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san francisco elopement photographer couple saying vows in fog

Best Places to Elope in San Francisco

Eloping and curious about the best places to elope in San Francisco? Want to say your vows in the outdoors but don’t want to drive too far away from the City? Elopement locations in San Francisco range from redwoods to rooftops, and choosing a venue setting can be just as varied.

While everyone raves about Yosemite or Lake Tahoe (with good reason), the reality is we don’t always have the time or desire to drive several hours one way to get married. This being said, I created this list of best places to elope in San Francisco to help those who still desire an intimate and beautiful outdoor location in the San Francisco Bay Area for their wedding. 

If you would like to see what an elopement might look like, check out this Hastings House Garden Weddings Elopement

Top 10 Best Elopement Locations in San Francisco

1) Palace of Fine Arts

3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

One of the most recognizable landmarks and best places to elope in San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is known for its rotunda and architecture in the heart of San Francisco.  For such a popular and ornate location, just having your ceremony is surprisingly affordable since it belongs to SF Park and Rec.

Take a look at my ultimate guide to a Palace of Fine Arts Wedding for more detailed information!

silhouette of couple touching foreheads at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco at dusk
Palace of fine arts wedding photography of grooms head to head as a silhouette with the dome reflected taken by San Francisco wedding photographer Ian Chin Photography

Stern Grove

19th Avenue and, Sloat Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94132

Locals will know this location for its free summer concerts, but for most of the year it is a quiet park that occasionally holds smaller weddings. This park sits near the edge of the City and offers a small redwood grove meant for intimate weddings. The Trocadero Clubhouse can also be rented out if you want to host a little reception as well. Since it’s not the most centrally located SF venue on this list, it is one of the more forgotten wedding venues, which makes it one of the best places to elope in San Francisco in my opinion.

Check out my “Ultimate Guide to a Stern Grove Wedding” for more details!

stern grove wedding redwood trees and a green bench

Shakespeare Garden 

335 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

One of the best places to elope in San Francisco, this small garden in Golden Gate Park allows a great setting for an intimate place to say your vows. Because of its size and isolation from the other more popular gardens, this is a preferred setting for those wanting a more natural background with less natural foot traffic compared to the Botanical Gardens. 

Check out this Shakespeare Garden Wedding for inspiration!

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Golden Gate Park
1199 9th Ave San Francisco, CA, 94122

This well manicured Garden in the middle of Golden Gate Park is a passed over gem from even San Francisco residents. With 55 acres showcasing plants from all over the world, they offer the perfect natural backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Several locations within the Garden are available for your elopement at affordable rates, with even a 1 hour rental package available.

Fay Park

2366 Leavenworth St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Located in Russian Hill, this small park in the middle of SF has a cute gazebo to act as the backdrop for your elopement. Blocks away from North Beach and the Marina districts, it is conveniently located in between two of San Francisco’s more popular areas for food and nightlife. This is a lesser known San Francisco place to elope so take advantage while its not popular! 

fay park wedding venue gazebo and garden photo
fay park wedding venue two white gazebos and garden

San Francisco City Hall

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

If you want to keep things as simple as possible, let San Francisco City Hall do it all for you! They will provide the officiant, standard vows, and your ceremony will be done in less than 5 minutes. This is easily the most popular place to elope in San Francisco, and I always strive to give you images that aren’t so cookie cutter and like anyone else’s.

Check out my Ultimate Guide to San Francisco City Hall Weddings for more detailed information!
In addition, take a look at the Best Places to Eat Around SF City Hall if you want to keep things close by.

San Francisco City Hall + Fort Scott Evening Wedding Shoot - Mariame and Andrew - 5.2.19_46_1 web (1)
San Francisco City Hall NYE Wedding Photographer - Kayla and Carl 12.31.19_91 (1) (1) web (1)

Sunnyside Conservatory

236 Monterey Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94131

This site is a hidden venue in San Francisco and has a beautiful rustic conservatory for your elopement. I’m a native San Franciscan and only found out about this location a few years ago! With ample street parking and a very seldom used garden, you can be sure to have a very intimate ceremony at this location.

Hotel Adagio

550 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hotel Adagio offers a unique rooftop view overlooking the SF Bay and the Embarcadero. This is one of the best places to elope in San Francisco with its rooftop access, so you will have a great panoramic view of downtown SF. It is also conveniently located and walking distance to several of the best restaurants in SF. They offer multiple elopement packages to suit your needs.

Best Elopement Locations Outside of San Francisco

Muir Woods (Mill Valley)

Mill Valley, CA 94941

This popular elopement destination offers the perfect escape to nature by surrounding you with redwood groves all around. It is centrally located between San Francisco and Napa, allowing your out of town guests options in how they explore northern California. In addition, it is next to another option in Mount Tamalpais (see below).

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding in Muir Woods for more details!

Muir Woods Wedding site with benches and redwood trees all around
Wedding in Muir Woods walkway with redwood trees in the background

The Mountain Terrace (Woodside)

17285 Skyline Blvd, Woodside, CA 94062

With decades-old trees acting as a wedding ceremony backdrop, The Mountain Terrace is the ideal setting for anyone who appreciates natural beauty and basking in the sun and fresh air. They recently remodeled their mega deck, allowing several options for outdoor and indoor receptions. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit here privately and made a video walkthrough below to allow you a virtual tour!

Read more about The Mountain Terrace with my walkthrough

Hastings House Garden Weddings (Half Moon Bay)

347 Mirada Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

If you are looking for a secluded “secret” garden look no further than the Hastings House Garden Weddings for your elopement! This enchanting garden only allows for a small number of guests and is seemingly made just for elopements. You need little to no decor at this Half Moon Bay wedding venue since the beauty is all around you!

Read more about Hastings House Garden Weddings with my walkthrough

Hastings House Garden Wedding

Shelldance Orchid Gardens (Pacifica)

2000 CA-1, Pacifica, CA 94044

With a setting seemingly straight from a movie, Shelldance Orchid Gardens is truly a one of a kind elopement setting and one of my favorite wedding venues in San Francisco. Simply looking around, there is little doubt why this is one of the most epic and gorgeous places to elope in San Francisco. 

Read more about Shelldance Orchid Gardens with my walkthrough 

shelldance orchid gardens wedding venue with flowers and plants showing with a groom and groom standing in the distance wearing black tuxes

Muir Woods (Mill Valley)

Mill Valley, CA 94941

This popular elopement destination offers the perfect escape to nature by surrounding you with redwood groves all around. It is centrally located between San Francisco and Napa, allowing your out of town guests options in how they explore northern California. In addition, it is next to another option in Mount Tamalpais (see below).

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Planning a Wedding in Muir Woods for more details!

Marin Headlands (Marin)

Sausalito, CA 94965

The Marin Headlands offers one of the best views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge and is magnificent at sunset/sunrise. At sunrise, this is the best place to elope in San Francisco to get the iconic chance of seeing the Bridge half covered in fog. One thing to note is that it can be a bit windy and chilly since its by the ocean and has no wind cover.

Marin Headlands Elopement golden gate bridge in the background
Marin Headlands Elopement Location 1 (1)

Old Mill Park (Mill Valley)

64 Cascade Dr, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Outdoor seating and a raised stage at this quiet redwood park allows for a small gathering for your elopement under the trees. It is one of the only places I know that offers seating, so this is a perfect choice when considering other guests. The seating is roughly 25 feet away, so having a mic would be helpful if the guests are going to be seated.

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Mount Tam offers 40 miles of trails in Marin County, offering popular hike options after your ceremony and panoramic views of the North Bay. Conveniently located by Muir Woods, popular itineraries include a ceremony in Muir Woods and then an adventure session and summit on Mt. Tam. I suggest having a post ceremony picnic or your actual ceremony here as a way of celebrating being “on top of the world.” 

Check out this Ultimate Guide on Planning a Wedding in Muir Woods for more details.

Redwood Regional Park (Oakland)

7867 Redwood Rd, Oakland, CA 94619

The great outdoors in the middle of Oakland, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is a popular location to hike, camp, and elope. This location has all the ingredients for a beautiful and intimate wedding ceremony while saying your vows in the perfect weather that Oakland typically has. 

Marin Art and Garden Center (Ross)

30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross, CA 94957

This well maintained 11 acre garden has enough space to cater to 300 guests, but also serves intimate weddings and has multiple locations to marry. It is run by a non profit organization, so this location potentially has a lower rental rate than other similar venues of similar size. I think it is one of the best places to elope in Mill Valley for this reason with a compromise between price and setting.

Cavallo Point Lodge (Mill Valley)

601 Murray Cir, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cavallo Point is located across the Golden Gate Bridge, and offers scenic views of the infamous Bridge for your elopement ceremony. The award winning venue can cater anywhere from 10 – 300 guests, and is centrally located between San Francisco and Napa. For unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge behind you, this is the best elopement venue in San Francisco.

Wineries (Napa Valley)

Virtually every winery in Napa Valley will be stunning for your special wedding ceremony. The natural backdrop of the vineyards and rolling hills serve as the perfect landscape for a place to say your vows. Because of Napa Valley’s popularity in the wedding industry, you can rest assured that whichever winery you choose will cater to all your needs with care. If you want my absolute favorite locations, please CONTACT ME below and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you!

harvest inn wedding tables of wedding guests on the patio and the winery in the background
auberge du soleil wedding flowers hanging as two grooms hold hands in front of their wedding guests

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762 10th Ave San Francisco, CA 94118

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