I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset, when most tourists are fleeing from the evening breeze and the lights from the Golden Gate are just beginning to glow. If you’re lucky, you might witness an illuminated container ship as it exits the Bay on its way to Asia.
This vantage point is on the North side of the Golden Gate—for the active traveler it's a lovely green hike after a stroll across the bridge but alternately you can dive up. There's also a closer view at the base of the hill.