Top 10 Haunted Places in San Francisco, CA

People from around the world are drawn to San Francisco because of all the city offers. There are historic sites to see, there is Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, great food, and shopping. San Francisco is also home to a lot of ghosts, poltergeists, and paranormal activity.

Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the most haunted places in San Francisco.

10. Curran Theater

Curran Theater

When visiting San Francisco many people make their way to the Curran Theater. It may be one of the many haunted places in San Francisco but it is also said to be home to topnotch theatrical performances. Theater goers have the opportunity to see more than a great show in the theater; they also have the chance to see a ghost or two. A number of people have spotted the ghost of a ticket taker killed in 1933. Of the sightings many see the ghost in a mirror in the lobby. Another ghost that haunts the theater is a little girl. Reports state she died across the street from the theater.

9. Ocean Beach Sutro Baths

Ocean Beach Sutro Baths

The Ocean Beach Sutro Baths was the world’s largest indoor swimming pool when it opened in 1896. Sutro Baths had one freshwater pool and six saltwater pools. There were swinging rings, a springboard, and waterslides.  There were also dressing rooms, an amphitheater, and club rooms for families and individuals to enjoy. The Baths saw a considerable amount of popularity for some time until the Great Depression and other factors kept people away. Between a company that started demolishing the impressive facility to replace with apartments and a fire in 1966 nothing was left of the once great destination but ruins. People that make their way to the area now say there is a ghostly presence in the Sutro Baths tunnels. People who have visited the Baths state if you light a candle at night, it will be taken out of your hand and thrown in the water.

8. Queen Anne HotelBOOK NOW

Queen Anne Hotel

The exquisite Queen Anne Hotel was a school for girls after it was built back in the 1890s. The school had a number of teachers for the girls but none had as much passion for education as Miss Mary Lake.

When not educating the girls she called room 410 her home. Her world was turned upside down when the school closed. Not one to give up, she packed up her belongings and went on to live out the rest of her life at another location.

In 1980, after many different owners, the former school for girls became what is now the Queen Anne Hotel.  Guests to the hotel have reported countless sightings of the one beloved teacher wandering about the hotel’s hallways. People have also spotted her in her former home, room 410.

7. City Hall

City Hall

Built in 1915, San Francisco’s City Hall has an interesting history. City Hall is the home to the City Supervisors and the Mayor of San Francisco. The building has some tragic history to it.

Back in 1978 there was a bit of conflict between two different supervisors who sat on the City Council, Dan White and Harvey Milk. Unable to get passed all the conflict Dan White resigned his post.

After having a change of heart, White went to ask for a reinstatement from Mayor Moscone. The Mayor declined. Bitter and bent on revenge, White returned to City Hall with a .38 revolver to once again request he be reinstated. Unwilling to deal with another denial he killed Mayor Moscone. White then made his way to Milk’s office and killed him.

The odd sounds heard around City Hall, especially at night when few people are around, are often attributed to the ghosts of the three men. Other ghostly activity is sometimes attributed to the countless additional notorious politicians that spent time at City Hall as well.

6. San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco Art Institute

The San Francisco Art Institute was originally built in 1900. There is a belief that this center for academic achievement was built on top of a cemetery. When the decision is made to build something over a cemetery there is a good chance that ghost sightings and other paranormal activity are going to take place.

The San Francisco Art Institute is no exception to that rule. Visitors, students, and staff have made claims of sightings and unusual encounters over the years. Most of the unusual activity takes place at the buildings tower.

Workers doing renovations on the tower claim to have had interaction with ghosts that were not happy changes were made. Students have stated when no one else is around they have heard footsteps and hear people screaming.

5. Neptune Society Columbarium

Neptune Society Columbarium

The Neptune Society Columbarium, a burial site for loved one’s ashes, is an obvious addition to the list of haunted places in San Francisco. The copper-domed building has been around since 1898.

At one time there was no need for the building as cremations were prohibited in San Francisco. Eventually things changed and the Neptune Society purchased and restored the beautiful building.

People are now able to intern their loved ones at the Columbarium or visit loved ones already present. While visiting it is possible to experience the presence of a little girl whose ashes are in the building.

Claims of being touched by a small hand are common as are seeing the ghosts of the young girl and others.

4. Presidio


What do you get when you have a National Cemetery, old officer’s quarters, and historic buildings on an old army base? If in San Francisco, you get the Presidio. The Presidio National Park is a destination people visit to get a glimpse into the history of San Francisco’s military posts, the city’s history in general, as well as visiting the location of an old Indian burial ground also on the site.

Having not only two different cemeteries, historical and military buildings on one site hauntings are a given. Over the years people have encounters different ghostly figures around Presidio. Some ghosts have been spotted knocking on the door to the visitor center only to vanish.

The ghosts of Army men from years gone by have been seen knocking on the doors of empty rooms in other buildings.

At one time the old army hospital at the Presidio had so much ghostly activity it was consider one of, if not the most haunted places in the area. Sadly it was torn down and a new building was put in its place. People have encountered cold spots in the new building.

3. Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is more than three miles in length and roughly half a mile in width.  The Park is a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. It offers flower gardens, museums, hiking trails, picnic areas, soccer field, and Japanese tea garden to name a few things.

The Golden Gate Park does not just provide visitors with a variety of fun things to do and enjoy, there is a much darker force at play in the Park.

There are multiple reports of different ghosts that haunt the Golden Gate Park. One of the ghosts is a woman who wanders around Stow Lake.

Numerous people over the years have said a police officer gave them a ticket while in the park. When they go to deal with the ticket they find out the police officer that gave them the citation passed away years prior. People are told if you find yourself followed by a police officer, just to verify he is alive, make your way out of the park, if it is the ghost he will vanish.

At the sculpture called “The Pioneer Mother,” people are said to have heard the laughter of children or seen the head of the statue appear to move.

2. Stow Lake

Stow Lake

On the eastern side of Golden Gate Park sits the beautiful man-made Stow Lake. The location is a great place for people who want to get away and enjoy a relaxing day hanging out amongst all of the trees, plants, and flowers. Other people enjoy riding bikes around the lake, or hiking to nearby Strawberry Hill.

As serene a place as Stow Lake appears to be it is also one of the haunted places in San Francisco that people visit in hopes of seeing a ghost. For those fortunate or unfortunate enough, they may catch a glimpse of the ghost of a woman that wanders around the lake.

There are two stories surrounding who this woman is. Some say she was walking around the lake with her child in a stroller and somehow it ended up in the lake. The mother dove in after the child but both vanished and were assumed dead.

Another story states a woman was there to dispose of a baby she had then kill herself so no one would ever learn she had been pregnant. Regardless of which story is true, the ghost of a woman continues to wander the lake in search of her child.

1. Alcatraz


No list of haunted places in San Francisco would be complete without including Alcatraz. Alcatraz has a long history. It was first used by the military as a prison as far back as 1850. Being an island in the San Francisco Bay the cold and unforgiving waters were a deterrent for those interested in trying to escape.

Alcatraz made the move from a military prison to a federal prison in 1934. It remained a federal prison until 1963. While in operation Alcatraz housed many notorious and violent criminals. The “Birdman of Alcatraz,” murderer Robert Stroud, Al “Scarface” Capone, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly were only three of those famous inmates.

There were an estimated 14 escape attempts from Alcatraz. Of those that attempted to escape the majority were captured or shot and killed. Five of the prisoners were never seen again.

Today Alcatraz is a popular tourist spot in San Francisco. People can take tours of the former prison during the day or at night. When taking into consideration the fact that there were a number of deaths that occurred in the prison during prison fights and the like, it is no surprise to hear Alcatraz is a hotbed of paranormal activity.

It is not uncommon to feel cold spots, hear footsteps, or voices. Reports of cell doors opening and closing without any assistance are also reported regularly.

Haunted Hotels in California

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