The Golden Gate Bridge: Facts, History & Profile

Updated April 24, 2023 | Infoplease Staff
Golden Gate Bridge in fog
Image Source: Getty Images

Fast Golden Gate Bridge Facts

Length: 8,981 ft (2,737 m)

Width: 90 ft (27 m)

Height: 746 ft (227 m)

Clearance above high water: 220 ft (67 m)

Weight: 887,000 tons (804,700 metric tons)

Number of cables: 2 main cables

Number of suspender ropes: 27,572

Diameter of each main cable: 36.5 inches (93 cm)

Golden Gate Bridge Trivia

  • The bridge is painted in a unique color called "International Orange" to make it more visible in heavy fog.
  • The bridge has a total length of 8,981 feet, making it one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.
  • The bridge has a pedestrian walkway that is open during daylight hours.
  • The bridge is featured in many movies, including "Vertigo" and "The Princess Diaries."
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Image Source: Getty Images

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic and recognizable suspension bridges in the world, that spans the Golden Gate strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. Featured in many films and songs, it is an emblem of California, akin to the Hollywood sign.

The bridge is located in San Francisco, California, and is an engineering marvel that has captured the imaginations of millions of people around the world. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait, which connects San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.

In this article, we will explore the history, design, and attractions of this magnificent bridge. So, if you’ve ever wondered, how long is the Golden Gate Bridge — Infoplease has the answer, as well as more facts and trivia for you to enjoy.

History of the Golden Gate Bridge

The idea of building a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait dates back to the early 19th century. However, it was not until the 20th century that the idea gained momentum. In 1917, a report was published that recommended the construction of a bridge across the Golden Gate Strait. Over the years, various proposals were put forward, but it was not until the 1920s that serious discussions began.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the brainchild of Joseph B. Strauss, a visionary engineer who spent more than a decade designing and lobbying for the bridge's construction. Joseph Strauss had a grand vision of creating a bridge that would connect San Francisco to Marin County, and he believed that it would be the perfect way to ease traffic congestion in the Bay Area. However, his idea was met with skepticism, and it wasn't until he partnered with architect Irving Morrow that the bridge's design began to take shape.

Morrow was responsible for the bridge's distinctive Art Deco design, which is characterized by its clean lines and geometric shapes. The bridge's color, International Orange, was also Morrow's idea, and it was chosen for its visibility in the foggy San Francisco Bay.

In 1928, a bond issue was passed to fund the construction of the bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District was formed to oversee the project. Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933 and was completed in 1937, at a cost of $35 million, equivalent to approximately $1.5 billion today. The bridge was a massive undertaking that employed more than 10,000 workers, many of whom risked their lives to build this magnificent structure.

Not only was the bridge’s construction a difficult task due to weather conditions, with the strait being known for its strong currents, fog, and high winds. But the bridge was also begun during the Great Depression, and many workers faced challenging working conditions. In fact, 11 workers sadly lost their lives during the construction.

Despite these challenges, however, the bridge was completed on time and within budget, and was the longest suspension bridge at the time of its completion. Today, the Golden Gate Bridge is considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century.

Golden Gate Bridge construction
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Golden Gate Bridge Design

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge, which means that the roadway is suspended from two main cables that are anchored to massive concrete anchorages on either side of the bridge.

The bridge is 1.7 miles long and 90 feet wide, making it remain one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. The towers are made of steel and are 746 feet tall. The roadway is suspended 220 feet above the water and is supported by two main cables, each of which is made up of 27,572 strands of wire.

One of the unique features of the bridge's design is its flexibility. The bridge is designed to sway and bend in response to strong winds and earthquakes, which helps to prevent damage to the structure. The bridge's design also includes a system of cables that helps to distribute the weight of the bridge evenly, which helps to prevent the bridge from collapsing under its own weight.

The Significance of the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is not just a tourist attraction, but it is also an important landmark that holds great significance. It is a symbol of San Francisco, and it has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, which has helped to make it a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

The bridge also holds an important place in history, as with other important U.S. landmarks and monuments. As previously mentioned, it was built during the Great Depression, and so it provided much-needed jobs to thousands of workers. It allowed for easier access between San Francisco and Marin County, which helped to boost the local economy. Additionally, it played a critical role in World War II, as it was used to transport troops and supplies to and from the Pacific theater.

Today, the Golden Gate Bridge is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and determination. It is a symbol of hope and resilience, and it reminds us that anything is possible if we work together.

Golden Gate Bridge Attractions

There are many attractions on and around the Golden Gate Bridge that are worth exploring. On the San Francisco side of the bridge, you can visit the Golden Gate Bridge Welcome Center, which features exhibits and a gift shop. The Welcome Center is a great place to start your exploration of the bridge, as it provides visitors with an overview of the bridge's history and design.

From the Welcome Center, you can take a stroll along Crissy Field, a park that offers stunning views of the bridge and the bay. You can also explore the Presidio, a former military base that has been transformed into a national park. The Presidio offers a variety of hiking trails, picnic areas, and historic sites, and it is a great place to spend a day exploring.

Cyclists can also enjoy the Golden Gate Bridge, as there are bike lanes on the bridge that offer breathtaking views of the bay. Bikes can be rented from several locations in San Francisco, including Fisherman's Wharf and Round House Café.

On the Marin side of the bridge, you can visit Vista Point, which offers panoramic views of San Francisco Bay and the city skyline. Vista Point is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, and it offers some of the best views of the bridge. You can also explore the Marin Headlands, which is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Marin Headlands offers a variety of hiking trails, beaches, and historic sites, and it is a great place to spend a day outdoors.

And if you're looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, head to nearby wine country, located in Napa and Sonoma. Here, you can explore some of the finest wineries in the world, sample delicious food, and take in the beautiful scenery.

Alcatraz and Ellis

If you are interested in history, you can also visit Alcatraz Island, located just a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Alcatraz was once home to a federal prison that housed some of America's most notorious criminals, and it is now a National Historic Landmark that offers tours and exhibits.

If you are in New York City, you can also visit Ellis Island, which was once the gateway to America for millions of immigrants. Ellis Island is now a museum that offers exhibits and tours that explore the history of immigration in America.

Other Bridges

While the Golden Gate Bridge may be the most famous bridge in California, it is not the only one worth visiting. The state is home to several other impressive bridges, including Alcatraz Island, End of the Bridge, and the New Bridge in Los Angeles. Visitors to New York City can also explore Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Low angle shot of the Golden Gate Bridge
Image Source: Getty Images

Best Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

And if you don’t want to head to the bridge itself, are many places to get the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. On the San Francisco side, you can take a walk along the Embarcadero or visit Fisherman's Wharf. Famous across the country, Fisherman's Wharf is a popular tourist destination that offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions, and it is a great place to start your exploration of the city.

You can also take a drive down Lombard Street, which offers a unique perspective of the bridge. Lombard Street is famous for its steep incline and hairpin turns, and it is a must-see for anyone visiting San Francisco.

On the Marin side, you can visit Sausalito, a charming town that offers great views of the bridge and the bay. Sausalito is located just across the bay from San Francisco, and it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. You can also explore Fort Point, which is located at the base of the bridge and offers stunning views of the bridge from below.

Getting to the Golden Gate Bridge

There are several ways to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, including public transportation, bike rentals, and driving. If you are driving, you can take U.S. Route 101 to the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza, where you can pay the toll or use FasTrak to pay the toll invoice. If you are taking public transportation, you can take the Golden Gate Transit bus or ferry. If you are renting a bike, you can take the bike path that runs along the San Francisco side of the bridge.

However, it is important to note that parking can be difficult to find near the bridge, especially during peak tourist season. If you do plan to drive, be prepared to park in a remote parking lot and take a shuttle bus or walk to the bridge.

Spanning the San Francisco Bay

The Golden Gate Bridge is a true engineering marvel that has become an iconic symbol of California and the United States. Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a great view, the Golden Gate Bridge has something for everyone. So why not plan a trip to see this magnificent bridge for yourself? You won't be disappointed!

And if you want to test your knowledge of San Fran, check out our geography quiz, the San Francisco, California Quiz!

People Also Ask Questions

Other travelers and curious searchers have similar questions about the Statue of Liberty. Do these answer your queries?

Why Is the Golden Gate Bridge Famous?

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States. It is famous for its stunning design, engineering, and location. It spans the Golden Gate Strait, the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, and connects San Francisco to Marin County. The bridge's orange color and unique art deco design have made it an enduring American icon.

What Are 5 Facts About the Golden Gate Bridge?

Five facts about the Golden Gate Bridge include these tantalizing tidbits:

  1. The bridge took four years to build and was completed in 1937.
  2. It is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, with a main span of 1.2 kilometers.
  3. The bridge's signature orange color was originally meant to be a sealant, but it was so popular that it remained the bridge's official color.
  4. The bridge is designed to withstand powerful winds and earthquakes, with its main cables capable of supporting 80,000 tons.
  5. Over nine million people visit the Golden Gate Bridge each year, making it one of the world's most popular tourist attractions.

Why Is it Called the Golden Gate?

The Golden Gate Bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait. The strait was named "Chrysopylae," or "Golden Gate," by John C. Fremont, a U.S. Army officer, in 1846. This was in reference to the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey, which connects Europe and Asia. The name was later adopted for the bridge that spans the strait.

How Long Does it Take to Walk Across Golden Gate Bridge?

The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles long and takes about 30-40 minutes to walk across. Visitors can access it from San Francisco or Marin County and are encouraged to walk or bike. Pedestrians should stay to the right, and cyclists must wear helmets.

How Much Did It Cost To Build the Golden Gate Bridge?

Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's Beach
Image Source: Getty Images
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