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The Best Bay Area Photography Spots
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The Best Bay Area Photography Spots

These are the best Bay Area photography spots whether you’re having a couples' photoshoot or taking fire selfies.

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5 min read

January 16, 2022

Finding Bay Area photography spots is often easier said than done. Though nearly every inch of this destination offers a stunning backdrop, finding the ideal spot for an Instagram post or your California  proposal photos takes a bit of extra thought. Whether you want classic shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, adventurous photos in Muir Woods, a color-pop photoshoot in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset, or fun snapshots at Pier 39, here are the best photo places in the Bay Area.

These Are The Bay Area Photography Spots To Check Out Now

In 1963, San Francisco artist Butch Kardum began combining intense blues and greens on the exterior of his Italianate-style Victorian house.

Photo Ops in San Francisco

1. The Painted Ladies 

Location: Steiner Street Hayes Street, San Francisco

The Painted Ladies are a row of iconic San Francisco buildings in Victorian and Edwardian style architecture, painted in three or more colors to accentuate their details. Snap away at this iconic architectural photo op in San Francisco if you want to add a pop of color to your feed!

2. Baker Beach

Location: San Francisco

This popular NorCal beach exposes you to one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the Golden Gate Bridge. So, if you want a Bay Area photography spot that is instantly recognizable, Baker Beach is your destination.

3. Bernal Heights Park

Location: 3400–3416 Folsom Street, San Francisco

Is your Instagram feed lacking city views? Head over to Bernal Heights Park for a great S.F. hike with stunning panoramas. If you manage to find the hidden swing hanging over a cliff at the park, you’ll have yourself an awesome photo op in San Francisco.

4. The Palace of Fine Arts

Location: 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco

A popular location to take couples’ or engagement photos, the Palace of Fine Arts is a photo op in San Francisco you can’t go wrong with.

Fort Point National Historic Site is now popular as a tourist viewing point of the Golden Gate Bridge directly alongside it.

5. Fort Point National Historic Site

Location: Long Avenue and Marine Drive, San Francisco

Giving you killer views of the Golden Gate Bridge from a unique angle, the Fort Point National Historic Site is an awesome photo op in San Francisco. Visiting this site is gorgeous even when Karl the Fog hits town.

6. Mission Dolores Park

Location: Dolores and 19th Streets, San Francisco

Encompassing nearly 16 acres, Mission Dolores Park is the heart of a vibrant and culturally diverse neighborhood. What to do in the Mission District, you might ask? We see you having a picnic photoshoot at this Bay Area photography spot—a concept.

Claimed to be "the crookedest street in the world," Lombard Street is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighborhood.

7. Lombard Street

Location: Between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, San Francisco

The colorful winding turns at Lombard Street have hosted their fair share of photoshoots. And why should you miss out?

8. Golden Gate Overlook

Location: Langdon Court, San Francisco

The overlook at the Langdon Center is a hillside observation deck with views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin Headlands. The opportunities to capture a killer shot at this photo op in San Francisco are endless.

9. Sutro Baths

Location: 1004 Point Lobos Avenue, San Francisco

The Sutro Baths represent the remains of what used to be a public saltwater swimming pool complex in the Lands End area of western San Francisco. This local attraction is known for having an interesting history, and, of course, being a great photo op in San Francisco. 

Photo Ops in San Jose

Established in 1927, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden features more than 3,500 shrubs representing 189 rose varieties.

10. San Jose Municipal Rose Garden

Location: 1649 Naglee Avenue, San Jose

You can’t go wrong with a picture surrounded by beautiful roses. The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden has roses in every shape and color, making for a photo op in San Jose like no other.

11. Welcome to San Jose Mural

Location: Intersection of West San Fernando Street and Delmas Avenue, San Jose

The Welcome to San Jose mural is one of the most popular photo spots in town. Especially when you’re in town as a tourist, this photo op in San Jose is a must-add to your feed.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum holds the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the Western United States.

12. Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Location: 1660 Park Avenue, San Jose

The coolest photo op in San Jose is perhaps at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Columns, statues, artifacts, and a fountain reminiscent of Ancient Egypt cover the exterior portion of this museum and give you plenty of photo ops in San Jose to take advantage of.

13. San Pedro Square Market

Location: 87 North San Pedro Street, San Jose

Posing with food is very much a popular trend on Insta right now. To get the perfect caught-off-guard-while-enjoying-a-treat snap, head over to San Pedro Square Market, where you’ll get photo ops in San Jose surrounded by fairy lights and colorful food stands. 

Other Awesome Bay Area photography spots

14. Cypress Tree Tunnel

Location: Inverness

The Cypress Tree Tunnel looks too magical to exist in real life—yet it does. Planted in 1930, this driveway surrounded by Monterey pine trees is an incredible Bay Area photography spot to check out.

15. Battery Spencer

Location: Conzelman Road, Sausalito

Head over to Battery Spencer in Sausalito to snap pictures by the Golden Gate Bridge in a significantly less crowded location than San Francisco. This Bay Area photography spot is often overlooked but is a hidden gem you want to keep on your radar.

The name Tamalpais comes from the Coast Miwok name for this mountain, which translates into "west hill."

16. Mount Tamalpais

Location: Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Marin County

As a locale that’s very symbolic of Marin County, Mount Tamalpais is an incredible Bay Area photography spot to snap pictures in nature. Choose a trail and plan a hike to a scenic lookout point on this mountain and you’re bound to get some beautiful shots of its surrounding nature and tide pools.

17. Point Reyes Lighthouse

Location: Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County

Want to take jaw-dropping shots of the open sea? Head out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Fun fact: this Bay Area photography spot is also a popular destination for stargazing in California; photographers head out here to capture the milky way. 

Fun fact: the Point Reyes Shipwreck was once in danger of being removed, but it was local photographers who actually saved it.

18. Point Reyes Shipwreck

Location: 12783 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Inverness

This decaying ship washed up by the shore in Inverness presents an incredible contrast against the calm waves. Plan to arrive at the Point Reyes Shipwreck by sunset and you’ll be able to capture a super cool series of shots.

19. University of California Botanical Garden

Location: 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley

There’s a wide array of flora to be admired and photographed at this 34-acre botanical garden, located on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. Whether you’re getting close-ups of the plants or taking pictures of yourself surrounded by the greenery, the University of California Botanical Garden is a Bay Area photography spot you don’t want to miss.

Castello di Amorosa features 107 rooms on eight levels above and below ground. It was about 121,000 square feet when it first opened in 2007.

20. Castello di Amorosa

Location: 4045 Street Helena Highway, Calistoga

Want to feel like royalty in real life? Put on your most regal outfit and drive to Castello di Amorosa. This Napa attraction is a 13th-century style winery built to look like a castle—the photoshoot you can organize here can be truly magical.

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