Golden Gate Bridge

golden-gate-bridgeThe Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world and the iconic image of San Francisco. The Golden Gate connects San Francisco to Marin County to the north and it is definitely a must-see for tourists visiting the area. The bridge is easily seen from the northern end of San Francisco especially from the Marina district. Some of the best views can be seen from Fort Mason which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is situated below the southern end of the bridge. Another great spot for viewing both the bridge and the skyline of San Francisco is the busy vista point at the north end of the bridge.

History of the Bridge

The name “Golden Gate” proceeded the building of the bridge and has long been used as the name for the narrow mouth of the San Francisco Bay. The bridge was build during the Great Depression and was built at the same time as the other major San Francisco bridge, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge, which spans the bay from east to west to connect San Francisco and Oakland. The Golden Gate Bridge was constructed from 1933-1937. The Bay Bridge was constructed from 1933-1936.

The Golden Gate bridge is a suspension bridge and the two main towers were constructed first followed by the two main cables. The roadway was then suspended from the main cables using a series of vertical cables. The cables for the bridge were manufactured by Roebling and Sons which is the firm founded by the engineer behind the design of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Driving over the Bridge

The best views, at least for the driver, do not come from driving the bridge, but from walking it. The Golden Gate Bridge is a toll bridge. The toll is $6 per car and is paid only when driving north out of the city. The number of lanes going north is greater in the evening and smaller in the morning as the center divider on the bridge is moveable.

Walking the Bridge

Pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed to cross the bridge using the sidewalks. The bridge offers an excellent view of the San Francisco skyline as well as shipping and numerous sailboats plying the waters of the San Francisco Bay. The bridge is 8,981 feet (2,737 meters) long.

To cross the bridge from south to north, turn off of highway 101 before the toll plaza and park in the parking lot. Tourists can buy souvenirs at the Golden Gate Bridge Gift Center and refresh themselves in the Bridge Café, situated on the Southeast side of the bridge. Outside the gift center there is also a cross section of a cable which shows you the construction of the two main cables in this suspension bridge.


Sadly the Golden Gate Bridge is notorious for the number of people who have jumped from the bridge to their deaths. Survivors of the fall often say they would not have jumped if one person had shown any interest in them. There are phones on the bridge to a suicide prevention hotline. The city has long debated raising a barrier fence to make suicides more difficult. The cost and impact on the view have thus far prevented the construction of the barrier.

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