 1709 Broderick Street 😉

3. Bernal Heights Park

Best sunset viewpoint in San Francisco

bernal heights
Photo: Unknown

So Bernal Heights is a large hill that’s actually a dog park, but it offers a 360 panorama view of the city. If you climb all the way to the top, you’ll find this gorgeous swing. On a clear day, you and see everything from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, Twin Peaks and more.

Bernal Heights Park, 3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110

4. Hyde Street

The perfect view of Alcatraz & Cable Cars

Photo: Sasha Zvereva

San Francisco is known for its historic cable cars and Alcatraz Island. Hyde Street offers a perfect shot of both in the same photo. Something worth noting: Hyde Street is always busy as it runs through the entire city. I recommend going around 1 PM on a weekday. Also, don’t even attempt walking UP Hyde Street. Just don’t.

Hyde Street, San Francisco, CA

5. Pier 39 & Fisherman’s Wharf

Live music & the best seafood you will ever have

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 10.15.53 PM

If you take a cable car all the way down Hyde Street, you’ll get to Pier 39, which is the most beautiful view of the bay and Alcatraz. The pier is always vibrant with live music, unique food, and street performers. There’s also a vintage carousel that’s adorable. While you’re there, you HAVE to get fresh seafood from Bubba Gumps. Thank me later.

The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133

6. San Francisco City Hall

Pure Elegance

Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 10.24.15 PM
Screen Shot 2019-02-22 at 10.42.29 PM

So this location is waaaay underrated in my opinion. I didn’t even know how stunning it was until I saw my aunt’s engagement photos that were taken here (shown above). San Francisco City Hall is so romantic and picturesque. It truly is the perfect location for wedding and engagement shoots.

1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102

There are so many more places in the Bay Area that are perfect for photos, but for the sake of time, I wanted to stick to the city for this post. Let me know if you want me to create a guide to taking photos in the Bay Area! 🙂


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