The Presidio

Beach / Culture / Outdoor Activity / Park
The Presidio A heavily guarded military post for more than two hundred years, The Presidio and its dense forests, myriad paths, and stunning views were turned over to the public in 1994, and now attract an estimated five million visitors... San Francisco United States 37.7979500613957 -122.469534873962
4.75 8
The Presidio - Beach | Culture | Outdoor Activity | Park in San Francisco.
Collapse map / See photo gallery
+
Add to list
Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review A heavily guarded military post for more than two hundred years, The Presidio and its dense forests, myriad paths, and stunning views were turned over to the public in 1994, and now attract an estimated five million visitors... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

    Presidio
  • Address:

    Roughly bounded by Lyon Street
    and the Pacific Ocean
    San Francisco, CA 94129

    Get Directions

  • Hours:

    Park 24/7
    Visitor Center Th–Su 10am–4pm
    Hours vary for businesses inside the park

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth The Presidio Review

The Scene

A heavily guarded military post for more than two hundred years, The Presidio and its dense forests, myriad paths, and stunning views were turned over to the public in 1994, and now attract an estimated five million visitors...

A heavily guarded military post for more than two hundred years, The Presidio and its dense forests, myriad paths, and stunning views were turned over to the public in 1994, and now attract an estimated five million visitors every year.

The mixed-use park is a favorite for cyclists who whizz through the canopies of eucalyptus and cypress that shadow fourteen miles of paved roads, though hikers can take advantage of nearly twice that many miles of trails. A small idyllic lake at the southern entrance abuts a golf course that’s been around since the late 1800s, and hundreds of equally old buildings dot the landscape.

History buffs will have their hands full checking out those structures – some of which have been converted for commercial use, including a Walt Disney museum in a former barracks and a naval hospital that is now the headquarters for George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic – as well as the artillery installations, whose long cannon barrels still point ominously out to sea.

Diehard joggers speed right past them as they run along the cliffs above Baker Beach all the way to the Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, as science fanatics head straight for the Palace of the Arts building, where the world-renowned Exploratorium museum features hundreds of hands-on exhibits.

Anyone not sufficiently tuckered out can drop in on Crissy Field, an airstrip-turned-pedestrian thoroughfare next to the Palace that’s a favorite launch pad for wind and kite surfers.

With so much to see and do, The Presidio requires days to fully enjoy – but given its long history, visitors can rest assured it’s not going anywhere.

read less
read more

Tip from Emma:

Check out the Presidio Pet Cemetery (at McDowell Avenue and Crissy Field Avenue). Although it’s closed to new interments, this spooky little cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds of animals that were owned by families stationed at The Presidio .

  • Crowd

    Bikers, joggers, hikers, photographers, beach-goers, campers, museum visitors, history buffs, and families. All ages.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Feel the burn:
    Miles of hiking and biking trails, including stunning coast bluff trails overlooking the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the rolling hills of Marin.

    Other activities:
    Presidio Golf Course (300 Finley Road) is an 18-hole course and driving range open to the public. Presidio Bowling Center (93 Moraga Avenue) is one of only a handful of bowling alleys in the city.

    Museums:
    The Exploratorium (3601 Lyon Street) features nearly five hundred participatory science exhibits in the beautiful Palace of the Fine Arts building.

    Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center (991 Marine Drive) is home to hands-on educational exhibits about local marine life.

    Fort Point (located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge near the Marine Sanctuary) is a massive brick and granite fortification constructed in 1861 to defend the San Francisco Bay from naval attacks.

    Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery Street) features objects and artifacts from Walt Disney’s life and career.

    Historic Sites:
    Battery East, Cavalry Stables, Fort Scott, Infantry Row, Letterman Complex (now home to George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic), Main Post, Pershing Square, Public Health Service Hospital, San Francisco National Cemetery, and the World War II Memorial.

    Beaches:
    Baker Beach and Marshall Beach are located on the west end of the park.

    Crissy Field (East Beach at Javowitz Street) has a beach as well, and is a popular spot for wind and kite surfers.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Food available at:
    The Presidio Golf Course (300 Finley Road). Presidio Bowling Center (93 Moraga Avenue) The Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery Street). The Exploratorium (3601 Lyon Street). Cafés around Crissy Field (East Beach at Javowitz Street).

    Transportation services:
    Visitors can board the free shuttle at nearly forty stops throughout The Presidio, including at the Main Post Transit Center (215 Lincoln Boulevard), the Presidio Visitor Center (105 Montgomery Street ), and the Lombard Street entrance (Lombard Street at Lyon Street).

  • Prices

    Entrance and all Park Service programs are free, as is most parking throughout the Presidio, though time restrictions apply. Camping $100/night in designated Rob Hill campground only; permits must be acquired beforehand from The Presidio Trust (415-561-5444). Exploratorium $12–$15. Disney Museum $12–$20. Golf $18–$145 .

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes, but due to coastal location visitors should bring layers even on sunny days.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Anytime, though sunny days are best to enjoy the spectacular views and beaches.

  • Close By

    Pedestrians and bicyclists can continue the outdoor fun by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge starting near The Presidio’s northern edge.

The Presidio User Reviews

Average rating:
Great to Relax and Unwind
Elizabeth M. Mar 29, 2013
The Presidio, nestled in the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, is a scenic and historic area. Spectacular views of the beach and the Golden Gate surround you, as well as history and multiple museums with displays about everything from military history to Walt Disney history at the Walt Disney Family museum. The area and trails are an excellent place to run and clear your mind as the beauty of nature surrounds you. Running here can really clear your head on a sunny afternoon - or foggy morning - and get you ready for the day/night ahead. The Walt Disney Family museum is a great place for kids at heart, if not necessarily kids themselves. While interesting and full of the characteristic Disney magic, a lot of the displays and exhibits are text heavy and will not hold the attention span of the smallest ones. Different people will find different things here. History lovers will devour the changing exhibits on the history of the area. Those of us who longed to be Ariel or Jasmine will reminisce with Disney. Runners, cyclists, and nature lovers will adore the views and splendor of the area's natural beauty.
Great Views
Caroline c. Nov 28, 2012
This is a really beautiful part of San Francisco. It is really historic and the buildings are really cools to see. It also has the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and is definitely a great place to take photos. There are also lots of trails in the area where you can hike or go biking. The beach is also a great area to visit. It is also really close to the Exploratorium which is really fun to visit, especially for kids. I took the kids I babysit there and they absolutely loved it. It really is a great outdoor space for everyone to enjoy. I definitely recommend it to anyone!
Beautiful Location
Rachel G. Nov 13, 2012
The Presidio This is a gorgeous historic area of San Francisco. This has got to be one of the best places to be when watching a sunset. I come here a lot with my dog and boyfriend. We like to sit on the sand and let the dog run around and watch the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge. If you have never seen this sight you really must, it's breath taking! Another thing to do here is biking, running, and hiking! i love being outdoors and this is one of my favorite spots to be when I want to get all forest like!
Beautiful Landmark!
Sunset E. Oct 5, 2012
El Presidio is a beautiful landmark in the San Francisco. If your'e in San Francisco you have to make the effort to visit El Presidio. It is the perfect spot for a photo op. It's also near the golden gate bridge if you plan on making a visit there. its' a perfect place to go biking or running and you'll run into many people there as well. There is also a path with beautiful plants leading up to the Goldend Gate Bridge as well and a small boutique shop where you can buy gifts for friends or yourself.
Load more comments
Not sure where to go this weekend in San Francisco? Sign up for our weekly email and get updates on the coolest things to do!

Book Now and Save at Hotels.com

Are we missing a venue or event?
Find your scene