Haunted Locations in San Francisco

From old hotels to historic theaters, San Francisco is rife with tales of the supernatural. Whether you’re a skeptic or a true believer, exploring San Francisco’s most haunted locations can offer a unique way to discover the city’s past. If you are looking for things to do for Halloween in San Francisco, a visit to some of these creepy spots will help you get in the spirit.

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Alcatraz Cell Block
Inside Alcatraz – Image via Shutterstock

Alcatraz Island, once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, remains shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Located in the San Francisco Bay, this prison has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the city. It’s believed that the tormented souls of former inmates linger on theisland, making it a magnet for ghost hunters & paranormal enthusiasts.

Visitors to Alcatraz have reported eerie phenomena, including screams echoing through the empty cell blocks and unexplained cold spots. The most spine-tingling encounters involve ghostly apparitions that manifest in the form of former prisoners. Some visitors have claimed to see shadowy figures in prison garb lurking in the corridors.

The history of Alcatraz only adds to its mystique. Tales of escape attempts, brutal discipline, and the isolation of its inmates fuel the belief that the restless spirits of those who suffered within these walls continue to haunt the island. While Alcatraz is now a popular tourist destination, its dark past lingers, leaving visitors with an unsettling sense of the prison’s haunted legacy.

Alcatraz Island
San Francisco, CA

Website: https://www.nps.gov/alca/index.htm

Queen Anne Hotel

Nestled in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, the Queen Anne Hotel is a cool spot known for its Victorian charm. However, behind its façade lies a ghostly tale that has intrigued guests for generations. Originally a school for girls, the hotel is said to be haunted by the spirit of its former headmistress, Miss Mary Lake.

Guests who have stayed in this historic hotel report a range of unexplained occurrences. Mysteriously moved belongings, objects levitating, and phantom footsteps echoing through the hallways are just some of the experiences shared by those who have spent the night.

The Queen Anne Hotel’s connection to its haunted past adds to its enchanting atmosphere. Visitors are often drawn not only to its elegance but also to the possibility of encountering the spirit of a strict headmistress who seems to have never left her beloved school.

Queen Anne Hotel
1590 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

Website: https://www.queenanne.com/

The Curran Theatre

The Curran Theatre, known for performances & shows, holds a darker secret within its walls. Legend has it that the ghost of a ticket-taker named Hewlett lingers in the theater, haunting both performers and patrons alike.

The tragic tale of Hewlett’s murder in the 1920s within the theater’s lobby has left a mark on the Curran’s history. Witnesses have described seeing his ghost, dressed in vintage attire, roaming the theater when it’s empty. Eerie footsteps are often heard, even when there’s no one else in the building.

The Curran Theatre’s ghostly presence adds intrigue to the venue, reminding theatergoers that even in the realm of the arts, the spirits of the past may take center stage. If you want to visit the Curran Theater around Halloween, why not make a night of it and check out a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Tickets available HERE.

The Curran Theatre
445 Geary St
San Francisco, CA 94102

Website: https://sfcurran.com/

The Whittier Mansion

Located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, the Whittier Mansion is an architectural gem with a tragic past. Built by William Franklin Whittier, this Gothic masterpiece is rumored to be haunted by Whittier and his family.

Visitors to the mansion have reported eerie experiences, including sightings of shadowy figures and the sound of unexplained voices echoing through its halls. The mansion’s architecture and façade only add to its enigmatic aura, making it an ideal setting for mysterious encounters.

The Whittier Mansion
2900 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Website: https://noehill.com/sf/landmarks/sf075.asp

Sutro Baths

Haunted Cave at Sutro Baths in San Francisco
Sutro Baths – Image via Shutterstock

Once a public bathhouse, The Sutro Baths near Ocean Beach has transformed into a hotspot for those seeking paranormal encounters. Visitors to this decaying relic have reported ghostly apparitions & unexplained noises, particularly after the sun sets.

What was once a place of relaxation has become a popular spot for supernatural enthusiasts, who come in search of encounters with the spirits believed to linger here.

Sutro Baths
1004 Point Lobos Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

Website: https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/cliff-house-sutro-baths.htm

Hotel Majestic

Another haunted attraction in Pacific Heights, the Hotel Majestic has its own ghostly resident named Millie. Seen wearing a turn-of-the-century dress, Millie is said to be a former resident who refuses to leave her beloved hotel.

Guests of the Hotel Majestic have reported encountering Millie’s spirit, often described as a benevolent presence (so she’s a nice ghost). Some have seen her wandering the hotel’s historic halls. As guests continue to check into the Hotel Majestic, they may find themselves sharing their stay with the gracious and lingering spirit of Millie, a reminder of San Francisco’s haunted past.

Hotel Majestic
1500 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109

Website: https://www.thehotelmajestic.com/


Chinatown San Francisco
Chinatown San Francisco – Image via Shutterstock

San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, one of the oldest in the United States, is not just a neighborhood but also a place steeped in tales of the paranormal. Beneath its busy streets lie stories of underground tunnels, haunted buildings, and spirits of the Gold Rush era.

Exploring the streets of Chinatown can lead to encounters with unexplained phenomena, especially at night. The neighborhood’s history, including its association with the 1906 earthquake & fire, adds an interesting backstory to the area.

Whether you’re drawn to the tantalizing aromas of its restaurants or the secrets that lurk in its alleyways, San Francisco’s Chinatown is a great place to check out when you are in the city. And, who knows, you may even get a chance to see a ghost.

San Francisco, CA 94133

Website: http://www.sanfranciscochinatown.com/

The Presidio

Haunted Locations: The Presidio in San Francisco
The Presidio San Francisco – Image via Shutterstock

The Presidio is a former military base turned national park. And lucky for those who like a little spooky fun, beneath its innocent appearance lies a legacy of paranormal encounters.

Ghostly soldiers, dressed in uniforms from various eras, have been sighted marching near the old barracks and there have been reports of phantom cries coming from the former hospital.

The Presidio
San Francisco, CA

Website: https://presidio.gov/

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park

Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park
Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park – Image via Shutterstock

Stow Lake, nestled in the heart of Golden Gate Park, is an oasis beloved by locals and visitors alike. However, its waters hold a well-known urban legend: the ‘White Lady’ of Stow Lake.

According to the legend, the ‘White Lady’ is a grieving mother who searches endlessly for her lost child, a story that has captured the imaginations of generations. Visitors, especially on foggy nights, have reported seeing her ghostly figure near the lake, draped in a flowing white gown and emitting a glow.

Stow Lake’s beauty combined with the allure of the ‘White Lady’ legend creates an atmosphere where the natural & supernatural worlds collide.

Stow Lake
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118

Website: https://stowlakeboathouse.com/


Located in the Richmond District, the Columbarium of San Francisco is not only a cool building, but also a place known for some spooky activity. This historic repository for human ashes is a haven for ghostly encounters (which kind of makes sense)

Visitors to the Columbarium have reported a range of weird experiences, including sightings of ghosts and sudden temperature drops. The silence within its walls adds to the creepy that seems to permeate this unique site.

As visitors pay their respects to the departed, they may also find themselves drawn into the mysterious world of the Columbarium, where the line between the living and the afterlife blurs.

These locations have a scary undertone all year long, but going to see any of these spots around Halloween can make it even more scary. Some places, like Alcatraz, require tickets but most places are free to check out on your own. For places like hotels and residences, make sure to be respectful and ask before trying to enter or taking photographs.

San Francisco Columbarium & Funeral Home
1 Loraine Ct
San Francisco, CA 94118

Website: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/funeral-homes/California/san-francisco/san-francisco-columbarium-funeral-home/8131

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are the most haunted locations in San Francisco?
A: Some of the most haunted locations in San Francisco include Alcatraz Island, the Queen Anne Hotel, the Curran Theatre, the Whittier Mansion, and Sutro Baths.

Q: What are the real haunted houses in San Francisco?
A: The Queen Anne Hotel and the Whittier Mansion are known as real haunted houses in San Francisco, each with its own ghostly tales.

Q: What is the scariest place in San Francisco?
A: The scariest place in San Francisco is subjective, but Alcatraz Island is often considered one of the eeriest due to its history as a maximum-security prison and reports of hauntings.

Q: What ghosts are in San Francisco?
A: San Francisco is believed to be home to a variety of ghosts, including former inmates at Alcatraz, Miss Mary Lake at the Queen Anne Hotel, and Hewlett at the Curran Theatre, among others.

Q: What ghost stories take place in San Francisco?
A: Ghost stories in San Francisco include the haunting of Alcatraz by former prisoners, the spectral presence of Miss Mary Lake at the Queen Anne Hotel, and the mysterious apparition of Hewlett at the Curran Theatre.

Q: What unexplained things have happened in San Francisco?
A: Unexplained phenomena in San Francisco range from mysterious disappearances at the Hotel Cecil to the inexplicable spiral staircase at the Loretto Chapel in nearby Santa Fe.

Q: How many haunted locations are in San Francisco?
A: San Francisco boasts numerous haunted locations, with well-documented hauntings occurring at a variety of sites throughout the city.

Q: Are there ghosts in San Francisco from the Gold Rush Era?
A: Yes, San Francisco has its share of ghostly legends and spirits from the Gold Rush Era, particularly in areas associated with the city’s historic past.

Q: What haunted locations can you visit in the San Francisco Bay Area?
A: In the San Francisco Bay Area, you can visit haunted places like the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, the Moss Beach Distillery, and the Winchester Mystery House in nearby San Jose, among others.

Q: What is the most famous Ghost in San Francisco?
A: The most famous ghost in San Francisco is debatable, but the ghosts of former inmates at Alcatraz Island, including Al Capone, are among the most well-known.

Q: What is the most popular Ghost Story about San Francisco?
A: One of the most popular ghost stories in San Francisco is the haunting of Alcatraz Island, where visitors have reported encountering apparitions and hearing unexplained screams.

Q: What are the most haunted locations in California?
A: Some of the most haunted locations in California include the Queen Mary in Long Beach, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, the Whaley House in San Diego, and Alcatraz Island in San Francisco.

Q: What is the scariest place in California?
A: The scariest place in California is subjective, but Alcatraz Island is often considered one of the eeriest due to its history as a maximum-security prison and reports of hauntings.

Q: What unexplained things have happened in California?
A: Unexplained phenomena in California range from sightings of UFOs in the Mojave Desert to unexplained disappearances in the Joshua Tree National Park area.

Q: What haunted locations can you visit in California?
A: In California, you can visit haunted places like the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, the famously bizarre Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, and the Whaley House in San Diego, among others.

Q: What are the most famous haunted things in California?
A: Some of the most famous haunted things in California include the Queen Mary ship, known for its ghostly encounters; the Winchester Mystery House, renowned for its architectural oddities; and the Whaley House, believed to be haunted by multiple spirits.

Weird and Interesting Haunted San Francisco Facts:

Old Building on Alcatraz Island
Old Building on Alcatraz Island

Weird Unexplained Things in San Francisco:

The Disappearing Hotel: The Hotel Cecil, known for its strange occurrences, reportedly has had guests vanish without a trace. One famous case is that of Elisa Lam, whose unexplained death in the hotel’s water tank remains a mystery.

The Presidio Screams: The Presidio, a former military base, is said to be haunted by ghostly soldiers. Visitors have reported hearing phantom cries and screams near the former hospital, adding to its eerie reputation.

Mystery of the Mary Celeste: The ship Mary Celeste, discovered abandoned near the Azores in 1872, has a San Francisco connection. It was originally built in Spencer’s Shipyard, San Francisco, and its enigmatic abandonment remains a baffling maritime mystery.

The Zebra Killings: In the early 1970s, San Francisco experienced a series of racially motivated killings by a group called the “Zebra Killers.” The motive behind these crimes remains largely unexplained.

San Francisco Superstitions:

The “Curse” of Candlestick Park: Some San Francisco 49ers fans believe in the “Curse of Candlestick Park.” They claim that when the team left the old stadium for Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, their success dwindled. Some even believe that the spirits of the old stadium still influence the team’s fate.

Lucky Number 7: Many San Franciscans consider the number seven lucky. This superstition is often associated with local sports teams, where players wearing the number seven are expected to bring good luck.

The Mythical Salesforce Tower Ring: Some locals believe that the Salesforce Tower, the city’s tallest building, has a ring that can be spun to bring good luck. While not officially recognized, it’s a superstition that’s taken hold among some residents.

Rice-A-Roni Superstition: As a famous San Francisco treat, Rice-A-Roni is sometimes humorously referred to as a “superstitious” food item believed to bring good luck when consumed before a big event or sporting game.

Avoiding the “Emperor Norton Curse”: It’s considered bad luck to disrespect or speak ill of Emperor Norton I, a beloved historical figure who declared himself “Emperor of the United States” in the 19th century. Some locals believe that doing so will bring misfortune.

Haunted Places in San Francisco

The Ghosts of Alcatraz: The infamous Alcatraz Island is believed to be haunted by the spirits of former inmates who suffered within its walls. Visitors have reported hearing unexplained screams and encountering ghostly apparitions.

The Queen Anne Hotel: Once a school for girls, the Queen Anne Hotel in Pacific Heights is said to be haunted by the ghost of its former headmistress, Miss Mary Lake. Guests have reported mysteriously moved belongings and strange noises.

The Curran Theatre: This historic theater is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a ticket-taker named Hewlett, who was murdered in the lobby in the 1920s. Performers and patrons have reported seeing his apparition and hearing footsteps when the theater is empty.

The Whittier Mansion: Located in Pacific Heights, the Whittier Mansion is known for its Gothic architecture and is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of its former occupants. Visitors have reported seeing shadows and hearing unexplained voices.

Sutro Baths: The ruins of Sutro Baths near Ocean Beach have become a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts. People have reported seeing apparitions and hearing