First time driving through the Golden Gate Bridge
It is exciting, it is thrilling, it is a bit scary to look over the rails of Golden Gate bridge, it’s one of the reason why people from around the world come to San Francisco.
The trip to Golden Gate while in SF is an absolute must while exploring the Bay Area. I think it is an incredible experience to drive through one of the 20th century architectural marvels. Built right before WWII (1937) just in the span of 4 years it is a project worthy of praise, and of course a selfy. Easily beating the construction of Walt Disney Concert hall and many other prominent structures in California.
The bridge connects the San Francisco County and the Marin County spanning just over a kilometer (1200m) it’s an attraction that draws crowds from all over the world. If you’re planning on spending a day at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, aka Children’s Museum in Marin County, you’ll be in for a treat while crossing the Golden Gate straight.
Btw, very few people know that that it was the SF bay’s straight that was originally called golden gate and not the bridge. World’s famous red bridge adopted the name from a topographical feature.
We had a great time exploring the bridge with our aunt Tiffany and Misha got to take some of his first steps over a structure known all over the world. It was an exciting and a historical experience for us and we can’t wait until our little dude grows up and takes up on a bike ride across the Golden Gate channel.
Golden Gate Zipper
There are many features to be amazed by while exploring the bridge, however in my opinion one of the coolest practical attributes is the Golden Gate zipper. A traffic control system that partitions the road and controls the inflow of the traffic to and from the city. Best admired from a short video clip, check it out:
Btw check out the cross section of the bridge supporting guy wires, which are composed of multiple steel filaments. Pretty insane how it all fits together, and actually remind of the muscle fibers on a cross cut.
Rental bikes are NOT available at the Bridge
From the official website you’ll easily decipher that Rental bikes are NOT available at the Bridge! lol
Apparently lots of tourists attempt to get the bikes from the visitor’s center.
Parking at the Golden Gate Bridge
1. Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center
Closest and the hardest to get is the “Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center parking lot. Located immediately adjacent to the Bridge and the welcome center is the spot that everyone always on a look out for. Despite the tourist buses, group tours and limited spaces it’s the prime parking lot. It is most convenient during the bad weather, nobody wants to put miles on around the bridge when it’s raining.
2. Battery East Parking Lot
Second most sought after locations. If you enter the golden gate welcome center area you will have to make a right turn to continue toward the Lincoln blvd. Basically just place the Battery East parking lot into your GPS Google navigator app.
3. Golden Gate Bridge Parking
This sweet spot is located immediately under the 101 hwy. So if you didn’t have a good luck finding a a post at the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center lot you can resort to Golden Gate Bridge Parking.
4. View Parking
This is the default parking following Golden Gate Bridge Parking, slightly away from the bridge yet within the stone-throws distance. It’s the perfect spot if you are going to see the bridge with the afternoon wave of spectators.
What else to do at the Golden Gate Bridge ?
1. You have an option of crossing the bridge from San Francisco to Marin on foot and make your way to Sausalito. A place with many sweet spots with sea food. You also can explore the Bay Area Discovery Museum, aka Children’s Museum.
2. You can bike over the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito and take a ferry back to Pier 39 from Sausalito Southern Marin County Ferry.
3. You can check out the Palace of Fine arts, which in our opinion is within walkable distance, although many of our friends would rather prefer drive.
4. Check out the Presidio – an amazing park (partially belongs to US military) where you can find Walt Disney’s Museum (not really worth the site) and occasional events at the Presidio. Here’s a good webpage where you can explore the latest gatherings and entertainment.
5. Hang out at the Marshall’s Beach or the Baker’s Beach (weather dependent) and get those magnificent shots of the bridge from the west perspective.
6. Check out the land’s end park – probably one of the most rewarding experiences. Don’t forget to squiz in the Sutro baths hike while you’re in the area.
7. Drive to nearby Muir woods, although check out our post on new rules while visiting the park. (It’s best to take a shuttle from Sausalito instead of taking your car all the way to Muir woods just to find out that there’s no parking available).
Golden gate bridge with kids.
First of all, exercise caution and common sense. The area around the bridge is rocky, full of cliffs and drops, and if your kid makes a wrong step he/she will surely tumble down from a considerable elevation.
There’s lots of traffic, cars and people just walking and driving around the sight, your little children can easily be trampled or ran over by a car so keep them on a short distance and enjoy one of the most amazing marvels of the 20th century .