Golden Gate Bridge

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge



The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the United States, and has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The bridge spans the Golden Gate, a strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north, and is one of the major road routes into and out of the city.

Vehicular traffic in both directions share a single deck; a movable barrier (operated on by a zipper machine) used to allot lanes to one direction or the other depending on traffic conditions. Observation areas and parking lots are provided on both the north and south sides of the bridge; the best way to enjoy the bridge is to park and walk across, not least because you don't have to pay a toll. Winds are high and it can be cold and foggy; dress appropriately. Bikes can also be difficult to navigate in the high winds and narrow pathway.

The masterwork of architect Joseph B. Strauss, whose statue graces the southern observation deck, the bridge took four years to build, and was completed on May 27, 1937. It managed to survive a major earthquake in 1989. The bridge is painted a deep red-orange color known as "International Orange," also known as "Orange Vermillion," which was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge. Erroneous legend has it that the bridge is continuously painted, with crews starting at one end and, on getting to the other end, turning around and starting over again. In fact, the bridge is only painted once every few years, but touch up work is done continuously by a team of 40 painters.

Golden Gate Bridge trivia
In total, the bridge is 8,981 ft (2,737 m) across (its main span being 4,200 ft (1,300 m)). At its tallest point it is 746 feet, but only 90 feet across — 6 reversible traffic lanes and two walkways. The strait that passes beneath the bridge runs 400 feet deep.
It is famously "over-engineered" — being over four times stronger than it needs to be.
It took over four years to build and cost over $35 million in 1937 (over $575 million today).
Amazingly, it has over 1.2 million rivets.
Each of its twin towers weighs more than 44,000 tons and the total weight of the bridge is almost 900,000 tons.
It is the second largest suspension bridge in the US and if you untangled all of its cables they would stretch around the world 3 times.
It has been featured in many movies, including "Vertigo" and "Superman."
As advocates for many ambitious modern day construction projects like to point out, there were thousands of lawsuits against construction, it was deemed to "ruin" the Bay and there was significant local opposition against it ever getting built - hard to imagine these days



Opening Hours and Cost

Open 24 hours, occasionally closed Sunday morning for events. Welcome Center: daily, 9AM-6PM. $8.00 Pay-By-Plate, $7 w/ FasTrak account (toll driving south into San Francisco; free on foot or bike).



Getting There

The San Francisco end of the bridge is accessible by the Muni 28 bus line from Fort Mason in the Marina District near Fisherman's Wharf. The fastest way to reach it from downtown is to take the 38 or 38L up Geary to "Park Presidio" (after 12th Ave) and transfer to a Fort Mason bound 28. Golden Gate Transit buses serve the bridge on request, but buses are very infrequent and unpredictable except at afternoon commute times, when they are crowded.

Toll collection on the Golden Gate Bridge is entirely electronic (no cash accepted) and done by license plate recognition. As you pass through the former tollbooth plaza, reduce your speed but do not stop. If you are driving a rental car, you have 48 hours to pay your toll by going to and following the link for Golden Gate Bridge Toll. From there, you may make a one-time payment of your toll by providing the license plate of your rental vehicle, the date and time of your crossing, and your credit card information. Failing to do so will result in your rental car company being charged the toll, and they will usually pass the charge on to you with additional fees.


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This is version 1. Last edited at 10:21 on Sep 20, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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