San Francisco is an iconic city in northern California, and it has been featured as the backdrop of many films and TV shows. Check out some of the locations throughout the city that have been used as filming locations:
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco’s most recognizable landmarks, and it has been featured on the screen many times. In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” a massive battle breaks out on the bridge.
In action movies, the Golden Gate Bridge is often destroyed, such as “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Godzilla,” “Pacific Rim,” and “San Andreas.”
San Francisco’s City Hall is a beautiful structure, showcasing unique architectural elements and colors.
It serves as the backdrop for scenes in “Dirty Harry” and the four subsequent films in the franchise.
In “The Wedding Planner,” two characters visit City Hall to get married.
It was also featured in “Milk” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
The Painted Ladies
The Painted Ladies are a set of Victorian and Edwardian rowhouses across from Alamo Square Park.
They have been featured in a number of films and TV shows. The townhomes are best known for representing the residence of the Tanner family in “Full House” and its spinoff, “Fuller House.”
Alcatraz is a prison that has housed notorious criminals, including Al Capone.
It has also inspired a number of films.
Two major films include “Escape from Alcatraz” and “The Rock.”
The island is visible from much of the city.
2640 Steiner Street
Built in 1893, the house at 2640 Steiner Street in San Francisco was the home featured in “Mrs. Doubtfire.”
New exterior features have altered its appearance since the movie was filmed.
Alamo Square Park
The playground at Alamo Square Park is the setting for the scene in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when alien life forms begin budding on the nearby plants.
Ashbury Street House
The Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven” featured the Ashbury Street house as the primary setting for many of the adventures of the main characters.
Chinatown is a colorful and bustling area of San Francisco. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods of its kind in the nation.
“Big Trouble in Little China,” starring Kurt Russell, was shot on location in Chinatown and showcases the iconic gate at Bush and Grant Streets.
You’ll also see Chinatown in “The OA.”
Image via San Francisco Travel Association
Chinatown is one of the areas of San Francisco portrayed in “The Joy Luck Club.”
“Bullitt,” a thriller directed by Peter Yates, features actor Steve McQueen in one of his most well-known roles.
Scene from “Bullitt”
One of the scenes includes an epic car chase, taking viewers on a roller coaster ride along the steep streets of San Francisco.
It includes glimpses of Chestnut Street, along with Fisherman’s’ Wharf, Hyde Street, Laguna Street, Leavenworth Street, and Guadalupe Canyon Parkway.
Potrero Hill was another setting for the infamous car chase scene in “Bullitt.”
This neighborhood also served as the shooting location for parts of “Pacific Heights.”
Church Street Muni Station
The Church Street Muni Station was featured in “48 Hours.”
Fort Point National Historic Site
Located at the end of Marine Drive in the Presidio, Fort Point National Historic Site is the location where Scott, the title character in “Ant-Man,” reflects on his past following his release from prison.
“Vertigo” also features this historic site. This film often presents aerial shots of the city skyline and attractions.
Other films that feature Fort Point include “In Foul Play,” “Dopamine,” “Petulia,” “Point Blank,” and “The Presidio.” Mel Brooks directed a spoof of “Vertigo” called “High Anxiety” that also featured several locations in San Francisco, including the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center’s atrium.
Located in Golden Gate Park, Kezar Stadium is featured in “Dirty Harry.”
The Press Club
In “Looking,” a film focused on the LGBTQ+ culture of San Francisco, filmmakers used lesser-known attractions in the city to create a more genuine representation. One example is The Press Club, where a character goes on a date.
Harvey Milk Plaza
Nearly all the outdoor scenes featured in “Milk” were filmed at the actual historic locations where the situations being represented took place. These locations include Harvey Milk Plaza, Twin Peaks Tavern, and the Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store.
Pacific Coast Stock Exchange
In “The Pursuit of Happyness,” the main character becomes inspired in his career path after speaking to a successful man, and several scenes are filmed at the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange.
San Francisco Zoo
A number of scenes in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” feature San Francisco attractions, including the San Francisco Zoo, where the apes free their fellow primates during an uprising.
St. Paul’s Church
In “Sister Act,” Whoopi Goldberg’s character hides from her mobster boyfriend in St. Paul’s Church, located in San Francisco’s Noe Valley.
“Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” also featured several locations in San Francisco, including the Bank of America Building and the City College of San Francisco.
One of the settings in “Tales of the City” was Macondray Lane, where you can see the steps located across from 1832 Taylor Street.
Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands is the headquarters for Life Foundation in “Venom.”
The Mission District
“Blue Jasmine” features scenes at a number of spots in San Francisco, including the Mission District, where the main character’s sister lives and works.
Another film showcasing this area of San Francisco is “La Mission.”
Union Square was used in “The Conversation,” a Francis Ford Coppola film.
San Francisco War Memorial
“So I Married an Axe Murderer” is set in San Francisco and includes scenes shot at the San Francisco War Memorial, the Fog City diner, Coit Tower, and the Palace of Fine Arts.
Coit Tower was also featured in “Dr. Doolittle” and “The Enforcer.”
The Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco was the location of a mansion in “Basic Instinct” and was featured in several scenes.
Washington Square is visible in the backdrop of “Bedazzled.”
In “The Princess Diaries,” the home representing Mia Thermopolis’ character’s residence is actually a firehouse in San Francisco’s Excelsior District on Brazil Avenue.
Lombard Street is a twisty avenue that often represents the city’s hilly layout in films.
Check out some of the top filming locations in San Francisco, then and now. You can look at a map of the locations throughout the city.
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