Although we had been to San Francisco several years before, we had never walked the Golden Gate Bridge. We finally got the opportunity on a perfect March day; no wind, lots of sun and temperatures in the mid 60s. We knew "the climate at the bridge is unpredictablen change suddenly. Foggy mornings can give way to sunny afternoons, which in turn can shift quickly back to more fog. Strong afternoon winds are common during every season..." (website) We decided to go for it! We took our layers of clothing, jackets with hoods and we were ready!
"Since it opened in 1937, this 1.7 miles suspension span...has become one of the most beloved bridges in the world A work of art, an engineering marvel, and an American icon..." (website)
We found a small parking area with a row of handicapped spaces near the Visitor Center. We were surprised at how small the area is. In speaking to a person in the Visitor Center ,we found out that there is a larger parking area a bit farther away which is opened at busier times.
Access to the Visitor Center was easy, with street level, automatic doors. Inside we found a tremendous amount of information about the bridge and lots of interesting "bridge stuff" to purchase.
Multi-stall restrooms, with two large handiapped stalls, are located in a separate building across the parking lot. Also in this area is a cute, Deco-style building called "The Bridge Cafe." We expected to find a typical cafe, with seats. Instead we found refrigerated cases housing a variety of drinks and snacks. There was als lots of packaged snacks (candy, cookies, etc.), coffee and tea. This is probably the most expedient way to do things when crowds abound. We were lucky enough to be there on a fairly empty Friday morning.
As we wended our way up the inclined path to the bridge, and then on to it, we had to stop time after time to take in the magnificent views. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and every view was spectacular. Although there was no wind at the Visitor Center it increased substantially as we made our way up and across. Quite a difference from down below. We took our time getting to the center of the bridge, stopping often to take everything in. We couldn't continue to the other side because our metered parking wouldn't allow it. We decided that next time we would try to park at the Sausalito end and walk from there.
Take note: after leaving the Visitor Center area there are no benches for resting. If you can do the walk it is well worth it. This is an incredible destination!
The website says that there are tours available, though not on the day we were there. If you are interested in a tour you would be wise to call and check on dates and times.
As always, we at Destination:Accessible advise you to check a venue's website, www.goldengatebridge.org/visitors, when planning a visit, to "know before you go."