Golden Gate Bridge
Crossing the strait of the Golden Gate from San Francisco's Presidio to the Marin headlands is the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge, easily identified by its International Orange color. Once called "the bridge that couldn't be built," today the Golden Gate Bridge is one the seven wonders of the modern world. This magnificent span, perhaps San Francisco's most famous landmark, opened in 1937 after a four-year struggle against relentless winds, fog, rock and treacherous tides.
The 1.7 mile-long bridge is anchored by towers that reach 746 feet skyward and was once taller than any building in San Francisco! To support the suspended roadway, two cables—each more than 7,000 feet in length and containing 80,000 miles of wire—stretch over the top of the towers and are rooted in concrete anchorages on shore.
The Golden Gate Bridge brought the communities of San Francisco and Marin counties closer together and became one of the most driven sections of historic U.S. Route 101, which stretches from Los Angeles north to San Francisco and beyond. It's equally popular with hikers and cyclists, and is the main attraction for runners partaking in any of our many local annual foot races.
General Visitor Info
Pedestrians, including wheelchair users and cyclists, can travel the sidewalks of the bridge during daylight hours. Rollerblades, skateboards, roller skates, and electronic scooters are not permitted. For information on sidewalk closures due to construction, visit goldengatebridge.org/bikesbridge/bikes.php.
There are vista points on both the north and south sides of the bridge. Both vista points have parking lots. These lots have limited space and are closed to vehicles on weekends and holidays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We recommend using public transit or booking a guided tour, like Big Bus, to visit these outlooks.
How to Get There
You can reach the Golden Gate Bridge from downtown and Union Square on Muni. Take the #38 bus westbound to Park Presidio Boulevard. Transfer to the #28 bus northbound to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re taking a Golden Gate Transit bus from downtown, the #10, #70 or #80 lines will take you to the bridge.
The free PresidiGo Shuttle's downtown route will also take you to the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center. The shuttle system is a great option to use to explore the Presidio, with free and accessible service seven days a week, and with 40 stops within the national park.
If interested in biking across the bridge, the Presidio offers bike rentals and electric bike-share opportunities, plus a recommended bike path through Crissy Field. For more information, visit the Presidio online.
Golden Gate Bridge Attractions
Where to Stay
If you are planning to stay in San Francisco, there are plenty of hotels nearby or with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Get more information on the neighborhoods here.
One of the most photographed landmarks in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge is an Instagram hit whenever it’s posted. Here are a few favorite angles and best time of day to snag a shot that will give your followers serious FOMO:
An under the bridge angle from Fort Point is the perfect spot to catch the first rays of sunshine striking the enormous orange superstructure.
From Baker Beach, get an outside-the-gate view of the bridge and the Marin headlands.
Now's the time to photograph the bridge with the city skyline in the background. Travel across to the Marin headlands. Take the Alexander Avenue turnoff and follow Golden Gate National Recreation Area signs leading under Hwy. 101 south toward San Francisco. Take first turn up to headlands.
Local photographer Louis Raphael who photographs the bridge almost daily from his Lands End neighborhood also offers these favorites:
- The beginning or very end of Lands End trail at sunrise has two very scenic vista points. Note: Visitors should adhere to all signage in the park and even in approved hiking areas should keep a safe distance from all cliff edges.
- Mile Rock Beach at sunset or sunrise has a unique perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge.
How Long is the Golden Gate Bridge?
The Golden Gate Bridge is 8,981 feet long.
How Tall is the Golden Gate Bridge?
The Golden Gate Bridge is 746 feet tall.
Did You Know?
- The Golden Gate Bridge has lost 7,500 tons (in weight) since it opened in 1937.
- It is estimated that 5,000 - 10,000 gallons of paint are used to repaint the Golden Gate Bridge each year.
- Three babies have been born on the Golden Gate Bridge. All of them have been boys.
- The name came from the fact that the Golden Gate Strait (named by John Fremont) is the entrance into San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean.
- International Orange was selected as the color of the bridge because it provided visibility in the fog for passing ships and also because it was a color that fit in naturally with the bridge’s setting and the surrounding land area.
- The bridge has only been closed three times due to weather since it was built; all three times due to high winds gusting close to or over 70 miles per hour.
- The bridge has also been closed for visits from dignitaries President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Charles de Gaulle of France and also on its 50th and 75th Anniversaries.
Movies that included the Golden Gate Bridge:
Big Hero 6 (2014)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
The Core (2003)
The Rock (1996)
Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
The Abyss (1989)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
A View to a Kill (1985)
Basic Instinct (1982)
Dirty Harry (1971)
The Birds (1963)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
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Why Golden Gate? The History Behind the Name
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14 Little Known Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge to Impress Your Friends
Movies Featuring the Golden Gate Bridge
How to Go Over, Under and Above the Golden Gate Bridge
Why Fort Point Needs to Be Added to Your San Francisco Bucket List
Great Spots to View the Golden Gate Bridge
Experience a San Francisco Sunrise from the Marin Headlands - 360 Video
Photo by Louis Raphael