San Francisco For The Movie Buff: 10 Locations You Must Visit

San Francisco sites – like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf - have been the backdrop for many silver screens. However, plenty of other locations, which you can visit, have also graced film and TV screens.

The San Francisco Bay area is a popular tourist destination that is known for its big attractions in a condensed area.  From its world renowned cable cars to PEIR 39 and Union Square, many attractions fit into just 49 square miles!

San Fran is a popular hub for film and television shoots and you may be surprised by the movies or shows that have used this city as their alien headquarters, hometown or wedding venue. Along with all the big attractions, this part of Northern California also has many less main stream attractions that may look familiar to you – even if it’s your first time visiting.

#1 Mission Dolores

Front Ornate Carvings Facade Steeple Cross Mission Dolores Saint Francis De Assis San Francisco California

Founded in 1776, this is the oldest structure in San Francisco and is still an active church. 320 Dolores Street made a cinematic splash with the famous graveyard scene in the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo.

#2 Alamo Square Park

This space may look familiar as multiple scenes from multiple movies and television shows have been shot here. This well-known piece of real estate was most recently used in the movie, The Five-Year Engagement. The end of the film, where Jason Segal and Emily Blunt finally tie the knot in a cute and unconventional ceremony, is all at this beautiful neighborhood park.

#3 Steiner Street

Who doesn’t love Danny Tanner, his three adorable daughters and two best friends? The Tanner family from the hit show Full House was a staple for many childhoods and you can see the street where this family grew up. In the opening sequence of Full House, you see the family sitting on a blue blanket for a picnic at a park. This is in front of a row of lovely Victorian houses known as the “Painted Ladies.” Head over to Alamo Square Park and you may find yourself posing across from 710-720 Steiner Street – just like the Tanner family. Or go down the street a ways and end up at the home used in the Movie Mrs. Doubtfire at 2640 Steiner Street.

#4 Presidio of San Francisco

Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco


Ever wonder where on earth the Starfleet Academy from Star Trek: Voyager is? Well, look no further than the Presidio of San Francisco – a former military base that is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Opposite this area, at the Fort Baker cantonment, is where you will find the space used for the Starfleet Command.

#5 Crepes On Cole

Need to satisfy a craving of sorts? Don’t deny yourself anymore; go for some sweet indulgence at Crepes On Cole at 100 Carl Street. This is where heartthrob Josh Hartnett sat and typed away on his laptop while trying very hard not to think of co-star Shannyn Sossamon in the movie 40 Days and 40 Nights.

#6 Palace of Fine Art Theatre

Exploratorium and Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco

Want to re-live a piece of The Bachelor? I’m not talking about the TV show here, but the 1999 movie starring Renee Zellweger and Chris O’Donnell. Visit the Palace of Fine Art Theatre at 3301 Lyon Street and rest your behind on the green bench that seated those two famous bottoms as you admire the lagoon and rotunda.

#7 157 Spindrift Road

If you are a big enough Basic Instinct fan and want to travel slightly south of San Francisco, you can visit the home of the main character Catherine Tramell. This lovely and murderous vixen lived in the Cliffside mansion, which you can see at 157 Spindrift Road in Carmel Highlands.

#8 San Francisco Chronicle

This building has made appearances in both Contagion and Zodiac, but is probably better known for the latter. In the 1970s, a serial killer known as the Zodiac sent letters to the press taunting the police. This iconic building with clock tower is a beautiful piece of architecture located on 901 Mission Street.

#9 St. Paul’s Catholic Church

Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church Steeples San Francisco California

In the movie Sister Act, Whoopi Goldberg goes into protective custody as a nun at St. Katherine’s Parish. Although in the movie, St. Katherine’s Parish looked rather run down, St. Paul’s Catholic Church is actually located in the upscale middle class neighborhood of Noe Valley. The church was built in 1897 and, despite being in a movie, its star power really is in its amazing gothic structure.

#10 Market and Castro Streets

Wander along these streets and you may be tracing the steps Sean Penn took as the character Harvey Milk in the 2008 film Milk.

Now go and visit little pieces of Hollywood and make your own picture perfect or movie worthy moment.

About the author

Sandy L.

Sandy is a lover of words and wild things. She is a constant student of the world, learning as much as she can both inside and out of the classroom. Her goal is to see as much of the world as possible and share her adventures with you.

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