Lo' and behold, today's blog post is a juicy read that a lot of photographers and influencers will probably want to learn more about! Today, I want to take you on a tour of TOP 15 INSTAGRAMMABLE HOTSPOTS you can find in San Francisco, especially because not a lot of people share their honest opinions about each spot. What you see on da gram may not be necessarily as aesthetic in person, OR it could be just the opposite - better than you expected ;) Whenever I travel with Sharon in the Bay Area, we always make sure to hit up a few scenic areas so that we make the most of our trip and can also push out more interesting and creative content while we're out traveling. So from me to you, here are the top 15 locations that you should visit for da gram ;)
Looking for the cutest flower mart in San Francisco? Then look no further than Ampersand! With brightly colored teal walls and a gorgeous collection of blooms, what Instagram fanatic WOULDN'T shoot at this location?
Probably the funniest part about taking Sharon here for the very first time last year was the fact that I, myself, didn't realize that this was a nude beach. Let's just say our eyes got a lot more than we were asking for this day, LOL! Thanks to Karl The Fog, we captured the dopest beach photos here and as long as you avoid the naked peeps, your shots will look like perfection.
In my personal opinion, this is definitely an "underhyped" Instagram hotspot that I don't see too often on Instagram. I kept saying to Sharon, "Wow, this is a bomb location but I've never seen anybody shoot here!" However, as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was also loading Instagram and the FIRST photo that appeared on my feed was a blogger shooting in front of the Ferry Building. Coincidence or what?! LOL. Regardless, I honestly don't see too many bloggers, influencers, or photographers shoot at this location so get shootin'! Also, one tip I have for parking is to GPS "Hotel Griffon" and park in their meter street parking because it was practically an empty street of parking spots when we went!
P.S. Hotel Griffon is one of the few hotels we stayed at during our San Francisco trip and their Executive Suite is mighty comfy! If you're looking for a hotel to stay at that is located near the many hot spots of San Francisco (ex: Ferry Building, Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, etc.), Hotel Griffon is the place to stay! Not only is the parking plentiful, but the roads are pretty much spotless and isolated here so you won't bump into any of that nasty traffic that tourists often see at Union Square. Love how they also have an unlimited amount of fruit on their fruit stand on the first floor as well ;)
Let's just say you can retrieve some pretty dope shots here whether you're in it for da gram or just your average tourist wanting a photo in front of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Honestly, I always avoided shooting at the Golden Gate Bridge because I came up with these horror stories in my head about not being able to find parking in such a tourist-packed area.
So here's a pro-tip for you first-timers headed to the Golden Gate Bridge - right before you drive INTO the Golden Gate Bridge (the roads should start leading you uphill), you will see an entrance near the bottom right side of the bridge. Be sure to stay on the very right lane before you reach this entrance so that you can easily turn into the parking area. Don't be like Sharon and I where we accidentally drove on to the bridge, then took another 25 minutes stuck in traffic to head back the way we came, hah. Also, parking is free on weekdays so HOORAY!!!
I'll say this once and I'll say it again - Ketsourine Macarons is like my Disneyland away from home! Not only is the staff always attentive and friendly, but the shop's minimalistic aesthetic and decor is pretty much #cafegoals. Every time that I visit Ketsourine Macarons, they always have a new addition to their menu or shop. You can definitely find the Instagram-worthy shot you're looking for if you sit at their barstools or at their snowy white circular wooden tables.
Luckily for me, I was able to try their Savory Crepes for the very first time and it is BOMB. Thanks to the cashier's recommendation, I opted for the North Beach (pepperoni and cheese crepe) and it was amaaaazzingggg. And yes, I Instastory and Snapchat this shop SO often that now my friends send me a photo every time they are at Ketsourine Macarons! Love it, hahaha. Parking is free, but you may have to look around this always-packed shopping plaza.
Legion of Honor is one of my default places to take photos at, so default that I've been avoiding it lately, LOL! To sum it all up in one sentence, let's just say that I always get the shot that I want when I go to Legion of Honor just because it's so minimalistic, clean, and beautiful. Also, it may be hard to get the Instagram shot you want here on a weekend due to tourists, so I would recommend visiting on a weekday if that's possible. Additionally, parking is free, but you have to fight for it!
Helloooo blogger central! As soon as Le Marais Bakery opened up on Chestnut Street, this bakery has literally appeared on my Instagram feed a countless number of times...and I couldn't complain a bit ;) A lot of bloggers and influencers love shooting outside of this cafe because of its beautiful light teal color and cozy cafe vibes.
If you do decide to dine at this cafe before or after your shot, you can't go wrong with their Duck Confit. As for parking, you can find meter parking almost anywhere around the vicinity.
Unfortunately, Karl The Fog was replaced with Max The Muddy Sky on the day we stumbled upon this hidden gym. By luck, we accidentally passed by Maiden Lane as we were scouting places to shoot around at and decided to give this place a try. As much as I loved incorporating Maiden Lane's lights into my shoot, the unlit lights combined with the unappealing lighting did not make for the best of pictures.
Honestly, weather does play a huge role with how one's photos turn out, especially if you're in a narrow alleyway such as Maiden Lane. If you do shoot when it's darker while the lights are on, you can get some pretty sick shots here. When the lights aren't on, there's nothing too special about this location in my honest opinion.
This is the one hotspot that I swear everybody has been to except for me, hah. I think that the pictures you see on Instagram speak for themselves. Now THIS is a worthy attraction worth visiting if you are a huge fan of sweettooth samples as well as colorful and interactive rooms. Last but not least, you cannot forget to visit the SPRINKLE POOL once you're there! Hopefully, one day I can cross this museum off of my list of places to visit.
So, Ocean Beach isn't your average beach due to the fact that you can actually get killed by the boisterous waves if you walk close enough to them. If you're looking for a not-so-crowded beach for landscape or portrait photos, Ocean Beach is the place to go! Just not the place to swim...
For anyone visiting San Francisco, one must stop at the Painted Ladies for a quick photo. Since I originally grew up in the Bay Area, I didn't feel the need to take a photo here - but hey, feelings can change with time, haha! Painted Ladies is famous for their appearance in the popular sitcom, "Full House", and consists of multiple pastel colored houses that adjacently line up in an uphill fashion. Very cool tourist shot for any non-San Franciscans!
Another iconic landmark that is a must-visit in San Francisco is the Palace Of Fine Arts. Whether you're with a friend, family member, or significant other, Palace Of Fine Arts is a gorgeous architectural landmark to take in when you're walking around the pond filled with ducks or underneath its beautiful infrastructure. Because there are a good amount of tourists here, it is a bit difficult to get the perfect shot here. But that's why our good friend, bokeh, is worth bringing on this trip! ;) Also, you didn't hear this from me, but a lot of people like to climb on the structure for the perfect Instagram shot - although it's not allowed and you'll probably get yelled at by a nearby security guard, let's just say I warned ya.
If you're looking for a fun time, Pier 39 has a plentiful amount of attractions and food stands to offer to your local tourist. Not only are there a bunch of activities located at the Pier 39, but just think about how many photo ops are here as well! You've got your lit-up merry-go-round, your pier, your Ben & Jerry's ice cream stand shot, and much more! Have fun at this location while you're at it, and there's so much more to Pier 39 than your average Instagram-worthy location.
P.S. Parking is a bitch here and expires every 2-hours so good luck!
My blogger friend, Thy from @thy.time, took me here once when I had to do a workout shoot and can I just say that Portrero Hill is gorgeous?! Not only do you a get a full view of the city in the background of your picture, but it's also not too crowded! You just have to find street parking and dodge cars left-and-right from time to time - but who's to say we all haven't done that before? ;)
Although I've never shot at San Francisco City Hall, it still remains on my to-shoot list! If you want to see more of what San Francisco City Hall has to offer, you HAVE to watch this amazing YouTube Christmas lookbook video that my friend, Brittney from @missxbo, filmed here! As soon as her video went live, I couldn't stop watching it LOL!
To get to Yerba Buena Gardens, I highly recommend taking an UBER or a LYFT since this is one of the busiest areas in town! Parking will be a bitch if you drive, just a heads up! At Yerba Buena Gardens, there are a lot of hotspots to shoot at this particular location. A lot of people like to shoot near the "fountain" where ducks swim because you can get an amazing view of San Francisco from that angle. Additionally, more people like to walk uphill and follow the ramps until they end up near Samovar Tea Lounge because the architecture here is perfect for the gram. You can also get some pretty bomb flower shots here as well during the spring/summer when the flowers are in bloom.
So this list pretty much rounds up my top 15 Instagrammable Hotspots in San Francisco! Have you been dying to visit any of these locations? Did you visit more than one of these locations? Talk to me in the comments section below - let's chat!
Food Photography at Ketsourine Macarons By:
Michelle Sun (@missmisschelle)