Airport observation decks are a treat – and a rarity – these days.
So it’s a big deal when an airport opens a brand new one.
Better yet, an outdoor observation deck that anyone – even someone without a ticket – can visit.
But that’s what San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has done.
On February 14 – Valentine’s Day – SFO opened a new $6.3 million outdoor observation deck called the SkyTerrace.
Located pre-security in Terminal 2, the 1,460-square-foot SkyTerrace is open to the general public and, as a bonus, offers 180-degree views of the busiest section of SFO, where all four runways intersect.
Visitors will find wooden chairs and benches at the SkyTerrace, drought-tolerant landscaping, bird-safe glass panels to provide wind protection and great views.
Food and beverages are permitted on the SkyTerrace, and later this year a café will open nearby. So this sounds like a great place to hang out with friends or family before a flight.
SFO’s new SkyTerrace will be open seven days a week from 7:00 am – 10:00 pm. And while no ticket is required to access this new observation deck, visitors must still undergo a security check as they enter the space.
As a nice bonus, the SFO Museum has installed an exhibit at the SkyTerrace titled The 1954 San Francisco International Airport Terminal, which explores the history and architecture of the building that was on the spot now occupied by the SkyTerrace.
Designed in the International Style, the seven-story building was dedicated on August 27, 1954 and had panoramic views of the airfield and San Francisco Bay from multiple spectators’ terraces. The exhibition features objects and imagery from the first decade the building operated.
SFO’s other observation deck
And don’t forget that SFO airport has another snazzy observation deck.
That one also offers 180-degree views of the airfield and is post-security at the end of the International Terminal, Boarding Area G. It also has wooden chairs, tables, and chaise lounges, ten-foot bird-safe glass panels, drought-tolerant landscaping and three bronze sculptures. Hours: 7:00 am to 11:30 pm every day.