White Bridge San Francisco

San Francisco Bay

Bay Bridge

The Oakland Bay Bridge, sometimes the butt of jokes for San Francisco locals, is a “new” bridge since 2014. It stretches from Oakland to San Francisco, and although it’s the oldest bridge in the community, nobody is laughing anymore. Now in its facelift stage, the Bay Bridge is set to give the Golden Gate a run for its money.

Designed as the first bridge spanning to San Francisco in 1933, mostly because of the popularity of the automobile, the Oakland Bay Bridge (usually just called the Bay Bridge) is the workhorse bridge of San Francisco. Each day more than 270,000 cars cross the bridge on two traffic levels. And it’s been that way (super busy) for 80 years.

The Bay Bridge has a toll in the westbound direction. If you plan to cross toward San Francisco, please bring about $5 cash.

New vs Old Bay Bridge

So why is the Golden Gate Bridge so popular? Are things about to change? We think so. Recently, the eastern span of the Bay Bridge has changed to a new design, both to be ready for earthquakes and to keep people from ridiculing the other, older model.

The new eastern span has opened for business and is a beaut.

As a leap of faith, the Golden State Warriors basketball team even selected the bridge silhouette for their logo. Not bad for a hard-working bridge, right?

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And it’s been a long time coming. The new design, paired with the western span’s $8 million LED light show (connected at Yerba Buena Island, a natural island in the bay), make the Bay Bridge one of the more popular landmarks in San Francisco now. Not always the beauty bridge she is today, it’s a welcome change for this ugly duckling.

If you’re staying in San Francisco, the Bay Bridge is best viewed at night.

Old Bay Bridge

How Do I Find the Bay Bridge?

  • The Bay Bridge is located on the eastern side of San Francisco, near the Financial District of the city. When in doubt, look toward Oakland and you’ll see it. 
  • Most travelers notice the Bay Bridge as they sightsee around San Francisco. Usually, though, you never actually use the bridge. It’s more for the locals to get from Point A to Point B, nothing more, nothing less.
  • To reach the Bay Bridge from Union Square you can ride the F-Line to the Ferry Building (15 mins), or you can see the eastern span by riding BART to Oakland, and then walking or riding your bike to the bridge. As of now, you CANNOT ride a bike on the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge.

Bay Bridge White Span

Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

The Bay Bridge is the rebirth of an old workhorse. The new, white portion has become the unofficial icon of Oakland, one you can walk or photograph easily. Sadly, though, the western, San Francisco-side of the bridge is still inaccessible to foot traffic.

Location of the Bay Bridge