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District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
September 16, 2004
Opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge is quite possibly San Francisco's most famous landmark. The massive 1.7-mile structure crosses the mouth of San Francisco Bay, connecting the city to Marin County to the north. The bridge not only provides a vital link in the area's highway system, but it also is a major tourist destination - each year thousands of people make the trip to visit the bridge and admire it's enormous art deco-styled structure.
Despite several previous trips to San Francisco, I had not actually been to the Golden Gate Bridge until my Labor Day 2003 trip. I'm surprised it took my fourth trip to the city for me to finally visit the bridge, as large suspension bridges have always fascinated me. Despite multiple trips to the Tacoma Narrows, Fred Hartman, and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges, I had somehow never managed to make it to the Golden Gate. So, my first trip was somewhat of a pilgrimage, but it will definitely not be my last.
Getting to the bridge without a rental car takes a little time, but is not that difficult, as the Muni nos. 28 and 29 bus routes go directly to the southern end of the bridge and the visitor's center. The bridge is also reachable via Golden Gate Transit buses, which cross the bridge into Marin County.
The bridge can be driven across if you have a car, but you may also walk across the bridge on the east sidewalk. Bicyclists may also cross the bridge on the sidewalks, using the east sidewalk at night and during the day, and the west sidewalk during evening rush hours. Information on biking across the bridge is available on the Golden Gate Bridge website.
My travel companion and I chose to walk about halfway across the bridge. I actually wanted to continue the rest of the way to the northern end of the bridge and back, but his feet were sore from walking, and it was rather cold on the day we visited. Walking out onto the bridge is quite an experience, especially for those of us with a fear of heights. The bridge is approximately 220 feet above the water, and is so massive that it makes the ships passing below look like toys. Fortunately the sidewalk is wide, and, if you choose to walk close to the roadway, the vertigo I experienced looking over the guardrail to the bay below was nonexistent.
When visiting the bridge, be sure to take a jacket, even if the weather downtown is warm. On the day we visited, downtown San Francisco was sunny and mild, but the area around the bridge was shrouded in fog, with a stiff wind and air temperature of about 55° F. These weather conditions are not atypical, and tourists who were there in t-shirts and shorts were truly suffering.
For more information on the bridge's history and planning your visit to this San Francisco icon, see the Golden Gate Bridge website.
From journal Labor Day Weekend in San Francisco
August 17, 2004
From journal San Francisco is gorgeous!!!
Dillon, South Carolina
September 25, 2003
From journal Week in San Fran
Brewerton, New York
June 13, 2003
From journal Spectacular Redwoods - California
May 28, 2003
From journal SFO
by Gwilym Owen
November 18, 2002
Opened on May 28, 1937 at twelve o'clock noon, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Golden Gate Bridge is instantly recognisable by its eye catching 'International Orange' colour scheme, and its trademark Art Deco
suspension bridge lines.
The phenomenal 4,200ft main suspension span was a world record length that lasted for 27 years until New York's Verrazano Bridge topped it in 1964. The bridge's 1.7 mile length can be crossed by car (toll southbound), on bicycles or on foot. Check out the Golden Gate Bridge Research Library Website for more amazing statistics about this unique bridge.
The Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge is the 'wilder' side and a great place to take pictures and watch freighters and sailing ships cruise under the bridge as you enjoy a view that stretches right round from Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks to The Bay Bridge.
The south side of the bridge is more developed and easier to get to for tourists, which means that it is more crowded but also has better facilities. At the base of the bridge is Fort Point National Historic
Monument which was also used as the nerve centre for building the bridge.
Higher up, by the entrance to the bridge's east sidewalk, is the statue of Joseph B Strauss who masterminded its construction, as well as a cross section of one of the Bridge's huge main cables. Also here is the
Roundhouse Gift Centre where, as well as the usual tacky and not so tacky tourist souvenirs, you can buy a wealth of books and videos about the history of Golden Gate Bridge. Outside the Roundhouse is the MUNI city bus (routes 28&29) turning circle and the southside car park.
I had a chance to drive across it to and from Sausalito before dropping off the hire car, and then a second time when I walked to underneath one of the pylons to stare up at its sheer colossal size. To me this bridge is almost the 'twin' of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, as they were both
built within a few years of each other and though of differing styles they were the largest of their kinds for many years afterwards.
From journal Golden Gate to California
E Bridgewater, Massachusetts
August 2, 2002
From journal DON'T FORGET THE CITY PASS
April 15, 2001
From journal Climbing San Francisco
by Big Louie
October 22, 2000
From journal Hip but reasonable San Francisco
New York City, New York, Afghanistan
June 19, 2000
From journal Life in the Foggy City