Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco from 7 viewpoints

Golden Gate bridge is unmistakably San Francisco's number one landmark. No visit to California is complete without a visit to the bridge. I headed towards Golden Gate bridge on my first day at SF and as it turns out, I was very lucky to have a clear sky that day. This post shares my photos of Golden gate bridge, few notes made and related details.

Visiting Golden Gate bridge:
When I arrived in San Francisco, I initially ended up near the Port of San Francisco near market street. From there I could see a white bridge- for a moment I wondered if they painted the golden gate bridge in white colour... (Chennai central often gets a white paint before receiving fresh coat of red paint). Soon found out that I was looking at Bay Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints:
There're several spots from which one can get spectacular view of Golden Gate Bridge.
Spot 1. Welcome centre.
I took bus 28 which dropped me towards the entrance of Golden Gate Bridge welcome centre. From here you can have your initial view of the Golden Gate bridge. It is not the best of the view but gives you an idea. Welcome centre has a cafe, information centre and rest rooms. Welcome centre and cafe seem to close after 6 PM. Parking here is very limited.


Once here, you can decide where to go next.
You can walk/cycle/drive down to bottom of the bridge (Point 2)
You can walk/cycle/drive across the bridge to points 3, 4 or 5

I decided to walk across the bridge to the other side. Golden Gate Bridge is about 1 mile (1.6kms in length). So if you're exploring on foot, be ready to walk at least 4 to 5 kms. (across the bridge and back and between various view points)

Spot 3: Golden bridge lookout at Vista Point
Once you cross the bridge, you will come across Vista point to your right. This is another spot to view Golden gate bridge. Views will be like below.

Vista point has a restroom (not very well maintained), drinking water fountain and parking.

If you're using Hop on-Hop Off buses, they will drop you at either Spot 1 or Spot 3. Remaining spots you will have to walk. If you're reaching using public transportation, Spot 1 (welcome centre) is the only access point as far as I could notice. There're city buses that cross the bridge, but there's no designated bus stop for public transport buses closer to the view points on the other side.

Spot 4: Battery Spencer- The best spot
This is the best spot to get a full view of the Golden Gate Bridge, without too many obstacles occupying space in the frame. To reach Battery Spencer from Vista point you need to take Pedestrian underpass and climb up the hill for about a km. Trust me, this hike will be totally worth it. Most tourist buses won't be coming here, so only locals and those who can hike/bike will be here.





No restrooms or any facilities at Battery Spencer- some abandoned barracks could be seen

Spot 5: There're a few walking trails from Battery Spencer. I took one of them and walked a bit, till I got this view.

Spot 2: Fort Point national historic site
This spot is between the welcome centre and the bridge, gives you bottom up view of the bridge. I was taken here after 2 days while exploring the city with a colleague. It was cloudy that day, this was the photo I could get.

Spot 6: There're other spots from where you can get far away view of the Golden Gate bridge. China Beach or Bakers beach are a few of them. Lands end walking trail also gives good glimpse of the bridge in clear weather. On my last day in SF I walked across the Lands End/Coastal Trail and got some views like below.

Spot 7: From the ferry: Various ferries operate across the ocean connecting SF Financial District to northern part of the city. If sky is clear you will get good view of the Golden Gate bridge during the ferry ride. I couldn't click any decent picture during my ferry ride due to clouds.

Spot 8: From the bridge itself
As you walk on the bridge, you can get some up-close photos of the giant bridge.




I am sure there could be few more- but above are the ones I could explore the bridge from.

Bridge gets a lane separator- a mobile device which can swap lanes depending on traffic conditions. Golden Gate bridge is designed to withstand extreme winds. It was great visiting this historic bridge.

Unlike Sydney harbor bridge, there's no provision to walk on the top of the bridge. The Golden gate bridge wasn't designed with such intentions apparently.

Check weather forecast- visit on a day that is likely to have clear skies, for best of the views. Else you'll see the bridge partially covered in cloud.

Similar: Sydney Harbor Bridge*  Broken Bridge, Adyar * Bridge across River Godavari, Rajamundry * Bridge across River Kwai * Seri Wawasan bridge, Putrajaya

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