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Golden Gate Bridge

This superlative piece of civil engineering is the most recognisable symbol of San Francisco, and an icon of the United States.

TravelCurious Tip

Head to McCormick & Kuleto’s for excellent seafood and a picture-perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz

The Golden Gate strait stretches 1.6km between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge is the iconic suspension structure that spans it, linking the city of San Francisco to Marin County. Having opened in 1937 it was, until 1964, the longest suspension bridge in the world. The American Society of Civil Engineers quite rightly declared it one of the Wonders of the Modern World.


It was far from easy to build though. Once known as “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” the engineers in charge faced all sorts of adversity, from the natural - whipping winds, thick fogs and treacherous tides - to the human: a noisy bunch of nay-sayers. It took ten years of planning to get off the ground, but then just four years to get it done.


The single-suspension span is anchored by twin towers that reach 746 feet — once taller than any building in San Francisco. Two cables, each more than 7,000 feet in length and containing some 80,000 miles of wire stretch over the top of those towers and set their roots in concrete anchorages on either shore. The scale and enterprise of the project must be seen to be believed.


24 Carrot

The bridge takes its name from the strait, rather than actually being painted gold, to the dismay of some tourists. The bridge has in fact always been painted orange vermillion, otherwise known as “International Orange.” Carbon black and steel grey were rejected in favour of the warm orange that marks it out from the cool colours of the sky and sea. The repainting of the Golden Gate Bridge is actually a never-ending task as the metal beneath must be perfectly protected from the high salt content in the air.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in San Francisco
Fort Point
Completed just before the American Civil War, this fort defended the Bay against hostile warships.
Palace of Fine Arts
Built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, this beloved iconic structure now hosts art exhibitions.
Fisherman's Wharf
A neighbourhood with Italian roots, this area has seafood restaurants aplenty.
Alcatraz
Known as 'The Rock,' the island of Alcatraz was a maximum security prison between 1933 and 1963.
Sausalito
In Marin County, the quaint town of Sausalito is lined with sidewalk cafes and paths along the water, across the bay from San Francisco.
Hagiwara Japanese Tea Garden
Designed like a traditional Japanese garden, the area is one of the most unusual and popular in the park.

Related Tours

Private Full Day Highlights, with Alcatraz Island
Immerse yourself in the highlights of San Francisco, and discover the infamous history of Alcatraz. On your private tour of San Francisco, you will:

  • Soak up the San Francisco skyline from the top of iconic Nob Hill 
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Coit Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
  • Dig into some of San Francisco's famous seafood - like clam chowder soup in a sourdough bread bowl (price not included)
  • Visit the world’s most notorious island penitentiary, Alcatraz.
On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colourful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. 

Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. 

Wander through some world-class shopping centred on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafés, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. At the ‘dress to character’ ferry, your guide will leave the tour so that you can explore the world’s most infamous island prison - Alcatraz. 

Your guide will leave you at the dock for Alcatraz, once you are in line. Then, take an audio tour at a leisurely pace to hear tales of notorious felons such as Al-Capone and Robert Franklin Stroud in this former fort, military prison and maximum security federal penitentiary.  

Please note: Alcatraz tickets are in high demand during the summer and tickets cannot be guaranteed at the time of booking. We will contact you soonest should we be unable to obtain tickets.
Private Excursion to Muir Woods and Sausalito
Nothing prepares you for the tranquil hush and serenity of these magnificent old-growth woodlands, stretching deep and dark along the Pacific Coast with mesmerizing views. On your private excursion to Muir Woods and Sausalito, you will:

  • Enjoy hotel pick up by your private driver-guide and cross the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge. 
  • Soak up spectacular views across the Bridge, the Bay and the city skyline
  • Explore the raw serenity of the 300ft old-growth soaring redwoods at Muir Woods.
  • Discover the National Monument’s deep green glades and leafy winding trails.
  • Enjoy lunch at the pretty seaside town of Sausalito, north of the Golden Gate Bridge (price not included in tour).
  • Browse Sausalito’s houseboat enclaves built by artistic squatters after WWII.
  • Enjoy hotel drop off at your hotel or somewhere in the city-centre of your choosing. 
Resplendent 300ft redwood trees soar skyward in atmospheric Muir Woods where shady peaceful glades evoke the prehistoric origins of this magnificent species. Dedicated to the father of America’s national parks in 1908, beautiful Muir Woods rises up from a fern-clad valley rich in wildlife, part of a National Monument within California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, to the north of San Francisco. 

On this Private Excursion to Muir Woods and Sausalito, learn about the foundation of one of our first and most loved US National Monuments, and walk a thriving old growth Coastal Redwood forest. Follow leafy winding trails that inspired John Muir’s strong voice for the preservation of America's most special places.  Along the way cross the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy vistas of the San Francisco skyline, Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.   After returning via a scenic mountain road, enjoy a visit to the charming and upscale waterfront hamlet Sausalito for lunch, with reservations made in advance for you.  

Note: if your group is larger than 4 adults, please be in touch before booking, so we can arrange alternative transport. 
Private Half Day Highlights of San Francisco
Dating back to 1776, the city was founded by Spanish colonists, and grew rapidly during the gold rush of the 1840s.  Through the centuries the city has become the centre of several industries - especially banking and high-tech, and is one of the most beloved cities for people on the West Coast. On your private half day tour of San Francisco, you will: 

  • Learn the history of its famous neighbourhoods, including Downtown, the Financial District, Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Little Italy. 
  • Take a cable car to the top of Nob Hill  for spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline.
  • Explore Union Square, San Francisco's bustling shopping area
  • Immerse yourself in the customs, cuisine, and curiosities of Chinatown 
  • Snap panoramic pictures from statuesque Colt Tower 
  • Venture through North Beach to absorb the community’s Italian heritage 
  • Enjoy striking views of the Golden Gate Bridge from atmospheric Fisherman's Wharf 
Considered by many as the USA’s most beautiful city, San Francisco - a.k.a The City by the Bay - is a seductive mix of exotic cultures renowned world-wide for its liberal free-thinking ideals. A vibrant arts, music and festival scene continues to echo San Francisco’s long-standing progressive stance on activism: the city is credited with trailblazing the so-called “Flower Power” peace movement, pioneering the sexual revolution, and powering the gay rights movement to one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world. Deeply-embedded Mexican cultures stem from San Francisco’s strong historical bonds with Spanish America and Mexico with today’s buzzing Hispanic population fully immersed in the city’s art scene, both in galleries and studios as well as urban murals. 

On this Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights, you will learn about the city’s founding in 1776, when Spanish colonists settled the area during gold-rush fever. See first-hand San Francisco’s colourful mix of quaint buildings and modern architecture in a stunning ocean-facing city that is more than just flower power and social consciousness. Your Private Half Day Tour of San Francisco Highlights will take you through an urban landscape, set on the northern tip of a peninsula, shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and the Pacific’s rolling waves. At the top of Nob Hill, soak up an extraordinary cityscape at cable car height. Iconic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown, the Colt Tower and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Set on San Francisco's picturesque steep slopes, enjoy a stunning skyline across streets criss-crossed by street cars, yellow taxis and jogging trails. Wander through some world-class shopping centred on Union Square, where big-name brands and local stores nestle amongst chic boutiques. At beautiful North Beach, known colloquially as Little Italy, soak up the ambience of the city’s lively historic Italian-American community. Lastly, Fisherman’s Wharf, lined with seafood cafes, is home to basking sea lions, jugglers and mime artists and enjoys striking views across the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. 

Please note: Historic cable cars cannot run in adverse weather conditions, so on days with inclement weather you will take an uber or taxi to the top of Nob Hill. 
Build your own Tour in San Francisco
What better way to explore the magnificent city of San Francisco than with your very own personal tour guide?  Plan your day with an expert, visit the places that excite you most and spot the hidden gems you might have otherwise missed along your way.

  • Plan your day with an expert, and experience an off the beaten track tour.
  • Our guides tailor the tour directly to your interests to make sure you get the most out of your time in each point visited.
  • Discover the San Francisco you want to see, at the pace you want to see it.
Our professional, hand-picked guides are experts at designing tours around you.  Meet your guide at your hotel, talk through San Francisco’s spectacular sights and hear about all the great possibilities for the day ahead.  The choice is up to you.  Have you always wanted to stand on the Golden Gate Bridge and look out into San Francisco Bay?  Just say the word and you’ll be swept off to the best viewpoints.  Or maybe you’re looking for a tour of something a little more off the beaten track?  That’s fine too - perhaps you'll take a trip to the legendary Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood where the hippie movement started in the early 60s.  Either way, our guides tailor the tour directly to your interests to make sure you get the most out of your time in San Fran.

Ultimately, you’ll discover the San Francisco you want to see, at the pace you want to see it, all with the knowledge and expertise of a local friendly guide.

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