Golden Gate Bridge


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by becks on December 3, 2004

I cannot really recall when I first became aware of San Francisco or the desire to visit this beautiful city, but I guess I must have seen pictures of the international orange Golden Gate Bridge sometime when I was small. Movies such as The Birds and Dirty Harry I only saw in my mid-twenties, while living in Japan (it is possible to see these movies at least three times per year, being broadcasted at all hours on Japan’s various networks). Finally seeing the bridge really made my day, and after many trips, I still enjoy both seeing and crossing the bridge as much as I did the first time.

Fact File:

Opened:
1937

Construction Cost:
$35 million ($1.2 billion in today’s money!)

Length:
1.7 miles

Suspension span:
4,200 feet

Towers:
746 feet

Toll:
$5 per car, southbound only

The Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco and Marin Head County to the north. It can be seen from many vantage points inside the city, but I prefer the views close up from the Marin Heads, looking back towards the city. Here a road with the most amazing views of the bridge, city, and Pacific Ocean hugs the hillside. Several vista points are available. I prefer the stops closest to the bridge, where it seems almost within touching distance. Driving further along the road, the panorama becomes wider, with the bridge increasingly playing a smaller part in the larger overall picture (the photos below were taken from the third and second viewing points. The first was slightly crowded, and we were in a hurry elsewhere).

To get to this road, turn right at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge when driving from San Francisco. Ignore the crowded vista point immediately next to the road and turn left at the first opportunity. Cross underneath the highway and then turn left again and veer to the right (or return straight back onto the bridge!). From here, enjoy the curvy road and several viewing points. If in a hurry, turn back before the road becomes one-way only. The one-way section starts with a dramatic, very steeply sloped road that gives the impression that you are going to plunge into the Pacific Ocean – a feeling enhanced when you are not yet accustomed to the rather soft feel of the rental car’s brake pedal. However, after this dramatic moment, the views are not particularly good, and the return to the main road is via uninspiring but dead-slow back roads through this nature conservation area. However, if planning to get out of the car and walk, do continue and enjoy the views on the walk to Point Bonita Lighthouse

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco, California

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