Cliff House

Cliff House

Schwab image of birds flying over the Cliff House at sunset

Perched over the Pacific above rocks populated by lounging seals, this San Francisco landmark has had many lives since it first opened in 1863. It burned down and was even damaged by a dynamite laden schooner. Promenade nearby to the glorious ruins of Sutro Baths, then head out to the world-famous panormas of Lands End.

The Cliff House was acquired by the National Park Service in 1977.


Plan Your Visit

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Cliff House San Francisco
  • A stop at the Cliff House is a perfect way to wind down a day exploring Sutro Baths and the Sutro Historic District and hiking the trails of Lands End.
  • Be sure to take a peek at the Camera Obscura.

First Cliff House
Between the 1860s and 1880s, the Cliff House was an exclusive resort, patronized by only San Francisco’s most elite families. Later years attracted a less-rarified clientele, one more interested in gambling and debauchery than fine cuisine.

Second Cliff House
The original Cliff House burned down in 1894. In its place, Adolph Sutro built a Victorian palace, an eight-story structure crowned with fanciful turrets and towers and occupied by galleries, lunch rooms, and shops. Famous guests included Oscar Wilde, Andrew Carnegie, and two American presidents.

Third Cliff House
The Cliff House fell into disrepair after Sutro died. Though the resort survived the 1906 earthquake with only $300 in damage, it burned to the ground a year later. Sutro’s daughter rebuilt a neoclassical concrete Cliff House and the National Park Service acquired this building in 1977.

NPS Cliff House history >>

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