SF Bay Area Trip Highlights
For anyone who wants a relaxing and exuberant family
weekend getaway without leaving city limit of San
Francisco, Presidio is the best bet. Hands down!
Presidio San Francisco is a military based turned park
located in the northern tip of San Francisco, it's
filled with nature, incredible views, 800+ historical
building, miles of trails, beaches, and wildlife.
And it's BIG! In fact, it's 50% bigger than golden gate
80% of presidio park is managed by presidio trust, a
distinctive federal agency of US government who
transferred presidio military base into an extremely
interesting national park in less than 20 years of time
(1995 to date), the other 20% (most are coastline part
of the park) is managed by The National Park Service.
Here is what you and your family can do at Presidio:
1. Picnic at Presidio with OfftheGridsf.com
Check out Twinight at Main post, a weekly event
organized by OfftheGrid who brings together the best
food trucks in San Francisco; The cabanas are free but
first come first serve, so make sure you plan ahead and
come early, there will be a crowd! In fact, this event
is drawing bigger crowd, is probably the most popular
outdoor family/friends event in San Francisco, the
experience is unbeatable. Kudos to Presidio Trust and
OfftheGrid, who work together to make this happen.
(FYI: Main post is the center stage of the "formal"
presidio experience: You can explore newly renovated
historical buildings, Walt Disney Family Museum, and 2
football field sized meadow with the view of Golden
gate bridge and the entrance of San Francisco bay.
Beloved Presidio Inn is tucked away in a southwest
corner, at the foot of a cozy ecology trail with lots
of giant redwoods!)
2. Wild blackberry picking at Fort scott
Fort scott is on the 'hidden' west side of highway 1
that goes right in the middle of park, it's just a
stone throw away from golden gate bridge, but very few
people know about this beautiful campus, which used to
be dedicated to defending San Francisco Bay, introduced
Mission style architecture to the Presidio. Fort Scott
offers amazing views and is situated near several
trails and scenic overlooks to the pacific ocean's
entrance into San Francisco bay. It is also the
backdrop for popular volunteer stewardship activities
that take place at Presidio Nursery and in the
surrounding landscapes. Fort scott field is filled with
native wild blackberries, during the foggy summer time,
blackberry is everywhere for you to enjoy! There are a
diamond baseball field that is very popular among local
kids sports team, you will often see kids playing
soccer and softball on the field while parents watch
and chitchat with each other, with San Francisco
downtown and bay view in the background.
3. Camping and sleep under the star at Rob hill
campground nearby Fort scott field. There are many
trails around and a stone throw away from "immigration
point overview" point that opens right up to the
4. Bird watching and light hiking at Tennessee Hollow
and El Polin Spring
El Polin spring is a small stream from the presidio
hills high ground flowing into crissy field, its
crooked boardwalk takes you up to Julius Kahn
Playground, and southern border of Presidio park and
magnificent mansions district in pacific height
district. You can even walk to Presidio golf course to
the west, or walk to the lover's lane and lyon street
steps which is the beginning of so called "billionaire
row" mansions neighborhood. Or you can simply enjoy the
quiet bird watching and listen to stream flowing.
"Six plant communities overlap at El Polín Spring:
coastal prairie, serpentine grassland, freshwater
marsh, willow riparian, coastal scrub, and oak
woodland. Each one provides valuable habitat for
wildlife with many important microhabitats that provide
shelter, nesting sites, forage, and water for a variety
of wildlife species. This diversity of habitat in such
a small area contributes to the ecological richness of
El Polín." - presidio.gov
5. Take a walk on Lover's lane.
Lover's lane starts from southwestern entrance of
presidio park bordering Broadway and Presidio street.
It's 0.6 miles long flanked with giant eucalyptus
trees, among which sits the infamous Andy
Goldsworthy’s sculpture Wood Line! Lover's lane is a
light hike you can enjoy the residential red brick
buildings that makes presidio oh so special. And as the
name points out, there were lots of lovers stories in
the past, you will have to walk it to find them!
6. Playing golf at 18 holes Presidio Golf Course
The grass so green, ocean breeze so comforting, ever
changing natural lights so illuminating, playing at
Presidio golf course is a fine treat. You have to do it
at least once!
7. Pay respect at National cemetery, which appeared in
many movies and have incredible views of the bay. There
a few woody/leafy trails on its overlook point adjacent
to some residential buildings on Presidio, Coyotes are
sighted in the area!
8. Letterman district: Check out the China Brotsky Art
Gallery at the Thoreau Center for Sustainability,
restaurants, most comfortable Starbucks in the world,
Yoda statue and meadow at the Letterman Digital Arts
9. Sun bath at baker beach
Baker beach is the go-to-beach for San Franciscans in a
good sunny day, as it's tucked in a little harbor
surrounded by tall cliff. Hence the harsh pacific wind
doesn't blow quite here, unlike 4 miles long ocean
beach which is always windy. You can easily walk to
baker beach from immigrant point overlook on the moss
coated trails in about 10 minutes. Immediately adjacent
to baker beach are the old gun stations commissioned in
the 19th century till second world war, though there
was never one single canon shot fired in the history of
San Francisco bay, isn't that something?!
10. Walk, jogging, play, picnic, windsurfing,
kitesurfing, dog walking/running on Crissy field. It is
popular among all visitors to San Francisco and true
people's recreational area. Rich or poor, mansion
dwelling snobs or working class, everyone has a spot in
11. Explore the magnificent Fort Point national
historical site at Golden Gate Bridge.
Make sure to walk on the rooftop admiring the way
Pacific ocean enters Golden Gate, or how Golden Gate
embraces the massive Pacific ocean, and look up, down
and around. You won't be disappointed!
Also, Read this on WikiPedia: Fort Point is a masonry
seacoast fortification located at the southern side of
the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
This fort was completed just before the American Civil
War by the United States Army, to defend San Francisco
Bay against hostile warships.
12. Volunteer opportunities are available daily except
Monday, it's a great way to help restore the natural
beauty of Presidio.
13. Hangout with Yoda at LucasFilm office housed at
Letterman Digital Arts Center. LucasFilm is not open to
public but with some hacking, you can get in for a
sneak peek at
creative genius of George Lucas and his crew.
14. Stay at Inn at the Presidio
Awarded as "Inn at the Presidio is located at historic
Pershing Hall on the Main Post, the “heart of the
Presidio." In 2011, the Presidio Trust completed a
historic rehabilitation of Pershing Hall, transforming
it into the park’s first lodge, Inn at the Presidio.
The interior design celebrates the Presidio’s rich
past referenced with Americana, artisan details, and
memorabilia. The Inn’s daily operations are conducted
with environmentally sensitive practices in mind.
features an inviting front porch with rocking chairs, a
dining room for breakfast and evening receptions, and
an outdoor deck with a fire pit. The Inn is an ideal
starting point to experience the history and beauty of
the Presidio, including miles of hiking trails, public
events, cultural destinations, and wild open spaces.
15. Tracking down wild coyote
Wild coyotes live on presidio's massive wilderness.
They can be spotted at dust near more remote places
like Fort scott field, dense woods near cemetery
overlook or places with stream like El Polin spring.
16. Workout with locals on Lyon street steps
Lyon street steps are super popular among locals who
love exercise. It's located at the end of Broadway
street near Billionaire row mansion neighborhood, with
incredible view of Alcatraz.
17. Admire Apple Chief Designer Jony Ive's newly
purchased mansion at Broadway/Lyon street entrance of
18. Visit and volunteer at Presidio nursery
The Presidio Nursery nurtures not only thousands of
plants, but also hundreds of volunteers and youth from
throughout the Bay Area. Founded in the spring of 1995,
the nursery is a vibrant collaborative effort of three
agencies: the Presidio Trust, National Park Service,
and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Together
they support the nursery’s goal of restoration within
the Presidio. In 2012, the nursery grew 120,000
plants—twice its usual number!
In addition, the Presidio Nursery grows many trees to
support the Presidio reforestation effort, including
about 300 Monterey cypress trees each year. The nursery
also nurtures native trees such as Coast live oak, Wax
myrtle, and California buckeye.
The nursery is a lively complex with greenhouses and
shade houses filled with plants, an educational garden,
the Habitarium where volunteers meet, and a lab for
more detailed study. Visitors to the park can stop by
to volunteer on certain days or to explore. For those
just passing through, there are educational signs as
well as staff and interns on site.
The nursery is located at 1249a Appleton Street, in the
Fort Scott District.
19. Spot an owl or two, or red tail hawks
Owl and red tail hawks are residential birds at
Presidio, you can see them fly atop tall eucalyptus
trees nearby main post and lyon street steps.
20. Get married at "chapel for our lady"
Presidio's "chapel for our lady" was a popular wedding
venue dating back to 100 years ago for many service men
and women. Today, its charm still attracts modern day
couples. It sits next to Inn at Presidio.
21. Planning your events at 12 spectacular venues on
The Presidio is a magnificent place to gather, no
matter what the occasion. Intimate chapels, elegant
reception sites, and conference facilities provide a
beautiful backdrop for weddings, celebrations,
meetings, and retreats.
Following are the venues:
Golden Gate Club
The Observation Post
Chapel for our lady
Log cabin at Fort Scott
Officer's club (under renovation in 2013/2014
Presidio institute at Fort Scott
Presidio golf course club house
Presidio social club
Presidio film center
22. Bowling at Presidio bowl!
What can be more All American family living than going
bowling on an old military base's bowling alley?
Presidio bowl is such a classic. It also serves food
and drink. For some bowling inclined, you can spend
half day there if you want.
23. Workout at YMCA at Presidio.
YMCA at Presidio is a gym of its own class, working out
there make me feel classy, which is kind of weird but
in a good way. Maybe it's the building itself that is
full of history? Maybe its the nearby Lucas film's yoda
blessing? Or maybe it's the old canon decorating the
grass field outside?
24. Batterys to Bluffs Walking Trail to Marshall beach.
Batteries to Bluff’s walking Trail goes up and down
the bluffs & past Marshall Beach. It eventually ends up
about .7 miles away at Battery Crosby. This little
trail is the best place to see how pacific ocean and
San Francisco bay meets at Golden Gate Bridge, the
bridge itself is at its most crisp, sharp when viewed
from here and Marshall beach below. Crashing and sharp
rocks create a little heaven for nude inclined. Don't
be surprised if you see something dangle!
25. Get most expansive views in one weekend
Presidio park has many famous overlooks, vista points,
following are the main ones with $10 million view
Inspiration point overlook to Palace of fine arts,
Alcatraz and SF bay
Immigrant point overlook for Pacific ocean sunset
Marshall beach trail for best eye level closeup of
Golden Gate Bridge
Crissy field overlook: get a nice view of historic
Crissy Air Field, Crissy Field marsh, Golden Gate
Promenade (Bay Trail), SF Bay and the City skyline.
Cemetery overlook for serenity and incredible bay
Main post grand parade grounds with view SF bay with
Alcatraz is in the background. You will see many kites
flying on daily basis as Kite surfers love crissy
Fort Scott softball field with view to city's sky line
26. Off the Grid: PICNIC + TWILIGHT at the Presidio
The Presidio Trust has partnered with Off the Grid, San
Francisco’s largest organizer of street food markets,
to host two spectacular outdoor events on the Presidio
Main Parade Ground, Every Sunday, April 6 to October
26, 11 am to 4 pm, with Artisanal Food, Bubble Bar, DJ,
Yoga, Family Fun; All to "celebrate evenings in a
relaxed and immersive manner – complete with
lantern-lit dining cabanas, cabana-side cocktail
service, Adirondack chairs, fire pits, live music, and
views of the sun setting over San Francisco Bay.
Twilight is a prime "meet up" location for a family
outing, a first date, or simply a memorable dinner with
friends." - prisidiosf.gov
27. Eye forage wild food in the woods
There are lots of wild edible plants in presidio park,
however Commercial foraging is illegal in all
California state parks.
Foraging is getting more popular thanks to Iso Rabin,
founder of foragesf.com, who is considered as one of
pioneers in the foraging area. Iso himself foraged
presidio grounds for wild radish, wild mushroom but he
has since stopped due to violation of law. But it never
hurt to just watch, or "eye-forage".
For me, I only forage wild blackberries for personal
28. Check out "dead sailor society"
Did you know that the Marine Cemetery Vista overlooks a
Marine cemetery where hundreds of sailors from 30
states and 43 countries were buried between 1881 and
1912. A memorial stone plaque at the vista pays tribute
to the seamen who died at the nearby hospital. Come
check it out next time you're strolling through the
29. Attend events at the Walt Disney Family Museum
First thing first, check out its full calendar of
interesting events and exhibits hosted at the
40k-square-foot museum located in a historic brick
building on the main post of San Francisco’s
Presidio. Visitors can also enjoy our Museum Store,
Learning Center, and Fantasia-themed theater, which
shows Disney classics six days a week. Co-founded by
Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and his
grandson, Walter E. D. Miller, the museum is owned and
operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a
- See more at: http://www.waltdisney.org/about-us#sthas
30. Sitting on the chain near Fort Point and get
Get romantic near Fort Point, you have seals and
surfers and golden gate bridge and crashing waves as
witness for your romance.
31. Check out the goats garden at Upton corner right
off Fort Scott field, these goats are so agile and
cute! They were just brought over here on May 1,
32. Indulge your taste buds at the newly opened (May
20, 2014) California Spanish cuisine restaurant by
celebrity chef Traci Des Jardin.