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San Francisco’s 10 most popular Instagram spots in 2017

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No big surprises but plenty of big photo ops

A photo of red lanterns against a building in Chinatown
San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood made the cut
Shutterstock

Earlier in December the loans site Lending Tree ranked American cities by the number of Instagram likes each accrued during 2017 and, surprise surprise, San Francisco blew away the competition again, averaging 674 Insta-recommendations per 100K citizens.

Why all the love? It seems to have everything to do with the local sights, as Instagram furnished Curbed SF with a list of its most frequently photographed San Francisco locales and it turns out it’s the city’s most time honored hot spots that are still racking up the kudos today.

Here’s a breakdown of what selfie-lovers loved (and their friends liked) in the city this year:

10. Chinatown

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While it seems like the Dragon Gate might hog the spotlight here, of late Instagrammers seem more fond of the murals, the shop window wares, and particularly the painted Vinton Court stairs marking the path to stinky tofu, lotus leaf sticky rice, and other culinary marvels.

9. Alcatraz Island

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The haunting corridors and even more haunting views available at the Rock are a primo spot for dramatic and thoughtful looking snapshots, although the disused prison facility itself remains an ever-popular and enduring local muse. Note that Alcatraz, like Chinatown, didn’t make the list last year.

8. Fisherman's Wharf

It seems like the 39-week long 39th birthday hullabaloo at Pier 39 gave this one an extra boost for San Francisco’s most kitschy waterfront whereabouts. But in fact, compared to last year the popularity of the general Fisherman’s Wharf tag was up on Instagram, giving the larger neighborhood some much needed love.

7. Golden Gate Park

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Speaking of anniversaries, the 50-year commemoration of the Summer of Love brought huge crowds and an overwhelming volume of social media photos to the city’s centerpiece green space in 2017. In fact, one of the most popular park photos on Instagram right now is a scene straight out of the ‘60s, as evidenced by the decided lack of price inflation on display.

6. SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Presumably, SFMOMA had a lot more in mind when it launched its multi-million dollar expansion a few years ago than just becoming a bonafide Instagram hit; but if that had been the plan it would have come off with flying colors. Although the remarkable modern design features prominently, Instagram users seem most taken with the art itself, which of course is how it should be.

5. Union Square, San Francisco

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Another one that never goes out of style. Instagram users can’t seem to be get enough of the strategically placed Union Square Hearts In SF sculpture, although the end of year boost from the Christmas displays (and the adorable, adpotable kittens in the window of the nearby Macy’s) helps clinch things too.

4. PIER 39

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While it’s nice to see Fisherman’s Wharf get a rising profile outside of just the pier, Pier 39 itself was always going to make the list, even rising two spots since last year. And no prizes for guessing what people love to photograph best (other than themselves): It’s the sea lions in every season.

3. San Francisco International Airport

SFO proves itself nothing if not dependable, at least as far as its social media rankings go; the airport nabs the number three spot two years in a row, probably because visitors enjoy the obligatory “I’m in San Francisco” and “So long, San Francisco,” one-two punch. Although it’d be nice to think this guy has something to do with it too.

2. AT&T Park

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The Giants have had less than giant-sized results on the diamond itself lately but lucky for everybody visitors still seem to have a yen for the ballpark itself, which also reclaims its 2016 title.

1. Golden Gate Bridge

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Because what else was it ever going to be? Few things are constant in San Francisco, but for the past 80 years locals and visitors alike have always taken time to hail the city’s one true king.