12 Ways to Experience the Golden Gate Bridge

As a local and visitor, there are many ways to see, cycle, walk the international orange behemoth in San Francisco’s bay area. And each viewpoint and journey reveal a new way to see the city and surrounding areas.

I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset, when most tourists are fleeing from the evening breeze and the lights from the Golden Gate are just beginning to glow. If you’re lucky, you might witness an illuminated container ship as it exits the Bay on its way to Asia. This vantage point is on the North side of the Golden Gate—for the active traveler it’s a lovely green hike after a stroll across the bridge but alternately you can dive up. There’s also a closer view at the base of the hill.
Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most photographed site in California, but this vantage point never gets old. Explore the hollowed out fort, learn some history, and marvel at the view from the top floor.
Golden Gate Bridge, California, USA
There is perhaps no landmark of San Francisco, and perhaps even the entire state of California, more iconic than the Golden Gate Bridge. This much-photographed bridge spans the Golden Gate, the strait separating San Francisco (to the south) and Marin County (to the north). The 2.7-kilometer-long (1.7-mile-long) bridge was completed in 1937 in one of the most remarkable engineering feats of its time. Although the idea of traversing the Golden Gate by way of a bridge had been discussed for decades, the fear that fog and wind would make the project nearly impossible discouraged planners. In the end, the bridge was completed in four years at the cost of $35 million as well as the lives of 10 construction workers. A pedestrian path along the bridge offers stunning views of the bay and San Francisco as well as an up-close look at this Art Deco wonder.

Marin Headlands, California, USA
If you’ve never been to the Marin Headlands, you MUST go! The views are stellar, but make sure you get there early (well, early enough to get there before all the tourists!) Ht up the headlands for a nice hike and view and then drive to Bar Bocci in Sausalito for lunch or dinner. You won’t be disappointed.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Food + Drink
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East