Internationally recognized landmark of San Francisco, the world's longest golden gate bridge is a engineering masterpiece with suspension technology and spectacular sightseeing in California.
Arguably one of the world’s most beautiful bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge is an internationally recognized symbol and sightseeing of San Francisco, California. Over 45 million vehicles cross the bridge annually. The Golden Gate Bridge is a technical masterpiece that can only be described in superlative terms. When the bridge was completed in 1937 it was the world’s longest and tallest suspension bridge.
The construction of what was to become the world’s largest suspension bridge was a colossal task. At the time many people did not believe it was technically possible to span the Golden Gate. View from Marina district on the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. But despite the disbelief, opposition and the Great Depression, Joseph Strauss was able to find sufficient support and financial backing to go ahead with the project. Brooklyn residents still try to debate who has the more beautiful bridge, but for San Franciscans that argument was won in 1937, and the only debatable point is where to get the best vantage point on their beloved bridge.
Cinema buffs believe Alfred Hitchcock had it right: seen from below at Fort Point, the bridge induces a thrilling case of Vertigo. Fog aficionados prefer the lookout at Vista Point in Marin, on the north side of the bridge, to watch gusts rush through the bridge cables. Crissy Field is a key spot to appreciate the whole span, with windsurfers and kite-fliers to add action to your snapshots. Unlike the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge provides access to cyclists and pedestrians.
From the Golden Gate Bridge itself, you can see stunning vistas of San Francisco and Marin County, as well as Alcatraz, Angel Island, and oceangoing liners passing through the bridge’s tall red towers. Golden Gate Bridge connects the city of San Francisco with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Sausalito and the Muir Woods National Monument.
Historical and Interesting Golden Gate Bridge Facts
- Prior to the Golden Gate Bridge the only short way across the bay was by boat. A ferry ran from approximately 1820, but it wasn’t until 1867 that a full ferry service began. By the 1920s this ferry company was the largest of its kind in the world.
- The ferry trip took 20 to 27 minutes depending on which route was taken to cross. It is possible to drive across the bridge in 10 minutes if there is no traffic. The speed limit is only 45mph to increase safety and reduce traffic accidents.
- Many said a bridge could not be built across the bay. There were strong winds, tides and currents, deep water that would prohibit such a project.
- Despite concerns, construction began in January 1933 and the bridge was open to traffic on May 28, 1937. It only took four years to build.
- Eleven men died during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Even though it is named the Golden Gate Bridge it is actually orange. This color was chosen because it was thought that it would blend well with the natural setting. The color also enhances its visibility to boaters.
- It is thought that it got the name ‘Golden Gate’ because the harbour reminded a US army Captain of a harbor in Istanbul. It was named the ‘Golden Horn’.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
- The total length of the bridge is 8,981feet. It is 746 feet above the water.
- The roadway is hung by two cables. These cables are made of 27,572 strands of wire that pass through the two main towers. They are then fixed in concrete at each end.
- There are approximately 1.2 million rivets in the bridge towers, 600,000 in each.
- The suspension span of the bridge is 4,200 feet and was the longest suspension bridge until New York City’s Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened in 1964.
To build the bridge today it would cost approximately $1.2 billion.
- It’s estimated that more than 1.9 billion cars and vehicles have used the Golden Gate Bridge to cross San Francisco Bay.
- There are six lanes and walkways on either side.
- It has the unfortunate claim to being the second highest most common suicide site in the world.
- The Golden Gate Bridge appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine on February 26, 1976. It was the backdrop for five well-known rock stars of the era.
A world famous landmark and tourist attraction
Soon after its completion the Golden Gate Bridge already enjoyed worldwide fame, not only because the bridge was breaking records, but also thanks to the elegant Art Deco design of the two huge towers and the magnificent surroundings near the Pacific Ocean. The eye catching orange-red color of the bridge also helped its popularity. The color was suggested by engineer Irving Morrow, who thought the traditional gray color was too boring.
The best views and sightseeing from the bridge
- The Golden Gate Bridge is a spectacular sight which can be seen from many areas around San Francisco. Here are some locations from where you have great views on the bridge:
- South Vista Point. This is the most popular site, situated at the San Francisco end of the bridge.
- North Vista Point, located at the Marin County side of the bridge.
- Land’s End. Panoramic View from the northern tip of Lincoln Park
- Baker Beach at the Presidio Park.
- Conzelman Road. At the Marin County side; great view from an inlet near the bridge.
- The Golden Gate is at its most enchanting in the morning when the bridge is often shrouded in mist. But the bridge is also alluring at night when the lighting makes it seem as if the spires of the towers dissolve in the darkness.
It goes without saying that a visit to San Francisco is incomplete unless you visit the symbol of the city, the sunset-painted Golden Gate Bridge. Walk across, ride across, drive across, or just admire the suspension stunner. No matter how you do it, you’ll be rewarded with dramatic views of the city, the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean, and the craggy cliffs of the Marin Headlands. Bring layers as fog can roll in at any time and wind gusts can be forceful and chilly.
Presidio National Park
Anchoring the Golden Gate Bridge to San Francisco, the Presidio is a large swath of National Park beloved by locals and crying out for exploration. Towering Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees preside over miles of hiking and biking trails.
Walt Disney Family Museum
The recently opened Walt Disney Family Museum inhabits three buildings in the Presidio that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
House of Air
For the kids, or for the kid in you, House of Air is worth a visit. Located inside a historic airplane hangar, this indoor trampoline park hosts ridiculously fun activities like trampoline dodgeball and aerial training on trampolines.
Other attractions for visitors
If you’re a sports fanatic and need to do some shopping, don’t miss a trip to Sports Basement. This store has everything you need for any sport, including swimwear, sneakers, weights, snorkeling gear, bikes, ski and snowboarding gear, and apparel, all at competitive prices. The staff is extremely helpful and the store also hosts classes and events, like weekly running groups.