Last updated: June 1, 2023
Open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm.
The Lands End Lookout Visitor Center is a great place to begin or end an adventure in this beautiful oceanside landscape. There are exhibits of historic places and colorful stories from the area's past as well as displays of artifacts, landscapes and geology. A recorded audio tour describing the center's exhibits and the surrounding area is available from the center staff. The café is temporarily closed, but snacks, hot and cold beverages, and gelato bars are available. Peruse the souvenir shop and bookstore and take a part of this special place home with you.
From the visitor center you can explore the Sutro Baths and the nearby Sutro Heights gardens. This is also the site of the Sutro Pleasure Grounds, a short-lived amusement park fashioned after Coney Island in New York City. In 1913, it morphed into Playland, a mainstay of San Franciscans seeking excitement until it closed in 1972.
The overlook at Lands End offers stunning views. Hillsides of cypress and wildflowers meet the craggy coastline. Additionally, the Coastal Trail and Point Lobos Trail take you to some of the most inspiring views in the city.
Coastal Native Peoples
For thousands of years, the Yelamu Ohlone tribe and their predecessors lived at Lands End in seasonal settlements. They lived off the land by making salt, gathering shellfish, hunting seabirds and marine mammals and using these resources in a sustainable way that worked for generations.
When the Spanish settled in the area in 1776, they moved the Yelamu to the newly established Mission Dolores. This forced relocation had dramatic consequences for the native people, as they were forced to conform to the societal norms of colonial Spain. They were also exposed to new diseases such as measles and influenza, resulting in dramatic death tolls. The arrival of European colonists completely obliterated the Ohlone way of life, but they endured in spite of adversity. Today, the Ohlone community is actively revitalizing their culture.
19th Century Naturalists
In the mid 1800s, Lands End was a secluded, inaccessible area that meant a long journey for anyone who came out this way. After California was annexed by the US in 1846, some of the first visitors brave enough to venture here were scientists and naturalists interested in studying marine mammals and other natural wonders native to this unique environment.