Golden Gate Bridge
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is synonymous with San Francisco. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012, the bridge receives over 10 million visitors a year and carries 112,000 vehicles daily. There's plenty of ways to spy the bridge around the city or traverse the span that connects San Francisco with Marin County.
First, the stats: the Golden Gate Bridge is a fixed six-lane roadway just under 3km long. Under architect Joseph B. Strauss, the bridge took four years to build and was completed in 1937. Golden Gate refers to the strait between San Francisco and Marin Country which the bridge straddles, rather than the colour of the structure which is actually painted a deep red-orange hue known as International Orange to make it visible in fog. It's also strong enough to withstand winds of over 160kph and designed to sway up to eight metres during an earthquake.
Construction aside, the bridge's design and colour are what make this landmark recognisable all over the world. The Golden Gate Bridge boasts soaring Art Deco-style twin towers of 227m high, sweeping main cables and that signature orange hue. There are observation areas and carparks at the north and south sides of the bridge, including the Bridge Pavilion at the southeast end which opens daily from 9am to 6pm and houses exhibits and bridge souvenirs. Pedestrians can cross the bridge for free along the east sidewalk, whereas motor vehicles attract a toll. For more on the history and construction of the bridge, consider a 45-minute Bridge Tour which runs daily on the hour from 10.30am to 3.30pm until October 16, 2013. Tickets are US$12.95 for adults, US$9.95 for children aged six to 17 and free for five years and under.
To get to the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fisherman's Wharf, board any Golden Gate Transit bus along North Point Street or the Van Ness & Union stop and alight at the northbound Toll Plaza bus stop. Many tour buses also include the bridge on their itineraries.