Ocean Beach San Francisco Guide

Ocean Beach

Sutro Baths

The Sutro Baths was an old bath house located on the north side of Ocean Beach, just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, protected by the National Park Service, the Sutro Baths no longer exists per se, but the ruins are still a popular attraction for visitors of Ocean Beach.

Adolph Sutro, a 19th-century millionaire and pioneer in the mining industry, was the man responsible for creating the Sutro Baths. After buying the land in San Francisco known as “Outside Lands,” or land too far to visit for the general population, Sutro created several attractions, including the Sutro Baths.

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Sutro Bath

Constructed mainly of wood, the Sutro Baths consisted of six different swimming pools, one of fresh water and five of salt water, at varying temperatures that rose and fell with the tide of the Pacific Ocean. With over 517 changing rooms for visitors, the Sutro Baths were known as the largest indoor swimming-pool establishment in the world.

The Sutro Baths also featured a museum, skating rink, and views of the Pacific Ocean San Francisco residents rarely experienced.

Sutro Baths Birds on Ruins

Unfortunately, now, 200 years later, only the cement ruins of the original Sutro Baths building remain. San Francisco visitors can run, jump and play in the caves and old cement structure built into the headland near Ocean Beach.

The National Park Service asks you take special precaution when jumping around the caves, but if you’re careful and smart, you should have no problems.

Sutro Baths Cave

How Do I Find the Sutro Baths?

  • The Sutro Baths are located on the northern edge of Ocean Beach, just north of the Cliff House and at the base of the headland.
  • You can use public transportation routes 1, 2, 5, 18, 31, 31ax, 38, 38ax, 48, 71, 71L and the N to access the former bathhouse. The 5R is the easiest, though.
  • To reach the Sutro Baths from Union Square you can ride the 5R or N. The N goes to the community of Ocean Beach (about one mile south of the Sutro Baths) and the 5R is a 5 minute walk from the Baths. We recommend the 5R.

Reflecting Couple at the Sutro Baths

Orange Sky Co. says:

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The Sutro Baths are fun to visit on most days. You can explore the caves, jump on the rocky ruins or photograph great views of the Pacific Ocean. We recommend you avoid wearing sandals, though. It’ll make your explorations more difficult.

Location of the Sutro Baths

What Do Other Travelers Think?

Gozde, Turkey

“Sutro Baths is a good early morning destination for photographers. It’s so relaxing and the sun is perfect for your pictures, so try to see it in the morning!”