It’s big, it’s red, and it’s frequently sighted with clouds hanging around it.
… Drum roll please, yes we are referring to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
One of the absolute must-sees on any trip to the majestic city of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge will steal your heart in an instant.
There are plenty of fun things to do in San Francisco, but interacting with the Bridge is definitely a top fun thing.
We use the term “interact” because there are opportunities to do much more than gaze at it from afar and take selfies with it.
Even if taking a selfie with the Bridge is your main goal, we can recommend ways to enhance even that goal.
In fact there are more ways to interact with the bridge than one might consider.
Interacting with The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
As as you plan your San Francisco exploration, save a little extra time for the world-famous bridge. We promise you won’t be sorry.
Classic Choice – Drive Across
It’s quite exhilarating to drive across the massive bridge, but it’s over rather quickly. If you happen to already have a car on your trip then definitely take it across at least once. Do we recommend renting a car just to drive across? Not really, after all you can simply Uber across if you really want to! One of the main reasons to drive across is to get to the other side, which is Marin county. Marin county is the gateway to wine country – Napa and Sonoma – as well as other beautiful parts of California. A trip we highly recommend (link to drive blog).
Stretch Out Your Legs Bridge Style
By far one of our favorite ways to interact with the bridge – walk across! At either end of the bridge you will be met with extraordinary views. Vista Point and Sausalito make up the North end, and the South End is the city of San Francisco, also the starting point for most pedestrians. The Walking sidewalk is on the East side of the bridge which is facing the city. It’s about 1.7 miles long, but of course you don’t have to walk to whole way! Although we applaud you if you do. Keep in mind, it can be mighty windy on the bridge, especially in the Summer. Always take a windbreaker or some sort of jacket.
Walk and Talk, or Rather Get Talked to
Few know that there are actually FREE walking bridge tours! The San Francisco City Guides, a non-profit organization, is a group of San Francisco fans who enjoy talking about their city and will do it for free, or donations. This is a stellar way to learn a bit of insight and history of the city.
Peddle Your Way Across
Another classic and seriously fun way to get across is on a bicycle!
This is much quicker than walking, and you actually have a serious chance of making it all the way across. Actually it’s sort of embarrassing if you don’t make it across considering it’s only 1.7 miles… basically 30 minutes on a bike.
But wait, there’s more! Many of the bike rental companies have all sorts of bike tour itineraries, self guided or otherwise. One of our favorite tours is biking across to Sausalito, having some nice refreshments and then taking the lovely ferry back across. If you want to really go all out, you can make an entire day of your bike adventure, starting with biking around the city and then eventually making your way across the bridge. Please refrain from taking selfies while operating your bike, there have been an unhealthy amount of bike accidents due to selfies!
Take Your Golden Gate Pics From the Water
Before the Golden Gate Bridge ever existed, the only way to get across the channel was via boat! Not that anyone needs an excuse to be on a boat, it’s only the most fun activity of all time, but seeing the Golden Gate from the water is spectacular. There are plenty of boat tours to go on, but here is a starting point for your planning convenience. We highly recommend going on a sunset cruise, preferably one that offers dinner and cocktails. Take your Golden Gate photo game to the next level by smiling with a drink in hand and sunset ablaze.
Hike Your Way to an Epic View
One of the raddest aspects of San Francisco is its interconnectedness with nature. San Francisco may be an urban metropolis, but it is completely surrounded by extraordinary nature and vistas. Not to mention there are tons of parks strewn about the small city. There’s a reason the average San Franciscan can be spotted running, biking, swimming and more – the city attracts nature lovers because the city is nature-loving itself. There are a quite a few hikes to explore that offer great vistas of the bridge, we recommend:
Crissy Field (more of a walk)
China Beach (Steep stair walk)
Lover’s Lane (oldest foot trail in Presidio, also more of a walk)
Batteries to Bluffs Trail
Last But Not Least – Learn and Shop By the Bridge
Every tourist wants Golden Gate Bridge swag. Come on, we know you do, it’s ok to admit it. The Bridge now has a welcome center that offers plenty of merchandise and historical information. The center is the first on-site place dedicated to telling the Bridge’s story. There are a few exhibits, inside and out, as well as commemorative and interpretive goodies. You can learn more about the hours here.
Try one, try them all, the Golden Gate Bridge never gets old. It never gets less impressive or beautiful, even if you live in San Francisco. That’s part of the magic of this city – it’s always beautiful, never taken for granted. We still interact with the bridge and are in constant awe of the city. It’s a place worth visiting time and time again.
The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and it can be mighty windy on the bridge, especially in the Summer. Always take a windbreaker or some sort of jacket.