Golden Gate Bridge

Cars trundle across it and ships sail under it, but the best way to experience this iconic bridge is on foot. 

Although shrouded in mist for a lot of the time, one of the most photographed bridges in the world is still a stunning sight and something of an event to cross. It inspires awe and fires up the imagination with its size, scale and beauty. This icon of American architecture stretches 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) across the "Golden Gate", the opening of San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

The single-span suspension bridge connects San Francisco and Marin County. It took four years to build, opened to traffic in 1937 and was designed to withstand winds of more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) per hour. At the time of its completion, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world, but that record has been broken several times since.

The structure offers some terrific views of the bay area, the city skyline, the Pacific Ocean and Marin Headlands on the north side of the bridge. To make the most of the views and to get a sense of the bridge’s size, cycle or walk across. If you’re driving you’ll be concentrating on the traffic.

Pedestrians can only use the bridge during daylight hours and walk on the east sidewalk. A small barrier runs the length of the sidewalk and separates it from the road. Cyclists can use both east and west sidewalks. It is usually very windy high above the water, so layers of clothing are advisable even in the summer.

Enjoy one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge from Vista Point at the north part of the bridge in Marin County. At any time of day it’s a glorious spectacle: at dawn it slowly brightens up with the rising sun, and at night the lights sparkle and bounce off the dark water.