A Tourist’s Guide to Film Shoot Locations in San Francisco

Movie shoots, commercials, interviews — finding the right space for any of these takes a lot of work and a keen eye for setting the right scene. Luckily, there are plenty of places in San Francisco that will provide just the right setting and locale for all your film production needs.

Keep reading to discover four of the most unique film shoot locations in San Francisco to make your next project stand out from the rest. We’ll also include some resources for filmmakers in San Francisco.

Finding a San Francisco film shoot location

There are plenty of iconic buildings and landmarks throughout San Francisco, but finding the right one for your film production takes planning and forethought:

  • What type of venue will I need?
  • Do I need permits to film?
  • How will I go about hiring a crew?

We’ve put together some resources and guidelines to help you navigate the filming environment in San Francisco and keep your project on track.

Resources for filmmakers in San Francisco

Here are a few useful groups and programs for filmmakers in San Francisco.

Film SF

Film SF is a local organization that helps filmmakers acquire the appropriate permits, provides incentives for filming in the city, and maintains location and crew listings to help potential filmmakers find everything they need.

Filmmakers can download all the necessary permit application forms and other helpful documents right from the Film Office website.

Filmmakers Collaborative SF

For socially conscious filmmakers who want to make compelling films that tackle difficult cultural and social issues, Filmmakers Collaborative SF is a non-profit organization that helps with the production of documentaries, short films, and other media projects that impact the world around them.

The organization helps filmmakers by offering partnerships with government agencies to spread the word about their projects, as well as fiscal sponsorship and other services to help filmmakers produce content that’s within the scope of the organization’s mission.

Reel Directory San Francisco

Reel Directory assists filmmakers with finding the equipment and talent they need to make their production a reality. From finding lighting equipment and cameras to booking transportation and hiring post-production staff, Reel Directory has a listing for nearly everything in the filmmaking process.

The directory also includes links to continuing education services for student filmmakers or those new to the industry, as well as dates and locations for local film festivals and links to other resources available throughout the state of California.

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4 unique film venues in San Francisco to make your project a success

Now that you know where to find resources for filming, it’s time to start hunting for the perfect location. Here are four of our top film shoot spots in SF.

#1. Hotel Majestic: classic charm

One of SF’s oldest hotels, Majestic is the perfect place to film almost anything, with 58 rooms, a full-service dining hall, ballroom, and conference room. Whether you’re putting a modern spin on Cinderella or just shooting a short film, this Victorian hotel setting has plenty of room and lots of amenities.

This venue has been host to many different events, including the production of TV shows and movies. The facility is fully accessible and has more than enough space for large film crews. In-house catering and other services make film production much easier.

#2. The Sub SF

The Sub SF has been featured in a number of national newspapers and magazines for its spectacular exhibits and artworks on display. The venue also functions as the perfect space for film production.

Not only is it one of the city’s premier galleries, but it’s also an ideal film shoot venue. Featuring loads of natural light, blackout curtains, and an on-site kitchen, this space has something for every production. The Sub SF offers a number of add-ons to make your shoot extra special, like a live DJ and even a photo booth.

#3. Renovation Design Realty Showroom

A local realtor turned this former grocery store into a stunning showroom that’s perfect for video shoots. The stylish mix of posh and industrial makes the space ideal for anything from TV series to interviews. With tons of natural light from the inlaid brick windows to the elegant chandeliers, this space is able to be configured to your liking.

It’s accessible from the street and has access for equipment, loading trucks, and vendors. The showroom is more than adequate for both filming and production meetings.

#4. Villa Fontaine: simple and clean

Villa Fontaine is a renovated machine shop originally built in the 19th century. Today, the space is decorated with an eclectic mix of modern and pop art aesthetics. The venue is a mash-up of a home and an art museum, offering filmmakers a number of rooms to film in, with loads of colorful artworks, furnishings, and breathtaking outdoor views.

Villa Fontaine includes all the amenities of a home, plus several more as an event space. The venue has makeup and hair facilities, on-site parking, and more. It’s also just blocks away from much of San Francisco’s tech sector.

The ultimate guide for filmmakers in San Francisco: wrapping up   

Shooting a film is serious business, and finding the right spot can do wonders for production. Hopefully our unique spaces provide some inspiration for your next project. Consider checking out one of the venues on our list the next time you’re scouting out locations.

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