The Bay Area is beaches and bridges, big hills and water, fog and sunshine. It’s a place where everything is a discovery — the same spot on a different day, with different weather, in a different mood, is a different thing. Other cities seems two-dimensional, exploring them feels like being a rat in a maze. San Francisco is fleeting — I crest a hill and the whole bay comes into view, the red bridge and the fog flowing over the headlands and the sun setting above the Pacific, and I duck down the other side and it all disappears. I know it will never be exactly like that again, and that no one had that moment exactly like me. It’s a city of secrets, and everyone who has ever lived there has their own. Out of love for that, I’m going to share a few of my lesser-known SF-area faves (along with the usual spots I think they beat out). I hope you enjoy and share — the best Bay Area moments are had with friends.
Top of Mount Tam via Fire Access Road
Better Than: Twin Peaks
The Bay Area is home of the view spot. For me, it’s the higher, the better. While Twin Peaks, Bernal Heights, and others in the city are nice, I like to take it to the top. Drive like you’re taking the long way to Stinson Beach, along Panoramic Highway. Cut back on the Pan Toll Road (it is labeled as a Fire Access road.) Take a left when it hits a paved parking lot, and look for the dirt pull-out a few hundred yards up on the left. Hike up the back of the hill to the stand of trees on the rock outcropping, and there you have it – on top of the Bay and on top of the World.