San Francisco views from above

San Francisco views from above - at the Loews Hotel

San Francisco views from above

Not surprising, there are so many fabulous places in the city that you can go to see and photograph San Francisco and the entire bay area. Some of these are open for the public while others may only be available to guests staying at that particular hotel. So if you are in the area and what to see some wonderful views of San Francisco from above, take a look at places and maybe you will be in one of these places soon.

Places to visit in San Francisco with views from above


San Francisco views from above - at the View Lounge Marriott Marquis

The View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis

You take an elevator to the top floor which offers a bar lounge and amazing 360 degree views to the city below and the surrounding landscape including both bridges coming into San Francisco. Since the View Lounge doesn’t open up until 4pm in the afternoon it is advisable to come early and secure the best seats in the house and those are usually the ones by the window facing downtown and the Bay Bridge. On a clear day, you get beautiful light and sunset views into the night which is perfect for taking any photographs of the city.




San Francisco views from above - at the Loews Hotel


The Loews balconies

Just as spectacular as the View Lounge, the Loews Hotel observation areas and outdoor balconies are unique and out of this world with stunning views downtown. Close to popular landmarks like the Trans America building, Coit tower and the Golden Gate bridge, everything seems even more intense outside on the two balconies. If you are a guest of the hotel, most of the upper floor bedrooms have these views, but you can also check out the balconies from above if you contact the concierge desk to have access to the balcony. Or better yet, you can get married at the hotel or even host a special function at the hotel to secure these stunning views for your event.




San Francisco views from above - at the Marriott Union Square

Marriott Union Square observation views

Located on the 36th floor of the hotel, the main observation area has sweeping views of the bay and key landmarks areas like Union Square, Chinatown, North beach and other popular landmarks. An easy site to visit and check out the lovely views from Union Square, the Marriott observation is open to guests and the public for any special functions or events that are booked on the observation area and meeting rooms. You can inquire at the front desk for access.


Looking down at Union Square from the Cheesecake Factory in Macy's


Cheesecake factory balcony at Macy’s

Only on the 7th floor of Macy’s at Union Square, the outdoor balcony area of the Cheesecake factory has the view of the immediate Union Square plaza below and surrounding areas. It’s busy, festive and a great place for people watching and if you are willing to wait for your name to be called from the waiting list, there’s enough great views to soak in before you can grab a bite or an out of this world cheesecake with a view.


Looking at Coit Tower in San Francisco

Coit Tower at North Beach

This is a very popular tourist destination and extremely busy with long lines for the elevator ride to the top. If your willing to brave the wait, you will be rewarded with great views of the downtown area and Embarcadero along with magnificent unobstructed views of both the Bay bridge and Golden Gate Bridge.

Top of the Mark - San Francisco views from above


Top of the Mark Hotel

Another historic hotel located on Nob Hill the Top of the Mark has huge windows that offer incredible views below to different areas in the city including downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero and gorgeous San Francisco Bay. A 4pm opening time, this is a very popular venue so reservations are mandatory when visiting the Top of the Mark. Yes those drinks and appetizers are going to be pricey but chalk this up as one of those once in a lifetime types of experiences and it will be worth it (Just make sure you reserve a spot on a nice sunny day)



Hilton Union Square Cityscape Lounge

Hilton Union Square Cityscape Lounge

For the price of a cocktail at the view lounge on the 46th the 360 degree views at the Cityscape Lounge at the Hilton Union Square are simply amazing to see. Along with the expansive lounge area with gigantic windows (you can walk around the entire lounge for different views of the city from the hills down to San Francisco bay) you can also dine above with their dinner buffet with a view.  This is possibly the highest and most complete wrap around views of the entire city and worth a cocktail or dinner when you want to enjoy fantastic views from above.  Sunny days are great time to come to Union Square or late afternoon into sunset so you can capture some wonderful photographs of the city into the night.



Looking at downtown San Francisco from Dolores park

Dolores park

A short ride from downtown on the J line Muni, Dolores park next to the Castro and Dolores area is a large grassy area with spectacular panoramic views of the Mission and entire downtown district. The upper terraced grass areas have just been planted and are off-limits, but you can still get dramatic views from the lower terrace areas closer to the tennis courts below. If you want to sit on the grassy areas, then head out to the lower terrace next to the tennis courts. Weekends are very busy and fun for people watching and picnicking at Dolores park.




 Twin Peaks view in San Francisco

Twin Peaks lookout point

For the best view of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, you need to drive all the way up to Twin Peaks. Not an easy place to access without personal transportation, it’s still worth the effort because you will  get panoramic views of the entire downtown area and surrounding outer neighborhoods which makes this one of the most popular view areas to visit in the city. If you have extra time take some of the trails to surrounding lookout points behind the viewpoint and you will get different vistas to enjoy and a more unique experience than just the scenic lookout.


San Francisco skyline views from Alcatraz prison

Alcatraz prison lookout

From the top of Alcatraz island fronting the prison, if you walk to the edge at the look out point, the views back to the city skyline are really stunning. From the prison lookout, you can practically see all the major landmarks and attractions around the city. This is probably one of closest areas to the city where you can get a great view to photograph of the San Francisco skyline along with touring a historic penitentiary.


De Young museum tower views - San Francisco views from


De Young Museum tower

After you have visited the many unique art galleries at the De Young Museum, take an elevator ride up the tower and you get some fantastic views of the main square at Golden Gate Park with views to the Richmond district and out to the Pacific ocean. You can also see the Golden Gate bridge and bay area from the tower. Also in the distance you will also be able to see views of downtown San Francisco, making this visit one of a kind in this area of the city with completely different views of the area from above. You can visit any time to check out the views but sunny days are preferable to see more details from the tower view.


San Francisco views from above at night



You’ll always be inspired seeing San Francisco from above and with little effort, you can see the city different vantage points with killer views to the city and some fantastic photo opportunities. Do you have any other ideas or places to take an incredible shot of San Francisco or the Bay Area? Please share with us in the comment section below, thank you.

If you enjoyed this post on San Francisco views from above, please share the post with any of the social media buttons surrounding the post, thank so much for visiting today.



, , ,

7 Responses to San Francisco views from above

  1. Samantha @ Our Traveling Blog January 10, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

    Great pictures of a great city. It bought back wonderful memories of a anniversary dinner at Top of the Mark Hotel. Incredible doesn’t do justice to our experience. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Rhonda Albom January 7, 2016 at 11:57 pm #

    Nice collection of photos. What a great idea for a post. I lived in San Francisco for 15 years. My favorite view from above was across the Golden Gate Bridge.

  3. A Lady in London January 6, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    Great views! I’ve always loved the ones from Top of the Mark. I also love the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field and Baker Beach.

  4. Mike Klubok January 6, 2016 at 5:29 am #

    Nice pictures Noel! I was in the Loews when it was still the Mandarin in April taking the same picture you posted and others. After about 10 minutes, 2 security officers approached me asking if I was staying at the hotel. Since I wasn’t I was asked to leave. BTW they did have good chocolate chip cookies at the elevator bank.

  5. Zascha January 5, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    It looks amazing! Lovely photos. My mum and my sister went to San Francisco once upon a time, and I’ve wanted to go there ever since. I was in the States last summer and I can’t believe I did’t grab the opportunity of going there when I had the chance.

    • Mike January 9, 2016 at 5:25 am #

      Zascha if you ever get the opportunity to go to San Francisco as Nike says, “Just Do It”. It truly is a beautiful city and the pictures do not do it justice. I remember the 1st time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though it was from Fishermans Wharf, my first thought was that it was more beautiful in person. San Francisco is also more than the sites. The neighborhoods each have their own identity and add to the San Francisco experience.


  1. Fun and unusual activities to do in San Francisco - January 12, 2016

    […] if you are interested in checking out the best views of San Francisco from above, take a look at a recent post I did here, it’s definitely worth the effort to get to some of these places when you visit the city. […]

Leave a Reply