If ever there was a landmark that needed no introduction then this is it. The Golden Gate Bridge is world-famous.
For most visitors to the city I would think that it would be one of the first things that they go and see. I didn't feel this urge to go and visit straight away. I'm glad I found the time though because I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
The day was sunny and the vibrant red of the bridge is so iconic that I got quite an excited swooping in the tummy when it shuddered into sight (the MUNI buses are quite jerky to ride). From our place in Nob Hill we took a number 1 bus to Park Presidio Boulavard and then a number 28 bus directly to the bridge. More info on taking MUNI to the bridge is available on the Golden Gate Bridge website.
Things to do at the bridge include visiting the numerous photo vantage points to take all your vacation happy snaps. You can also visit the Bridge Pavilion where you can buy all your souvenirs if that strikes your fancy. Included in the souvenirs you can buy a postcard to say that you crossed the bridge and have it stamped with the date. Not my kind of thing but good for kids I'd imagine.
After you've learned a little and bought your souvenirs it's time to go onto the bridge. Many people bike and walk across it every day so make sure you stick to the right if you're a pedestrian and the left if you're a cyclist.
It's quite loud up there, and the walk will take you around half an hour, depending on how fast you walk and how many times you stop to take photos of the sea, the bridge, Alcatraz out to sea or the magnificent view of San Francisco the bridge affords you.
When you first walk out on the bridge, if you're anything like me, you'll feel a little scared by how high up you are but before too long you almost forget that you're even walking on the bridge. On the other side there's a little building that looks a bit creepy.
On the other side of the bridge there's also a big carpark, some restrooms, spots to take photos (I don't think the view is as good on this side) and a little bit of information in plaques etc. There's no shop selling souvenirs. There were still quite a few people there when we stopped to eat some mandarins and have a chat.
We chilled on that side for a bit and then headed back across the bridge to the city. Once we were back on the city side of things I took one last snap and then we headed back to the MUNI stop. For anyone interested there is another section that we didn't visit where you can pose in front of a green screen and get a photo made that looks like you're scaling the bridge. There's also tours that you can take that start at the same place as the photo experience - The Round House.
There's also a place to get refreshments there but don't expect a three-course meal. The range of things available there make it like a small hole in the wall cafe.
There are also hiking trails around the bridge making this a good spot for nature lovers to visit. More information can be found on the website in case the walk across the bridge and back just makes you want to do more adventuring.
Even if you feel a little skeptical if you have time then give the bridge a visit. You might just be pleasantly surprised.