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Camera Obscura, San Francisco

4.1
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.
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Camera Obscura Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
30 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Great spot to visit. Great views of the pacific, easy access to beach areas. Not overly crowded. Especially nice for adults.  more »
  • Closed when I visited (Dec 27th). Called the number and it says open daily, weather permitting. It's sunny and clear. Second time I have tried to come here and it's closed Again! in perfect weather. A...  more »
  • I heard about the Camera Obscura on the site 'Atlas Obscura' otherwise I might not have seen it, but it's rather interesting and if you're here during the day and it's open you can have a look, but I ...  more »
Google
  • AVOID THIS PLACE! This is the ghetto of SF. Our car was broken into as well as many other rentals that were parked in plain sight right off the highway with surfers all over the damn place. Just skip this destination! We didn't see 1 cop car the entire time. Crooks must know the cops don't care about this part of town. Tax dollars being used really well over here... AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
  • An amazing display of holographic projection. Sadly it was rather foggy on the day of my visit, but it was still worth it. I hope they can keep this quirky site going for many more years - go visit and see how cool cleverly placed mirrors and a dark room really can be!
  • Excellent view of the ocean :O big waves breaking on the rocks next to the beach is awesome
  • An awesome place to get better pictures of the surrounding areas.
  • 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!!
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