The Most Scenic Places in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. There are lots of reasons for this, including the city’s beautiful scenery and Instagrammable sights. The city is famous for its impossibly steep hills, its distinctly colourful buildings, the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, and much more. This guide will look at the most scenic places in San Francisco and where to capture the best moments.

Getting Around the City

If you’re a serious sightseer, then you’ll have to travel all around the city. You could rent a car, but then you wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate this beautiful city as you drive. Instead, opt for a 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus pass from Gray Line. With this, you can sit on top of the double-decker bus and drink in the sights. If you spot something you like, you can jump off at the next stop and explore.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is spectacular, whether you’re looking at it from Lands’ End or Baker Beach, or you’re standing on it, looking out at the city. This suspension bridge is an impressive feat of engineering and is arguably the most famous bridge in the world. You can see the bridge from many spots around the city, but there’s something special about getting up close to it and looking up at the formidable red gates on each side and the huge suspension cables in between. This is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.  

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the must-Instagram sites of the city. It’s more than a tourist spot; it is home to a working fleet of fishermen who bring in the fresh catch of the day to be sold at market. You can find fantastic Dungeness crabs and the best cup of chowder here. Breathe in the ocean air, take in the boats, and snap a pic with your phone and post it to the ‘Gram!


There is no place hipper than the Haight. The flower child movement of the 1960s blossomed here, kicking off an era in American history that leaves behind a legacy of individuality. At the corner of Haight and Ashbury streets is a neighborhood peppered with colorful Victorian homes as well as the modern-day versions of counterculture offerings that sprouted up decades ago. You’ll find tattoo parlors and unique clothing stores, lots of eclectic eateries, and music shops selling vinyl and history. Post some of that groovy vibe to your Instagram for lasting memories.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower is an absolute must for anyone visiting San Francisco. It is a 210-foot (64m) tower in Pioneer Park in San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill district. This art deco tower was designed by Arthur Brown Jr. and Henry Howard, and it’s one of the city’s most unique-looking buildings. Make sure you check out the tower’s 27 different murals, designed by various artists from the California School of Fine Arts. From the tower, there is a panoramic view of most of the city, including Twin Peaks, Russian Hill, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the city’s famous Lombard Street.

Lombard Street

In a city famous for its hills, Lombard Street in the city’s Russian Hill neighbourhood is perhaps the most famous hill. This street is so steep that the road has to swerve into eight hairpin turns to make is safe for traffic. Lombard street is lauded as the ‘World’s most crooked street’ and it’s a must-see for any visitor to the city.

North Beach

Munch on a cannoli in Little Italy, then burn off the calories by running up the Filbert Street steps. There’s lots to do and see in North Beach and plenty of shots to capture. You’ll find expansive views of the city on Telegraph Hill. Tour the neighborhoods where beatniks like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg once wielded their influence on American literature. Pictures from North Beach will get plenty of likes on your Instapage. Check our North Beach Food & History Walking tour if you want a genuine local experience!

Twin Peaks Summit

Everything looks better from above, so the Twin Peaks Summit is perhaps the best way to see San Francisco’s Bay Area. These two hills are 922 feet (281m) above sea level and they offer unparalleled views of the city and the surrounding countryside. You can also hike around this area, spotting the local plants and wildlife.

Alcatraz Island

This rugged, rocky island is home to the infamous Alcatraz prison, where notorious criminals like gangster Al Capone once served time. Today, The Rock is a tourist attraction and remains a testament to the rough, unforgiving geography and frigid ocean surrounding the island. You’ll get lots of images, and Instagram likes here. Just don’t try to swim back to shore.

Napa Valley

Just outside of the city, you’ll find the world-famous Napa Valley. These vineyards are exceptionally beautiful and should be on any serious sightseer’s to-do list. The best way to get there is to book a Sonoma and Napa Valley wine tour from Gray Line San Francisco. The bus will pick you up from your hotel and give you a guided tour that culminates in a wine tasting, before taking you right back to your hotel. It’s the perfect day out.

So now you have the insider’s guide to the most scenic places in the city we here at Gray Line San Francisco call home! It’s time to start planning your journey and deciding which of these incredible sights you want to visit first! Please contact us if you require any more information about tours in San Francisco, we’d be more than happy to help you plan your visit!