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Sutro Baths/Ruins of a Victorian Bathing Palace

Pros: A glimpse into another era
Cons: Slippery when wet
Best For: Northern California at it's finest

Sutro Baths
The ruins of the Sutro Baths are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. At the Westernmost edge of the city, all that is left of Adolf Sutro's magnificent, vast iron, wood and glass public bathhouse, are foundations and crumbling walls, battered by relentless waves.

Having purchased a sizable piece of land by the ocean, Sutro set about planning and building what was at the time of its opening in 1896, the largest indoor swimming establishment in the world. Ocean waves flowed into a settling tank and then through a series of canals, to fill 6 salt water tanks at varying temperatures. At low tide a pump system was employed. There were 7 toboggan slides, 30 swinging ropes, 1 spring board, 517 private dressing rooms for changing into bathing suits, which were provided. The complex also included a 3700-capacity theatre, and a museum displaying Sutro's private art and artifacts collection from around the world.

Fairs were held here, and beauty contests. The 1913 and 1914 Pacific Coast Swimming Championships were held here. Legendary Hawaiian swimmer and Olympic Gold Medalist, Duke Kahanamoku came to compete.

San Franciscans traveled by horse and carriage, by ferries and even by rail to spend the day at Sutro Baths. The Cliff House Railroad delivered pleasure-seekers, by way of what is now The Coastal Trail.

A visit to the Sutro Baths site combined with waking the Coastal Trail, makes for one heck of a mind-blowing, visually stunning experience. How can such a breathtakingly wild place exist within the city limits?

In 1966 fire destroyed the baths. In 1973 it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Layer up for a visit, as it can be blustery and fog-soaked, but that's part of it's appeal.
Sutro Baths

Sutro Baths
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Point Lobos Avenue and Merrie Way, North of The Cliff House
SanFrancisco, 94121
Public Transport: Take the Geary Blvd 38L to 48th Avenue and walk down to the baths