These are the best places to cry in San Francisco

These are the best places to cry in San Francisco

If the state of, well, everything has been getting you down, we understand. When you’re going through it, screaming into a pillow in the privacy of your bedroom isn’t always enough.

Sometimes you need to ugly cry in front of a beautiful view.

But where? Chronicle staff photographer Jessica Christian recently posed that very important question on Twitter: Where’s your favorite place to cry in public in San Francisco?

Christian’s post garnered almost 200 responses about people’s favorite spots to let their feelings flow. Twitter user @coolgrey responded, “Top of Strawberry Hill, sitting on that log that faces north.” User @Nat_Estrada44 suggested the Palace of Fine Arts — “the acoustics are great and the swans are extra judgmental.”

We sorted through the replies on Twitter to see where people like to let their tears stream. Whether you’re caught off guard in the city by your feelings or need to release a calculated howl into the void, these are the best places to escape for a sob.

The Sutro Baths ruins at Lands End in San Francisco.

The Sutro Baths ruins at Lands End in San Francisco.

Sean Havey/The Chronicle

Sutro Baths

A public bathhouse in the late 1800s, today Sutro Baths’ concrete ruins and saltwater pools draw visitors to Lands End inside Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Sit on the rocks for a cry as you watch the sunset, or for a bit of privacy, try the Sutro Baths cave, where the pounding waves can drown out your wails.

Mile Rock Beach

Also at Lands End (a name that feels like an invitation to weep), is Mile Rock Beach, a small cove just below Lands End Point with breathtaking views and dramatic fog to match your dark mood. Stroll through to the labyrinth to further feel your feelings.

On Muni

You’re not a San Franciscan until you’ve cried on public transportation. The Twitter replies to Christian’s post were full of transit line suggestions. Especially popular were Christian’s personal favorites of the 38-Geary line — where other passengers are too packed like sardines to notice your tear-stained face — and the N-Judah, before the descent into the tunnel or at the turnaround near Ocean Beach. Twitter user @lynaecook
shouted out the 31 or the 5 — “something about that ride to Safeway that gets me,” and @cpthungerstrike gave a nod to the Balboa Park BART station: “There is no place more synonymous with purgatory, like something out of a bad dream than ascending those lonely steps into the fog for busses that run once every 30 minutes.”

Twin Peaks

At about 925 feet, Twin Peaks is one of the highest points in San Francisco. Hike up (or drive) to the top to escape the surrounding city, and have a good cry in the clouds. But be mindful that you’ll likely be surrounded by panorama-snapping tourists on the weekends. Go on a weekday morning for maximum solitude. For shier criers, try Mt. Davidson, the tallest natural point in San Francisco, where you can get into your feelings sans crowds.

Kids skim board at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Kids skim board at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Michael Macor/The Chronicle

The Beach

Ocean Beach (easily accessible from the N-Judah) is among residents’ favorite places to let out their emotions. The perks: Pretty much everyone else does it here, the large sand dunes make good hiding places, and roaring waves cancel out any sounds. If you want to cry on a beach with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, try Baker Beach on a clear day.

Around Golden Gate Park

With about 1,017 acres, there are plenty of places in Golden Gate Park to cry in relative solitude. For quiet and serene spots, visit the Shakespeare Garden or the AIDS Memorial Grove. At the Botanical Garden, discreet paths lead to forested nooks with private benches and logs perfect to weep on.

Lover's Lane in the Presidio.

Lover’s Lane in the Presidio.

Thomas Levinson/The Chronicle

Lover’s Lane

One of the oldest trails in the Presidio, this serene one-mile walk crosses over a creek and passes by historical sites that date to the 1930s, when the area was an army base. In 1994, the land was handed over to the National Park Service. It is said that enlisted men would travel on this trail to meet their sweethearts in the city, but today the picturesque tree-lined path makes for a good nature cry.

College campuses

Whether it’s the City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University or UCSF, there are plenty of nooks available for students to study, rest and cry between classes on S.F. campuses. Sniffle at the City College Art Gallery, bawl at SFSU’s secluded Garden of Remembrance, which honors 19 Japanese American students forcibly removed during World War II; or have a quiet moment in UCSF’s Garden of Resilience, which pays respect to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Bernal Heights Park

With dramatic 360-views of the San Francisco Bay and East Bay Hills, Bernal Heights Park is the perfect destination for when you need to let it out somewhere scenic. Grab a spot on the hillside, take in the cityscape below and let the tears flow.

Everywhere else

Among the other locations people recommended were the backyard at Zeitgeist, the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral, Aquatic Park and driving across the Bay Bridge toward Oakland. @GalaxyKate suggested the bathroom at the Tonga Room. “You feel like you’re crying with everyone who had a bad date in 1960.”

Vanessa Arredondo (she/her) is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @v_anana

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