Golden Gate Bridge History

Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge & Tips for Visitors

The Golden Gate Bridge history is the cornerstone to the beauty of this amazing structure. Here you can learn more about this history and a few fun facts about it such as its length and the number of cars that drive across it daily. You will also uncover tips for visiting.

The Golden Gate Bridge towers high above the San Francisco Bay. It is a popular route for those heading from San Francisco to other parts of northern California. It has a long history and many interesting facts to go with it.

flying over golden gate bridge

Flying high over the Golden Gate Bridge with downtown SF in the background

Golden Gate Bridge History

The Golden Gate Bridge history starts in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Joseph Strauss wanted the Golden Gate Bridge built to connect Marin County with San Francisco.

Many thought he was crazy and that building a structure in that location was impossible. However, Strauss received enough support and a bond was issued.

The Golden Gate Bridge history begins. His team and he received nearly $35 million dollars to build it. They were also told to complete it in four years. It ended up coming in under budget and earlier than originally scheduled.

May 28, 1937 is an important date to remember in the Golden Gate Bridge history. It's the first day that cars were allowed to cross. It opened to pedestrians just one day earlier.

Golden Gate Bridge Facts

Today, nearly 112,000 cars cross it every day. That equals almost 41 million cars a year!

The two large towers stand nearly 746 feet above the water, similar to the height of a 65 story building. The towers are tall, but they are both hollow.

The two main cables that string the bridge from one side to the other are around 3 feet thick. In total, they contain around 80,000 miles of steel wire.

Golden Gate Photos

Are you looking for that perfect location for your photos? Read on for a list of places to get some of the best shots of this famed SF attraction.

San Francisco is a very windy city, especially along the water. The Golden Gate Bridget history continues with the fact that the team building the bridge made it strong enough to withstand wind up to 100 miles an hour.

What is the Golden Gate bridge history around its bright orange color? The actual color is 'Orange Vermilion' -- but is more commonly called International Orange. The original builders painted it this color so it would blend into its surroundings. There are beautiful sunsets in San Francisco and this was a way to have the bridge blend in with its beauty.

Is it repainted each year? Many people are told that they paint it from end to end every year. This is not true.

The Golden Gate bridge history states that the full bridge was only repainted a few times since it was completed. However, touch ups are common, so full time maintenance workers keep it in its full orange color with ongoing touch up work.

Due to its color and other characteristics, it is one of the most recognized structures in the world!

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Tolls & Other Tips for Driving Over It

You can drive, walk or ride your bike over it to learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge history. It has six lanes for cars. Walkers and bikers use special sidewalks to cross.

It is a little overwhelming to drive over it for the first time -- so work hard to concentrate on the road and not the scenery. The lanes are not very wide. The right hand lane is the largest of the three, so use this one when you cross.

Once you get over it, there is a great look out point. Try to be in the right lane as you are reaching the end of it. The viewing area is the first exit on the right after the bridge. The parking lot is large and is usually busy so be cautious as you drive into the lot.

The Golden Gate Bridge Toll is just for southbound traffic. You no longer need to stop to pay the toll. When you reach the toll plaza, simply continue driving. You will either be automatically charged on your FastTrak or you will receive a bill in the mail. There are no longer any human toll takers at the toll plaza.

The toll is currently $6.25 for those using FastTrak and $7.25 for those paying through the mail.

Tips for Walking Over the Golden Gate Bridge

It is 1.7 miles long and you can walk the entire way on a designated walking path. Walkers use the path on the east side.

You can also park your car in a designated parking area either at the north or south end. You can then walk only part of the way. If you do decide to walk the entire way -- don't forget that you have to walk all the way back to pick up your car!

If you decide you want to walk it, I recommend that you start as soon as the walkway opens in the morning. The walkway is pretty large, but it gets really crowded around 11 am and is pretty busy for the remainder of the day.

looking up at golden gate bridge

Looking up at the southern tower from the
walking path that is free and open to the public

If you want to walk just a short distance, then I recommend driving over first and walking from the north side. You can park closer to the bridge walk way and it isn't as crowded as starting from the southern side.

Don't forget to bring you camera too during your walk. You can get some amazing shots of the bay, Alcatraz and its large towers.

You will want to layer your clothes in case it gets warmer or cooler during your walk. It is amazing how beautiful it can be below and then how cold and windy it will feel on the bridge. Make sure you are prepared for either temperature.

Are you interested in taking a tour? Discover the best Golden Gate Tour options including pricing, estimate tour length and more!

Disclaimer: I recieve a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Golden Gate Bridge History: Tips for Biking

You can also ride your bike over it. During the week, the walkers and bicyclists share the path on the east side. Since it's more crowded on the weekends, the path on the west side is open for bicyclists only.

There are several bike rental places in the city. They offer the option to go with a group or on your own. Both are great options and just depend on your preference. They provide the bike and all of the safety equipment you need for your trip.

Guided Bike Tours

The great thing about a guide is that you will learn a little more about the Golden Gate Bridge History during your stops. It also ensures that you find your way around and do not go too far off your path.

If you like to plan ahead, then you can book your bike tour before you arrive. This cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend finding a rental shop when you arrive.

The Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour from Viator is a good option. The first three hours of the trip is with a guide. Your local guide takes you over it to the small town of Sausalito.

You then have the rest of the day on your own. You can grab some lunch and spend a little time in the cute city of Sausalito. You can then either bike back over to San Francisco or take the Sausalito ferry to Fishermans Wharf with your bike. This gives you some guidance, but also some freedom during your day. Learn more about Viator's Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour.

Going on Your Own

If you go on your own, be aware that no one is there to stop you from riding on the wrong side. Slow down so you can read and follow the bicycle signs.

If you are there on the weekends, make sure you take the correct path. It is always very crowded and you will not even be able to ride your bike if you end up on the wrong side.

It's usually really windy and quite chilly, so bring along something warm to wear.

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Bay Cruise

Instead of walking or driving, how about riding under it? For a completely different vantage point, check out one of the bay cruises.

This is another great way to learn about the Golden Gate Bridge history. It also gives you a completely different view of it for some amazing photos.

The Bay Cruise takes you up close to both the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge. For 90 minutes, you will sail around the bay learning a little more about the history of San Francisco and its famous bridges.

golden gate

Another shot looking up at the bridge - this one is from the boat of the SF Bay Cruise Tour

You will also learn a little more about other buildings in the city and pass by Alcatraz Island. The boat has indoor and outdoor seating. There are also restrooms and a seasonal snack bar.

This is the perfect way to get up close to the famed attraction and learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge history. Find more details about this popular Bay Cruise.

Do you want to learn even more about it? One of my favorite books on the topic is Golden Gate: The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge.

It's a great review of some of the most important history of it. The book also goes into more detail on its current role as one of the most recognized landmarks in the US and how this attracts both positive and negative attention.

Here are some additional pages you might enjoy:

Alcatraz History & Booking Tips: If you are visiting San Francisco, then a visit to Alcatraz Island is a must! The history surrounding this small island in the bay is unmatched. Discover more on the history of the island, its infamous prisoners and tips for booking and visiting the island during your stay.

Fort Point National Historic Site: Located right under the Golden Gate Bridge is the Fort Point National Historic Site. This unique building was originally scheduled for demolition to make way for the new bridge. However, after careful consideration, the design was altered to keep this site. If you love history, I recommend stopping and learning more about this old military building.

Cable Cars: If you love the Golden Gate Bridge History, you will also love the history around the cable cars in San Francisco. These famous cars run up and down the steep streets of San Francisco. Find out more about the different lines, where to hop on and other tips for riding the cable cars through the streets of San Francisco.

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and please contact me if you have any questions before your trip.

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