With its cliff-top location on the western edge of San Francisco, the Cliff House restaurant attracts locals and visitors with its fine dining and views of the Pacific and Ocean Beach. Originally opened in 1863, the Cliff House has gone through many changes over the years and today is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
There are several ways to enjoy the Cliff House, whether you want a gourmet meal or just a peek inside. Make a dinner reservation at white-tablecloth restaurant Sutro’s, which has 2-story windows to maximize the views; enjoy a more casual meal at the Bistro; have a drink at the Zinc Bar or Balcony Lounge; or check out the gift shop for souvenirs and travel books.
With its location on the far side of the city, away from most tourist attractions, the Cliff House is not always part of city sightseeing tours. However, some tour groups do make it out to the Cliff House, especially smaller tours by minivan or private tours that can be customized. A coastal walking tour is another good option, as the nearby trails and beach are worth the trip.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Cliff House is ideal for photography enthusiasts, history lovers, and anyone celebrating a special occasion.
- The Bistro is walk-in only and doesn’t take reservations.
- Reservations can be made for Sutro’s and for the Terrace Room’s Sunday champagne brunch buffet.
- The restaurants are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Via public transport, the 38 Muni bus takes you to the end of Geary Boulevard, and from there it’s about five minutes’ walk to the Cliff House. Valet parking and street parking are available for those driving their own cars.
When to Get There
The building is open every day, with various breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours for the restaurants and bar. Go Friday night for live jazz or Sunday for a Champagne brunch buffet. Sunset offers the most romantic views and atmosphere.
Starting at the Cliff House, Ocean Beach stretches south 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers), marking the western edge of the city and the end of Golden Gate Park. The wide beach draws visitors for picnics, walks, beach bonfires, and beautiful sunsets. Although swimming isn’t common here (the water is cold), surfing is popular.