Does exploring some of San Francisco’s (SF) creepiest abandoned places sound like your idea of a good time? Then keep reading, because these six spots are a must-see for anyone looking to discover the darker side of SF!
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1. Cosson Hall
Cosson Hall, located on SF’s famous Treasure Island, used to serve as a naval base back in the 1960s.
Now it is completely abandoned, covered in graffiti, and… more than a little haunted.
Many visitors have heard “Anchors Aweigh”, the unofficial song of the US Navy, being whistled on the premises. They blame the Whistling Sailor, a (mostly) benevolent entity that still roams the wings of Cosson Hall in a white sailor’s uniform.
The Whistling Sailor is not the only ghost at Cosson Hall, though.
The few vandals and graffiti artists that have dared to visit this abandoned place at night have reported feeling a firm hand grabbing them from behind and pulling them away from the wall.
Other visitors have reported seeing glowing orbs and hearing muffled laughter in the trees surrounding the barracks.
If this does not scare you, explore away! It is for sure one of the creepiest abandoned places in SF.
And, while you are there, make sure to check out the other historical buildings on Treasure Island as well.
Location: Cosson Hall, 601 Avenue A, San Francisco, CA 94130
2. Fleishhacker Pool
Underneath the parking lot of the San Francisco Zoo hides one of SF’s most prominent abandoned landmarks: a massive saltwater swimming pool.
When San Francisco opened the Fleishhacker Pool to the public in 1925, it was thought to be one of the largest in the world.
The pool served its residents for over 40 years. However, it slowly fell into disarray in the years following World War II, as did many other places at that time.
After a particularly nasty storm hit SF in 1971, the pool was damaged beyond repair and closed down soon after.
Now it’s just another abandoned, graffiti-covered spot for us to visit and reminisce about the times gone by!
Location: Fleishhacker Pool, San Francisco, CA 94132
3. The Donaldina Cameron House
Back in the 1880s, the Donaldina Cameron House served as a place of refuge for female Chinese immigrants seeking escape from slavery, prostitution, and other unsavory fates.
To protect these women, the owner of the house, Lady Donaldina Cameron, sealed the basement doors, leaving open a small secret passageway for them to travel back and forth.
However, some locals found out about the safehouse and burned it down with its inhabitants still sealed inside, unable to escape through the passageway.
Now, the Donaldina Cameron house is one of the most active haunted spots in San Francisco. It has quite a reputation for scaring the living daylight out of its visitors.
The basement doors remain sealed to this day. Nevertheless, you can often see the ghosts of the dead immigrants wandering the premises, as well as hear the muffled sounds of their screams!
Location: The Donaldina Cameron House, 920 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94108
4. Presidio Pet Cemetery
The Presidio Pet Cemetery houses the spirits of pets left behind by the military personnel stationed at the Presidio Army base.
Rumor has it, you can still see ghosts of dead animals prowling through the cemetery, waiting for their owners to return from the war.
Location: Presidio Pet Cemetery, 667 McDowell Ave, San Francisco, CA 94129
5. Sutro Baths
Built by a gold-rush millionaire Adolph Sutro, the Sutro Baths, located in a small beach inlet below the Cliff House, were dedicated to providing wholesome, affordable entertainment to the residents of SF. However, the history of the Sutro Baths seems to be anything but wholesome.
The millionaire’s intentions were good, but the place seemed cursed from day one.
Construction problems plagued the whole territory, and patrons often reported feeling uneasy, like someone was watching them.
Later on, the tunnels beneath the Sutro Baths became a meeting place for a cult of satanic worshippers who performed dark rituals and engaged in human sacrifice.
Locals say that if you light a candle and leave it at the end of the tunnel, an invisible force will pick it up and throw it into the waves of the ocean rushing up beneath.
Do you dare to try?
Location: Sutro Baths, 680 Point Lobos, San Francisco, CA 94121
6. Hunter’s Point Shipyard
Named an “urban explorer’s paradise”, the Hunter’s Point Shipyard was built back in the 1870s.
The original docks were thought to be the largest in the world. Moreover, they were said to be able to host some of the largest warships and passenger streamers of their time.
However, the amount of toxic substances dumped at Hunter’s Point since then has made its rehabilitation impossible.
Not only was it the home of the Naval Radiological Defense laboratory, but the shipyard also served as a launch point for key components used in the making of the first atomic bomb.
There are still plenty of yellow “radioactive” warning signs posted around the shipyard. So, explore this area at your own risk!
Location: Hunters Point, San Francisco, CA 94124
The Haunt Experience
If exploring abandoned places and learning about some of San Francisco’s most notorious historical landmarks sounds like your idea of a good time, you might want to check out our Haunted San Francisco Ghost Tour.
It will take you on an unforgettable journey through the streets of SF to show you the dark side of our beloved city.