Though The Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic landmark of San Francisco often there is no preparation taken to visit the Bridge. Situated at the opening of San Francisco Bay its conditions are very different to that of Downtown San Francisco. Cold, and very windy and often foggy. Here are tips and information for visiting:
- Take a light coat to wear all year round including the summer. THIS IS A MUST .
- Visit around mid day when most of the fog has usually burnt off.
- Allow plenty of time to get there because of heavy traffic regardless of travelling by public transport or car.
- Be aware that the Golden Gate Bridge is on a separate side to Downtown San Francisco and should ideally be done on a separate day whilst visiting the Golden Gate Park (de Young Museum,Botanical Gardens, Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, California Academy of Sciences)
Read my post Suggested San Francisco Itineraries For More
Walking The Golden Gate Bridge
Pedestrian Hours on the Golden Gate Bridge
Spring-Summer-Autumn (Mid-March – October): 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time. Security gates open and close automatically. (Bike riders have 24 hour access on the west sidewalk, but have to ring a buzzer for security to admit them through each security gate.)
Winter (November – Early March): 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. Security gates operate as described above.
The spaces in the south parking lot (San Francisco side) that is closest to the bridge are metered and take $1.00 (four quarters) per hour — make sure to bring quarters for the meter. Other close-by lots charge a flat $5 fee. Spaces in the North lot (Suasalito Side) (the Vista Point on the east or the small lot of Conzelman Road on the west) are free, with a four hour time limit.
For More Parking Details Visit http://www.oursausalito.com/golden-gate-bridge/golden-gate-bridge-parking-at-the-bridge.html
The Golden Gate Bridge is part of a fully functioning highway (US 101). When walking please be aware it will be loud and children should be supervised for their safety.
Here are suggested ways to walk the bridge:
Golden Gate Bridge Walk 1: Parking Lot (North or South) to Mid-Span
Distance: About 1.5 Miles (2.5 km)
Time: I think you need a minimum of an hour to enjoy the walk, though it can be done in 30 minutes.
You can start from any of the Golden Gate Bridge parking lots and go in either direction.
Golden Gate Bridge Walk 2: Walk to the North or South Tower Or Just Past
If you’re short on time or have young family members who can’t go as far as mid-span, a great option is to walk out to one of the Bridge towers. This is much more fun than just taking pictures in the parking lot, and can take as little as 20-30 minutes
Visiting a tower lets you see up close the gigantic steel rivets that hold the Bridge together. You’ll get the feel for being on the bridge and the massive size of the structure, feel the vibration when the big trucks and buses go by, see fabulous views and feel the sea breeze.
Golden Gate Bridge Walk 3: Walk Across the Entire Golden Gate Bridge
Distance: About 3 Miles (5 km) to go from one parking lot to the anchorage for the cables at the far end of the Bridge and then walk back. if you go all the way from parking lot to parking lot for the familiar postcard views it’s about 3.5 miles for the round trip (just under 6 km).
Time: We think you need a minimum of two hours to enjoy the walk, though it can be done in the range from an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.
Tips:The Southern End – San Francisco Side – Has a visitor’s centre with and snack shop