What to do in this charming coastal city.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Tell me: What’s this place all about?
This suspension bridge has been the defining landmark in San Francisco since it opened in 1937. It’s not named for its color (a shade called “international orange,” which stands out on foggy days—key for ships), but for its location. Arching over the Golden Gate Straight, which connects the Pacific Ocean to the Bay Bridge, the bridge links San Francisco to Marin and Sausalito. At just under two miles, it's walkable by foot. The pathway is open from 5 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on the time of year. You also can rent a bike or pay the toll to cross it by car.
What's the background?
This architectural masterpiece has a complicated history: it's been featured in plenty of movies but is equally notorious for the number of suicide attempts that have taken place there. It's worth seeing for the architecture and the scenery, with the city on one side and the hills of Marin on the other.
Is there a guide involved?
Officially, no. But there are some free walking tours and tour groups that include it in their routes.
Who comes here?
The Golden Gate Bridge attracts more than 10 million tourists every year. Marathons and other foot races often reserve it for part of the run. Production crews film on it. It can get packed—yet plenty of people commute across the bridge every day for work, so things do keep moving on it.
Anything we must do while we're there?
It's hard to understand the magnitude or beauty of the bridge until you cross it. Stop at the statue of Joseph Strauss, the bridge's designer, and look for the plaques explaining the bridge’s history. There's a great photo opportunity at Fort Point, where you stand under the arches of the bridge, and from Battery Spencer, if you have a car. If you are seeing it by car, loop in some of the gems across the bay in Marin if you can, like the Marin Headlands, Hawk Hill, and Mt. Tam. In the Headlands, there are abandoned military sites like the Point Bonita Light House, and beaches. If you like hiking, take the Tennessee Valley Trail, an easy, 1.7-mile trail to Tennessee Beach.
Anything else to remember?
Whether you’re there to learn about the history of the city, take in the views, or just to exercise, you’ll be impressed. It’s a customizable trip, so know what you want to get out of it before you go. The bridge is free to cross on foot and inexpensive by car, though you might have to battle some traffic to do it.
CaseyL: It's a big reminder that life is not always fair, the good guys don't always win. These are the times that really define the characters of people. It's easy to feel defeated, and incredulous towards obvious injustice. This too shall pass, friends. Don't despair. Gather yourselves. Get active. Think about the risk of 4 more years. Lives literally hang in the balance. Do not quietly allow the destruction of our democracy to happen. Start the conversation. Get everyone you know fired up. Don't think for a minute that Justice will be served in the Senate. Don't think this is going to be easy. This all was allowed to happen in the first place because nobody thought it was possible so they stayed home. If we stay home again, we cannot complain about the consequences, which will certainly be dire. Chin up people. Don't let a little injustice completely defeat you. It's time to fight back, like your life depends on it!