Sutro Baths

Park in Golden Gate Park & the Avenues

Image by Valerie Stimac Lonely Planet

It's hard to imagine from these ruins, but Victorian dandies and working stiffs once converged here for bracing baths in itchy woolen rental swimsuits. Millionaire Adolph Sutro built hot and cold indoor pools to accommodate 10,000 unwashed souls in 1896, but the masses apparently preferred dirt – despite added attractions including trapezes and Egyptian mummies, the baths went bust in 1952. At low tide, follow the steep path past the now-ruined baths and through the sea-cave tunnel to find sublime Pacific panoramas.

These splendid ruins made a fitting backdrop for 1971's May–December comedy classic Harold & Maude. Above the baths are the new Lands End Lookout visitor center and cafe, plus the Sutro Heights Park public gardens, built in 1885 and splendidly restored with native plants.


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