Here at last, here at last! As my parting gift to San Francisco, I am FINALLY sharing my favorite rooftops for the best Instagram pictures! Keep in mind that the majority of these spaces are privately owned and will require some trespassing to get to. PLEASE be respectful, be careful and most importantly, you didn’t get directions from me.
1: Sutter Stockton Garage 8th floor
444 Stockton St San Francisco, CA 94108
The 8th floor of the Sutter Stockton Garage is one of my favorites. I’ve shot so many photos here it's not even funny, it looks good from practically every corner and is easily accessible! You can either drive to the garage or just take the main elevators to the 8th floor and snap away. A security guard will patrol this area but as long as you aren't climbing over the railings or doing anything illegal, he’ll let you do your thang.
2: Sutter Stockton Garage 12th floor
444 Stockton St San Francisco, CA 94108
One of the other reasons I love the Sutter Stockton Garage is because there’s not one but TWO rooftops. The 12th floor is almost always blocked off and you can only access it by the “high-speed elevators”. This is a different set of elevators than the main one that only goes up to the 8th floor. Fun Fact: car commercials have been shot here! How I know? Security has kicked me out for shooting without a permit.
3: Vallejo Street Garage - Top
766 Vallejo St San Francisco, CA 94131
By now you’re probably wondering if all my rooftops are parking lots but don’t worry this is the last one! The Vallejo Street Garage still gives you highrise city vibes without being smack dab in the middle of Financial District. You’ll have lots of sun, open space and privacy to shoot for as long as you want. I have, however, encountered tour groups that come up for a few snaps, but they leave pretty quickly. Again you are able to enter with a car or take the stairs/elevators to the top floor.
4: North Ping Yuen Center
838 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
This is the rooftop I’ve gotten the most questions about! I’ve only been here once and that was a few years ago so my memory is hazy. It was also the most difficult rooftop to get to but the view is so worth it! Look for the building below and wait for someone to enter or leave the complex. Once you get inside, climb up the stairs or elevators until you get to the top. I think (really not sure about this) you’ll have to look for another set of stairs (maybe emergency exit...it’s not the stairs that has the open airway) and climb that to get to the roof. One of the residents told me about this after he saw me climbing down the fire ladder… awkward
5: Maritime Wine Tasting Studio
222 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Following the hardest rooftop to get to, I’m sharing the easiest rooftop to get to...that is if someone lets you through the door. Maritime Wine Tasting Studio is where you want to map to, but what you’re really looking for is the solid grey double doors that say 222 on floor. Wait for someone to let you inside and take the elevator to the top floor. Once you reach the top floor, you’ll climb about 4 steps of stairs, open the door and voila the roof. You’ll get a direct view of the Transamerica Pyramid and two streets crossing into the building creating some of the most photogenic leading lines.
6: LinkedIn San Francisco
222 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105
LinkedIn San Francisco is by far my favorite rooftop in San Francisco. The catch? An employee needs to bring you in. I’ve gotten a ton of questions on this space so I’m including it here in case you have a friend that works there! I recommend coming on the weekends so you don't intrude on the working employees and to have more privacy to shoot.
Ok, that's it! My long awaited photo guide to San Francisco rooftops and how to get to each location! It has been a while since I’ve shot at some of these spaces so the information is provided to the best of my ability. If something is wrong or outdated please let me know and be nice about it. I’m sharing this information to help you, not to lead you astray! A lot of these spots are kept secret 1: to respect the property and 2: to avoid Instagrammer from bombarding these locations. I’m trusting that you will be respectful, safe and abide by the law when referencing this guide. Most importantly, get some killer shots and tag me so I can repost!