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Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, as seen from an Alcatraz Cruises boat

California

The Iconic, Picture-Perfect Sights of San Francisco, California

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    California

Featured in popular movies and television shows, photo opportunities abound in San Francisco, California.

The skyline that overflows with unforgettable architecture has been the backdrop for many blockbuster movies through the years. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco is a picturesque city filled with memory-making experiences. Take in the scenery and grab the perfect shot while you visit these iconic destinations.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions with more than 1 million people visiting it each year. The famous prison standing tall on the island once held notorious criminals like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. The island also holds the first lighthouse built on the Pacific coast and is the birthplace of the American Indian Red Power movement. Book a ferry ticket with Alcatraz Cruises and go on a guided audio tour to learn the history of the prison. Walk through the prison cells, canteens, libraries and “black hole” solitary confinement rooms. Keep your camera ready as you snap some amazing photos of this destination that has been featured in numerous movies, including “The Rock,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” “Point Blank” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.”

An aerial view of Alcatraz Island

An aerial view of Alcatraz Island
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Coit Tower

Seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” as well as in “The Enforcers,” Coit Tower is a slender white concrete column that extends from the top of Telegraph Hill. Completed in 1933, the tower has an observation deck that provides breathtaking 360-degree views of the city and San Francisco Bay. It is named after Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy patron of San Francisco’s firefighters, who left a substantial amount of money to beautify the city she loved. An impressive collection of murals painted inside the tower’s base depicts life in California during the Great Depression of the 1930s, so be sure to take photos of those, too.

Coit Tower extends 64 meters into the air on top of Telegraph Hill

Coit Tower extends 64 meters into the air on top of Telegraph Hill
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Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building, seen in “The Maltese Falcon,” “Zodiac” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and other big-screen films, is in the center of San Francisco’s financial, banking and transportation district. From the Gold Rush until the 1930s, arrival by ferryboat became the only way to access the island, and the Ferry Building was the only landing. Since then, the building and its dramatic clock tower have become an icon along the San Francisco waterfront.

At the base of the Ferry Building, the Marketplace is one of the top farmers markets in the USA. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, shoppers can browse fresh farm products, artisan and prepared foods from more than 100 local vendors. Stop by Acme Bread Company for delicious sourdough bread, Cowgirl Creamery for the finest artisan cheeses, and McEvoy Ranch to taste organic extra virgin olive oil and wine.

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Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf once was a prosperous fishing port before turning into a popular seaside destination for shopping, dining and attractions. While spending time at the Wharf, stroll along Pier 39 and see a variety of street performances, local shops, sea lions, and fresh seafood restaurants. Enjoy beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, visit Ghirardelli Chocolate in Ghirardelli Square for gifts to take home, and eat fresh fish paired with clam chowder at one of the seafood stalls. Among movies filmed at the Wharf were “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” “Godzilla” and “The Internship.”

Tourists visiting the popular Fisherman's Wharf

Tourists visiting the popular Fisherman's Wharf
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The Golden Gate Bridge

The beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge, stretching 2,700-meters across San Francisco Bay, has been featured in countless films through the years. Movie lovers will recognize the landmark from “Interview With a Vampire,” “X-Men: Last Stand” and “San Andreas.” Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the San Francisco Bay with nothing but picturesque views from the bike and pedestrian trails. At the south side of the bridge, stop at the Welcome Center to view educational exhibits about the bridge and sign up for a free walking tour on Thursdays and Sundays. To snap a panoramic picture of the bridge for your friends and family, visit Crissy Field, Baker Beach, China Beach and Lands End.

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the water's edge

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from the water's edge
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The Painted Ladies

Go to Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies, one of the most photographed sites in San Francisco. The tight formation of Victorian houses on Hayes and Steiner streets is in a perfect line with the San Francisco skyline as a contrasting background. Seen in famous movies like “Bicentennial Man” and the TV series “Full House,” the Painted Ladies makes a fun stop to snap some historic photos.

The Painted Ladies at dusk

The Painted Ladies at dusk
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