Welcome to a hallowed place in San Francisco, modern ruins on the edge of the continent. Crashing waves, labyrinthine structures, wild lilies, cliff-lodged cypress trees reaching towards the ocean, a thundering cave, and but a single signpost warning you of getting thrown off rocks and dying.
Beyond the striking location and colorful history, it's especially remarkable for such a place to exist in a country where few structures past their best days survive.
It's allowed to be harrowing and wild in a time and place where shampoos carry warnings and most interesting things are cordoned off for your protection. Here's the playground for those who love crumbling stone clubhouses, jutting pipe monkeybars, stairways that lead you off cliffs and shifting sandboxes that get swallowed by surf.
The GGNRA includes the Marin Headlands, Point Reyes National Seashore, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and other sensory feasts.
Sutro Baths opened March 14, 1896 with a $1 million pricetag an extravagant public bathhouse envisioned and developed by the eccentric one-time mayor of San Francisco, Adolph Sutro.
After working its way through its many lives (Playland, 1960s ice rink, etc..) burned down while being demolished on June 26, 1966. In 1980 the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) bought the land for $5,500,000.
Sutro Baths sits directly on the Pacific Ocean on the northwest edge of San Francisco, just north of Ocean Beach and south of Land's End. It's immediately north of the legendary Cliff House. There is a visitor center
at the site.
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This site is maintained by Jill Corral. For official queries (event/film permits and such), please contact the National Park Service's Presidio Visitor Center.
"... rival in magnitude, utility and beauty, the famous abluvion resorts of Titus, Caracalla, Nero or Diocletian...
"Five hundred dressing rooms ... spacious elevators and broad staircases ... pavilions, balustrades, promenades, alcoves and corridors adorned with tropical plants, fountains, flowers, pictures, ... the collected treasure of foreign travels... a portico with four Ionic columns and pilasters which lead to a noble staircase, wide, gradual of ascent, bordered with broad-leaved palms, the flowering pomegranate, fragrant magnolias ... [touching] the very rim of the reveling waves.
Eugenia Kellogg Holmes, Adolph Sutro: A Brief Story of a Brilliant Life