It’s not every day that you get to span an icon. The Golden Gate is perhaps the most photographed bridge in the world. The iconic orange suspension bridge opened in 1937, connecting San Francisco to Marin County. Originally slated to be painted black with yellow stripes for enhanced visibility, a vermillion-colored sealant eventually sealed its fate as the chosen color.
So how exactly can you cross the mile-long bridge? For our fellow adventurers staying with us at Stanford Court Hotel, here we’ve compiled a how-to guide on spanning the bridge that’s synonymous with San Francisco, whether by foot, bike, or automobile.
Reaching heights of 245 feet for pedestrians, walking the Golden Gate can be a tad bit scary, but once you enjoy the sheer size of the bridge and beautiful city views, it’s well worth it. The eastern side of the bridge is open to pedestrians from 5 am to 9 pm March through November; in winter months pedestrian access is limited to 6:30 pm. Dogs aren’t permitted, so leave Fido at the hotel. Before (or after) crossing the bridge, do check out the Golden Gate Bridge Visitors Center, located at the pedestrian entrance. Outdoor exhibits are worth checking out and explain the engineering of the suspension bridge. The gift shop has excellent souvenirs; café and restroom facilities are also available.
As part of our eco-conscious amenities, guests at Stanford Court Hotel have open rental access to New Albion bicycles and Blix E-bikes. Up for adventure? It’s a whole new experience to ride across the Golden Gate on wheels, and views of the Pacific Ocean from the north side of the bridge (designated for cyclists) are marvelous. The bridge is less than 5 miles from SCH, and the bridge is a mile to cross, with 2-way bicycle traffic. Beware of strong winds! Sometimes gusts coming off the Pacific are a lot stronger than expected. Make sure to wear a windbreaker to divert strong gusts and enjoy the ride. Check out bike routes here.
Fun fact: Golden Gate Bridge tolls only apply if you’re entering SF from Sausalito. That means the trip across the Golden Gate from SF is free! If you have your own car, try crossing in the afternoon when the morning fog clears, but not too late (as the fog always returns). It’s hard to time it just right. Another option is the hop-on, hop-off Big Bus Tour. The open-air, double-decker bus crosses the bridge during its 2.5-hour tour and gives great background and information about all the special SF landmarks. Details here.
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