Walk Across San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge
If a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is something you’d like to do during a visit to San Francisco, you’ll want to stop by the Round House at the Bridge Plaza and nab a unique souvenir that will have your relatives, friends, and neighbors raising their eyebrows.
Are you intrigued?
Originally opened as a restaurant, the Round House has since served as office space, then a gift center. Now it is home to a green screen photo experience where your crew will don helmets and vests then be magically photographed in the off limits areas of the bridge.
Just imagine grandma’s face as she momentarily wonders whether you really took her little darlings to the top of the over 700 foot tall South Tower! Or how about the crazy thoughts entertained by the recipients of your family’s annual holiday newsletter when you include an image of your kids climbing the bridge’s main cables. The bragging rights will be yours, at least until you finish toying with those around you and let them in on the truth!
WALKING THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
While the green screen experience is a great reason to visit, the walk across the Golden Gate Bridge is the main event here. The Round House is also the hub for getting in on a guided bridge tour. Tours are offered from April through October.
Groups are hooked up with audio systems which shut out the rest of the bridge traffic. They then make their way out to the center viewing platform while listening to a guide’s historic stories about the Golden Gate Bridge’s beginnings. Let me tell you, shutting out the low hum and high energy of this thoroughfare is a good thing for concentration. There was a breast cancer walk and a full contingent of bike and foot traffic headed to and from Sausalito during our visit and none of it detracted from our stroll through history.
A few parts of this historic narrative really can’t visually be driven home without standing on the walkway of the Golden Gate Bridge itself. You will never get a more dazzling view of the Civil War-era Fort Point, nestled in one of the arches at the bridge’s platform. It is also impossible to fully understand the danger and dizzying heights faced by bridge workers without looking down into the shipping lanes below it.
Not only did we learn about Joseph Strauss, the visionary behind the bridge that would eventually link San Francisco and Marin County, we heard about the deplorable work conditions and the dangers the workers faced. We also discovered we had something in common with these brave men. They, like us, lived in a time when the economy was fragile and jobs were often not easy to come by.
If you decide to go, keep these things in mind:
- Dress in layers: It can often be foggy on the bridge. It can be very, VERY foggy!! Be sure to plan ahead by bringing sweatshirts that can be tied around the waist if you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day.
- Arrive early: Parking can be a challenge. While there’s a pay lot at the Bridge Plaza, you can find free parking on the other side of the tunnel which runs underneath the toll plaza.
- Looking for a place to stay? Consider Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Hilton San Francisco Financial District, both of which are about four miles from the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Read about other family vacations to San Francisco.
- See all of our vacation photos from San Francisco.
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Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Like almost everything in her house,…