Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Views
Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic landmark in San Francisco. It is
featured in numerous photos, posters and postcards of the city. Walking
or biking across the bridge is part of the San Francisco experience. And
even if you don’t get the chance to cross the bridge, you’ll certainly
see it during your other activities in the city.
Golden Gate Bridge Photo by Tory Kallman
Where to See the Best Views of the Bridge
every traveler will get the chance to go over the Golden Gate Bridge
but you’ll still be able to see this landmark while you’re in the city.
Here are some of the best spots to keep your eye out for a terrific view
of the bridge.
- Hyde Street Pier.
Hyde Street Pier, located at the Northern end of Hyde Street, is a
great spot for seeing the Golden Gate Bridge from within the city. This
pier, located close to Ghirardelli Square, is home to historic ships
that you can tour while you’re there. Look west from the end of this
pier to see the bridge.
- Pier 39. On clear days when there isn’t a lot of fog in the water you can see the Golden Gate Bridge from a distance while visiting Pier 39.
- Coit Tower.
This Telegraph Hill attraction is a great place to see views of almost
every part of the city. Take the affordable elevator ride to the top of
the tower and look to the west to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Again,
this option only works if it’s not a foggy day.
- Marin Headlands.
For a really unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge, drive across the
bridge and turn left into the Marin Headlands. This is a popular hiking
area. From the parking lot, you can walk to a lookout where you can get a
really terrific close-up view of the bridge itself. You can also see
the city skyline behind the bridge. If you’re a hiker you’ll find that
several of the trails here also provide nice views of the bridge from
- Either side of the bridge.
You can obviously see the bridge from any spot on the bridge or from
either side of the bridge. One neat thing to enjoy is crossing the
bridge in a car or bus on a very foggy day. You’ll only be able to see
the part of the bridge closest to you and the rest wil be hidden under
that mysterious shroud of fog that covers the city.
- From a ferry.
Another way to view the bridge is via a ferry or group boat charter.
With the ferries, you can bike one way, and ferry back from Sausalito or
Tiburon (Marin County cities).
How to Get to the Golden Gate Bridge
- By car.
The Golden Gate Bridge is part of U.S. Highway 101 and is accessible by
car. You can drive across the bridge. Note that there is a toll to pay
to get back into the city from the other side. There are parking lots on
either side of the bridge (free on the northern side, small fee on the
southern side). To reach the parking lot in the city on the south side
of the bridge, take U.S. Highway 101 and look for the exit sign that
reads "Golden Gate National Recreation Area View Area."
- By bike.
Many, many visitors choose to rent a bike and take it to the Golden
Gate Bridge. Bike rental is located all throughout the Fisherman’s Wharf
area. Your bike rental service will provide you with a map to reach the
bridge from their exact location.
- By public transportation.
The San Francisco MUNI bus will take you to and from the Golden Gate
Bridge. The MUNI route that takes you there is #28. If you wish to take
public transportation across to the other side of the bridge, you will
need to use the Golden Gate Transit system. Routes 10, 20, 80 and 101 on
that system cross the bridge.
- By tour bus.
The majority of city tour buses, such as the double decker buses, take
you to the golden gate bridge. These tours can be booked online or found
in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city.
- By limo. For a relaxing trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, try a San Francisco limousine tour.
What To Do at the Golden Gate Bridge
- Walk across the bridge.
Many people want to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Indeed, this is
a wonderful experience. You can see the Pacific Ocean on one side and
the San Francisco Bay on the other. As long as it’s not foggy out, you
can see a great view of the city skyline from the bridge and you can
also see Sausalito, Angel Island and Alcatraz.
It’s a great place for taking classic San Francisco pictures. Make sure
that you bring a jacket because it’s usually cold in this area of the
city. Also, wear good walking shoes because the walk across the bridge
is over one mile each way.
- Bicycle across the bridge.
One of the most popular ways for travelers to get to the other side of
the bridge is to rent a bike and ride it across to the other side. Bike
rentals are available throughout Fisherman's Wharf for around $8/hour or
$32 per day. Be aware that it is usually cold and windy on the bridge
so a jacket is a good idea.
Enjoy views of the city skyline. On
either side of the bridge are small parking lots where you can view the
Bay, ocean, and Marin Headlands. Take lots of photos while you’re here!
- Look out for the suicide phones.
At either end of the Golden Gate Bridge you will see emergency phones
with signage letting people know that they have options other than to
end their lives. Although this is a bit morbid, it is an important part
of the history of the Golden Gate Bridge because each year there are
people who commit suicide by jumping off of the bridge. There is even a
documentary, called The Bridge, about this issue. It’s a highly
controversial topic because some people in the city want to erect nets
to prevent this from happening and others don’t want the bridge to have
- Buy souvenirs. There’s a gift
shop located at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge in a
cool-looking building called the Roundhouse. This historic building was
originally a restaurant but is now a great spot for you to pick up those
cheesy San Francisco souvenirs that you want to take home at the end of
- Check out the Lone Sailor Memorial. This
is a Navy statue that was made in bronze and copied multiple times to
be placed in different important spots in the United States. One of
these is at the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Map of Golden Gate Bridge (click to enlarge):
Other Activities Close to the Golden Gate Bridge
- Sausalito. One
of the most popular things to do is to bike across the bridge to the
little town of Sausalito. Here you can enjoy shopping, dining, antiquing
and walking along the water. Many people take the ferry back to San
Francisco (bikes are allowed on the ferry) although of course you can
bicycle back as well.
- Fort Point. This
historic fort was an important protector of the city during the U.S.
Civil War. It is located at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. It
is open Friday through Sunday from 10-5. Occasionally there are Civil
War re-enactments held as special events at this location.
- Fort Baker.
This is another historic fort located opposite of Fort Point. It is
home to the Bay Area Discovery Museum where you can learn more about the
military history of the area.
- Walk along the water
to Crissy Field. This is a wonderful walk along a dog-friendly beach
where lots of people enjoy bike riding, rollerblading and simply taking a
stroll. It takes approximately one hour to walk from the bridge to the
heart of Crissy Field in the popular Marina neighborhood. Here you’ll find shopping and dining opportunities.
- You will also find a cool free museum called the Gulf of Farallones Visitor’s Center. If you were to continue walking along the water you would eventually reach Fort Mason, Hyde Street Pier and even Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Go windsurfing. The
water in the bay right near Crissy Field is one of the most popular
places in the area to safely go windsurfing. Watch the people in the
water here or be daring and go out and try it yourself.
- Check out the nude beach.
If you walk from the Golden Gate Bridge in the opposite direction of
Crissy Field then you’ll be headed out towards the ocean. The first
beach that you hit will be Baker Beach, the City’s main
clothing-optional beach. If you continue to walk along the coast you’ll
eventually reach the Cliff House, Sutro Baths and Ocean Beach and you’ll find yourself very close to Golden Gate Park.
- Visit the Presidio. This
is a former army base now converted to a beautiful park. The Presidio
bounds the Southern (San Francisco) end of the bridge and connects the
Marina District to the Richmond District. It features beautiful bay
shore, sandy beaches, and great walks and bike rides. There are also
several great museums in this area including the Exploratorium and the Walt Disney Museum.
Golden Gate Bridge Facts
the Golden Gate Bridge was first built in 1937 it was the longest
suspension bridge ever built in the world. It immediately became
internationally recognized and still remains a globally known symbol of
San Francisco to this day. It is currently the second longest suspension
bridge in the United States and the ninth longest in the world. Many
people say that even though it’s not the longest anymore, it’s still the
Golden Gate Bridge Photo by Charles Davis
of the bridge was clearly a big deal. Many people said that there was
no way that the bridge could be created. Not only would it have to be
longer than any other suspension bridge of that time but it was in an
area with strong wind currents and water tides. The Department of War
worried that the bridge would interfere with ship traffic in the area.
There were a lot of design issues to deal with and a lot of red tape to
get through. Eventually, construction did start in 1933 and took over
four years to complete at a cost of slightly more than $30 million.
Francisco has always loved to celebrate everything. When the bridge
finally opened, there was a week-long celebration. 200,000 people
crossed the bridge together on foot and rollerskates before cars were
allowed to cross. Celebrations continued in the city for several weeks
following this event.
The bridge was built because it was
necessary to create a transportation link between then North Bay and the
city. At the time, the only way to get between the two areas was by
ferry. Although it’s still possible to ferry between the areas today,
most people find it more practical to travel across the bridge. Before
the bridge was built, San Francisco’s national growth rate was smaller
than average because it was just too inconvenient to get in and out of
the city. The bridge succeeded in helping to grow the city. It also
became a symbol that defines the city.
Many people want to know
why the bridge is red. Well technically it’s not red, it’s a color of
orange vermillion called International Orange. This color was selected
because one of the original architects felt like it was the color that
best enhanced the visibility of the bridge in the fog and yet still
complemented the natural surroundings of the area.
Looking for images, pictures, and pics of the Golden Gate Bridge to use for wallpaper and screensavers or just enjoy? Check out our album of custom photos and favorite Golden Gate Bridge posters.