Trip Planner: USA / California / San Francisco / Cliff House
The Cliff House is a restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue perched on the headland above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, California. It has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. It now overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, operated by the National Park Service. On the terrace of the Cliff House is a room-sized camera obscura.Plan to visit Cliff House during your San Francisco vacation using our convenient San Francisco online trip planner.
Cliff House has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. That year, Samuel Brannan, a prosperous ex-Mormon elder from Maine, bought for $1,500 the lumber salvaged from a ship that foundered on the basalt cliffs below. With this material he built the first Cliff House.
The second Cliff House was built in 1863, and leased to Captain Junius G. Foster. It was a long trek from the city and hosted mostly horseback riders, small game hunters or picnickers on day outings. With the opening of the Point Lobos toll road a year later, the Cliff House became successful with the Carriage trade for Sunday travel. Later the builders of the toll road constructed a two-mile speedway beside it where well-to-do San Franciscans raced their horses along the way. On weekends, there was little room at the Cliff House hitching racks for tethering the horses for the thousands of rigs. Soon, omnibus, railways and streetcar lines made it to near Lone Mountain where passengers transferred to stagecoach lines to the beach. The growth of Golden Gate Park attracted beach travellers, in search of meals and a look at the sea lions sunning themselves on Seal Rocks just off the cliffs, to visit the area.
Cliff House reviews
Cliff House housed the For-Site Foundation's sculpture exhibit on our recent visit. The Cliff House setting offered a remarkable presentation of the works. Great stuff, and a thoroughly unique memory.... more
Cliff House housed the For-Site Foundation's sculpture exhibit on our recent visit. The Cliff House setting offered a remarkable presentation of the works. Great stuff, and a thoroughly unique memory.... more »
Friday lunch with a view! Celebrated a friend’s birthday with a lunch at Sutro’s. We started with the ahi tuna tartare to share and our entrees were the skirt steak and the Thai style bouillabaisse. Really enjoyed all the seafood and the broth was tasty. Nice service and enjoyed the window seat but a bit disappointed they didn’t do anything special for our dessert when I made a note of it in the Open table reservation.
Went to the Sunday Champagne brunch. View was spectacular! Parking was a little challenging. We ended up parking at the beach and walking uphill, wasn't too bad of a climb. Brunch runs for about two hours for each seating. Made reservations a week in advance. They needed a credit card to confirm reservations. We got there at 2 was seated by 2:30pm. Food was in abundance, lot a of choices. There was an option to choose from Champagne or Apple Cider. I'm deducting one star for seating arrangements. The table beside us was basically two inches away from ours. Staff was very hospitable. Definitely a place to save for special occasions.
Plan your trip to San Francisco
- Get a personalized tripA full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
- Customize itRefine your trip. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
- Manage itEverything in one place. Everyone on the same page.Know more
Popular things to do in San Francisco
Hidden gems in San Francisco
Side trips from San Francisco
Parks in San Francisco
Shopping in San Francisco
Nearby attractions in San Francisco
Trips in Cliff House by other users
60 days in San Francisco & New York City BY A USER FROM GERMANY San Francisco New York City 6 days in California BY A USER FROM BELGIUM San Francisco Monterey Carmel 22 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM BELGIUM Stinson Beach Muir Woods National Monument Hayes Valley 27 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA New York City Washington DC Orlando 13 days in California & Incline Village BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Joshua Tree National Park San Diego Los Angeles 21 days in San Francisco & Los Angeles BY A USER FROM FRANCE San Francisco Los Angeles