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One of the most visited sites in the Bay Area, the southeast end of the Golden Gate Bridge sees millions of visitors each year.
For years, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District wanted to upgrade the amenities and features of the bridge's south visitor plaza. In preparation for the 75th anniversary of this iconic structure on May 27, 2012, the Bridge District partnered with the Parks Conservancy to transform this dream into reality and create an engaging experience for bridge visitors. Together, the Parks Conservancy, Bridge District, National Park Service, Presidio Trust, and City and County of San Francisco implemented a wide array of improvements that included the bridge plaza, multi-use trails, and accessible routes for all users within the area.
The partner agencies worked to upgrade and expand gathering spaces and visitor services while maintaining important historic features. The result was a four-fold increase in usable space within the plaza, a new Bridge Pavilion welcome center, and renovated historic Round House and Bridge Café.
Opened as part of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012, the nearly 3,500-squarefoot pavilion offers visitors an opportunity to extend and commemorate their bridge experience. It combines rare artifacts from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District collection with new displays, photos, films, and high-quality merchandise to tell the stories of this American icon and the national parklands that anchor it.
The Round House, a 1938 Art Deco jewel, was once a diner and later a gift shop before being restored as part of the 75th anniversary of the bridge. Today, the Round House Café offers hot food and drinks to visitors along with 270-degree, panoramic views of the bridge and San Francisco Bay.
Alongside the creation of a new welcome center and renovation of the historic Round House, the bridge plaza itself was revitalized to further improve the experience for the millions of people who visit each year. This project added gathering spaces, improved circulation, installed new seating areas, reopened historic views of the bridge, reinvigorated the landscaping, and erected new educational exhibits on the engineering of the bridge (an Exploratorium project funded by the National Science Foundation).
In addition to donations from thousands of individual Parks Conservancy members, projects at the Golden Gate Bridge plaza received support from: