Golden Gate Bridge
||San Francisco, CA|
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There's nothing like driving over the Golden Gate Bridge and watching the pylons appear through the fog as you draw nearer. Sometimes it is so surprising where the fog happens to hang- some areas will be hidden while others are visible and sunny. The bridge is at its best in the fog- there's something mysterious and wonderful about it. Last time we drove over it and it was sunny, we were all a bit disappointed because it didn't look nearly as cool!
The famous red bridge is a work of beauty. When plans were being made for a bridge to connect San Francisco with the north, it seemed unfathomable that a structure could be built that was both safe and pleasing to the eye, but the Golden Gate Bridge more than met those standards!
You can walk across the bridge, or bike ride, if you want. Dogs are allowed too, as long as they are leashed. The parking area on the southeast end of the bridge is a good place to start your walk. There are restrooms, a snack bar, gardens, and a gift shop, and there's a really cool exhibit with a real cable from the bridge that shows how incredibly thick the bridge's cables are! We walked all the way from one end to the other and back. It takes about an hour, and there are great views of the Marin county headlands and marinas along the way! I love the fortress you see from the bridge, and the sailboats that glide by.
If you're biking, use the west side of the bridge because the east side is packed with pedestrians and you'll end up having to get off your bike and walk with them. The west side has amazing views of the beaches below the bridge so you're lucky if you're biking!
Make sure you dress very warm because it can be bitingly cold. Wow, that air off the ocean must come straight from Alaskan currents! The last time we walked the bridge, though, it was late November- a bright, sunny day- and not that cold!
Spend some time in Golden Gate Park while you're here. The meadows are a dream and there's some nice playgrounds for kids. Inner Sunset District is a hip neighborhood next to the park where you can get a homemade meat pie!
For a wonderful view from below the bridge and a great (and warm, sheltered) place for kids to play, check out Crissy Field. From the other side, you can be below the bridge and on a beach at the same time at Baker Beach.
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This is my favorite way to get to the Golden Gate Bridge for a drive over the bridge if I'm coming northbound along Highway 101: From just north of the Monterey turnoff, take the 85 towards Mountainview, and then the the 280 North. Follow the signs to the Golden Gate Bridge- you will pass through San Francisco on 19th Avenue. There seems to be less traffic on this route than on Highway 101. There is no toll when you cross the bridge northbound.
You can also just stay on Highway 101 all the way when northbound and you will end up at the Golden Gate Bridge.
To drive over the bridge southbound, just follow Highway 101. The southbound toll is $5 per car. Have exact change ready.
You can take public transport to the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of the following Golden Gate Transit routes: 10, 60, 70 or 80. If using SF Muni from Downtown or Fisherman's Wharf, use the Route 30 and transfer to Route 28 at Laguna & Chestnut. If using SF Muni from 19th Avenue, use the Route 28. Call toll-free 511 (say "Golden Gate Transit) to identify the bus stop closest to your location.
You can walk the East Sidewalk of the bridge from 5am-9pm in summer, and from 5am-6:30pm in winter. To park at the southeast parking lot when northbound, take a right at the last exit just before the Toll Plaza. The exit reads "Golden Gate National Recreation Area View Area." At the stop sign, turn left into the southeast parking lot. There is a snack bar, gift shop, restrooms, and gardens. Parking costs 25c per 15 minutes- bring quarters. If that parking is full, drive under the bridge to the other side and park for $5 a day in the lot.
To park at the the southeast parking lot when southbound, after driving over the bridge, use the far right toll lane #1, and make an immediate right at the exit just past the Toll Plaza. Make another immediate right onto the roadway passing underneath the Toll Plaza and directly into the southeast parking lot.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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Alison from Australia
|This colour is stunning. What a jewel~|