Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge
The Marine Headlands from the Golden Gate Bridge

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is the best ways to experience the vastness and beauty of San Francisco. One of the world’s most famous bridges, the Golden Gate Bridge is a sight in itself.

How to get to the Golden Gate Bridge

There are many bicycle rentals and planned tours of the bridge. But the views are something you want to take in slowly. The walk is smooth and relatively flat, Furthermore, the bridge itself is very detailed. Walking gives the chance to admire the bridge up close. Although the bridge is at a dramatic headland at the city’s northwestern edge San Francisco has an efficient public transportation system. A public bus will bring you from Van Ness to the door of the Welcome Center. The bus #28 leaves often, and takes less than 15 minutes. There is also a parking lot, but it’s crowded, and there is a fee. The bus is economical, and moreover allows you maximum flexibility to take in the bridge at your own pace.

The bus from Van Ness, and sights along the way:

Fisherman’s Wharf

The stating point for the bus that goes to the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the easiest spots to find in San Francisco. It’s also an area you’ll visit anyway: just west of Fisherman’s Wharf is the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Maritime Museum is here, and so is Ghirardelli Square. Overlooking the park from the east is the Buena Vista (‘good view’- it is!). (The Buena Vista brought Irish Coffee to the United States, and truly they do make a good one.)

Just to the west of Ghirardelli Square is the Fontana. You can’t miss it – it’s a mid-century modern 18 story complex. Several buses, including the #28, leave from Van Ness right outside.

How to Make the Most of Your Golden Gate Bridge Walk:

Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco Skyline from the beginning of the Bridge

All those joke about how ‘If you don’t like the weather in San Francisco, just wait five minutes’ are true. San Francisco can be balmy in winter, chilly in summer, and by turns sunny, foggy, even rainy in any season. Dress in layers. And don’t be disappointed if it is foggy- it’s San Francisco’s trademark weather. The top of a tower hidden in dense fog is a romantic sight.

alking across the Golden Gate Bridge
The tops of the towers will soon be hidden in dense fog

It’s loud up here. The beautiful view is enough of a sensory overload. Bring earplugs. Also, because the winds can get very high, you might want a scarf or a hat to keep your hair out of your eyes.

Guard house under the Marin-side Tower

Whatever the weather, you’ll want a camera. This is one of the most photogenic places you’ll meet in any of your travels.

The view of Alcatraz is good from here. You’ll also see the whole of San Francisco’s skyline. If it’s clear enough, then you’ll see Angel Island, the bay bridge, and the cranes of Oakland’s commercial harbor beyond, too. The bay is full of activity. You’ll see ferry boats, sailboats, and on a fine day windsurfers and kite sailors. Watching an enormous freighter pass under the bridge as it leaves the Golden Gate for the open waters of the Pacific is a treat.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge
Art Deco Details
Rivets decorating the Bridge

The 1937 bridge is a marvel of both engineering and style. Enjoy the decorative placing of the rivets and the elegant Art Deco details up close. That fabulous color that cuts through event the densest fog and is visible to ships at a distance is called International Orange.

What you’ll find at the Visitors’ Complex:

Even if your party is not very mobile, you can have such a good experience of the bridge and the views of the whole region that it’s worth coming.

Roundhouse Cafe

There’s an excellent spot for viewing the drama of the bridge itself, the Marin headlands, and the whole of the bay. The visitors’ center has information, displays, and thematic gifts and mementos. Additionally, there is a charming cafe called the roundhouse. It is in fact round, with huge windows and splendid views.

A brief History of the Golden Gate Bridge