Your Destination Guide to San Francisco

Destination Guide San Francisco - Your Destination Guide to San Francisco, CA

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Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

© Aslak Raanes

Synonymous with San Francisco, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is an internationally prominent landmark. Though indeed captivating through photographs and on TV, no sight is more grandiose than an authentic view of this legendary structure.

Erected in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to the northern Bay Area. Before the bridge linked Highway 101 and California Route 1, chartered ferries were the sole means of transportation between the two peninsulas. In the Spring of 1924, San Francisco and Marin counties came together to request the government grant official authorization to gap the golden gate. Proposals were received from eleven of the country's most distinguished engineers, resulting in an arduous process. However, on August 15, 1929 local engineer and poet Joseph Strauss was selected and appointed head of design and general construction. Although Strauss was given chief responsibility, his lack of cable-suspension knowledge required help from additional experts, like residential architect Irving Morrow , fellow engineer Charles Alton Ellis, and famous bridge designer Leon Moisseif. Strauss and his team used more than one million tons of concrete to build the massive blocks, also referred to as "the anchorages" which grasp the bridge's supporting cables. After four years of thorough construction and a final project costing $35 million, the Golden Gate Bridge opened May 27, 1937 with a week-long celebration. To conclude the celebration and before the bridge was opened to vehicles, the city of San Francisco allowed nearly 200,000 excited visitors to cross the bridge by foot and roller skate.

The Golden Gate Bridge stands 746 feet high, 90 feet wide, and spans 1.7 miles. The length of the wire used in the cables is enough to wrap around the earth three times. Its distinctive color, "international orange" as it is called, was chosen to enhance the colors and scenery that surround it, while remaining visible through the frequent San Francisco fog. Held together by 80,000 miles of wire cables, this engineering marvel is estimated to attract more than nine million people each year. Infamously known as the most popular place in the United States to commit suicide, the Golden Gate Bridge has a 98% jump fatality rate with only 28 reported survivors. Further safety precautionary measures continue to be debated.

Commonly referred to by locals as the GGB, this famous spectacle is accessible 24 hours a day to bicycles and vehicles, and during daylight hours to pedestrians, 5:00am to 6:00pm year round. From 220 feet above the water, sidewalks on either side of the bridge provide a 360-degree expansive view of the San Francisco Bay and the city itself. A free attraction to those who choose to walk and a $6 toll for vehicles heading towards San Francisco, this bridge is easily accessible by foot, bike, car or cab.

Part of the quintessential San Francisco experience, the Golden Gate Bridge will long exist as a photogenic wonderment, from end to end.

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