What comes to your mind when you think of San Francisco? Since December, I’ve waited for the day to visit the Golden Gate Bridge. Before I came here, the only thing I knew about San Francisco was the Golden Gate Bridge. After three months of gloomy weather, last Sunday was finally the day I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. There are three different ways to cross the Golden Gate Bridge: drive (or city bus), walk or ride a bike! I chose the bike, and it’s definitely the most exciting way to cross the bridge. Here is my journey.
Well, I don’t want to start with “Learn how to ride a bike.” If you can’t ride a bike, please choose other ways to cross the bridge. So, the first thing you need is a bike. If you have your own bike, that’s perfect. But, I didn’t have my own. There are plenty of bike rental shops near Fisherman’s Wharf. The prices are quite similar for a one-day ride, usually 30 dollars. But, I reserved the bike online the day before my trip and got a 20% discount! So, don’t miss it. I got my bike from “San Francisco Bicycle Rentals” in Fisherman’s Wharf. They gave me the key, helmet and a physical map! The staff at the desk explained the route to get to the bridge, estimated time and ferry schedule in detail. The estimated time was 40 to 60 minutes. After I checked my bike, I was good to go.
I turned left and biked to the Aquatic Park. You might face a challenge here. If you turn your head to the left, you will see the huge letters that say “Ghirardelli Chocolate.” They not only sell their chocolate but also sell ice cream, sundaes, hot chocolate and brownies. You might be tempted to visit there, but don’t forget your ultimate goal to cross the Golden Gate Bridge! It’s a long trip. I passed Aquatic Park — a pleasant and peaceful park by the seashore. You can see people building sand castles and swimming in the ocean.
Then, I biked to Great Meadow Park and Fort Mason. There’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture — a cultural, educational and recreational complex for artists. If you visit here on Sunday morning, you’ll get a chance to look around the Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market. Then, I went straight and passed Marina Green. You’ll slightly see the Golden Gate Bridge from this point.
On the way to the bridge, I also visited the Palace of Fine Arts. Built in Greek style, the structure of the palace is breathtaking. The soaring central rotunda is the main building inside the park. The palace also features a peaceful lagoon with fish, birds and turtles. Then, I finally biked to the street connected to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Passing Crissy Field Center, I got closer to the bridge, which made my heart beat. But, you might face another challenge from here. There are a lot of steep hills starting from Presidio. I had to get off the bike and walk. Still, from the peak, you can see the scenery of the beautiful seashore, meadows and San Francisco downtown at the same time.
As I got near to the bridge, I had to stop several times to capture this wonderful moment. The climb to the bridge was not easy, but the scenery was really worth it. The best viewpoint is “Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point South,” where you can directly face the bridge. If you came here alone, just ask anyone for a photo. You might meet a passionate photographer here as I did.
After one more climb, I finally got to the starting point of the Golden Gate Bridge. The bike road is on the left side of the bridge. Crossing the bridge is my favorite moment. I was amazed by how huge and red the bridge was with an extensive view of the sea and Marin Headlands. It takes around 10 minutes to cross the bridge. I’ll definitely go back one more time to cross the bridge, maybe by walking. When you get to the ending point of the bridge, don’t miss Battery Spencer to see the bridge from the opposite side.
Then, I went to Sausalito through Alexander Ave road. You’ll find breathtaking scenery in Sausalito City Grand View. It doesn’t feel real. The town just looks like a small town in a fairy tale or animated cartoon. I stopped at Tiffany Park to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Sausalito. It’s a nice vacation spot with a calm and peaceful atmosphere. If you’re craving for sweets, you can stop by “Sausalito Bakery & Cafe” and “Lappert’s Ice Cream.” Just take your time here and enjoy your achievement.
It’d take a lot of time and energy to go back to Fisherman’s Wharf by bike, so I chose a ferry. You need to first check the ferry schedule and choose the best time. The ticket for a one-way trip is $14, and it takes 30 minutes back to Pier 41. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island State Park, Alcatraz Island and the marvelous scenery of downtown San Francisco on the ferry. Then, I returned my bike. And, well, I eventually went back to Ghirardelli Square to have their “world-famous chocolate fudge sundae.”
On a sunny day, don’t hesitate to bring your bike and cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s an unforgettable experience.