Ready to pop the question? We’ve put together a list with the best proposal places in the San Francisco Bay Area!
Whether you’re local to NorCal or just visiting, it’s easy to see why Tony Bennett sang the lyrics “I left my heart in San Francisco.”
From breathtaking views of the Bay (even amidst the cities thick fog) to romantic dining experiences, there are many proposal options that may feel right for you and your significant other.
Get Engaged with San Francisco Views as The Backdrop
Because of the unique terrain, steep hills, and locations nestled against the Bay, there are plenty of incredible options for a proposal with one-of-a-kind views.
Get engaged with the Golden Gate Bridge in attendance at Marshall’s Beach. If you've already done your research, you will come to find many hiking trails, mountain tops, and parks that allow for a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We think one of the best proposal places in the San Francisco Bay Area is Marshall’s Beach. This isn’t as common of a spot as the well-known Baker Beach but the views are equally fantastic. If you want to make sure the Golden Gate Bridge is prominent in your photos, walk a few minutes from the parking lot to find a lookout point—we promise, you won’t be underwhelmed. (Other spots that have great Bridge views include Crissy’s Field, Battery Spencer, and Land’s End Labyrinth but each vary in ease of accessibility.) Learn more.
Pop the question above the fog at the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Located in the Marin Headlands, the Point Bonita Lighthouse provides beautifully unique views of the Bay Area. There is a 0.5 mile trail leading up to the lighthouse which goes across a suspension bridge. Find a spot to propose at one of the overlooks or even as you move through the tunnel together. Then for the remainder of your relationship, the a lighthouse (which resembles the promise of always having a way to be guided back to shore) will always hold a special memory. Keep in mind that this is a touristy spot so lines can be long; do some research on their website in advance to plan your proposal. Learn more.
Propose in one of the iconic restaurants at the Fairmont San Francisco hotel. One of the renowned landmark hotels, the Fairmont San Francisco located on Nob Hill, is a great place to propose. There are a few options, which includes the Tonga Room and Hurricane Club---a Tiki Bar that will make you feel transported to a tropical location. Or partake in a swanky European brunch at Laurel Court. After the special meal, enjoy views from the Rooftop Garden overlooking the city skyline. With its convenient location near Union Square, there are plenty of options to celebrate afterwards. And if you want to take the memory over the top, book a room in the hotel to stay the night. Reservations recommended and/or required. Check in advance to make sure your desired space is available due to potential closures for private events. Learn more.
Create an arc in your love story with panoramic views at the View Lounge. This Art-Deco rooftop lounge and bar in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis is a great place to create a meaningful engagement memory. Take in the panoramic views together, order a handcrafted cocktail and Charcuterie Plate, and then ask that big question over a piece of Chocolate Torte. If you want to expand on your love story and enter this new season together in style, this is a wonderful way to propose. Reservations recommended. Learn more.
Add some warmth to your proposal at the fire pits at Charmaine’s in Mid-Market. If your significant other would appreciate a rooftop proposal, the swanky bar and lounge at Charmaine’s (located in San Francisco Proper Hotel) is one of the best places to propose in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only will you experience views 120-feet above Market Street, but the food and drinks are incredible. Enjoy a meal and then venture out to the Point, overlooking the city lights with warm fire pits scattered across the rooftop. Check the restaurant and hotel calendar of events in advance. Reservations recommended. Learn more.
Create a playful engagement memory at Pier 39. As one of the hottest and most diverse attractions in San Francisco, Pier 39 will give you plenty of options for the marriage proposal of their dreams. Choose from one of the 11 waterfront dining options (with views of the Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge), or one of the casual ice cream shops, fudge, and coffee cafes. Jump on one of the amusement rides, ride rental bikes down the pier, or visit Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze. Out of all of these options, though, our favorite way to propose at the pier? Get a caricature drawn of you two! Once the artist begins to draw, turn to your partner and ask them if they’ll marry you. The caricature artist will help document your proposal in a very creative and frame-worthy way for a special memento to remember this day! Caricature artists are located near the carousel. The cart’s hours vary and are dependent on weather conditions. Learn more.
Create an Iconic Outdoor Engagement Experience in San Francisco
Get engaged with renowned architecture as the backdrop at the Palace of the Fine Arts. If you’re a San Fran ‘native’, you might see this as ‘just another tourist attraction’ but we actually think it’s one of the best proposal places in the San Francisco Bay Area. For fans of art, design, or architecture, this Greco-Roman venue and its spacious grounds in the Marina District serves as a great place to get engaged. Walk around and find a secluded spot to get down on one knee. Then celebrate afterwards at one of the comedy or musical performances in the theater. You could get married here, too! Learn more.
Propose while bundled in blankets on the sand at Ocean Beach. Because of the chillier weather in San Fran (more so than other Californian destinations, like San Diego), you might not think of doing a beach proposal. But the 3.5 mile stretch of white sand along Ocean Beach is worth considering! Pack up a romantic picnic, bundle up to watch the sunset, and then ask the big question. Plus, if you’re an outdoorsy couple, you can find plenty of trails and activities along the coast (if you’d like to make memories that last throughout the day)! Learn more.
Get creative with a cable car proposal. There’s nothing that screams “San Francisco” more than a cable car! There are three routes still in existence today and this is the only place in the world where you can transport back in time using this historic mode of transportation. A cable car has seats which are open-air which allows you to get views of the city while traversing across the steep hills. There are two ways to propose on a cable car. First, pop the question when the car travels past a special place. Perhaps, the site of your first date, first kiss, or a meaningful venue where they dream of getting married. Or, if you have loved ones who are local (or willing to travel in), have them stand in a key spot with multiple signs in a row spelling out the question! (The sign can read “NAME, will you marry me?” or something along those lines.) Since the transportation moves at 9.5 miles per hour, the signs will be easy to read—just make sure your significant other is looking in the right direction! Get off at the next stop to celebrate with everyone in tow. Most rides cost $8 for adults; passes are also available. Pick a time of day or year where tourism is not at its peak or you might have a long wait. Learn more.
Go from dating to fiancés at the Waterfalls of Golden Gate Park. The Huntington Falls (at Stow Lake) and Rainbow Falls (at John F. Kennedy Drive) are often unexpected hidden gems for people visiting San Francisco to experience. These artificial waterfalls (which don’t seem artificial) are home to local wildlife and make for a great place to walk along and enjoy Mother Nature. Wear comfy shoes, bring your binoculars if you’d like to see some of the birds up close, and then find a spot near the water to propose. After the waterfalls, enjoy one of the many attractions or nature-scenes at Golden Gate Park. Then once you've made this waterfall memory, you can choose a wedding or honeymoon that includes a waterfall to continue building on this special day. Parking is free; make sure to do your research in advance. Learn more.
Get a Free Engagement Session in Northern California
We hope our list of some of the best proposal places in the San Francisco Bay Area helped you out as you begin to envision how you’d like to get engaged.
If you’re looking for a local photographer to capture your engagement, or to take engagement photos after the proposal, don’t miss our special offer! When you purchase a wedding package with us, you can get a free engagement session for no charge. Check out the details and reach out to learn more.
We have a dedicated team across Northern California and Southern California willing to help document your love story through photo and video. Browse our CA portfolio here.
[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Jacqueline and Gabriel in California.]
The Joy Team