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Kate
Boston

San Francisco

Scenic place to watch boats in SF?

Where's a great place in SF to sit and admire a harbor and/or boats? Open to touristy areas but also interested in spots that might be a little quieter, more peaceful, and/or local. I'm staying at a hotel in union square.


6 Answers

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answered by
Patrick from Denver

I love heading to the little strip of beach behind the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. There are a number of historic ships docked there as well fantastic views of Alcatraz in the distance. Then head west and walk over to the Marina District where lots of current day boats are parked. There are benches along the shore in several spots where you can watch the action.


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  1. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (attraction)
  2. Alcatraz (attraction)
  3. Marina District (attraction)
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answered by
Krista from San Francisco

Hey Kate,

Awesome Q! You're in luck because there are *many* beautiful places to watch boats in SF.

I recommend the Embarcadero (the long, palm tree lined street that runs from Fisherman's Wharf to the freeway) and you can stop at the Ferry Building Marketplace (straight out, through the back is awesome), Pier 23 Cafe, and Pier 39. Pier 39 is also home to SF's famous sea lions, as well as Forbes Island restaurant.

If you want to venture a little bit further, I suggest making your way to Ghiradelli Square or walking along Marina Blvd. Here you'll stumble across the St. Francis Yacht Club and Crissy Field - a spot locals love and a great place to watch action on the water.

As others have mentioned, Alcatraz + the Golden Gate Bridge are fantastic! 


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Ferry Building Marketplace (attraction)
  2. Pier 23 Cafe (restaurant)
  3. Pier 39 (attraction)
  4. Forbes Island (restaurant)
  5. Ghiradelli Square (attraction)
  6. Marina Blvd (attraction)
  7. St. Francis Yacht Club (attraction)
  8. Crissy Field (attraction)
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answered by
Marc

Take the commuter ferry from Ferry Plaza to Tiburon in North Marin.  It is an inexpensive 50 minute ride each way that not only allows sitting on an outside deck and watching all of the boating activity, but you will also pass all of the SF Bay icons...Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, etc.  An additional twist is to schedule return from Tiburon during sunset. What can go wrong, it's SF!


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  1. Tiburon (city)
  2. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  3. Alcatraz (attraction)
  4. Angel Island (attraction)
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answered first by
Valerie from Los Angeles

Hey Kate! I love heading over to Fort Mason. You get a gorgeous view of the bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge

Tip: when you get to Fort Mason, the best spot to watch the boats is at the Festival Pavilion. Secluded and away from tourists :)




Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Fort Mason (attraction)
  2. Alcatraz (attraction)
  3. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  4. Festival Pavilion (attraction)
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answered by
Fritzi from San Francisco

AT&T Park is a great location to watch boats in the bay. If you sit in View sections 310, 308, you will have awesome bay views and you can also watch a baseball game. 

 You can never go wrong at Top of the Mark. Amazing Bay views, and the staff will let you nurse your drink for hours while you admire the view.


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  1. AT&T Park (attraction)
  2. Top of the Mark (hotel)


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answered by
Markus from Kempten

Watch from the Marin Headlands!


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  1. Marin Headlands (attraction)




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