Planning a trip to San Francisco? Want to find the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge? There are lots of options and tours to walk, run, or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. There are also great locations to get the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
My family has been many times and has had the opportunity to view the Golden Gate Bridge in a few different ways. I am really excited to share our latest experience with running across the Golden Gate Bridge!!! (It was amazing!)
In this post, we are going to give you some great options on the best spots to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the best way to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, a runners guide to running on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the most popular option to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge!
We will also talk about driving across the Golden Gate Bridge and even taking a look at the Golden Gate ferry schedule options.
If you are looking for the best place to see the Golden Gate Bridge, I highly recommend actually going on it.
We are going to give you a lot of Golden Gate Bridge tour options. This should help you find the best way to experience it.
Let's explore the best way to see the Golden Gate Bridge and offer some great Golden Gate tour options!
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How to Get to the Golden Gate Bridge
Getting to the Golden Gate Bridge is a little tricky. There is very limited Golden Gate Bridge parking.
The best way to get to the Golden Gate Bridge is to use public transportation, rideshare, or book a tour. Most tours meet at a specific location (like Fisherman's Wharf) and a guide will get you to the bridge. They will also let you know the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Questions About the Golden Gate Bridge
Visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the top things to do in San Francisco and finding the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge is important.
Before we get into the best ways to view the Golden Gate Bridge let's answer a few questions you might have.
What are the Golden Gate Bridge Hours?
You can drive over the bridge at any time. Cyclists also have free access to the East and West Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks 24 hours a day. Walking and running across the Golden Gate Bridge need to be done between 5:00 am – 6:30 pm. These are the Golden Gate Bridge pedestrian hours.
If you want to visit the Bridge's Welcome Center it opens at 9:00 am and closes at 6:30 pm.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to the Golden Gate Bridge?
It is free to walk, run, or bike across the bridge. There is a toll of about $8.80 to drive across the bridge.
What is the Best Time to Visit the Golden Gate Bridge?
Seriously, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge is great year-round. San Francisco has pretty mild weather.
The only thing that could dampen your views is fog. September and October are really nice months to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. There are fewer crowds during those months and less fog.
If you are visiting the Golden Gate Bridge any other time going in the late afternoon is usually a good time to visit.
How Do You Get Across the Golden Gate Bridge Without a Car?
You can walk, run, or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. We will go into more details below and give you some great options!
Where Do I Park at the Golden Gate Bridge?
There is a parking lot on the south end of the bridge. There are other parking lots but this one seemed to be the most accessible. Be aware that car break-ins are really common in San Francisco, so do not leave anything valuable in your car.
Are There Bathrooms at the Golden Gate Bridge?
Yes. There are bathrooms at the south end welcome center and the north end Vista Point.
Are There any Places to Eat Near the Golden Gate Bridge?
There are so many amazing places to eat in San Francisco, but if you are looking for a quick pick-me-up after you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge there is a coffee shop called Round House Equator Coffee near the Welcome Center.
Golden Gate Bridge Tours
There are lots of Golden Gate Bridge Tours. We are going to go into more detail in just a sec. I will outline your options so that you can get an idea of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge and which tour sounds like the most fun.
Golden Gate Bridge Tour Options
1. Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge
One of the best options for viewing the Golden Gate Bridge is walking across the Golden Gate Bridge!!! You might be asking “Can I walk across the Golden Gate Bridge?” The answer is YES!
How Long Does it Take to Walk Over the Golden Gate Bridge?
The Golden Gate Bridge walk is 1.7 miles long. This typically takes people about 35 minutes to walk one way. The total distance of the Golden Gate Bridge walk is 3.4 miles.
There is a Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk that will keep you safe. Pedestrians must walk on the East sidewalk.
Walking on the Golden Gate Bridge is so cool! It is nice to take a lot of breaks and look out over the bay. It is really beautiful! The only thing to be aware of is the wind. That can really make or break your Golden Gate Bridge walk.
San Francisco City Tours offers FREE tours on Thursdays and Sundays. These guides are volunteers. This tour is about 2 hours.
If the timing doesn't work with a free tour, you can also book a walking tour on a different date.
Walking the Golden Gate Bridge is a fantastic way to enjoy your Golden Gate Bridge visit.
2. Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
One of the best ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge is to rent bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge.
You might say “cycling Golden Gate Bridge” if you are hard-core into the sport, for most of us I will just use the term “biking the Golden Gate Bridge”
Can you Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge?
Yes. Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most popular way to view the bridge.
Can You Rent Bikes at the Golden Gate Bridge?
This is really important, so listen up…..bike rentals are not located near the Golden Gate Bridge!!!!
Most bike rental locations are near Fisherman's Wharf.
Golden Gate Bridge Bike Rentals
I am going to give you a few options for renting a bike near the Golden Gate Bridge.
1. Bike Racks
Bike racks are all over San Francisco. One option is to head down towards Crissy Fields. There is a bike rack. These bikes only give you a certain amount of time. You have to return them and check out a new bike at a different bike rack.
It might seem like a good deal but it can add up quickly because it is based on time. You also have to download an app to use the bikes. I really didn't feel super comfortable using my credit card with these machines.
In fact, on my first trip to San Francisco, we were overcharged because one of the bikes did not lock into place.
I feel like it might be a more stressful option.
2. Bike Rentals from a Company
Option 2 is to book bikes ahead of time. There are lots of bike rental companies. They are located closer to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. You will have to plan on riding almost 4 miles before you actually get to the bridge.
To make this ride easy consider an e-bike. Most of these companies will accommodate all shapes and sizes including children. Helmets and locks are provided with rentals.
3. Guided Bike Tour
Another option is to book a guided bike tour. You might feel more comfortable with someone who knows the city well and can give you fun facts about the Golden Gate Bridge.
These tours usually include more sites than just the Golden Gate Bridge.
Biking Across the Golden Gate Bridge
There are designated bike lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks on each side of the bridge. No need to worry, you will not have to deal with cars. However, you do have to watch out for pedestrians.
There is also a speed limit. You can not ride your bike faster than 15 mph and 5 mph around the towers.
How Much Does it Cost to Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge?
I would plan on spending $17+ per person. It really depends on how long you would like to rent the bike. It also depends if you want a guide.
How Long Does it Take to Bike Across the Golden Gate Bridge?
Depending on how many times you stop. It could take you about 10-25 minutes to ride across and back.
3. Running the Golden Gate Bridge
Running the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best places to run in San Francisco. It was a highlight for me! Seriously, my husband and I love running on vacation.
Whether you are jogging the Golden Gate Bridge or running, it is AMAZING!
Best Way to Get to the Golden Gate Bridge
This really depends on how far you want to run. You can begin your run from your hotel room or Fisherman's Wharf for a much longer run. If you are not used to running more than 3 miles at a time you should get an Uber or Lyft to the bridge and begin at the Welcome Center.
We used an Uber and had him drop us off at the Bridge's Welcome Center. this was perfect! We easily walked from the car and started are run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
How Long is the Run Across the Golden Gate Bridge?
One way across the bridge is 1.7 miles. Running the Golden Gate Bridge both ways equals 3.4 miles. This is just over a 5K.
How Long Does it Take to Run the Golden Gate Bridge?
Good question! How fast do you run a mile? If you are a hardcore runner you could be done in less than 20 minutes. However, you will probably want to stop a few times and take pictures which could add some time to your run.
Most people who average a 9-minute mile can complete the run in 35 minutes. This will allow you to take a few breaks for pictures. If you are jogging the Golden Gate Bridge at about 11-minute miles, it will take longer.
One really cool thing on the bridge is there are speedometers for bikers that will alert them to slow down. For runners, you can speed up and see how fast you are running.
To get some of the views make sure to run to the Golden Gate Bridge View at Vista Point. Perfect place for a picture!
4. Drive Golden Gate Bridge
Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is an experience! If you have your own car or you have rented a car, driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is awesome!
Diving Across the Golden Gate Bridge
It can be kind of intimidating because there is a toll of around $8-9. You will not have to stop to pay. You will have to pay for it as soon as you get back to your hotel room.
The easy way is to jump onto the Golden Gate Bridge transportation site and make a one-time payment.
Do You Pay Golden Gate Bridge Toll Both Ways?
No. You will only be charged in the Southbound direction heading into San Francisco.
What is on the Other Side of the Golden Gate Bridge?
I bet you are wondering what to do once you have driven across the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, there is a cute town called Sausalito, you can explore. There are shops and even a children's museum.
You can also head over to Muir Woods and check out the Redwood Forest. These trees are gigantic! Muir Woods is a National Monument so your national park pass.
Parking on the Southside of Golden Gate Bridge
After driving over the bridge, there is a parking lot. It is fun to get out and maybe walk along the bridge.
One of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints is just on the other side of the bridge. Since you have a car, drive to the Discovery Bay Children's Museum for a really good Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint.
It is the perfect place to go in San Francisco with kids!
5. Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
Hop on Hop off Bus tours are awesome! On my San Francisco girl's trip, we decided to do this tour. You get a really good idea of the layout of the city. All of the bus tours will drive you across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Booking a Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour is probably the best option if you do not have your own car or do not want to rent a car but still want to drive across the bridge.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Golden Gate Bridge Experience
One word sums up our experience, WINDY. Most of the Hop-on Hop-off Bus tours are double-decker buses. It is nice to be on top so you can see everything, however, when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge you may feel like you are going to be blown away!
6. Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge - Photography Tour
The Golden Gate Bridge is such an iconic and beautiful architectural masterpiece. There are some incredible spots for Golden Gate Bridge photography sessions. You can visit these areas to get the best shots.
Honestly, if you are visiting San Francisco and photographing the Golden Gate Bridge is at the top of your list. Book a professional guide to take you to some of the best places to view the bridge.
What is the Best Way to See the Golden Gate Bridge?
Some of the best ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge is to walk, run, or bike across it. You can also get great views by boat or air. It is pretty fun hiking around the areas near the bridge. You can get some incredible shots.
Make sure to see San Francisco at Night because the Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful all lit up.
Best Places to See the Golden Gate Bridge
Obviously, going across the Golden Gate Bridge is a fun way to see the Golden Gate Bridge. But if you are looking for areas to take the best shots there are a few areas you have to visit. These are the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Baker Beach
- Golden Gate Vista View South
- Golden Gate Vista View North
- Crissy Fields
- Fort Point National Historic Site
- Pier 39
- Coit Tower (Good Lens)
- Golden Gate Cruise
- Golden Gate Helicopter Ride
- Discovery Bay Children's Museum
Nowadays phones take amazing photographs. I use my phone a lot. When I want to get a good landscape shot I use a Nikon 7500. The lens makes such a difference. If you are looking for a great camera, the Nikon is good but make sure to buy extra lenses.
7. Golden Gate Bay Cruise
Booking a Golden Gate Bay cruise is another great way to get incredible views of the bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge Boat Tours
Some of the cruises will take you from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge. These cruises usually circle around Alcatraz. We went on one a few years back and had a great time. We loved the Golden Gate Bridge cruise!
Most of the tours will depart at Pier 39. They are inexpensive and include an audio tour. These tours typically last about an hour.
These cruises offer a unique experience and viewpoint. In my opinion, it is the best place to see the Golden Gate Bridge. However, being on the bridge is better!
8. Golden Gate Bridge Cruise (Sunset)
A Golden Gate Bridge Sunset Cruise is a beautiful and one of the best places to view the Golden Gate Bridge. Especially in the summer.
Summer Vs. Winter Golden Gate Bridge Cruise
During the summer months, this is a sunset cruise. During winter it is more of a twilight tour with beautiful city views. The tour can be a little windy so dress warmly if you decide to enjoy this Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint.
The sunset cruise lasts about 1.5 hours. Departures are typically from Pier 43 1/2. (I think that is the Harry Potter Pier Platform 9 3/4)
9. San Francisco Ferry to Sausalito
Another great option for the best Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint on a boat is the actual San Francisco Ferry to Sausalito.
The San Francisco ferry schedule is available and you will have to be right on time! Our main focus when we booked this tour/ferry was not viewing the Golden Gate Bridge but it was an unexpected surprise.
If you want a great view but also want to experience Sausalito this is a great option. I highly recommend Sausalito. It is so cute! It is one of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
10. Golden Gate Bridge View Point - Small Plane Tour
If you are looking for a unique Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint, how about an ariel viewpoint?
There are small plane tours that fly you right over the Golden Gate Bridge. These tours will give you the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
As our plane from SLC to SFO flew in, we got the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so cool seeing it from that angle.
The aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge is awesome! In fact, it is probably one of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge!
The Best Places to See the Golden Gate Bridge
There are a lot of really cool ways to see the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Hopefully, this post has helped you decide how you would like to view the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Golden Gate Bridge is such an amazing iconic site! I honestly loved running over it! It gave me such a high! I loved it! I think walking or biking would have the same effect.
When we drove over it, it was cool but it was short! When we went on the boat ride it was also a really cool experience.
There are so many great ways to view the Golden Gate Bridge! I hope you have fun picking one of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Have fun in San Francisco! It is one of the best cities in California!
Best Food In San Francisco
If you are visiting San Francisco and want a copy of my favorite restaurant list, I am happy to email you a copy! After you run across the Golden Gate Bridge, you deserve a nice big ice cream at Ghirardelli!
If you have any questions join my Facebook Travel Community. You can ask any questions you have about upcoming trips and everyone is happy to help you plan your trip. I also try to give exclusive travel deals that companies send me. It is a great group to join!