I mean, SFO, OAK, and SJC (@BigBert10) exist, and I wanted to know the best, closest and still accessible places to spot in the Bay Area.
Spot at the In-n-out burger next to KSJC. You’ll get some great pics from the parking lot.
At San Jose, there’s a little area near Avaya Stadium which offers great views of inbound aircraft, as they land on 30L. You can also go to the top of the parking garages and they should offer some great views!
At San Francisco, there are a couple hotels really close to the airport so you might be able to go there. There’s also Bayfront Park, which is probably the most common, and the parking garages for the International terminal also offer great views! There aren’t very good places to spot other than that, that I can think of at the moment.
I’ve never been to Oakland myself, but I’m sure if you searched it up, you’d find some good places to spot.
Give Coyote Point a try in San Mateo for SFO. Park in front of the beach on the far right side (south side) and take the walking path that goes up the steep hill. Follow it to the top and stay left along the shoreline the whole way. At the top it will level off and you’ll have an elevated viewing area of the bay area. Although it’s about 2 miles from the airport they fly pretty close on approach to runway 28L & 28R. You can get some pretty good views from here as they are about am guessing about 900 feet or so at this point.
Also near bayfront park a good restaurant called the Elephant Bar. The walking path behind the restaurant is directly across 28L & 28R for landings and takeoff.
In addition to the above for take off spotting a decent spot is in the Tanforan Mall shopping center. Park upstairs at the Target location for another elevated view. All the oversees heavies fly overhead and make for some great viewing.
Bayfront Park is quite good, although I highly recommend you have a camera or a phone which has more than 12 megapixels to take pictures. afternoon is quite a good time to go, with a few parking spots (2 hr free). The view are nice.
Probably the best I got on an iPhone 6s.
This is going to be a little off-topic but if you wanna spot Air Force One, which normally lands at NUQ, Bayshore/NASA light rail station would be a good place.
Took this back in ’16 when President Obama came to the Bay Area.
For SFO, you can take the airtrain to terminal 2 as an alternative. The station is higher than part of the terminal so you’ll have a good view for planes that are taxiing and taking off. Probably not landings since the view was blocked by the terminal.
I didn’t go there for a few years so I’m not sure whether the renovations affected the view or not.
This is a really old photo I took at the station.
This was from a closer shot using iPhone 6s…
The one below is from my camera:
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