San Francisco is a lively city with endless things to do and see. Although Fisherman`s Wharf and Lombard Street are a few of the most talked-about attractions in SF.. they are extremely overrated! The crowds of tourists and overpriced gift shops are not the best use of your time while exploring this beautiful city. Keep reading for my list of the top Instagram hotspots in San Francisco and how to avoid the crowds!
The Murals of Mission
Mission is hands down one of the most trendy and Instagram worthy neighborhoods in San Francisco. If you enjoy browsing around streets full of hip coffee shops, fantastic restaurants, and a ton of street art… you will want to check it out! When it comes to admiring the murals you have a few different options:
- Option #1: Take a guided mural walk. Many companies offer these at different times during the week that range from $15-$30 USD per person. This is a great option if you want to learn about the history of the art and can`t be bothered with the planning.
- Option #2: Plan a self-guided mural walk and enjoy the street art at your own pace! We used this great article by our friend over at Indecisive Traveler to organize an awesome day of murals while working in some of our favorite foooood stops 😉
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The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic symbol of the city and a great place for photo ops! You can rent bicycles from several shops throughout the city to get you there and even across to Sausalito! All in all, this journey is between 7-10 kilometers and the pathways are kept in excellent shape. Along the way, there are dozens of places to stop and set up for that perfect Instagram photo.
The Town of Sausalito
Sausalito is a charming little town in California that could easily be mistaken for a seaside Mediterranean village. Even though it is located just across the bay from San Francisco, the vibe is completely different. Sausalito is a great place to come for a relaxing day of art galleries, food, and wine. You can either get there by passing over the Golden Gate Bridge (on a bike or in a vehicle) or via the Golden Gate Ferry which departs from the waterfront in SF. Make sure to check out the Houseboats and the harbor for some outstanding photos!
Related Post: 7 Awesome Things to do in Sausalito
The 16th Ave Mosaic Tile Steps
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps project was a neighborhood collaboration to create a sea to stars theme flowing up a 163 step stairway located in Golden Gate Heights. These steps are intricate and breathtaking, making them an iconic Instagram spot in San Francisco. For more information about the construction and meaning behind the stairway, click here.
If you follow the 16th Avenue Tiles Steps to the top and continue walking up the hill, you will eventually find yourself at Grandview Park. We actually found this place by accident but the views are absolutely incredible and there is never anyone there! So if you`re looking to avoid the crowds but get some jaw dropping photo ops, you won`t want to miss this one!
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful structure located on the edge of Presido Park near the waterfront. The mix of architecture and nature makes this a relaxing place to stroll around and get some killer photos on your way to the Golden Gate Bridge!
The Bernal Heights Swing
Perhaps one of San Francisco’s best kept secrets, this dreamy hilltop swing is located at the top of Bernal Heights Park. It`s a 10 minute hike to get up there; but you are instantly rewarded with sweeping views of the city skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The best part? It’s never too crowded with tourists!
Mr. Holmes Bakery
Home of the “cruffin” ( a mix between a croissant and a muffin) and a controversial sign; Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is a can`t miss Instagram stop in San Francisco. Although they are open from early morning until the afternoon; go first thing because they often sell out quick!
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The Top of Twin Peaks
Want a spectacular 360 degree view of San Francisco? Head to the top of these 922-foot-high peaks! You can choose to drive, take a bus, or hike to these incredible viewpoints. The peak furthest from the parking lot (the southern one) probably has the best view; and make sure to climb the stairs all the way to the top for those photos!