Here’s my list of four San Francisco spots I actually had a chance to visit, four other places I would like to return to at night but didn’t, plus a bonus tip.
Golden Gate Bridge
Let’s start with the obvious: The Golden Gate Bridge. It would make it to the top of my list even if I were discovering the city on my own. With the only difference that if I would do it on my own I’d probably end up at the Golden Gate Overlook like almost everyone else. But I was with a guide and he took me to the Baker Beach which seemed to be a much better choice.
Palace of Fine Arts
This place looks as if someone cut a palace out of Paris or Vienna and pasted it to California. Yet, it is great for photographing reflections in the calm water. It would be even better if we were there earlier to get some blue from the sky.
San Francisco’s crookedest street is perfect for shooting light trails of cars maneuvering down the steep bends.
The second San Francisco bridge is equally photogenic as its more famous counterpart. The best spot to shoot it is in front of the Rincon Park where the remains of an old wharf can add some depth to your photos.
The Golden Gate Bridge looks spectacular from wherever you look at it. I liked this spot in front of the Warming Hut Bookstore & Café. What I’d appreciate even more would be the chance to warm up my cold hands in the café, but it was closed.
The lamp posts make this one of the most instagrammable San Francisco piers. The view in the opposite direction with the Transamerica Pyramid right in front of you is also worth considering.
Another San Francisco landmark that would look much prettier with some light trails leading to it. The crossroad of Columbus Ave and Stockton St seems like the best spot to place your tripod to.
Use the illuminated Bay Bridge in the distance as background, wait for a cable car driving down the California Street in the evening light and you have your perfect #longexposure #instatravel #nightphotography shot of San Francisco.
And one final tip: I visited the first four places as part of an Airbnb Experience tour. Anthony, who is running the tour, was an extremely knowledgeable and accommodating guide. Not only did he drive me from one spot to the other, he even let me use his tripod and remote. So if you’re visiting without a car and don’t want to bother finding and then ubering or lyfting to all the places, definitely use a guide.