Skip City Hall and elope in and around SF without losing grandeur and iconic Scenery

When you think of elopements in San Francisco, the well known City Hall likely comes to mind. However, the city has so much more to offer to couples seeking an intimate, unforgettable wedding experience. If you're looking for a more unique and less crowded setting, there are countless picturesque locations for your special day. Here are some alternative, romantic San Francisco elopement spots that don't involve City Hall.

Whether you want architecture, redwoods, cliffside views of the Bay, or a spot that shows off the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, there’s something for everyone within this list. And just remember, the exciting part about having an elopement is that you can do whatever you want on your day. You don’t have to just stick to one spot - if you want to start your day saying “I do” while in the redwoods and end your day wrapped in each other’s arms taking in the beautiful twinkling lights of the Golden Gate Bridge while watching the sun set over the bay, you can do just that. 

Here are some spots that would work great for your ceremony. Some can accommodate a few guests while others are better kept small - just you two, your officiant, and your photographer (me 😉): 

Mount Tamalpais

Drive less than an hour from SF and you'll find these beautiful mountain tops with views of the city across the bay. These mountains are covered in golden fields that flow in the wind.

Muir Woods

This national monument is less than an hour away from San Francisco. With accessible walking and hiking paths - you can stroll through the canopy of these magnificent redwoods with ease. (and fun fact I have a National Parks pass, which means I can get you, your partner, and your officiant in for free!)

Slacker Hill, Marin Headlands

A quick trip over the Golden Gate Bridge and a 15 minute hike up gives you one of my favorite views of this iconic bridge. Almost always secluded - so you can truly have an intimate moment when you share your vows with one another.

Battery Spencer, Marin Headlands

This is another fantastic view of the Bridge from the Marin Headlands side - just a few minutes from Slacker Hill. You get to be up close and personal with the bridge. This spot tends to be more crowded so it's a great spot for sunrise vows!


Located in the Presidio - this area is perfect for lovers. Easy access and a unique forest nestled into the city gives you a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle.

Portals of the Past, San francisco

Such a beautiful spot combining nature and classic architecture in Golden Gate Park. If you're wanting a bit of the City Hall architecture vibe without actually going there, this is the perfect spot for your ceremony!

Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland

When I tell people there's a forest in Oakland, they're shocked! As was I when I first learned that. This forest is easy to access and get enveloped in. Whereas Muir Woods has a designated walking path that you can't stray from, this forest in Oakland gives you the opportunity to get lost amongst the redwoods.

Mori Point, Pacifica

Black sand beaches, wild flowers during spring, gorgeous coastline views from the top of the hill - what more could you want?! This is one of my favorite views of the ocean. The hilltop is a pretty easy walk up some steps and the beach below is a unique black sand beach.

Montara State Beach, Pacifica

Montara is by far my favorite place to be during the spring and end of summer. Huge fields of white, purple, and yellow wildflowers along the cliffs is just stunning. This spot gives me a bit of a Big Sur vibe without having to go all the way to Big Sur. The beach is clean and typically pretty empty and there's so many spots up on the cliffs to explore!

San Gregorio Beach, Half Moon Bay

Gorgeous cliffs and beach! Easy parking, picnic tables, and so many spots to go to on the cliffs to look at the view and easy access to the beach below.

Shark Fin Cove, Santa Cruz

Aptly named for the the shark fin shaped rock jutting out of the water - this spot has a unique view of the ocean. With clifftops that bloom with fields of flowers in the spring and never has a bad view, this location is amazing to say your vows at. The way down to the beach can be a bit tricky, so this is better suited for those who are not injured and who do not have any physical challenges.

Here are some other spots to go explore before and after your ceremony. We can go to any of the spots above as well, but these locations below are ones that are not the best for the ceremony part of your day:

Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco

This is a fantastic spot to venture to if you want to incorporate beautiful architecture into your day without going to City Hall! This spot can be busy on the weekends, so weekdays are best! And if you're an art lover then this spot is perfect to take photos at inside and out!

North Beach, San Francisco

I love this spot for an urban vibe! You get awesome architecture in the background from the teal triangle building to the TransAmerica pyramid! If you want to incorporate a bit of the city into your photos, this is a great spot! (And not too far from here is a parking garage with a great view of SF buildings!)

Stow Lake, San Francisco

If you love The Notebook, then this is a must for your elopement day! This is such a romantic experience. You and your partner get to stare into each others eyes while you row around the beautiful Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park (fun fact: did you know there's a waterfall here?). It is only $26 an hour to rent a row boat from the Stow Lake Boathouse!

Did you see a place you love?

San Francisco, known for its diverse landscapes and captivating vistas, offers a number of stunning elopement options beyond City Hall. Whether you want a romantic beachside ceremony, a forest escape, a garden-inspired setting, or an iconic cityscape, the City by the Bay has something special for every couple. So, if you're planning an elopement in San Francisco, consider one of these alternative and enchanting locations to create memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. And don't forget to bring me along with you to capture every moment!