Things to Do Around the Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge is a recognized symbol of the Bay Area. Carrying more than 270,000 vehicles daily, it connects many from the East Bay to the beloved City by the Bay. Here’s a list of things to do on or around the Bay Bridge, one of five bridges that traverse San Francisco Bay.
Get a Taste of San Francisco at the Ferry Building
If you’re looking to eat like a local, the historic Ferry Building is the place to go. It’s here that you’ll be able to find top contenders like the Slanted Door, a Vietnamese restaurant named the #1 restaurant to eat in the U.S. in 2014 by the James Beard Foundation. Mariposa Baking Company is a favorite for gluten-free baked goods (the bagels get rave reviews). Hog Island Oyster Company is a great spot for seafood lovers. You’ll not only enjoy great views of the bay, but fresh, locally sourced oysters from Tomales Bay, located less than two hours north of the city.
In addition, be sure to make a stop at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which is open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. From fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to meats and artisanal cheeses, you’ll be able to experience the best of Northern California produce.
Treasure Island Flea Market
Bargain shoppers looking to buy local need to experience the Treasure Island Flea Market. Happening every last weekend of the month, the flea market is Northern California’s largest monthly gathering of artists, collectors, designers and crafters. The market also brings in an assortment of food trucks, local musicians and entertainers with an added bonus of beautiful views of San Francisco and the bay.
Calling all adrenaline junkies! Running seasonally from May through October, Blue & Gold Fleet’s RocketBoat tour gives you 30-minutes of twists and turns around San Francisco Bay. Enjoy the sights of the Bay Bridge, Alcatraz and San Francisco on this fast-paced ride. Looking to slow things down? Try Blue & Gold Fleet’s Bay Cruise, another perfect way to see San Francisco and its icons from the water year round. There are also cruises available with Red and White Fleet. Tideline Water Taxis ply the bay and City Kayak offers paddling excursions as well.
Walk Along the Embarcadero
One of the best ways to see San Francisco is on foot. The waterfront is surrounded with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to snap some Instagram-worthy photos. Along the way, stop in at the Exploratorium (Pier 15), a museum that has more than 600 hands-on exhibits that will inspire creativity in all. Afterwards, head to PIER 39 to see those adorable sea lions everyone keeps talking about.
The Bay Lights
The Bay Lights, designed by Artist Leo Villareal, features 25,000 LED lights that make the Bay Bridge sparkle alongside the San Francisco skyline. From dusk until dawn, the iconic light sculpture illuminates 1.8 miles of the bridge’s western span. In January 2016, the light installation was permanently lit and given to the state of California for both visitors and locals to enjoy. Whether you’re taking a stroll along the waterfront or having dinner at Waterbar, just remember to look up.
Grab your bike (and helmet) and get going. For the first time in history, pedestrians and cyclists can now travel across the east span of the Bay Bridge. The trail, which is equipped with both biking and pedestrian paths, will allow you to travel from West Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. Please check here for potential closure notices.
Out with the Old. Embracing the New.
The Oakland Museum of California is supporting and administering a new program, the Bay Bridge Steel Program, where California artists and creative communities will be awarded steel from the dismantled 1936 East Span of the Bay Bridge. The mission of the program is to preserve and repurpose the original steel into civic and public art projects throughout the state of California. The first round of recipients, which was announced in December 2015, included San Francisco-based landscape architects SURFACEDESIGN, Inc. who’s planning to incorporate the steel in an overlook and viewing platform for a park in Mission Bay.
Photo by Louis Raphael