California’s Most Favorite Bridges

It’s Friday. Californians share their favorite bridges. Plus, Southern California’s oldest bookstore is looking for a buyer.

I moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles a little over a year ago, and one thing that still sticks out to me as a newcomer is how much I love crossing the bridges in the Bay Area.

During my first trip over Carquinez Bridge on Interstate 80 recently I was preoccupied with the industrial steel span and what it crossed: the wide expanse of water known as the Carquinez Strait, which separates Contra Costa and Solano counties.

That a bridge allows me to leave one district and enter another in the air seems truly magical, as anyone who has ridden in a car with me recently has heard me drive.

Readers have been emailing me about their favorite bridges in California, including the most famous ones like Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur, the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena and, of course, in the golden door.

Some shared their love for lesser-known bridges, such as Arch bridge in the cold spring canyon in the Santa Ynez Mountains, Rainbow Bridge at Donner Pass Road and Fernbridge over the Eel River in Humboldt County.

All kinds of bridges can fascinate us, and often personal connections too. Here are some of them, lightly edited:

“My favorite is the western part Bay Bridge. When I was a kid, my parents would drive over the double-decker bridge and we’d be on the lower part leaving San Francisco. Then on the way back the top looked like the Golden Gate to me. It took me a while to wrap my mind around the concept of a double decker bridge. I don’t know why some memories remain very clear after more than 60 years, but that’s one of them.” — Marty McVeigh, Brentwood

“The Tower Bridge here in Sacramento is one of the most beautiful sights in the city, I think. The way the sunset reflects its golden color, or how a bridge reflects in a river. Especially the way when you drive down it, you can look right into the heart of Sacramento.” — Sydney Amestoy, Sacramento

“The Sunny bridge in Redding does much more than connect the two banks of the Sacramento River. As one of the few lucky enough to tour the bridge, I have seen the bridge evolve to become the new center of the city. Here, locals and visitors hang out with their kids and dogs to enjoy the ever-changing views of the surrounding mountains and wildlife, from salmon in the river, geese on the river, to eagles, bald eagles and vultures flying above the river.” — Kay Johnson, Reading

“I’m very happy that my commute requires me to cross my favorite bridge: Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. It feels the most picturesque. You can see the city of San Francisco in full glory or mixed with fog. The bridge goes right next to Red Rock Island, which at the same time gives it a wild nature feel. Crossing in either direction, you’re looking at either the looming Mount Tamalpais or the sweeping, illuminated hills of the East Bay with Oakland to the south. There are a lot less people on the bridge than the Golden Gate Bridge, so it feels more personal.” — Helen Couture Rodriguez, El Cerrito

“I live in San Diego and regularly cross the Coronado Bridge to go to swim practice. The bridge itself, although an engineering marvel, is no beauty. But the view of Coronado Island always reminds me what a beautiful place I live in!” — Barton Lynch, San Diego

“My young nephew went through a bridge-obsessed phase a few years ago, so for his birthday we spent a very long but memorable day driving over every bridge in the Bay Area. After walking all those miles with a wide-eyed 9-year-old, I gained a new appreciation for all the ranges that grace our waterways. I will never have a favorite again!” — Brandi Katz, Aroma

“I lived in the Bay Area for almost 10 years, and San Mateo-Hayward Bridge is the best. It’s so long that you feel like you’re alone on a large body of water. And at certain times of the year, there were often stunning sunsets on the way home.” — Jay Torres, Laguna Beach

“I’m lucky to travel by bike across the street Golden Gate Bridge work most days. About 10 years ago I was recruited for a job in New York and discussed the pros and cons with my friend Tucker on the way home. Tucker saw something in the water and stopped us mid-span on the west deck. To our delight, two whales began breaching west of the bridge, something I have never seen before or since. Tucker said to me, ‘Philip, if you’re looking for a sign…’ I’m still happily traveling over my favorite bridge.” — Philip Norris, Mill Valley



With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re wondering about love: no WHO you love but what you love your corner of California.

Email us a love letter to your city, neighborhood or region in California — or the Golden State as a whole — and we might share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can contact the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

Robert Ashton Conner didn’t know much about water polo until he fell in love with Margaret Ann Steffens.

Steffens, who grew up in Danville in a family of prominent water polo players, joined the U.S. women’s water polo team at age 15 and went on to win team Olympic medals in 2012 and 2016. Conner, who is from Marin County, was immediately drawn to her.

The two met at a birthday party in Palo Alto in 2016 while Steffens was finishing her degree at Stanford. The connection was instant, they said. Two weeks later, the pair shared their first date — and first kiss — and soon after, Conner made regular trips to work in Palo Alto to see Steffens on her days off from training.

The rest of their story is told in water polo games (first in Hungary and then in Spain, where Steffens played professionally) and in Olympic medals (Steffens won her third gold medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics). In 2022, Conner proposed, and the couple married last November in San Juan, PR

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