The famous Golden Gate Bridge is probably the first bridge your Bay Area-raised babies will get to know by name. And every local parent experiences the moment when their kids exclaim the bridge is actually red as opposed to “golden.”

On Sunday, May 27, the waterfront will come alive in homage to that “gateway to San Francisco,” and the big celebration includes numerous educational exhibits and fun stuff for the whole family. Find an explanation for the bridge’s unique color and name, and learn about its other amazing attributes, like how it became the largest suspension bridge of its time.

Getting there: Biking in or using public transit are highly recommended. There will be no event parking, except for bicycles.

When to go: The event takes place all day and into the evening, on Sunday, May 27 from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Activities will held at various locations, including Crissy Field, Fort Mason Center, and Ghiradelli Square, with fireworks lighting up the sky at 9:30 pm.

What to see and do at the festival: The 80’x100’ hightop tent in Crissy Field will be a treat for the little ones, with bridge artifacts like an original 1937 construction worker hat and materials used by the first bridge painters. Here, kids may also climb into a sky box, formerly used by the original bridge painters to go up and down the cables. Two main stages in West Crissy Field and the Marina Green host family-friendly performers like the Oakland Symphony Chorus. On the Marina Green East End, find corporate and media sponsor tents busy with activities like kitemaking. And the Crissy Field Center youth educators will be great role models, teaching guests about alternative energy used at the center, from solar panels to wind turbines.

More Family Events Around the City:

  • The Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Golden Gate Bridge Birthday Extravaganza: Kick off the celebration starting on May 22 where kids can create bridge crowns, bridge sculptures, and a huge Happy Birthday card. This week-long celebration runs from March 22 through May 25 from 9:00am-4:00pm.
  • Live Music and a Movie with the Walt Disney Museum:
    Bring your lawn chair, blankets, and if you’re familiar with the finicky Presidio weather, you’ll also want to pack a jacket or fleece and head down to the new Main Post Green for a special screening of It Came From Beneath the Green. On May 26 from 6:00pm-10:00pm, nosh on food from Off the Grid food trucks, the Disney Cafe, and the Presidio Bowling Center. There will also be live music to get your dance on.
  • Terrace Party:
    Looking for a more swanky way to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s birthday? Us too! On May 27 from 6:00pm-10:00pm, enjoy a gourmet barbecue and live music, and then marvel at the evening’s fireworks display. $75 per adult/$25 per child.

What to bring: Sun screen, hats, layers. Bring your own water bottle for refills at the free water stations.

Where to have lunch: There will be a large variety of food vendors throughout the festival, including vegetarian and vegan options.

Bonus: The bridge will be closed to foot traffic all day. However, look-out points on both sides of the bridge will be open, as will the Bridge Café and brand new Pavilion.

Online: goldengatebridge75.org

-Renee Macalino Rutledge

First photo credit: Mason Cummings; Second photo credit: creative commons; third photo credit: Erin Lem