Field Recording / Photography Locations in the Bay Area

Hey everyone

I’m heading to the Bay Area from the 7th-22nd September for a vacation. I’m hoping to do some field recording / take some photos whilst I’m out there, so any suggestions on places to visit (of the nature variety) would be awesome. I’m hoping to get raw material for some sort of mixed media project.

Also if there’s any good record shops / shows I could visit, I’d love to hear about them.

Peace and love



I’m going to be staying in Sunnyvale.

If you like jazz, Groove Yard is the spot. For rap, Park Blvd Records. Both in Oakland. You could probably capture some solid pickup b-ball sounds across the street from Park Blvd as a bonus :wink:

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Check out the Wave Organ if tide’s right:

The sizable Presidio and Golden Gate Park are almost dense enough in parts to get lost in, though much of the nature in the city isn’t remote enough to get away from car sounds.

There are some nice quieter beaches, in the bay not along the ocean, like Baker Beach and China Beach.

Definitely head up to Muir Woods if you can (north of the city).

Music wise, check out calendar at — especially the Thursday-evening shows at the Luggage Store Gallery Music Series in San Francisco.

Record-store wise, in San Francisco proper: Amoeba, Stranded. There’s a bunch. Folks may have other recommendations.


look at google maps. pick any of the many big green blobs to the south of sunnyvale. go there. we’ve had good luck with this approach. we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the headlands, mt tam and point reyes areas over the golden gate bridge (more convenient for us in the city).

SF is beautiful for urban photography if that’s your thing, but a car a loose sense of destination is a fine thing if you have the time

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I really appreciate them. It looks like I’ll have plenty to see/photograph/record whilst I’m visiting.

The Wave Organ looks awesome. I’ll definitely be making a trip up to see that.


If you’re in Sunnyvale and making it up to the north bay is burdensome, I’d advise striking out for the coast or for some of the parks in that area. Big Basin Redwoods and Bean Hollow are some of my favorites around there.

definitely check when the tide will be in if you head to the Wave Organ!


Samuel P Taylor State Park - if you can get away from where the people are (the back of the park, near Nicasio, is great for this) has some wonderful field recording opportunities.
Wind is an issue for field recording here. Cover your mic(s) with fuzzies outdoors.


+1 to this, just did it a few weeks ago. def try on a weekday if you can