Millions of people visit San Francisco for the Victorian houses, cable car rides and fantastic food. Millions of others come to see the engineering marvel that is the Golden Gate Bridge. Here are a few tips from someone who has lived in the Bay Area for twenty years:
1. Best run to the bridge: Start at Crissey Field and run to the end of the path. It is flat, runs right along the bay and you end up directly underneath the bridge, right where the bay meets the ocean. Usually a few surfers and windsurfers are doing their thin, too–very California, I think. It is only a few miles. You can do it. If not, walk it and stop at for a cup of hot chocolate.
2. Best walk: Park near the bridge and walk to the middle of the bridge, look out, look up and look down for views. Dress warmly, there is always a brisk breeze.
3. Best bike: Rent a bike anywhere in the city, ride across the bridge and then down a long hill into Sausalito, have lunch, see the shops and take the ferry back to the city to the bike rental shop. Be forewarned in the summer the ferry is swamped with bikes. Be the last one on the ferry and be the first one off it or just go into traveler zen mode and zone out until everyone else has unloaded.
4. Best drive: Skip the vantage point just after the bridge ends. It is crowded and hard to park. Instead, take the Alexander Avenue exit (that is the second left after the bridge) turn left at the stop, go under the freeway and take a right into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (aka the headlands.) Drive to the top and look back at the bridge. There will be parking, fewer people and spectacular views. You can continue on to see more of the area if you wish. A great drive.
Don’t just take pictures, go out on the bridge to enjoy the beauty of its design and a great view of the bay are.