Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  San Francisco  /  Childrens Museums  /  Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, San Francisco

(25 reviews on the web)
Observatory Landmark
The Camera Obscura is a large-scale camera obscura, in the Lands End area of the Outer Richmond District in western San Francisco, California.It is located near the Cliff House restaurant, perched on the headlands on the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach. The Camera and restaurant are currently owned by the National Park Service and are within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Camera Obscura was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, and is within the NPS Sutro Historic District. It is within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, since being acquired by the National Park Service in 1977.HistoryCameras obscura, devices which project an image of the surroundings onto a surface using only existing exterior light sources, usually sunlight, have a long history in San Francisco. The first recorded reference to one in the city is from the 1860s in an attraction called Woodward's Gardens. A previous incarnation of the Cliff House was noted to have had a camera obscura on its fourth floor in 1896. This camera obscura was destroyed when the restaurant burned down in 1907.When the third Cliff House reopened in 1937, the owner was approached by businessman Floyd Jennings with the idea of adding a camera obscura to the cliffs beside the restaurant. It was installed on the site in 1946 and has been in continuous operation since then.
Using our international travel planner, San Francisco attractions like Camera Obscura can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
Source
Create a full San Francisco itinerary
map

Plan your trip to San Francisco

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in San Francisco by other users

16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in California BY A USER FROM INDIA July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in United States & Niagara Falls BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 32 days in United States BY A USER FROM QATAR October, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 32 days in United States BY A USER FROM QATAR October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in Continental USA & Mexico City BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM SPAIN June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • What a blast from the past! A great time to literally look around the cliffs. A classic treasure behind the cliff house right over the sea.  more »
  • We had made the trip to the Cliff House for lunch and came across the Camera Obscura while taken in the views. It only costs a couple dollars but is well worth a quick visit to get some nice views of ...  more »
  • I always seek out obscure things for us to see when we go on a vacation. And this is certainly a random thing but worth the entry fee. Even if you don't think it's as cool as we did (we're a bunch of ...  more »
Google
  • This is magical...the beauty of the ocean's shimmering---unparalleled. I love this place! Every visitor I have goes here with me...and they are all entranced. And the history behind it---I just love Camera Obscura!!
  • 👍 Overpowering view! 👍 👍 Great landscape. 👍 Do you feel so small and unimportant...... 🔝🔝🔝🔝🔝
  • 3 dollars is a bargain when you get to watch a completely analog panoramic view of the entire Cliff House/Sutro coastline.
  • It's special because you feel like stuck in time! (Try to go on a sunny day)
  • A bit pricey, but worth going inside to check out if you're a photographer!