Locating Starfleet Buildings in San Francisco

by Bernd Schneider and Drew Stewart

22nd Century23rd Century24th/25th CenturyAbramsverseDiscoveryAddendum: ConfederationSummary


We can see Starfleet's buildings in and around San Francisco in all live-action series with the notable exception of TOS and in most of the Star Trek movies. Since many of the shots also show real-world references such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the cityscape, other landmarks and topological features, it is interesting to try to locate these buildings on a map of the real San Francisco Bay.

Furthermore, as we have snapshots of the Bay Area at different times, it may be possible to outline a coarse history of Starfleet's buildings and sites. Considering that the locations of specific Starfleet facilities such as most obviously Starfleet Headquarters are subject to vary whenever new matte paintings or CGI effects are created and, on the other hand, sometimes an existing image is re-used for a different facility, a chronology may help to make the relocations more plausible.


22nd Century

The Starfleet facilities that can be seen on Star Trek Enterprise are all concentrated on the northern shore of the Golden Gate, east of the bridge.

Starfleet Command building, 2143-2155

The building of 22nd century Earth Starfleet Command is located northeast of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the northern shore of the small Horseshoe Bay. Going by in-universe chronological order, we can first see the building in which Commodore Forrest's office is located from the outside in a flashback in ENT: "First Flight". The year is 2143. The line of vision is to the south, along the characteristic scarp at the northern bridge head with the supporting wall for the road. The building is still the very same ten years later in "Shadows of P'Jem" (2151), "Home" (2154) and "Demons" (2155). All episodes use unmodified stock footage from "Shadows of P'Jem".

Looking through the window of Forrest's office in ENT: "First Flight", we can see the Golden Gate Bridge just as in the exterior shot, but it is obvious that there is something wrong with this view. The office is located much higher than the roadway, and it is also closer to the northern pylon than any building of this Starfleet site. The first is not a big problem because we don't know how tall the Starfleet building actually is. But regarding the distance to the bridge, if the view from Forrest's office were correct, the building in which it has to be located would obscure the bridge in the exterior shot. So perhaps the round windows contain some lens that creates the impression of the bridge being closer? Looking closer, however, it becomes obvious that the shot used for Forrest's office doesn't even show the correct side of the bridge. It is a view from the northwest with the city in the background that was flipped, not one from the northeast.

In the 22nd century the area of the Presidio (the site of some future Starfleet buildings) at the opposite shore of the Golden Gate is apparently only sparsely populated. There are no recognizable large buildings, neither on the shore nor in the hills.

Another shot that appears in "The Expanse" (at night) and in "Home" (at daylight) supposedly shows the same Starfleet Command building as above, as indicated by the flat domes closer to the shore that are clearly meant to be the same. On the other hand, the fašade is now straight and not curved. This may be a lower part of the building, one that was obscured in the previous shots. But if the location is basically still the same, we are looking in southeastern direction, at the small hill range on the eastern shore of Horseshoe Bay. On the other hand, the remote shore appears to be at least one kilometer away, while the Horseshoe Bay measures at most some 500m across. And the hills on the other side are just a few meters high in reality. Overall, Horseshoe Bay is far less impressive in reality. In any case there are settlements alongside that whole bay, as the lights at night indicate.

In a different interpretation, the building from "The Expanse" and "Home" is not the same, and is not located at Horseshoe Bay. A tall shoreline more than one kilometer away across a bay or lagoon can be found in Bolinas, looking back at Stinson Bay. This is on the sea side of Marin County, 20 kilometers northwest of Horseshoe Bay. On the other hand, there is no obvious reason why Forrest's office and the conference room should be so far apart, yet in buildings that look identical.

Starfleet Command building, 2155

The building of Starfleet Command also shows up in ENT: "Terra Prime", here as a long-range scan from Mars, as Paxton has chosen it as a target. This building, however, does not resemble the familiar one from the other episodes.

On a different note, the Golden Gate Bridge of 2155 still looks like it does in the 20th/21st century, there are no add-ons to the roadway.


23rd Century

All Starfleet facilities that we see in the TOS movies are located at the northern shore of the Golden Gate, west of the bridge. The only exception is the tram station in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture".

Starfleet tram station, 2271

In "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" we can see how Admiral Kirk's air tram, coming from some location at the northern shore of the Golden Gate east of the bridge, arrives at a station located some 300 meters east of the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, atop the hill range in the Presidio. The reverse angle of the bridge as seen from inside the station confirms this location. Strictly speaking, the tram station doesn't have to be a Starfleet Installation. In fact, there is a big Federation emblem on the floor, and it is well possible that another organization takes care of public transportation in 2271.

On a side note, the former roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge itself is covered with thick plates or tubes in both versions of the first Trek movie, perhaps a part of some sort of an antigrav or maglev transportation system (that may have become obsolete because of the new free flying air tram system?). This addition will be removed until the 24th century.

For Robert Wise's Director's Cut of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" an entirely new air tram sequence was created. The shuttle now approaches from some point west of the bridge. But most obviously the air tram station is now located directly beside the southern bridge head, hovering above Fort Point. Also, San Francisco has more and taller buildings in the Director's Cut.

This sequence remains the same in the Blu-ray edition of the Director's Cut of 2022, including the locations of buildings. Yet, the footage has been heavily digitally edited. The cityscape of San Francisco, the bridge, single buildings and the vegetation were refined. Also, the proportions of the shuttle are noticeably different now.

Kirk's apartment, 2285

While it probably isn't a Starfleet building itself, the location of Admiral Kirk's apartment in the city center of San Francisco in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" indicates that the air tram in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" didn't come from his apartment, although it is quite possible that he moved in the 14 years between the two movies.

On a perhaps more interesting note, Kirk is staring out of the window in the direction of Starfleet Academy (former Earth Starfleet Headquarters), pondering about his age. A translight was used for the view outside the window. On the right side of the screen cap we can see plenty of lights in Marin County on the other side of the bay, obviously meant to represent Sausalito.

Federation Council building, 2271-2286 (and 2161)

In "Star Trek: The Voyage Home" (2286) there is a shot of the exterior of the Federation Council building. We can recognize the city at the opposite shore on the other side of the bridge, which puts the Council building on the northern shore, west of the bridge. The most likely exact location is in a small valley a bit less than one kilometer to the west. On the left side of the screen capture we can make out a part of the hill that is directly at the western side of the northern bridge head, the site of the Starfleet Headquarters in 2286.

The Federation Council complex has to be the same one that is visible left of the bridge from the reverse angle in the already mentioned air tram scene from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (2271).

The Council Building of 2286 is adorned by the Franz Joseph-designed Federation emblem in "Star Trek IV".

The same building also appears in LOW: "Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus", here establishing it as the site where the Federation was founded and hence predating its existence to 2161. The interior also seen in the Lower Decks episode looks exactly as the footage of the ceremony that already appeared in ENT: "Zero Hour" and "These Are The Voyages". The round floorplan of the set matches the shape of the building, so it was the obvious choice to link them together in the animated episode. Lower Decks, like TNG-R, shows the familiar Federation emblem on the building, although it is anachronistic. The lettering "United Federation of Planets", on the other hand, is missing.

Starfleet Headquarters building, 2286-2293

The control room of Starfleet Command in "Star Trek: The Voyage Home" (whose glass window gets smashed) is located close to the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge (we can see a bit of the city in the background between Admiral Cartwright and the crewman), in an elevated position above the roadbed of the bridge.

We don't see this building from the outside in the movie. But obviously someone remembered its supposed location correctly when an exterior shot of Starfleet Headquarters at night was created for "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country". It is not certain looking at the according screen caps from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", but is is possible that the building doesn't yet exist as of 2271.

There is an error in the shot from "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country", however. In reality there is no such high hill on the right side of the bridge, which would be east of the bridge on the northern shore. As we already know, on this side the road runs alongside a scarp and the view from the 22nd century Starfleet Command is not obstructed by such a hill. The image was manipulated more extensively than just the addition of the new building. Actually, the high hill right of the bridge with the lone tree on the top should be located on the left side. The real image was horizontally flipped, and a new hill was created along with the building.


24th/25th Century

In the three 24th century series TNG, DS9 and Voyager it seems that most Starfleet facilities can be found northeast of the bridge.

Starfleet Academy, 2368-2377

The first time that we can see Starfleet Academy is in TNG: "First Duty" (note the flag at half-mast because of the death of one cadet in the shuttle accident). In the real world the building that we look at is the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles. The footage of the real location was supplemented with new upper stories and embedded into a matte painting with additional buildings and with the Golden Gate Bridge, placing this part of the Starfleet Academy campus area in the area of Horseshoe Bay, perhaps 200m northeast of the site of the former 21st century Earth Starfleet Command. Note that it looks like the bridge is somewhat farther away from the camera than in the shots from Enterprise, while the line of vision is the same.

In LOW: "Old Friends, New Planets" we can see an animated version of the very same spot at the same time (maybe a couple of weeks earlier).

In in-universe chronological order, Starfleet Academy appears again in VOY: "In the Flesh", here as a simulation created by Species 8472, including a member of the alien species as Boothby and presumably precise enough that Chakotay wouldn't notice the difference if he were not aware that everything was recreated on a huge space station. On the other hand, while the real year is 2377, everyone in this simulation without exception is running around in the old-style Starfleet uniforms as they were retired in 2373. It is possible that single Starfleet officers on Earth, notably admirals, may still wear the old style four years later. But certainly not everyone. So the only possible conclusion is that Species 8472 based their simulation on outdated records from Voyager's computer.

Another inaccuracy is that the building in "In the Flesh" and its immediate surrounding is very similar but evidently not the same as in TNG: "The First Duty". Since the data the simulation is based on probably dates back to 2371, we wouldn't expect the area to change that much in only three years since 2368. Still it looks like the "Tillman Plant" was heavily modified and some of the surrounding buildings demolished (and rather not destroyed in the Breen attack that would occur as late as in 2375). Well, the Golden Gate Bridge appears to be closer in "In the Flesh", actually just as close as in the Enterprise episodes. It is well possible that this is another part of Starfleet Academy, one that was built on the site of the former Earth Starfleet Command or is located very close to it, presupposing that the historical building in which the Federation was effectively forged would never be knocked down just because it isn't needed any longer.

On a different note, we can recognize many highrises in San Francisco on the opposite shore, in an area where they obviously didn't exist in the 22nd century and may have been covered by the building on the left in "The First Duty". Considering that the cityscape of San Francisco varies considerably between the 22nd and the 24th century (let alone in "Star Trek (2009)"), at least this trend is consistent.

Starfleet Headquarters building, 2364 and 2372

The unchanged footage of the Council building west of the bridge from "Star Trek IV" appears in TNG: "Conspiracy", here serving as the Starfleet Headquarters. It looks like the Federation Council has moved to another building or building complex (although the Federation emblem and lettering is still in place), or Starfleet Headquarters temporarily uses some of the Federation's facilities.

In the remastered version TNG-R: "Conspiracy" the Franz Joseph emblem on the building was replaced with the proper 24th century Federation emblem.

The footage appears once again as Starfleet Headquarters in VOY: "Non Sequitur", set in 2372.

Starfleet Headquarters building, 2372 and 2381

The building consisting of the already mentioned Tillman Water Reclamation Plant as a base and a ribbed and curved upper part (a model, actually) is the perhaps most prominent visualization of Starfleet Headquarters, although it appeared in just one live-action episode, DS9: "Homefront". As opposed to all previous versions of Starfleet Command or Headquarters, its site is definitely near the southern shore of the Golden Gate, in the area of the Presidio. We are looking at the Golden Gate Bridge from a slightly elevated position and not from the waterfront as in "Star Trek (2009)" (see below). The photo of the bridge used in this shot was probably taken from Doyle Drive, just northwest of the National Cemetery. But it was inserted into the background of the matte at a small scale, to insinuate that the bridge is at a longer distance, so overall the matte may not correspond with a possible real camera position. The 24th century building may be found somewhere on or southeast of the present-day cemetery, although in reality the view of the bridge from there is currently obstructed.

The fairly symmetrical Golden Gate Bridge being the only point of reference, we could still claim the actual site is on the opposite side near the Federation Council, only somewhat more to the west. However, this alternative area is nowhere as low and flat in reality as it looks on the image, and it seems very unlikely that Starfleet would level the hills at the entrance to the bay so much to obtain a large building ground there (and additionally an unobstructed panoramic view).

On a side note, the stone garden at Starfleet Headquarters in "Homefront" is exactly the same as the one at Starfleet Academy in "In the Flesh", the obvious reason being that it is the actual surrounding of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant.

The same building from the same perspective is also visible in LOW: "The Stars at Night", set in 2381.

In "Paradise Lost", the second part of the double feature, we can see what is supposedly meant to be Starfleet Headquarters at night. But in the night shot the upper stories of the building are missing. What we see is just the Tillman building without additions. In an in-universe explanation we could ignore that the upper stories are missing. Or we could be looking at any other building of Starfleet, perhaps the one of Starfleet Headquarters that would be destroyed in the Breen attack three years later (see below, 2375) and whose architecture is at least similar.

Also in "Paradise Lost", we can see a bridge through a window in a building of Starfleet Headquarters. We previously thought that it was the Golden Gate Bridge, but the shot in which Sisko is talking to a Red Squad cadet reveals the bridge pier. It is actually the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and it would look like this from a tall building located on the Embarcadero or on the foot of Telegraph Hill. Today, looking from the vicinity of Coit Tower would give us this view of the bridge, and the photo used for the background was probably taken from there, but Coit Tower is too far away for the scale at which the bridge appears.

Starfleet Headquarters building, 2375

In DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil" we can see another shot of a building very similar to Starfleet Academy from nearly the same angle as later in "In the Flesh" and Star Trek Enterprise. While Martok speaks of "Starfleet Headquarters" and Sisko adds that he had a lot of friends in those buildings after looking at the monitor showing the aftermath of the Breen attack, it is well possible that the news footage actually shows Starfleet Academy. Considering that it was a large-scale attack on more than just one building (considering the damage on the bridge and the smoke in the city), it is only plausible that Starfleet Academy was hit just as well. On the other hand, the emblem that is visible on the ground is the one of Starfleet Command, not of Starfleet Academy.

The destroyed building in the foreground looks like it is yet another one on or near the Starfleet Academy campus. Most obviously it is much closer to the shore than any of the other ones, including those of 22nd century Starfleet Command. On the other hand, the later produced shot of the Academy for "In the Flesh" (2377, data from 2371) rather follows the lines of the building and its surroundings in "The Changing Face of Evil" (2375) than those of "The First Duty" (2368). Perhaps it was transferred from the Academy to Starfleet Command prior to its destruction?

"The Changing Face of Evil" too shows us shiny new tall buildings on the hill tops of San Francisco, albeit different ones than later in "In the Flesh".

Starfleet apartments, 2377

Stock footage of the night shot of the Starfleet Headquarters building from 2286-2293 are used in VOY: "In the Flesh". Here it appears that the building now houses apartments for Starfleet officers (again presupposing that the simulation created by Species 8472 is accurate).

The same footage also appears in VOY: "Non Sequitur", but as a generic building in San Francisco without any relevance to the story.

Starfleet Communications, 2376-2404

We see the exterior of Starfleet Communications in VOY: "Pathfinder" and once again in VOY: "Endgame". This building is apparently located in the city center of San Francisco. In the real world the building was created using parts of the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.

Starfleet Command, 2381

USS Voyager is on display at Starfleet Command at the end of LOW: "Twovix". We can't make out familiar buildings except for the Golden Gate Bridge. The orientation of the bridge and the hills in the background indicate that this location is on the southern side, but much closer to the bridge than the familiar Headquarters building in DS9: "Homefront" and LOW: "The Stars at Night". It is approximately the same spot where Starfleet Academy is located in the Kelvinverse in "Star Trek (2009)".

Starfleet Headquarters, 2384

We can see Starfleet Headquarters from several angles in PRO: "Supernova II". The year is 2384. Looking from the city in the wide-angle shot, we can see the strange solar panels on the Golden Gate Bridge, as they are a hallmark of all modern-day Trek productions. The rest of the scenery is very different from how the area looked in the late 24th century in other iterations, however. The close shot from the same direction shows that, rather than solid rock, there are buildings underneath the bridge on the Marin County side now, unlike in any other Trek series so far. Actually, it looks like the whole traditional Horseshoe Bay site of Starfleet was moved almost 1 kilometer to the south. There are no buildings and no dry land behind those buildings, in the place where Horseshoe Bay should be actually located, whereas the scarp at the northern end of the bridge, with the road making a left turn, looks about right, so this definitely is the northern end of the bridge. The individual buildings are very different as well than in either TNG/DS9 or Picard. And Tilly's park and tree from DIS: "People of Earth" was not inserted either.

The reverse angle in the same episode, when Gwyn's shuttle leaves, seems to show the same buildings again. We would assume it to use the same CG model. But there are some differences, of which one may have been included on purpose. We can clearly see the assembly building for the Protostar-class ship with the externally visible struts on the shore, south-east of the large trapezoid building in the later sunset shot. The daylight scene, which is supposedly set several days or weeks earlier, also shows a structure in this location, but apparently with no walls. So this appears to indicate that the assembly hall is just being built. But it also seems that the buildings that are now in the foreground are further away from the bridge than before (more like where they ought to be according to all other Trek series), and it doesn't look like any of them could be underneath the bridge.

There is also a more fundamental problem with the latter shot because the sunset (or sunrise?) occurs in the south-west.

For the sake of completeness, a shot that already appears in "Supernova I" shows Admiral Jellico in front of a window with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is just a generic shot to show he is somewhere at Starfleet Headquarters, and doesn't reveal anything else.

Starfleet Headquarters, 2384-2399

A building identified as "Starfleet Headquarters" appears in PIC: "The End is the Beginning" in a flashback to the year 2384. The real location is the Dr. Dianne D. van Hook University Center of the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

15 years later, in "Maps and Legends", the Starfleet Headquarters building with Admiral Clancy's office can be found near the Starfleet Archives Museum, as insinuated by the usage of a similar establishing shot as in "Remembrance". The real building used for Starfleet Headquarters too is located in the immediate vicinity of the arena that stood in for the Starfleet Archives Museum. Both belong to the Anaheim Convention Center. It is possible that Starfleet Headquarters moved in the 15 years, or the different buildings in the two consecutive episodes are meant to be the same, only seen from different sides.

Starfleet Command and Starfleet Archives Museum, 2399

Two different establishing shots of Starfleet buildings in San Francisco were created for Star Trek: Picard. They appeared in "Remembrance" and in "Maps and Legends", respectively. Both are clearly based on the shot from DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow II", thereby creating visual continuity with Star Trek Discovery, rather than with classic Star Trek. A couple of buildings were added, and some more were "demolished" or otherwise changed, insinuating that over 140 years have passed. The solar panels on the bridge are still the same. The second new sequence from "Maps and Legends" even shows the whole scenery from much the same angle as in Discovery.

We do not know which exact buildings are located in the area around the northern end of the bridge and especially at Horseshoe Bay. But it is a good guess that this is the site of the Starfleet Archives Museum that Picard visits in "Remembrance". The footage of the grounds around the Starfleet Archives Museum were filmed at the Anaheim Convention Center. The building used for the museum is the Arena. The Golden Gate Bridge behind the Starfleet Archives Museum seems to be a bit far away but can be seen from about the same angle as from about the same location in Star Trek Enterprise and TNG/DS9/Voyager.

When she is trying to locate Picard in "Remembrance", Dahj consults the 24th century equivalent of Google Maps. A satellite picture of Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island and the Oakland Bay Bridge as it looks today is briefly seen while the camera zooms to Picard's location. A second shot shows the area where Starfleet Command is located in the 24th century. A present-day satellite image was used for this as well. The locations around the northern end of the bridge look very much like they do today. They were supplemented with some skyscrapers that don't match with the establishing shots of Starfleet Command.

Starfleet Command & Academy, 2401

A new shot of Horseshoe Bay was created for the second season premiere PIC: "The Star Gazer", set in 2401. A new irregularly shaped building was added to the right of the big round domed structure. This is the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, whose interior served for the location shots of the assembly hall in the episode. In real life, the building was unmistakably designed by Frank Gehry. It is adorned by the Starfleet Command emblem, which is also visible in many places on the inside of the hall. There are also many changes to other buildings, some of which are more than just cosmetic and indicate that the area was rebuilt, especially on the right side of the bay.

The same episode also shows a shot that was originally created for the first season and into which the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the big emblem was inserted as a new building on the very right.

Starfleet Medical and misc. buildings, 2404

Just for the sake of completeness, VOY: "Endgame" also shows us a facility of Starfleet Medical, in the alternate reality of the year 2404. There is no clue as to where this building is located. The real building that the matte is based on is the Kaiser Baldwin Park Medical Center in Baldwin Park, California.

As Voyager flies at the beginning of VOY: "Endgame", we can see many small lights on the northern shore of Golden Gate. No identification of specific buildings is possible, but it looks like neither the "Starfleet apartments" from "In the Flesh" nor the large facilities of Horsehow Bay ar present.



In the new universe of "Star Trek (2009)" we can see an alternate Starfleet Academy.

Starfleet Academy (alt.), 2258

We can see Starfleet Academy on two occasions in "Star Trek (2009)", before Kirk's Kobayashi Maru test and once again when Nero's drilling begins in San Francisco Bay. The particular building or the complete campus of this timeline is located on the shore of the Presidio, not far away from the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The first shot of the bridge (Kirk meets McCoy prior to the Kobayashi Maru test) is taken from a point halfway between the former Crissy Airfield and Fort Point. On the other hand, we also see a pan in the opposite direction, where we can spot the present-day Transamerica Pyramid, perhaps 1 or 2 kilometers away, amidst many much taller buildings some of which must be more than 2 kilometers high. The direction of the building is roughly correct, but the real Transamerica Pyramid is located about 4km from the airfield. Moreover, in order to be able to see the building from there the way it is possible in the movie, and not just the very tip, it would require to lower Russian Hill, one of the most prominent parts of San Francisco, almost to sea level! Since the movie doesn't get the topology of the city right, perhaps we should assume that the location on the airfield is right, rather than the sight of the Transamerica Building. Perhaps it is a replica of the original building that was erected on the other side of Russian Hill? In "Star Trek Into Darkness" we can see the Transamerica Pyramid again, this time about in the right place and orientation, and not dwarfed by the surrounding buildings.

The second scene (drill scene) is meant to show the same building, as the staircase and the railing is identical. Yet, it must be from a location about one kilometer to the east, at the opposite end of the airfield, as indicated by the distance and the viewing angle of the bridge. Well, perhaps there is another building with similar stairs in this place. It also looks like the shoreline in the second shot is not the real one as of 2008. It is as if the former air field was carved out to a bay.

Starfleet building (alt.), 2259

In "Star Trek Into Darkness" we can see a building identified as "Starfleet Headquarters". It is several kilometers away from the Golden Gate Bridge. The shot of the bridge must have been taken from some point northeast of the city center. Another Starfleet building located on the shore of San Francisco Bay looks like it is much closer to the bridge.

Starfleet Headquarters (alt.), 2259

Jorge Almeida produced various graphics for "Star Trek Into Darkness", among them a plan of the Starfleet Headquarters complex. The plan can be seen when Kirk and Spock enter their building for their appointment with Pike at the beginning of the film. According to the plan, the building complex is apparently located in the San Francisco city center, although the shot from the outside is the one that indicates that the location should be more to the northeast. Anyway, we can see that the 2nd Street is adjacent to the building complex. Since Khan's intention was to hit Starfleet Headquarters at the end of the film, we may want to follow the crash path of the Vengeance. The ship smashes Alcatraz and comes to a stop before it reaches the Transamerica Pyramid. 2nd Street lies in the extrapolated path, so it looks like Starfleet Headquarters (or at least a part thereof) is located south of Market Street (the northern end of 2nd Street). In other words, the Headquarters, Khan's main target, remains unscathed.



Star Trek Discovery shows a similar San Francisco as in the classic Prime Universe.

Starfleet Headquarters, 2257 (reimagined)

"Such Sweet Sorrow II" shows a view of the Golden Gate Bridge (with very odd solar panels) from San Francisco towards Marin County. We can see several buildings in the hills. The area of Horseshoe Bay is a bit reminiscent of Star Trek Enterprise. The room where Tyler is debriefed is probably located in one of the buildings of the Horseshoe Bay site. We can see a cityscape (and not hills with buildings on the top) on the opposite side of the bridge.

Starfleet court building, 2260 (reimagined)

An establishing in SNW: "Ad Astra per Aspera" looks into San Francisco Bay from the sea side, a view seen in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (Director's Cut) but not in Discovery and Picard so far. There are some new buildings but these are not identified. As the camera zooms in in a second shot, we can infer that Una Chin-Riley is on trial in an isolated building on the northern shore of the Golden Gate. The bridge visible behind the court building is a present-day structure and gives away that this is Point Bonita. The court building apparently replaces the lighthouse, which is located there today. It is also possible that the lighthouse still exists and is hidden behind or is even part of the new structure. The lighthouse keeper's house was located exactly where the center of the Starfleet building is now. And this reveals a scale issue. In comparison with the present-day house, the court building measures at most 10m at its square-shaped base. Not counting the platform, it is the size of a single-family home, and there is no way the spacious courtroom (which is round no less) could fit in.

Former Starfleet Headquarters/Academy, 3189 (reimagined)

In DIS: "People of Earth", set in the year 3189, the northern shore of San Francisco Bay still looks similar as it did in Discovery's 23rd century and as in Picard, although Starfleet Command and Starfleet Academy are no longer located here. There are overall fewer buildings, and additional structures floating in the sky. Curiously, the solar panels on the Golden Gate Bridge are still present.

One notable change is that the small harbor of Horseshoe Bay doesn't exist any longer but has been converted to a park. The big tree that everyone knows from their Academy days is located here. Tilly says it's "exactly where it's supposed to be" and Rhys adds that "we all stood in the same spot, 930 years apart". This is a clear retcon because the park and tree evidently didn't exist at any time they could have previously been there.


Addendum: Confederation

In the fascistic alternate version of Earth created by Q in PIC: "Penance", much of San Francisco (which is apparently the capital of the evil "Confederation") looks like it does in the same year 2401 in the original timeline. Even the solar panels are the same (which are a hallmark of modern Trek by now). A statue of Adam Soong was inserted into the familiar scenery of Horseshoe Bay. The real-life Walt Disney Concert Hall, which served as the assembly hall of Starfleet Academy in "The Star Gazer", is now the "President's Palace", with an according new emblem on the outside.



Our map shows that there are basically six sites with Starfleet buildings around San Francisco Bay that we know of, three on the north shore and three on the south shore of the Golden Gate.

The particular facilities that are most frequently shown or referred to are Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Headquarters (or Starfleet Command). The location of Starfleet Academy at Horseshoe Bay remains somewhat consistent, although we may not always be looking at the very same buildings. Only in the alternate universe of "Star Trek (2009)" parts of the Academy or the whole institution seem to have moved to the Presidio.

Regarding Starfleet Headquarters, it was originally located at Horseshoe Bay at the time of Earth Starfleet. At some later date, it looks like a new building was erected on top of the hills almost directly beside the Golden Gate Bridge. This one can be seen in two of the TOS movies. The former site at Horseshoe Bay may have been incorporated into Starfleet Academy, but it is possible that some parts of Starfleet Headquarters are still located there, as seen in DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil". By 2372 the headquarters appears to have moved to the Presidio. At least its most prominent building is located here, the one of DS9: "Homefront". In Star Trek: Picard, all important buildings including Starfleet Headquarters are at Horseshoe Bay again.


See Also

Re-Used Planet Sets - different planet surfaces that are amazingly alike

Re-Uses of the Vasquez Rocks Location - observations about Star Trek's most famous filming location



Most screen caps are taken from TrekCore; locations were identified with the help of Google Street View. Special thanks to J÷rg Hillebrand for additional references, to Michael Minnick for corrections, to Patrick W. Noland for the hint about the Baldwin Park Medical Center, to Alexander for the research on Starfleet Headquarters in the 2nd Street in "Star Trek Into Darkness", to Brian Castro for fixing an observation in "Paradise Lost" and to Adrian Quince for suggesting a possible alternative location of the buildings in the 22nd century.


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