Things to do in San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of many iconic symbols of San Francisco. A beacon of the city’s style and grace. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning San Francisco Bay’s opening to the Pacific Ocean – joining the City by the Bay with Marin County to the north. This bridge is an iconic symbol of San Francisco and is often photographed to represent our wonderful City.
How did the Golden Gate get its name? In 1846, Captain John Fremont declared California’s independence from Mexico and named the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, “Chrysopylae” which means “Golden Gate” in Greek.
The Golden Gate Bridge crosses 6,700 ft. (2,2042 m) of water that is 372 ft. (113 m) deep in some places. The bridge itself is 1.7 miles long. The channel experiences frequent strong winds and because of these facts, many people did not have faith that a bridge could be built to cross this span of water. The idea of building a bridge was originally explored in 1919.
In 1922 Joseph Baermann Strauss designed a cantilever-suspension hybrid bridge and later (1929) Consulting Engineer Leon S. Moisseiff began to work with Strauss to develop a long span suspension bridge to cross the Golden Gate. During the design period, Irving Morrow was brought on board to design the architectural features of the bridge which speak to the Art Deco styles popular during this era. Morrow’s contributions are evidenced by the art deco features, the stylization of the towers, the color of the bridge and classic lighting design. Construction of the bridge officially started on January 5, 1933. On May 27, 1937 it opened to pedestrian traffic. On the following day, the bridge opened to vehicular traffic. What an amazing accomplishment in four and a half years!
Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge
There is a visitors’ center on the south side of the bridge and a lookout, with views back to the City, on the north side. A walk or bicycle trip across the bridge is an exhilarating experience!
– if you are driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, be aware that all bridge tolls are collected electronically. Be sure to check the Golden Gate Bridge web site for how to pay a one-time toll if you are just visiting the area.