Since I've moved to San Francisco, I have fallen in love with so many elements of the city. It has the hustle and bustle of New York City, the eccentricity of New Orleans, and the proximity to beaches like Miami, all of which are layered on top of being an incredibly progressive innovation hub.
However, with both pangs of homesickness for the wide open spaces of Pensacola (and the beach) and the stress of a busy work week, I often feel the need to get outside and marvel at the bounty of views San Francisco has to offer. These are three spots I love to go to enjoy a breath of fresh air and sweeping views of the City by the Bay:
(1) Land's End: My top spot for exercise and a great view. Land's End is located at the western end of Richmond (easily reached via bus!) and home to the well-known Cliff House restaurant. A short hike through giant redwoods brings you out to breathtaking views of the Golden Gate and the Pacific. Edge along the side (massive drops to the sea and rocks below -- a fear of heights can really surface here) to walk the cliff-side labyrinth.
(2) Twin Peaks: Another great spot -- also quite the hike -- is the more central Twin Peaks. Depending on how out of breath you'd like to be, transportation can take you to the lookout spots at the very top or at the base. City views abound as all of San Francisco can be seen from this height -- and it's even more spectacular at night!
(3) East Beach: The Marina's East Beach offers unbeatable views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, made better by a California evening sunset. Grab a bottle of wine and a blanket to catch a glimpse of the colorful sky behind the bridge.