Any good SFO spotting spots

Hey IFC,
I’m planning on going spotting at KSFO later today, but I don’t know of any good spots to spot there. If anyone has any good spots, please do tell me:)

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Check out some of the locations in this link!


I visited SFO a few times and Bayfront Park is my personal favorite although you’ll need a longer lens of around 250-500mm

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@GlobalFlyer1 @ran @N2628P might be able to provide some insight.


There are a couple good locations at San Francisco, one is for spotting mainly near the gates so you can see pushbacks, take long exposures, or see some departures, and the other is the Skydeck.

The skydeck was opened in February this year, but is currently closed due to Covid. From there, you can see all aircraft taxiing to the runway from the G gates, terminal 2, and terminal 3, along with departures on the 28s and sometimes even 1s. You will need a lens hood or similar though to avoid reflections, especially at nighttime or sunset.

The other location is the parking garage for the G or A gates. You can see taxiing planes, aircraft that are pushing back, and departures on the 28s. If you’re there, you can also just take the Airtrain around the airport, and spot from one of the stations. The terminal 2 station is good for 28 departures and aircraft exiting the runway, and terminal 1 is good for departures.


SFO has a new spotting area at Terminal 2 near near the ATC Tower, which is Pre Security (I think). Not sure if it’s open though. The downside is that it is actually inside the airport, and once again, I’m not sure if it’s open.

Bayfront Park and the Marriot Waterfront is an amazing place to spot. It’s very close to 1R and 1L, and you can see basically all departing and arriving aircraft. This is, in my opinion, the best place, because you get departures on 1R, 1L, 28R, 28L, and arrivals on 28R, 28L. You can also walk along the waterfront looking for good angles.

Coyote Point is a decent spotting area, it’s good for seeing arrivals about 1 minute before they land, but not good for seeing the actual landing, and it’s not that close to the airport.

As for parking garages, I don’t really know about those because I’ve never spotted from them. They are good if you want to see aircraft taxiing in and out of the international concourses. Maybe if you go to the very top, it will offer an aerial view of the airport, but I honestly have no idea because I’ve never been to the top. Garage G might offer some views of departures from 28L and 28R, but from a distance.

There is a spotting area at the end of Concourse G of the international terminal that offers great views of taxiing aircraft and departures from 28L and 28R, but it is post-security, so you can’t get in there unless you’re on a flight.

Keep in mind that Some in-airport spotting areas such as the Terminal 2 Area or the parking garage area might be closed, and some off-airport areas such as coyote point and the waterfront/Bayfront Park might have restrictions due to the pandemic.

It really depends on what you want to see. You can also just google best SFO spotting areas or something like that, or reference the spotting guide linked above.

Hope that helps

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Tagged by @AndrewWu? I’m honored…
Looks like the question got answered though, so I only have one thing to add. If you go to the north end of the airport, over by the 10L threshold and the United cargo terminal there’s a road (north access road I think) that goes all around the north east side of the airport. It takes you right by the cargo terminal, the executive terminal, and the United maintenance center, so you’ll see many 777s in storage there. It’s hard to stop but if you drive slowly enough, you’ll have plenty of good shots.

also you could’ve PMd me on discord…

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Thanks for all the spots! I just arrived at SFO but I forgot my camera😒expect some amazing iPhone 7 shots soon

How do you, how, what. How did you forget your camera 😂


Oh dear… that’s tremendously unfortunate :(


I packed everything up including my camera bag but I had taken it out earlier to charge and I forgot to put it back in😂

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