Golden Gate Bridge

Top choice bridge in The Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf & the Piers

Image by Miles Ertman Getty Images

San Franciscans have passionate perspectives on every subject, especially their signature landmark, though everyone agrees that it's a good thing that the Navy didn't get its way over the bridge's design – naval officials preferred a hulking concrete span, painted with caution-yellow stripes, over the soaring art-deco design of architects Gertrude and Irving Murrow and engineer Joseph B Strauss, which, luckily, won the day.

As far as best views go, cinema buffs believe Hitchcock had it right: seen from below at Fort Point, the 1937 bridge induces a thrilling case of Vertigo. Fog aficionados prefer the north-end lookout at Marin’s Vista Point, to watch gusts billow through bridge cables like dry ice at a Kiss concert.

To see both sides of the Golden Gate debate, hike or bike the 1.7-mile span. Muni bus 28 runs to the parking lot, and pedestrians and cyclists can cross the bridge on sidewalks. For drivers, bridge tolls are billed electronically to your vehicle's license plate; for details, see