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Fort Point Tips (15)

Fort Point.

Fort Point is interestingly located right underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Fort Point was built by the U.S. army around 1853, shortly before the American Civil War. Its purpose was to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile enemy warships.

It is free to enter the fort. It has some old cannons and a few items of historical interest, but a lot of its appeal is its location - right under one of the most famous bridges in the world.

IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
Feb 26, 2016

Fort Point

Fort Point, built between 1853-1861, is a massive masonry fortress guarding the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco Bay and, via the inland rivers, to the heart of California and its goldfields. At the time the fort was built, this was by far the most important part of all US territory on the Pacific and economically and strategically vital. The fort is the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi.

WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo
Jul 23, 2009

Fort Point (Man-made not originally to attract)

Fort Point is located at the southern side of the Golden Gate, at the entrance of San Francisco Bay. It was established just before the U.S. Civil War and was used to defend San Francisco from foreign attackers. It is now preserved as Fort Point National Historic Site, open from Thursday through Monday, 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

In Fort Point, you will see old canons, gun powder barrels, and floor markings of the canons' movements during the war. The atmosphere at Fort Point is usually very windy. When we went there, I felt like being blown away by the wind. I was fighting the strong winds when I was walking. It was a really cool experience. A very interesting place.

caseyso's Profile Photo
Aug 10, 2008


Fort Point is a fort build during the civil war. it is in excellent shape. admission is free. You can do a self guided tour or go on a guided tour. Depending on your interest you probably will be in and out in an hour.

Jul 04, 2008
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Fort Point

Part of the National Park Service, Fort Point was constructed just prior to the Civil War to guard the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This was the only masonry fort built on the US west coast during this period and was never battle tested.

Much of the fort is now closed due to construction on the Golden Gate Bridge which passes directly overhead. My best photos of the Golden Gate Bridge are from the area around Fort Point.

A short scene from the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock movie Vertigo was filmed here. Other scenes from the movie include the Legion of Honor, Mission Dolores, and Mission San Juan Bautista. At one pint Madeleine says, "Old Fort Point on the Presidio... I love it there, it's beautiful there, especially after the sunset."

Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
Mar 14, 2008

Fort point!

This is the view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point. The fort is five stories, made primarily of brick, and admission is free. The views from the top floor are gorgeous, windy, and a little precarious. The spiral staircases leading up to the top are definitely from another era.Civil War reenactment is seen inside. On wavy days, surfers try to catch rides about 100 yards away from the Fort in the cold bay water. Fort Point is part of the Golden Gate national recreation area. Nearby sites include: the Presidio, the Marin Headlands (across the Golden Gate), Crissy Field beach (about 1/2 mile down the pier from Fort Point).

machomikemd's Profile Photo
Oct 20, 2007

Fort Point

Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861, at the beginning of the US Civil War, with the aim of protecting San Francisco harbor from attacks during and after that period.
Its arched casemates display the art of the master brickmason from the Civil War period.

The historic fort was used as a base of operations for building the Golden Gate Bridge.

Muya's Profile Photo
Feb 20, 2007

Fort Point, waiting the battle that never happened

The fort itself is nothing very special... it was built in the mid 1800's to protect the bay from possible invasions.

It has some interesting areas where you get to see how the old-fashioned canons used to work... the gun-powder room is cool... and then, it's just like a museum.

I wouldn't say "you have to go" ... but, if you're around ... give it a try.

rafgys's Profile Photo
Nov 17, 2006

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Fort Point

This photo was taken from the boat and pictures Fort Point, which was built at the start of the 1861-1865 Civil War to guard the entrance to the Bay, however it was never used for any battles at all.

bugalugs's Profile Photo
Oct 22, 2006

Fort Point - SF's most underrated attraction?

Fort Point makes my list as San Francisco's most underrated tourist attraction. I think it's a must see; so many folks go to see the GG Bridge, but right down the hill stands this gem. Fort Point is located directly underneath the bridge on the SF side. Chief bridge engineer Joseph Strauss toured the fort when plans were being made to demolish it to make way for the Golden Gate, and said, "While the old fort has no military value now, it remains nevertheless a fine example of the mason's art... it should be preserved and restored as a national monument." He then designed the archway allowing the bridge to be built over the fort.

While many believe it is a "civil war" fort, that is not technically accurate. The fort was started in 1855, to guard against Spanish and French ships who might be after California's newfound gold, and only coincidentally was finished in time for the Civil War.

Two events very nearly shifted the balance toward the Confederacy. A group of Confederate sympathizers approached commander Albert Sydney Johnston (a Kentuckyan) and asked him to help lead a revolt. Johnston - a man of the highest honor - refused, dispite his feelings, citing his allegiance to the Union and the job he swore to uphold. He later resigned his post to become a Confederate officer, and was killed in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

Later, the CSS Shenandoah was on its' way to attack San Francisco, in what promised to be a fierce fight, only to learn from a passing French ship that the war was over.

Since 9/11, Fort Point has often been closed due to terrorism comcerns, because of its' location directly under the bridge. At the moment, it is only open Fri, Sat, & Sun, from 10-5. Bring warm clothes - it can get very chilly on the water, even when the sun is shining all around.

Best of all, admission is FREE!

Karnubawax's Profile Photo
Sep 23, 2005

Fort Point

It's easy to miss the old brick-walled fort underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. This Civil War-era fort was designed to hold 500 soldiers and 126 muzzle-loading cannons. It was later abandoned because modern weaponry made it obsolete. Today, visitors can get a glimpse of 19th century U.S. Army life by visiting the fort. It still houses some of its old cannons and cannon balls. Park rangers dressed as Union soldiers regularly conduct guided tours of the building and its exhibits. By the way, the worm's eye view of the bridge from the fort is awesome.

cheap_tourist's Profile Photo
Sep 08, 2005

Fort Point National Historic Site

Nestled under the Golden Gate Bridge, this Civil War era brick fortress was built by the Army Corp of Engineers between 1853 and 1861 to guard against hostiles from entering San Francisco Bay. Orginally sporting 126 massive cannons, it was never attacked. The fort also saw duty during World War II when 100 soldiers were garirsoned here to protect against enemy submarines from entering the bay. During the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, it served as a construction office. Today it is part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and opened to the public. It offers a magnificient view of San Francisco, the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands. Due to construction on the Golden Gate Bridge, it is currently only opened Friday through Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. Check the website to confirm hours of operation. Be sure to bring warm clothing. It can be very windy and cold. Admission if free.

geeyook's Profile Photo
Jul 31, 2005

Things To Do Near Fort Point

Things to Do

The Presidio of San Francisco

We walked from the Main Post on the Presidio to a lovely old chapel, then visited the national cemetery. This is the final resting place for the nation's military veterans and their families. 30,000...
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Things to Do

Golden Gate Bridge

About 79 years ago, on 27 May 1937, some 200,000 spectators gathered near the entrance of the San Francisco Bay for the opening of one of the technological wonders of modern times—the Golden Gate...
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Things to Do

Exploratorium let me down once again, the beautiful sunny prediction for our stay in San Francisco was true for Thursday and Friday but early Saturday morning there was a huge thunderstorm and it...
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Things to Do

Palace of Fine Arts

We got to the Palace of Fine Arts by number 28 bus. The Palace of Fine Arts was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Its purpose was, and indeed is, to house art exhibitions. It was...
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Things to Do

Marina District

Bordered to the north by Marina Boulevard, this very affluent residential area (average price of a home here is 1.5 MILLION US Dollars! while in other San Francisco neighborhoods is between 600 to 900...
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Things to Do

Lands End

The ruins of Sutro Baths, at Land's End and on the ocean below Sutro Heights and the Cliff House, are open to the public now. Sutro Baths was a huge, indoor bath house and entertainment complex...
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Getting to Fort Point


Marine Dr., San Francisco, CA 94123


  • Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday Closed
  • Thursday Closed
  • Friday 10:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 10:00 to 17:00