Hotel Lounges and pinnacles in San Francisco
razzle dazzle with ocean and city  views galore
By Kathy Chin Leong

Next time you head to San Francisco, take the time to enjoy the marvelous views the city has to offer. It is amazing how many different shots you can get of the city from various perspectives. We go in deep to share with you the various places you can go to get a bird’s eye view. 

The famous Top of the Mark at the Mark Hopkins Hotel  ( delivers on a panorama of the skyline that will only make you smile. Found in the affluent Nob Hill neighborhood, this tapas and small bites lounge celebrates with views of the illuminated Bay Bridge and live band music. Reservations are recommended. 

Meanwhile, The View Lounge (, found on the 39th floor of the Marriott Marquis, graces the city with a renovated, multi-million dollar Art Deco-inspired bar. For some, it may feel a little too high, but for others, this crowned jewel is a standout experience with a dramatic, floor-to-ceiling semi-circle window. Lights from the downtown office buildings resemble diamonds sparkling in the dark.  Imbibe handcrafted cocktails and indulge in small plates and desserts. This place gets packed, so get there when it opens at 4 p.m. Reflections of the moon shining over the bay are unforgettable. 

The aptly-named Cliff House ( serves up ocean seascapes in a building comprised of two restaurants, a bar and lounge. Get there at dusk to roam around the Sutro Bath ruins.  Be sure to visit its gift shop for a special trinket or walk on the terrace to hear the pounding of the waves.  

Where to go for a panoramic lookout point? Drive to Twin Peaks or Coit Tower.  Also go to the top of Lomboard Street, the crookedest street in the world. Amazing views from the bay from there also. At the Presidio, the Battery Chamberlin, Pacific Overlook and the Golden Gate Overlook also provide near-aerial sights worth the trek.   

Head to the Golden Gate Bridge visitors’ center. There you will find incredible postcard scenes of the ocean and the bridge itself. On a cloudy day, go inside the gift shop and get a cup of coffee. Try again the next hour, and you may see a completely clear scene!

Kathy Chin Leong’s favorite city is San Francisco, the town where she was born.

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