San Fran...not just a bridge!

Celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge are currently underway in San Francisco.

After opening on May 27, 1937 it became one of the most astonishing and admired man-made wonders of the world, gracing millions of postcards and featuring in countless films.

Since opening, more than two-billion vehicles have crossed the 2.737 kilometre bridge. Although, its iconic dark orange colour was an accident, originally used as a primer while designers decided what colour to paint it. The Navy wanted black with yellow stripes so it could be seen in the dense fog, heavy winds and strong ocean swells. But in the end, authorities decided they liked the color, known as International Orange, and stuck with it.

Here's some fantastic things you can do while you're visiting the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, described by Frommers travel guide as "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world".

Admire the views from the de Young Museum
San Francisco is all about the views. It's built on 43 of them! One of your favourite vantage points could well be the observation floor of de Young museum. On a cloudless day, when the sky is clear, you can see right out to Presidio Park and the Marin Headlands. But if you're there on one of the more common foggy days San Fran likes to serve up, you'll still get a great view of the grid-like streets. And the best part is, it's free.

Have a picnic
Crissy Field is sandy beach, with restored tidal marshes, dunes, abundant wildlife, a wide promenade and designated picnic areas. It has fantastic views of Golden Gate Bridge and the bay, so you'll be sure to find lots of people enjoying on warmer days. The overlook is a new addition that offers panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz and Angel Island. Take some extra layers if you’re planning on sticking around – it can get pretty windy in the afternoons!

Spot a Banksy
If you're not familiar with Banksy, he's one of the most well-known and controversial street artists in the world. His identity is also a mystery, and hunting down his distinctive style of mischievous political graffiti has become a favourite past-time of travellers around the world.

Just prior to the release of his documentary, ‘Exit through the Gift Shop’ in 2010, Banksy hit San Francisco with six new works.

You can find one in a car park on Erie and Mission Street, just off the Central Fairway in the Mission District. It's a single bird singing in a tree and it's now surrounded by other graffiti artists’ work. One of the great things about street art is that it's constantly changing, and this is a real testament to that.

The second piece is a rat drawing a skull and crossbones on the wall of the rooftop at 1309 Howard Street in South of Market, a short walk from the San Francisco Civic Center.

Finally, a stencil of a doctor reading the heart rate of Peace and Love is at 720 Grant Avenue, in between Commercial Street and Sacramento Street. Close to the Cable Car museum in Chinatown, this has also been protected.

Grab a drink
Love tequila? Then get on down to Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant because it's got one of the biggest ranges of tequila outside Mexico. don't forget to try the guacamole! Get together and share a pitcher of Tommy’s famous twist on the classic Margarita, made with Cazadores Reposado Tequila for an authentic experience.

And once you're home, you can recreate the amazing taste of an Old Tommy's Margarita with his very own recipe:

  • 50ml fresh lime juice
  • 50ml fresh lemon juice
  • 50ml sugar syrup
  • 50ml mild agave syrup
  • 50ml of water
  • 50ml of Cazadores Reposado Tequila (or a tequila of your choice)

Make a fresh sour mix by combining the lime, lemon, sugar syrup, mild agave syrup and water. Stir well and place to one side.

In a cocktail shaker add 50ml of tequila and use 50ml of the fresh sour mix you just made.

Shake hard with cubed ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with cracked/cubed ice and garnish with a wedge of fresh lime. Delicious!

Would you like to visit San Francisco? Tell us what you'd like to see in the comments section below. And if you've been and got some stories to share, why not head to twitter and Facebook to share with the rest of the Peregrine community.

Our Western Dream, Western Explorer and National Park Lodges trips all start in San Fran. Why not head over just prior to your starting date so you can explore this fabulous city. 



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