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
Roughly bounded by Lyon Street
and the Pacific Ocean
San Francisco, CA 94129
Visitor Information: 415-561-4323
Visitor Center Th–Su 10am–4pm
Hours vary for businesses inside the park
Presidio, San Francisco –
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.
Bikers, joggers, hikers, photographers, beach-goers, campers, museum visitors, history buffs, and families. All ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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).
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 .
Anything goes, but due to coastal location visitors should bring layers even on sunny days.
Anytime, though sunny days are best to enjoy the spectacular views and beaches.
Pedestrians and bicyclists can continue the outdoor fun by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge starting near The Presidio’s northern edge.