How to Get to the Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-visit during your stay in San Francisco.
Read below for our tips on how to get to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous bridges all over the world, and more than 10 million people visit this amazing bridge every year. When the bridge was finished in 1937, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.
Nowadays, most people recognize the bridge because of its color. But why is it not gold, like the name of the bridge? The bridge wasn’t named because of its color, but because of the Golden Gate Strait? This is the strait that connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.
Instead, the color is called “international orange”. It was actually meant as the base coat for the bridge but since it complements the natural surroundings perfectly and it enhances the bridge’s visibility in the fog the architect decided to keep the color.
You can visit the Golden Gate Bridge a few different ways, check out your option below!
- By Car
- By Bus
- By Bike
Visit the Golden Gate Bridge on Dylan’s Famous San Francisco City Tour
Want to see it for yourself? Check out our top-rated Dylan’s Famous San Francisco City Tour for a tour of the Golden Gate Bridge by a local guide!
- Explore the top neighborhoods with your local guide and learn the stories, history, and diversity of San Francisco.
- 10 locations, 5 amazing photo stops (Including Palace of Fine Arts, Fisherman’s Wharf, Muir Woods, Golden Gate Bridge, and more!)
Learn more about the Famous San Francisco City Tour offered by Dylan’s.
How to get to the Golden Gate Bridge
Most of the time, driving to attractions in San Francisco isn’t a good idea. But there are several parking lots close to the Golden Gate Bridge which makes it very easy to get to by car. To access the parking areas, you have to take the last SF exit when you are driving on Presidio Parkway.
The closest parking lot to the bridge is the parking lot at the visitor’s center. However, because this one is so close it fills up the fastest. If you do manage to get a parking spot, you have to pay a rate of $0,25 per 15 minutes.
If you like to hike or don’t mind walking a bit there are other options.
The first one is the Battery East parking lot. This is also a great photo spot so we really recommend trying to park your car at this lot. The lot is located just below the visitor center, and you don’t have to worry about a time limit or parking rate as the lot is free!
The last two options are to park your car at Chrissy Field or Fort Point. They both take a 15-minute walk to the bridge and are free parking with no time limit!
On the weekends, there is an extra option, if you are driving from San Francisco, you can follow the exit that says “Golden Gate National Recreation Area View.” (This lot has a parking fee.)
The only problem with going by car to the Golden Gate Bridge is that the parking lots fill up pretty fast during peak season. This means you will have to arrive early or find another way to get to the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you don’t have the option to go by car or you don’t want to waste time looking for a parking spot, you can take public transit. Numerous buses will take you to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you are using Google Maps for directions, we recommend using the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center as the location.
The bus that drives you directly to the Golden Gate Bridge is Muni Bus #28-19th Avenue. This bus drops you off at the welcome center right in front of the bridge. You can catch this bus around Fisherman’s Wharf and from the Golden Gate Park. Make sure to check the route via the SFMTA website.
From downtown San Francisco you have a few other options to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can take the Golden Gate Transit buses, which will stop at the toll plaza just in front of the bridge. Golden Gate Transit Bus numbers 10, 70, 92, 93, and 101 will bring you there.
NOTE: These buses are different than minibusses so you will need a separate ticket for them. You can buy these when you get on the bus.
Hop On Hop Off Buses
If you already have tickets for a hop-on-hop-off bus you can easily use them to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. Both Big Bus Tours and City-Sightseeing stop in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and can drive you to the other side of the bridge.
We think biking to the Golden Gate Bridge is the most convenient way to take in icon San Francisco landmark. You don’t have to worry about parking, and you don’t have to pay the toll to cross the bridge.
Dylan’s bike shop is located in North Beach and has the perfect bike route for you to take to the Golden Gate Bridge. You can easily follow the Bike the Bridge route by biking to the waterfront and following the bike path from there.
The bike path is mostly flat, but there is one hill close to the bridge. If you want to avoid this hill, we highly recommend renting an electric bike in San Francisco!
If you want to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, you will have to keep the following in mind. You have access to the East and West sidewalk of the bridge depending on the season. Make sure to check the schedule on the Golden Gate website before you head to the Golden Gate bridge.
TIP: If you bike on the East sidewalk, you have to yield to pedestrians. We recommend slowing down when you get to the towers since it is hard to see the pedestrians on those points.
NOTE: if you want to bike on the West sidewalk, you will have to press a buzzer to get access.
Want to visit Muir Woods and Sausalito in addition to your city bike trip? Book our Bike the Bridge and Shuttle to Muir Woods Tour to see the icon San Francisco sites (Golden Gate, Muir Woods, and Sausalito)!
A few rules apply if you want to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. As a pedestrian, you are only allowed to walk on the east sidewalk of the bridge. You can access this sidewalk from 5 am-6.30 pm from November till March and from 5 am-9 pm from March till November.
If you want to walk to the bridge, we recommend walking from one of the parking lots or the walking trail that you can follow from Fisherman’s Wharf.
What to do once you arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge?
Take a tour
Once you figured out how to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, what do you do once you are there?
When you get to the bridge, you can choose to do a walking tour. There are a lot of free walking tours that will take you across the bridge and provide you with a lot of history and information about the bridge. These are our two favorites:
Free Tours By Foot Golden Gate Bridge Tour
Free Tours By Foot provides fun walking tours across the Golden Gate Bridge. They will take you to great photo spots and make sure you learn a lot about the bridge’s history and facts. Even though the tour is free, they do require reservations. You can easily do this via their website.
The tour is 1.5 hours in total, and the walk will be under a mile. Make sure to check their calendar to find out when the tours run.
NOTE: This is a “name your own price tour”. That means the tour is free and at the end of it you will decide how much the tour was worth it to you.
SF City Guides Golden Gate Bridge Tour
To join SF City Guides Golden Gate Bridge Tour the only thing you have to do is show up at the starting location mentioned on their website! No reservations needed and the best of all, their tours are entirely free!
SF City Guides offers a Golden Gate Bridge tour twice a week, one on Thursday and one on Sunday. Both will start at 11 am so make sure you arrive a few minutes before the departure time since you have to sign in on the sheet the guide brings. After signing up, the tour can start, and the tour guide will take you through the history of this icon for about 1.5-2 hours.
NOTE: Since SF City Guides is a non-profit organization, the guides do not accept tips, but they will hand out a yellow envelope where you can donate to City Guides if you want to.
Another great option is to join one of our minibus tours that will take you to the best views of the bridge and to the other side of it. We at Dylan’s have created our Dylan’s Famous San Francisco City Tour, this tour includes a trip through the city, multiple photo opportunities and we will bring you to the waterfront town Sausalito. You can eat lunch in Sausalito and enjoy the beautiful town. Afterwards, you will head with us back to the city, enjoying the views along the way!
If you are ready to expand this tour, even more, you can add a visit to Muir Woods! We will bring you to the woods after exploring Sausalito, and we will bring you back to the city after seeing the redwood trees. Check out our Dylan’s Famous San Francisco Tour in the video below!
All of our tours are given by local tour guides, and they will provide you with all of their information and tips about the city. We might be a bit biased, but we think these tours are the best option to get to know the city through the eyes of a local!
Explore the best photo opportunities
When you arrive at the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge and are ready to take a walk and make amazing pictures, it is important to know where to do this best. We listed the best photo spots for you to make sure you end up with the best photos of the Golden Gate Bridge!
- Battery East Parking Lot
- Marin Headlands
- Fort Point
- Fort Baker
Discover San Francisco like never before! Join our Explore S.F. group on Facebook, your ultimate guide to the city’s best-kept secrets. From local tips to monthly adventures, this is where your journey begins. Click here to join and start exploring!