Behind Cliff House is Camera Obscura , built in 1948-49 as part of the Playland at the Beach amusement area. The small building is...
Hard to imagine from these ruins, but Victorian dandies and working stiffs once converged here for bracing baths and workouts in itchy...
Golden Gate JOAD
Blockbuster movies like The Avengers , The Hunger Games and Brave have revived San Francisco's Victorian-era archery craze, and you...
Microbrews with views: watch Pacific sunsets through pint glasses of the Beach Chalet's house beer, with live music on Tuesdays and...
The newfangled and sadly soulless Cliff House can’t compare to old-school Louis just up the street, with its Pacific views, ’70s...
1090 Point Lobos Ave · interesting places nearby
Cliff House information
Populist millionaire Adolph Sutro imagined this place as a working-man's paradise, and in 1863 it was a much-needed escape from Downtown tenements. After an 1894 fire, Sutro rebuilt the Cliff House as a palatial eight-story Victorian resort with art galleries, dining rooms and an observation tower. It miraculously survived the 1906 earthquake, only to be destroyed by fire the following year. The 1909 stark neoclassical replacement built by Sutro's daughter Emma remained popular for its saloon and restaurant.
In 2004, a $19 million facelift turned the Cliff House into an upscale (read: overpriced) restaurant with all the charm of a fast-food outlet. But two popular attractions remain: sea lions barking on Seal Rock and the Camera Obscura , a Victorian invention that projects the sea view outside onto a parabolic screen.