San Francisco’s Marina District: 5 Great Photo Ops

San Francisco’s Marina District: 5 Great Photo Ops
| 2 min read

San Francisco has many marinas, but only one Marina District. It’s primarily residential. This peaceful, low-traffic and very walkable neighborhood, enjoys breathtaking, world-famous panoramas. The kind of landscapes artist, photographers and poets dream about.

While almost anywhere you point your camera will result in something marvelous, here are five accessible locations for landscapes, portraits or selfies.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Source: Mary Charlebois

The most recognizable bridge on earth, the Golden Gate is named for the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance into San Francisco Bay. From this bay-side location, you have a completely unobstructed view of the bridge’s entire span. This camera shot with nothing but water between you and the Golden Gate is worth the walk to its location.

Getting there - Take MUNI bus #22 down Fillmore to the bay. Walk about 5 blocks west on Marina Boulevard to Baker Street. Turn north until you merge with Yacht Road which will turn east. Follow this road which turns into a trail to the jetty at the very end.

San Francisco skyline

San Francisco Skyline
Source: Mary Charlebois

San Francisco’s skyline has many faces like a faceted jewel. From the Marina looking back towards the city, you have an unobstructed view of the San Francisco hills and the fascinating architecture. This shot is breathtaking in any type of weather. Sunrise or sunset may sometimes cause the windows in all the buildings to glow gold or red.

Getting there: Same directions as for Golden Gate Bridge.

Alcatraz Island

The Rock, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA
Source: Mary Charlebois

Home to an abandoned prison and now a National Park, Alcatraz is one of the most visited attractions in San Francisco. The ‘Rock’ is a formidable sight, but this point of view shows the open water between shore and the island. Boats and ships are usually in the channel and add color to the shot.

Getting there: Same directions as for Golden Gate Bridge.

Wave Organ

The Wave Organ, San Francisco, California
Source: Mary Charlebois

A wave-activated acoustic sculpture, the Wave Organ is a fascinating destination. Twenty-five cement and PVC tubes have one end in the water and the other at listening height. At high tide you can hear the sound made by water rushing in and out of the tubes. It works much the same way as a pump organ. Recycled granite, stone and monuments from a demolished cemetery were used as building materials. Highly unusual and visually interesting, especially with the Golden Gate as a backdrop.

Getting there: Same directions as for Golden Gate Bridge.

Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California
Source: Mary Charlebois

Built in 1915 for the Panama Pacific International Exposition, a world’s fair held in San Francisco between February and December in 1915, the landmark buildings are a combination of Greek and Roman architecture. Situated on a lagoon and surrounded by gardens and trees, it is tranquility personified. You will find many photo ops here, but the classic one is of the palace reflected in the lagoon.

Getting there - Take MUNI bus #30. Get off at Beach and Broderick Streets, and walk one block west to the park.

Bring home the best of the Marina District

In a city filled with many photo ops, the Marina District has some of the very finest to offer. This quiet neighborhood will help you produce some of your best-ever photographs. Immerse yourself and your camera in one of San Francisco’s best kept secrets – the Marina District.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Mary Charlebois is a Northern California Freelance writer, photographer and videographer. Her career in publishing technology fulfilled a lifelong dream, traveling the globe. Now retired,...Read more

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