The area that surrounds the Golden Gate Bridge is just as much a tourist attraction as the bridge itself. While many visitors go TO the Golden Gate Bridge and walk around for the standard tourist “visit,” the best attractions for the Golden Gate are from Fort Point to Crissy Field marsh and beach. Visiting these points of interest will still offer stunning views of the majestic bridge, but from different view points.
Just beneath the Golden Gate’s main visitor center is a national historical landmark — Fort Point, a military fort built during the U.S. Civil War. The fort is now a museum with guided tours offered by the National Park Service. If you’re not up for a tour, the views are still amazing from outside.
Leaving Fort Point and heading inland toward downtown San Francisco is Torpedo Wharf (or Fort Point Pier to locals) , which juts out from the San Francisco Bay Trail. Whether fishing or getting a close view of a passing cargo ship, many seem to take the view of the Golden Gate for granted.
The large open field is Crissy Field – now a restored marsh and beach. Prior to it’s restoration, it was an airfield and served as the premier West Coast air base during aviation’s golden era. Native Ohlone tribes were the first to settle in the area and used the marsh area seasonally. The road and bike paths offer the City’s best recreational area – views, open space, easy access and plenty of supporting businesses (See Resources and Info below). The area is not just for tourists, but an open public park area for locals as well.
If you plan on coming to look at the sights, plan ahead. No other area in the San Francisco Bay Area offers the views and open space as Crissy Field to Fort point. All the best of views of San Francisco’s iconic landmark are free while enjoying any number of outdoor activities. And dress appropriately, locals know to dress in layers, as the Gate can often be windy.
Resources and Info
- Fort Point info: Guided Tours | Visitor Info
- Crissy Field Info: Crissy Field Marsh and Beach | Crissy Field Center | Crissy Field Conservatory
- Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Historic Learning Center – Building 640 used to train Japanese linguists during WWII
- Roaring Mouse Cyclery – A great cyclery shop
- Planet Granite – Indoor rock climbing gym
- The Warming Hut – Coffee, tea, sandwiches without missing the view
- Starbucks – Inside the Lombard Street Gate entrance in the Letterman Arts Digital building
- Chestnut Street businesses: Shops and Restaurants | Map