Observing Sites

Interested in going out to see the sky, but you don't know a good place to go? We have some suggestions for observing sites in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Within San Francisco

A good site for viewing the western sky, that's within the city, is Land's End, a regular site for the SFAA City Star Parties. It's also the darkest sky location within San Francisco that's accessible to the public, due to a surrounding field of trees which blocks out nearby city lights. The only hazard here is summertime fog.

Our Directions page has directions to get there, as well as the locations for other nearby astronomy events.

Within the Bay Area and Northern California

If you want to truly get out of the city and escape to dark skies, there are additional resources available.

An online group called The Astronomy Connection, or TAC, is an informal network of astronomy hobbyists in the Bay Area. Their website lists all of the locations the locals use for stargazing, including directions and also the policies/rules for each site.

Site Access Policies

Be advised that many of these observing sites are public property, such as state parks, operated by various government entities. Most sites have strict rules about after-hours access, especially so in the security-conscious world we now find ourselves living in. Please take the effort to learn the policies and rules for each site, and do your best to follow them.

If you don't respect the rules of the facility which you are using, the owners are very likely to disallow use of the park for astronomical events. We get use of observing sites only through the good grace of others.

Observing Etiquette

Observing is often a group activity, so don't be surprised if you go to an observing site and find other people with telescopes, ready to share the evening sky with you.

Following these simple rules will make observing more fun for yourself as well as everyone who shares the evening with you.