Frequently Asked Questions about a Golden Gate Bridge Visit

Yes! The bridge is 1.3 miles from one end to the other. Pedestrians can walk on the eastern sidewalk of the bridge. You can simply park near the bridge and stroll over it, but there are also some cool trails that lead up to the bridge which are worth doing.

Check out this resource for walking the Golden Gate Bridge for full details.

You can visit the bridge anytime, but the “best” time depends upon what you want to do while there. If you simply want to check out the viewing platforms and walk the bridge, you can do that any day from 5:30am-6pm (or as late as 8pm in the summer).

It’s worth visiting the bridge at dawn if you want nice light for your photoshoot. The best spot for that is below the bridge at Crissy Field and Fort Point. For sunsets, the best spot is west of the bridge along the Batteries to Bluffs trail or on the north side in the Marin Headlands.

It’s free to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s also free to walk the nearby trails, the historic Fort Point site and the gun batteries. However, some of the nearby parking lots cost from $1.00-$1.90 per hour.

The Welcome Center has two parking lots very close to the south end of the bridge. But altogether, there are 8 parking lots within walking distance of the south end and another 3 on the north end. Some of these are free and others are paid.

This resource will tell you everything you need to know about Golden Gate Bridge parking. It has a map and will tell you which lots are free.

Most people go to the Welcome Center on the south bridge. It has several viewing platforms along with easy access for walking the bridge. However, the bridge spans both sides of the bay and the area encompasses lot of natural beauty and historical interest. So, there are many different ways to view the bridge and all of them are Instagrammable. It’s worth exploring the north and west sides of the bridge as well as going down to water-level to see the underside.

This guide has suggestions for 14 different ways to view the Golden Gate Bridge. It has specific instructions for how to find each location and the best time of day to do it.

Yes. There are bathrooms at the south end Welcome Center and the north end Vista Point.

Panama Pacific Exposition History

The 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition was a celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. This expo also turned into one of the most important events in the history of San Francisco.

Before the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco showed some interest in hosting this large international event. However, after the earthquake hit, city officials knew the event was critical for the city. With millions of visitors expected, it was one of the best ways to showcase how far San Francisco had come after the devastating earthquake.

SF was selected as the city to hold this large event shortly after the earthquake hit.

The site only took four years to build. The buildings covered 635 acres of land in an area that is now the San Francisco Marina. It stretched all along the waterfront from Van Ness Street to Fort Point. In total, the buildings for the event housed more than 70,000 exhibits from around the world.

The Panama Pacific Exposition opened on February 20, 1915. For 288 days, more than 19 million people from around the world visited San Francisco for the event. 

At the close of the event in December 1915, the buildings were scheduled for demolition. However, the city decided to keep one of the most beautiful buildings — the Palace of Fine Arts.

When you walk around the Palace of Fine Arts, you will see
many beautiful architecture and special art on the walls. The Palace was
originally built in 1915 for the World’s Fair. They decided to have it here to
show that San Francisco is alive and well after the 1906 earthquake.

During the World’s Fair, there were loads of stores and
other temporary exhibits. The Palace was originally designed by Bernard Maybeck
who wanted to make a grand building and choose to show off some classic
European and classic style. So why are there 4 weeping women built into one of
the colonnades?

Because Mr. Maybeck wanted to show that, even though everything
was recovering in San Francisco, and there was a major World’s Fair happening
right here, we should still remember the past and what has been lost to time. So,
these 4 women face inwards and weep for the times gone by and what has been
lost.

Being that this was originally only supposed to be for the World’s Fair,
and then knocked down, the city worked with the US government to be given the
land to become part of the Presidio. So, luckily for us, the Palace and the two
colonnades. Were saved and are still with us today. 

Fun Fact: They were originally going to be partially covered
in vines and flowers to make it even more mournful, but it cost too much money,
so they’ve continued to stay exactly as they were over 100 years ago.

Alcatraz Island

Want to go on an adventurous journey? Make a point of seeing Alcatraz while you’re in San Francisco!

In the 1870s, the lighthouse post was converted into military jail.

When it became a maximum-security jail in 1934, this high fortification in the heart of San Francisco Bay was hailed as a national treasure.

“Escape from Alcatraz” and “The Rock” are two of the most spectacular films to come out of Alcatraz, yet the prison is still there.

It’s no longer used as a jail, but you may take a building tour instead.

If you’re interested in learning more about one of San Francisco’s most intriguing eras, make a trip to Alcatraz your destination.

This historic jail, formerly imprisoned infamous gangsters, including L. Capone, has an unsettling past that is palpable throughout a visit.

The island and jail are spectacularly visible from the ship. Alcatraz Island boasts a wide variety of tourist attractions.

Do you have a three-hour round trip in mind? Take your jacket to shield you from the island’s past’s perpetual mist and the wailing ghosts.

Address: San Francisco, CA 94133, United States

1. Hotel Sausalito & Suites

Some people love this hotel and its on the water, very close to the action, and just a couple of blocks away from the ferry. Others prefer options that are a bit further away from the businesses of this intersection.

About Angel Island State Park

Angel Island sits on a strategic location near the mouth of the Golden Gate. It was once a hunting and fishing site for the Miwok Native Americans, who are believed to have used it for a summer camp. But it has also been at various times– a cattle ranch, an army post during the civil war, an immigration and quarantine station, a World War II POW camp and a cold war missile site. This long history means that the island has a treasure trove of historical sites to be explored.

The transition into a state park in the early 1960’s, Angel Island preserved its cultural history, but it had the additional benefit preserving the island’s beautiful natural resources. The island is a microcosm of California coastal biology with the typical grassy chaparral, coast live oak trees and native grasses. There are mule deer, raptors, sea birds, an endemic mole species and even one lonely coyote who live on the island. And, you’ll find harbor seals, sea lions and dolphins swimming around it.

FAQ for the Lands End Hike

The basic loop trail is 3 miles, which you could easily cover in an hour. However, this guide recommends detours, scenic lookouts and memorials. If you do all of the stops suggested below, it you will cover ~4.5 miles and it will take 2.5-3 hours. This is a loop trail so you can start and end at nearly any point on the hike.

The Lands End hike is not very difficult. There are some ups and downs, which you will need to be prepared for, but the trail isn’t technical. The section between the Lincoln Hwy parking area and the Labyrinth is narrow and cliffy, so take care there. But the other sections are fairly wide.

Yes! It’s one of very few National Park areas that welcome Fido. Keep keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them.

Not many. There are some port-o-potties in the parking lot near the SS San Francisco memorial. There are also bathrooms in the Legion of Honor museum.

If you are taking public transportation, the #1 bus will take you to the Legion of Honor or the #38R Geary express bus can drop you at 48th st, near the Sutro Baths parking lot. If you are driving, see the map below for parking lot locations.

San Francisco has mild weather and you can go anytime. However, if there has been heavy rain, the trail will be quite muddy. In the summer, it’s often foggy in SF, so pay attention to the weather. If you are keen to photograph the trail or Sutro baths, morning is better as the west facing coastline can cause a lot of glare in the afternoon.

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1. Join a Free Walking Tour

One of the best free things to do in Quito is to join a walking tour. It is a fantastic introduction to the city and the perfect thing to do on your first full day in Quito, Ecuador.

You’ll meet other visitors as well and get a crash course on some of the traditions and history of the country.

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