SFO Opens Outdoor Observation Deck Overlooking Airfield

Visiting the 1,460-square-foot SkyTerrace in Terminal 2 does not require payment, a boarding pass or a ticket

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Fascinated by the sight of airliners taking off into the sky and coming back to Earth? San Francisco International Airport has a new viewing platform where you can satisfy your aviation appetite.

On Friday, the airport opened its SkyTerrace, an outdoor observation deck that provides visitors with 180-degree views of the spot where all four runways intersect.

"We are very excited to open an outdoor observation deck that everyone can enjoy," Airport Director Ivar C. Satero said in a statement. "For many of us, coming to SFO with family to watch airplanes helped inspire our love for aviation. With the SkyTerrace, we hope to bring that same passion and excitement to new generations of families."

PHOTOS: SFO’s New Outdoor Observation Deck

The 1,460-square-foot SkyTerrace is located in Terminal 2 before the security checkpoint. It is open seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visiting does not require payment, a boarding pass or a ticket.

"You can just come out here and enjoy the day," SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said. "That's really an important concept here for us because we want it to be more than something that travelers can enjoy. We wanted something that local communities and families could come out and enjoy any time that they want to."

Visitors have to go through a security check before entering the observation area, but they are allowed to bring food and beverages with them.

"Those usual TSA regulations about liquids and gels don't apply," Yakel said. "So, you could bring a big beverage, come out here and enjoy the airplanes."

The SkyTerrace has wooden chairs and benches to go along with some drought-tolerant landscaping. It also features bird-safe glass panels that provide protection from the wind and allow for sweeping views of the airfield.

A cafe near the observation deck is set to open later this year, the airport said.

Aside from the viewing platform, visitors can also check out a nearby SFO Museum exhibit.

The SkyTerrace cost $6.3 million to construct, according to the airport.

"This is really about 25 years in the making cause that's about how long it's been since SFO had an observation deck that the public could enjoy," Yakel said. "We're really excited to bring this type of concept back to SFO."

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