Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75

For a 75-year-old grande dame, the Golden Gate Bridge is looking pretty good. So, it seems only fitting that the special span should have a party with all the trimmings.

Events are planned through the fall, but the main event is Sunday, May 27. It was on this day in 1937 that the bridge first opened to pedestrian traffic.

Exhibits, parades, music and dancing are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. along the waterfront from Fort Point/Crissy Field to East Marina Green. Fireworks are scheduled at about 9:30 p.m. Additional public activities are being held at The Main Post of the Presidio, Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39.


· International Orange Exhibition: 10am–7pm (Fort Point)
· Vintage Maritime Display/Parade: 11am-3pm (St. Francis Yacht Club)
· Road Trip through History: 11am–5pm (East Crissy Field)
· Crissy Field Center Future Fair: 11am–7pm (East Beach)
· Bridge History Tent: 11am–8pm (West Crissy Field)
· USS Nimitz Arrival: 1pm (San Francisco Bay)
· Fireworks: 9:30-9:50 pm. Optimum visibility from Fort Point to East Marina Green. Soundtrack aired live on KFOG 104.5

Here is a story I wrote with a bit more on the bridge’s history. And here is a link to the official festivities website.

Things to note:

Try to take public transit to the area, traffic and parking are likely to be an absolute bear. Note that the bridge will be open most of the day but closed to people and traffic during the fireworks.

Bridge fun facts:

The bridge’s color is not gold but International Orange.

Originally, officials wanted it painted yellow with black stripes for ultimate visibility.

Everyone loves the bridge now, but when it first opened a lot of people called it ugly and a blot on the landscape, including famous photographer Ansel Adams.

It’s a myth that the bridge gets painted every year and when they’re done it’s time to start over. Touch-up is done as necessary, but a 1980s redo of a water-borne zinc primer with an acrylic topcoat is holding up well.

By the Numbers:

4: Years it took to build the bridge

6: Dollars it costs to pay the toll using cash

11: Men who died during construction

4,200: Feet in the main span

600,000: Rivets in each tower

2 billion-plus: Vehicles that have crossed the bridge