The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in the United States and arguably one of the very most recognizable man-made landmarks on the West Coast. The Golden Gate Bridge repeatedly stars in countless movies and is often the site of a climate battle where superheroes once again save the world or the site where aliens attack earth for some reason.

When it was first built it broke world records for suspension bridges. It was designed by the engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917. Along with other famous bridges in the world like the Brooklyn Bridge of New York City, The Tower Bridge of London, and The Sydney Harbour Bridge Of Australia, it is one of the most photographed bridges in the world.


About The Golden Gate Bridge

  • Spans: The Golden Gate - The Mile Wide Strait
  • Opened: 1937
  • Highway: Carries Both The US Route 101 And The California State Route 1
  • Pedestrian Traffic: Open To Pedestrian And Bicycle Traffic
  • Part Of: U.S. Bicycle Route 95

When it was built it was the longest and the tallest suspension bridge in the world. Its main span stretches 4,200 feet or 1,280 meters and rises to a height of 746 feet or 227 meters. Since then it has been steadily falling in the international rankings and today is the 18th longest suspension bridge in the world. In the US, the New York Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge that opened in 1964 is longer. While the Pearl Bridge in Japan has the longest main span of any other suspension bridge. Many of the world's longest suspension bridges are located in East Asia - particularly in China.

Visiting The Golden Gate Bridge

Of course, this is a public bridge, so one can simply just drive across the bridge. But if one wants to actually tour it, soak in the surroundings and take pictures of it. Then be aware that parking is extremely limited at the Golden Gate Bridge. One is much better off to park somewhere else in the city and then take public transport to the bridge. There are also warnings not to leave valuables in one's car.


  • Tip: Parking Is Extremely Limited At The Golden Gate Bridge

Not only are the parking lots here very limited, but the parking lots are also closed to vehicles on the weekends and holidays between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm. At these times, public transport or Uber, etc. are the only feasible way to reach the bridge and actually stop.

Once one is at the Golden Gate Bridge one will find visitor centers and one can walk across the bridge, enjoy onsite shopping, or take a tour. There are some free walking tours across the bridge. Of course, there is also sitting back and enjoying the iconic vista - there's no need to hurry to tour the bridge.

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  • Welcome Center Hours: Open Daily From 9.00 am to 6.00 pm

The site also boasts a number of outside onsite exhibits that delve into the history, science, and engineering of the Bridge and its construction. Unfortunately, the Round House Cafe and the Bridge Cafe are temporarily closed at the time of writing.

The free walking tours are held twice-weekly. They are offered by the San Francisco City guides - a non-profit organization. For more information about these tours, their times, other walking tours on offer, and any impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, check out their website at SFCity Guides.

  • Free Walking Tours: Twice-weekly, Thursdays, and Sundays

Ferries Near By The Bridge

Another great way to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the wider harbor area is with a ferry. These ferries are very comfortable and offer stunning panoramic views of the bridge. For more information about these ferries see here.

Related: A Travel Guide To San Francisco: 10 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

Driving Across The Bridge

This is a highway, so remember there is no stopping on all lanes at all times. This is also a toll bridge using electronic tolling technology and there is no stopping even for tolls. Cash payment for the tolls is no longer accepted at the Bridge. The toll payment options are:

  • A FasTrak Account
  • A License Plate Account
  • A One-Time Payment
  • A Toll Invoice

These payments may be made by credit card, check, money order, or cash, and they may be paid online, by phone, in person. Also, tolls are only collected in one direction only - on the southbound direction into San Francisco. As of July 1, 2021, the tolls are:

  • 2 Axles/Motorcycles: $8.05 FasTrak Toll, $8.60 License Plate Account And One Time Payment, $9.05 Toll Invoice

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One is unlikely to go to San Francisco just to see the Golden Gate Bridge, but if one is in town, be sure to check it out! See here for an itinerary for San Francisco.

Next: Visiting San Francisco For The First Time Can Be Overwhelming, Unless You Know Where To Stay