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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Location: On U.S. Highway 101, connecting the city of San Francisco and Marin County.
Best Time to Visit: The best months are April and October when the skies remains clearest. However you can also visit it during March through May and also in September. Avoid the winters.
Preferred Timing: 05.00 am to 06.00 pm.
Entry Fee: Free for the pedestrians and cyclists. However for the cars, you need to pay toll. The rate starts from $6.00 and depends upon the type of vehicle.
How to Reach
If you are coming down here by air, you have three airports to choose from as the San Francisco Bay Area has three airports in the form of San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), and Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). Among those, San Francisco International Airport is the closest to the city of San Francisco. Oakland and San Jose offer more discounted flights whereas San Francisco Airport offers more international flights. This airport is located just 16 km south of the city.
The Golden Gate Bridge is located on U.S. Highway 101, connecting the city of San Francisco and Marin County. Therefore, wherever be the places you are coming from, you need to take U.S. Highway 101 in order to reach the Golden Gate Bridge.
Amtrak serves the San Francisco Bay Area with long distance and intercity trains. You can come done from a number of US cities like Chicago and Emeryville, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose, Bakersfield and Stockton.
You can come down to San Francisco from different parts of USA by using various bus services like GotoBus, Greyhound, AC Transit, samTrans, Golden Gate Transit, WestCAT,Vallejo and Baylink.
From San Francisco: You can reach the Golden Gate Bridge from any point of San Francisco city by following any of the Golden Gate Transit Routes 10,60,70 or 80. If you take SF Muni from Downtown or Fisherman's Wharf, you need to take Route 30 and transfer to Route 28 at Laguna & Chestnut. You can call toll-free 511 and say “Golden Gate Transit” in order to locate your nearest bus stop.
Form Marin County: Take any of the Golden Gate Transit Routes including Routes 2, 4, 8, 10, 24, 26, 27, 38, 44, 54, 56, 58, 60, 70, 72, 73, 74, 76, and 80.
Nearest airport: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Introduce a touch of novelty to your Golden Gate Bridge tour. A short drive away from the northern tip of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, is the picturesque city of Sausalito. It is a wonderful Bay area city with a population of just above 7000. Once a ship building area, it is now recognized as a wonderful tourist spot with the only free marinas of the Bay Area. Many households own houseboats. Spend time in one of them, or find a place in one of the wonderful open air cafes and relax with a mug of espresso and fresh bagels made and baked on site as sea lions cavort in the Bay water. Your Golden Gate Bridge experience will be complete in a true sense.
Golden Gate Bridge (GGB) is a 1.7 miles long suspension bridge built on the Pacific Ocean in the San Francisco Bay, connecting the city of San Francisco to Marin County. It is one of the noblest representations of twentieth century American architecture and engineering, and one of the seven wonders of the modern world. However, it is more than that. It is the symbol of the dream, the life, the cultural diversity and the myriad panorama of human activities and emotion that San Francisco represents. And what's more, it has contributed a new term in the painter's jargon — 'international orange' — referring to its characteristic orange-vermilion hue.
Completed on 1937 at a cost of $35 million after more than four years of construction work, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was made open to vehicular traffic on 28th May, 1937, ahead of schedule and under budget. At the time of completion, the bridge had got the longest suspension bridge span in the world. In 2007, American Institute of Architects declared the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco as the 5th most favorite architecture in America. Sadly, this breathtaking bridge is also the most prevalent place in the world to commit suicide.
The design and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge was supervised by Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss. As he was less experienced in cable suspension designs, much of the engineering and architectural responsibilities fell on other experts like Irving Morrow, who designed the overall shape of the bridge tower, and Charles Alton Ellis, who was the principal engineer of the project.
The construction of the bridge started on 5th January, 1933. Though initially it had a budget of $35 million, the project was completed by April 1937, with $1.3 million under budget. The design of the Golden Gate Bridge follows an Art Deco Theme. The Golden Gate Bridge has got two wonderful main towers that support the suspension cables of the bridge. The towers stand 746 ft above the water and 500 ft above the roadway.
Traffic on Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge is the only road to exit San Francisco to the north. It is a part of both U.S. Route 101 and California Route 1. As the volume of traffic at a specific direction on Golden Gate Bridge changes during the day, the median markers between the lanes are moved to adjust the traffic pattern of the lanes. On the weekday mornings, the traffic mostly flows southbound into the city. As a result, four of the six lanes run southbound then. Conversely, during the afternoon on weekdays, four lanes run northbound. Effort is on for installing a movable barrier on the bridge. Since 1st October, 1983, the speed limit on the bridge has been reduced to 45 mph (72 km/h) from the earlier limit of 55 mph.
The eastern walkway of the bridge is earmarked for the pedestrians and bicycles during the weekdays and during daylights only. On the other hand, the western walkway is for the bicyclists on weekday afternoons, weekends, and holidays.
Tolls are collected only in the southbound direction. There are two modes of payment — by cash and with FasTrak. FasTrak. FasTrak, an electronic toll system accepted on the Golden Gate Bride, is operated by Caltrans. For more information on FasTrak, you may log on to www.bayareafastrak.org.
The toll rate for 2-axle vehicles on the Golden Gate Bridge is $6.00 (by cash) and $5.00 (with FasTrak). For vehicles with more than two axels, the toll rates increase at $3.00 per axle (by cash) and $2.50 per axle (with FasTrak). The toll rate for qualified persons with disability is $3.00 per vehicle (2-axle only).
Things to do:
Pedestrians and also those who use wheelchairs may access the sidewalks of the Golden Gate Bridge during the daylight hours. They may use the east sidewalks during the weekdays. Roller Blades, Roller Skates and Skateboards are not permitted on the bridge. Dogs are permitted only if they are on a leash and under full control of the owner. It is the best way to cross the bridge, feeling the harmony between nature and human creations that complement and beautify each other. You can also take a short walk to the Fort Point from the southeast parking lot. A visit to the renovated garden area will just be a visual treat for the eyes.
Cyclists can access (toll-free) the sidewalks of the Golden Gate Bride round the clock. But they must abide by the rules of cycling laid by the authority. They must make way for the pedestrians. Electric bicycles can only be used if they are pedaled on the sidewalk.
Your visit to the Golden Gate Bridge cannot be complete unless you step into the Gift Center located in the famous 'Roundhouse' on the southeast side, behind the Strauss Statue. You will like to buy some memorabilia from a wide variety of souvenirs on Golden Gate Bridge, photos, books, posters, videos, and historical information etc. The Gift Center remains open daily from 08.30 a.m. to 07.30 p.m.
You can also check in at Bridge Cafíé, located on the southeast side of the Golden Gate Bridge for a variety of snacks like muffins, sandwiches, salads, desserts, Starbuck's coffee, sodas and water. The Cafíé remains open daily from 09.30 a.m. to 05.00 p.m. during the winter and from 09.00 a.m. to 07.00 p.m. during the summer.
Tip: The 'Marin Headlands' side of the Golden Gate Bridge is a wonderful place to take pictures of it. So, if you wish to take a few snaps of this San Francisco Bridge, this could well be your spot.
For some spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and travelers' accounts, click on the following links:
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=jWnGsBvFQSI: A comprehensive three minute guide to the Golden Gate Bridge. It has some wonderful views of the Bridge.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=4PldV0CXdBE: This is a rare footage of the opening day of the Golden Gate Bridge. You will find why inhabitants of San Francisco inhabitants and Americans are proud of it. You will also get relevant historical information on the Bridge.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=0zMytAtZaeg: For an aerial view of the San Francisco fog as seen from over the Golden Gate Bridge, watch this video!