San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge traversing the Golden Gate strait or “Chrysopylae,” linking San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. It is “arguably the most recognizable bridge in the world.” Its design inspired by the industrial age provides San Francisco’s skyline that undeniable appeal.
Among the Wonders of the Modern World
At the time of construction, many feared that this bridge couldn’t be built having to span one of the most unforgiving stretches of water in the world. The strait is known for its strong, swirling currents ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 knots due to the tides moving in and out of the bay. The wind gustiness in the area can go as high as 75 miles per hour, and when the wind drops it becomes blanketed in thick fog with visibility falling to zero. This is the reason why it is considered to be among the Wonders of the Modern World.
A Magnificent Monument: The Wow Factors
The Golden Gate Bridge is a magnificent landmark bridge, in its iconic status and history.
- It is an engineering masterpiece. It was the world’s longest (with a span of 2,737 m/4,200 feet) and tallest (with a height of 227 meters/ 744.7 feet) suspension bridge when it was opened on May 27, 1937. It was designed by Joseph Strauss.
- The location is a visual spectacle. It is set against an equally stunning backdrop – on one side is the visually endless Pacific, and on the other is the highly urbanized San Francisco and the rugged cliffs of Marin County. Just strolling or biking down its length, or standing at some point, you can behold the beauty of the scenery. The rich, burnt red-orange color complements the Marin County cliffs and contrasts with the blueness of the unforgiving waters.
- It is gorgeous, just like its surroundings. It has graceful lines, symmetry and Art Deco detailing, a contribution of Architect Irving Morrow. Its towers soar high at 700 feet and rooted more than 100 feet underneath the bay. The color was only meant to be a sealant for the steel. It was retained as it does not only wonderfully complements the surroundings, but the color also gave the Golden Gate Bridge a warm character and made it more visible when shrouded in heavy fog.
Getting the Best Views of the Bridge
The vision that the Golden Gate Bridge creates is impressive regardless of your vantage point. But if you want to behold a spectacular sight, A View on Cities suggests that you go to these locations:
- South Vista Point. This is the most popular site, situated at the San Francisco end of the bridge.
- North Vista Point, located at the Marin County side of the bridge.
- Land’s End. Panoramic View from the northern tip of Lincoln Park
- Baker Beach at the Presidio Park.
- Conzelman Road. At the Marin County side; great view from an inlet near the bridge.
The site also suggests visiting in the morning when this suspension monument is shrouded in mist or at night when the lights endows it with another aura.
Ways to Enjoy this Golden Gate Bridge
If you get the chance to visit San Francisco, don’t miss this bridge. Regardless of what you do– hike/walk, take a guided tour, bike, sit back, snack and relax or shop – it will still turn to be a unique experience because it has been done in this world famous bridge. The Golden Gate bridge website shares the following information:
- The Welcome Center – This is the place to go to get information and buy souvenirs/commemorative merchandise.
- The Plaza – This is located just outside the Welcome Center. It serves as a venue for outdoor exhibits. This is also where you can “Learn about the history, science, and engineering of the Bridge’s construction…”
- Free Walking Tours – This is offered by volunteers from the non-profit organization called San Francisco City Guides.
- Refresh and Enjoy at the Bridge Café – Give your feet a break and your tummy a taste of the local gastronomies featured in this café.
- Hike and Explore – For the adventurous, you can give in to your yearnings to hike and explore the Golden Gate National Parks, which you can pursue from either of the bridge ends.
One look at the Golden Gate Bridge and you’ll understand why it is among this planet’s “wonders.” It literally has several “wow” factors – it is iconic, it is immense, it is amazingly stunning, and it is a technical wonder. Once you get there, just like the best “Wonders,” you would know it is special. All you can do is be awed by it.