When you’re traveling, photography is an essential part of the trip. While on a San Francisco tour, you can’t miss your chance to document the Golden Gate Bridge in person!
You’re not alone: the Golden Gate is the most photographed bridge in the entire world! It’s one of the most universally recognized landmarks on Earth, right up there with the Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum. The distinctive bridge appears in countless movies and TV shows to instantly establish that West Coast vibe. It’s like it was built for the camera!
So, where should you stop to get that perfect angle? Here are three places you can park your car and get a great view of the spectacular Golden Gate!
San Francisco Tour Welcome Center
Let’s start on the San Francisco side of the bridge. You can walk to a lookout called Golden Gate Postcard Viewpoint from the Welcome Center. You can probably guess where the name comes from! Right from its grand opening in 1937, the bridge was a cultural icon. The view here is an image you’ve probably seen hundreds of times on calendars, coasters, mousepads, desktop wallpapers, and yes, postcards. There’s something magnetic about the sleek lines, elegant detailing, and unique hue.
Here’s a little secret: the bridge is not painted red, but “international orange”! The color was chosen for two reasons. The first is practical: a bright, unnatural color makes it easy for boats to locate in the fog. But there’s an aesthetic reason: Orange perfectly complements the bright blue sea and sky while also drawing out the warm tones in the rest of California’s desert landscape. With a compositional palette like this, it’s no wonder the Golden Gate Bridge always looks like a work of art!
Would you believe that one of the prettiest picnic spots in San Francisco was once a military base? The Air Corps used Crissy Field for army operations during both World Wars. However, San Francisco’s trademark fog and ocean breeze made it a problematic location for planes to fly. Not to mention, the field’s seaside location left it vulnerable to attacks by enemy ships. The Air Corps abandoned Crissy Field, and it became a storage space (and dumping ground) for army surplus.
After sixty years, the National Park Service turned this military trash heap into a picturesque picnic spot. Stop here for a sandwich or a fantastic glimpse of the Golden Gate!
If you walk further down the beach, you can access Torpedo Wharf. You’re likely to see a bunch of other people with cameras, too! The pier juts out into the sea, giving travelers an unimpeded view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the side.
Your San Francisco tour isn’t complete without a view from the other side. After you cross the bridge to Marin County, you can stop your car at Vista Point. This scenic lookout, located on top of a hill, gives you a gorgeous view of not just the bridge but the entire city of San Francisco! It’s worth the toll to get a breathtaking view from across the bay.
It can be tricky to navigate the packed streets of San Francisco and find the perfect view. Luckily, I have just the app to help you! Action Tour Guide’s self-guided driving tour of San Francisco will take you through all these spots and more, so you can see the bridge from every angle on either side. A GPS-enabled narration tells you the exciting history behind this magnificent bridge as you drive. When you pause for the perfect photo op, the tour pauses with you. It’s more flexible–– and more affordable–– than any bus tour! I hope you come back from San Francisco with a whole bunch of new photos!