San Francisco Travel’s Guide to Film and TV 

From cinema classics to today's biggest blockbusters, San Francisco has made hundreds of appearances on the silver screen

“Mrs. Doubtfire”

Everyone’s favourite nanny, played by Robin Williams, came into our lives in the ’90s and made herself at home. A must-see for families and kids at heart, the Hillard House is located in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood of San Francisco. If you’re a true film geek, you’ll have no problem pointing it out.

“Pursuit of Happiness”

This heartbreaking yet inspiring movie tells the tale of a father trying to raise his son after losing everything. Will Smith beautifully enacts the true story of Chris Gardner, who reaches success through hard work and persistence alone.

“Ant-Man / Ant-Man and the Wasp”

Several San Francisco locations can be seen throughout the thrilling car chase scenes, the most famous of which ends at Fisherman’s Wharf.

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” puts a modern twist on the cult sci-fi classic. From atop the downtown skyscrapers and at the San Francisco Zoo, their uprising spreads throughout the Bay Area. If you’re looking to join Caesar’s tribe, head to the Muir Woods, where the apes eventually formed their own prosperous community.

“Sister Act”

Where did Whoopi Goldberg hide from her angry mobster boyfriend in “Sister Act”? Right here in San Francisco at one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Located in Noe Valley, St. Paul’s is just a short walk from the Mission District.


San Francisco would not be what it is today without Harvey Milk. In fact, Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport has just been named in his honour.  Milk’s story defines the fight for LGBTQ freedom that spread throughout the country during and after his life. The filmmakers were able to film nearly all of the outdoor scenes at the actual historic locations.

“Dirty Harry”

As renegade cop Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood roams the streets, telling the story with every step.

“Always Be My Maybe”

This modern-day “When Harry Met Sally” follows two childhood friends, Sasha and Marcus, as they reunite after years apart and explore their complicated friendship. This film has been celebrated for its diversity and celebration of Asian-American heritage, so there is no question that this story was made for San Francisco.


The streets of San Francisco provide the perfect setting for the best movie car chase ever. The action in this Steve McQueen classic set the precedent and has been often copied but never matched.

“The Rock”

Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage, and Michael Bay action galore—but the real star of the movie is Alcatraz itself. Here are some other locations for your itinerary.


Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) is involuntarily bound to the symbiote, Venom, and the two spend the movie learning how to utilise their new shared skills to fight evil. A great example of this is the motorcycle chase scene that peaks with a massive jump at the top of Taylor St.


While the story bounces around the world to places like Iceland, Nairobi, and Seoul, Nomi’s story unfolds in San Francisco, a very fitting home for the proud, transgender, lesbian hacker.

“Tales of the City”

Topic now common in today’s top-rated shows were revolutionary on a public network in the original 1993 miniseries, based on a series in the San Francisco Chronicle. The 2019 sequel embraced these themes and, with an all-queer writing team, made it a mission to accurately portray LGBTQ life in San Francisco.


In a city known for its many hills and scenic overlooks, San Francisco might not be the place for someone with acrophobia, and this is just what makes Alfred Hitchcock’s movie a classic.