Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco
The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge links San Francisco with Marin County. It offers some of the most stunning views of San Francisco and its sailboat-filled bay. Opened to pedestrians on May 27, 1937 – and to automobiles the next day, the Golden Gate Bridge is visited by millions of tourists every year. Painted an International Orange, it is the world’s most recognizable bridge. And one of the most popular bridges on the planet.
Did you know that 10 million walkers and cyclists annually cross the Golden Gate Bridge? If you plan to walk or cycle across the bridge, be sure to dress warmly. Wear layers. It can get chilly if it’s foggy or windy, even in the summer. As Mark Twain was once quoted as saying “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco!” The span was built to withstand 27-foot side-to-side sways and move up and down by as much as 10 feet. And seismic retrofitting should help the bridge endure an 8.3 earthquake.
Marin Headlands - Best View of the Golden Gate Bridge
The Marin Headlands is one of our favorite places to get a bird’s eye view of the Golden Gate Bridge and beautiful San Francisco skyline. The views from the top are absolutely spectacular, especially on a fog-free sunny day (as pictured below). It’s one of our favorite places to bring out-of-town visitors. You just can’t beat the views!
Follow the windy road up to the top of the Marin Headlands. Parking is available at several Scenic Vista Points along the way. You can get some great pictures. There’s also an area where you can walk out to the tip of the Marin Headlands. It’s the first major parking area on your way up the windy road. Be prepared for crowds and limited parking during weekends, holidays and peak tourist season.
50th Anniversary Bridge Walk
We participated in the infamous 50th Anniversary “Bridge Walk” in May 1987, when the bridge was closed to traffic. Over 800,000 people from around the world (including my family from London) crowded onto the bridge that day. And yes, it was a little scary with so many pedestrians jammed together and nowhere to move. Infact, the arch in the roadway actually flattened under the weight of so many people. But what FUN! It’s a day that we’ll never forget.
75th Anniversary - Golden Gate Festival and Fireworks & Light Show
May 27, 2012 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. Celebrations included a fun Golden Gate Festival at various San Francisco locations. The festivities culminated in a spectacular night-time Fireworks & Light Show over the bridge. Watching the waterfall of fireworks flowing over the entire deck of the Golden Gate Bridge was surreal. We’ve never seen anything like it before! Following the unprecedented crowds at the 50th Anniversary, there was NO Bridge Walk for the 75th Anniversary. Celebratory events went on throughout the year to commemorate the bridge’s anniversary.
Vista Point Areas
Scenic Vista Point areas are located at each end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Park, enjoy the view, and snap photos. New Visa Points are in the planning stages. Overlooks and trails can be found in the adjacent Golden Gate National Parks.
Lone Sailor Memorial
Visit the Lone Sailor Memorial. The 7-foot Bronze Statue is located at the northern end of the Bridge, at Vista Point. During the evening, the memorial is softly illuminated. The plaque at the entrance reads “Here the sailor feels the first long roll of the sea, the beginning of the endless horizon that leads to the far Pacific.” Another small plaque describes the monument “Dedicated to the ordinary Sailors and Marines who sailed from this place and did their duty.”