Believe it or not, many were against building the iconic landmark that dramatically connects San Francisco to Marin. When engineer Joseph Strauss' initial design for the Golden Gate Bridge was revealed in 1922, the press declared it "ugly" and architects doubted that a suspension bridge of its length could be structurally sound. Despite opposition, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27, 1937 to much fanfare.
The Golden Gate Bridge we know and love is in an elegant Art Deco style. Strauss worked with architect Irving Morrow to select the bridge's color, International Orange, chosen for the way the hue plays against the surrounding land, sea, and ever-present fog. In case you were wondering, painting the bridge is an ongoing process that happens year-round, to protect it from the corrosive salty bay air. The bridge's name is a nod to the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.
Today, the Golden Gate Bridge is recognized as one of the seven modern wonders of the world. It attracts more than 10 million fans a year and is a huge reason visitors flock to the Presidio.
Experiencing the Golden Gate Bridge
The best way to experience the bridge is by walking or biking across its 1.7 mile span. This really is a MUST for tourists and locals alike to get a true sense of the bridge's scale, to appreciate the marvelous view and, of course, to take some obligatory selfies.
To celebrate the bridge's 75th birthday, in 2012 the plaza at its southern end got a major facelift. If you haven't been by in a few years you'll be delighted to experience the new
Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, dedicated to telling the site's story. Here you can also pick up a truly tasteful memento of your visit and grab a Presidio map. Drop in to the
Round House Café to fuel up before visiting the nearby
Golden Gate Overlook,
Pacific Overlook, and
Battery East Vista. Then, head out to explore the rest the park on the
California Coastal Trail, the
Bay Area Ridge Trail, the Bay Trail, or the
Word to the wise…parking is very limited at the bridge, so public transportation is your best bet, including the
PresidiGo Shuttle, which stops nearby. You can also rent a bicycle at
Sports Basement at Crissy Field. It can be incredibly windy and foggy on the bridge, so don't forget to bring layers!