Presidio of San Francisco – The winter season is always a good time to consider traveling to San Francisco’s Presidio for a touch of green nature to enliven the sometimes grey winter months. An Army post for over 200 years, the Presidio has been reimagined—the nation’s largest urban national park, situated just miles from the vibrancy of downtown San Francisco. Spanning nearly 1,500 acres in an iconic setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio is defined by its history, spectacular views, natural habitats, and beautiful opens spaces. It is home to museums, art and archaeological sites, recreation facilities, great restaurants, two award-winning historic boutique hotels, and more.
Wellness and Recreation
The idea that nature and wellness go hand in hand is not a new one. And the New Year brings reflection and renewed hope for exercise options to be had, both outdoors and indoors in the park. The Presidio is beloved by hikers and bikers, offering 24 miles of hiking and 25 miles of biking trails, forests, the natural Mountain Lake, sports fields, the 18-hole Presidio Golf course, and kite surfing from Crissy Field beach. The whole family will enjoy indoor activities like those found at the Presidio Bowl; House of Air trampoline park; Planet Granite climbing gym; the YMCA; SenSpa; Yoga studios; and the original Crossfit Studio.
Combine art and fitness along the iconic “Andy Goldsworthy Loop” which highlights three of the artists’ internationally acclaimed installations. In case of inclement weather, museum galleries at the Presidio Officers’ Club; Walt Disney Family Museum; Arion Press, The Society of California Pioneers Museum, MIS Historic Learning Center, and the Presidio Visitor Center all offer family-friendly discovery.
Nature and Science
Educational travel is always possible at the Presidio, with self-guided adventures and free public programs that help guests learn about natural science in the park. During the winter months visitors can see monarch butterflies along their migration path at Rob Hill Campground. Bird watchers seek the 323 species of birds including raptors on the winter Pacific flyway. In addition, the Presidio has 60 bee species, 30 butterfly species, and 40 acres of wetlands, three watersheds, and 14 native plant communities at sites like the Tennessee Hollow Watershed, Mountain Lake and Crissy Marsh, where you’ll find wildlife, native plants, and interpretive signage that helps tell the story of the park’s ecological restoration. Volunteers are welcome to engage in habitat restoration, trail restoration, or beach clean-up projects, as well as volunteer at the park’s native plant nursery.
Lodging and Food
NEW! Since the newly rehabilitated 42-room Lodge at the Presidio opened in June of 2018, it has been ranked by Trip Advisor reviewers as San Francisco’s #1 hotel. As the closest lodging to the Golden Gate Bridge in the City, the historic boutique hotel provides unparalleled views of the Bridge, the park’s lush 300-acre forest, the San Francisco Bay, and the iconic city skyline. The Inn at the Presidio, the park’s first hotel opened in 2012, was recognized this October as Conde Nast Traveler’s #1 Reader’s Choice hotel in San Francisco for the second year in a row (2017, 2018). The Inn is an intimate retreat nestled in the historic forest featuring primarily larger, two-room suites with fireplaces. Both are members of Historic Hotels of America and the Inn received their Award of Excellence for Best Small Historic Hotel in 2012 and 2016, and for Sustainability in 2017. Other accolades for the Inn include Fodor’s 100 Best Hotels (2012), and “World’s Greatest Hotels” in Travel and Leisure (2012). It is LEED Gold certified and has received accolades for its sustainability in adaptive reuse.
For the culinary traveler, the Presidio offers several top restaurants including The Commissary and Arguello under the direction of award-winning chef Traci des Jardins. The Commissary is an elegant Spanish-influenced restaurant located in a historic Army barrack on the Presidio’s Main Parade Ground. A San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Restaurant since 2015, The Commissary marries traditional flavors of Spain with sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients from the Bay Area. Bar Manager Tony Stewart, creates signature riffs on Spain’s national drink, the gin & tonic, incorporating fresh herbs & garnishes from the Presidio Gardens. Arguello pays homage to Chef Traci Des Jardins’ Mexican roots, serving California-inspired Mexican food and drink. Often lauded for its cozy patio, fresh tortillas, and guacamole, Arguello has over 120 agave spirits and Bar Manager Enrique Sanchez creates some of the best seasonal signature tequila drinks in the Bay Area. Traci Des Jardins is a two-time James Beard award-winner and was featured as a Top Chef in 2011.
Other full-service restaurants in the Presidio include Sessions at the Presidio and the Presidio Social Club.
Coming Soon!Tunnel Tops
The Presidio is also home to the future site of the Tunnel Tops, an innovative urban project designed by visionary landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, the makers of New York City’s High Line. A seismic upgrade which put the Doyle Drive highway into tunnels allows for the creation of a spectacular new 14-acre landscape, gathering spots, views, educational facilities, playscapes and more—opens fall, 2021. Please visit our website to learn more about this exciting project www.presidio.gov/tunnel-tops.
In partnership with the Margaret E. Haas Fund, the Presidio Trust is working to rehabilitate the historic Presidio Theatre, located at 99 Moraga Avenue on the Main Post. Vacant since 1995, it will be repurposed as a high quality venue for live theatre, film, dance, music, lectures, educational programs, and special events. The 650 seat Presidio Theatre will present a professional arts series and also be available for rental for meetings and celebrations. It is slated for a mid-2019 opening.
About the Presidio and the Presidio Trust
The Presidio Trust is a federal agency that manages the Presidio of San Francisco, a national park at the heart of the 82,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In partnership with the National Park Service and the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the Presidio Trust brings alive the park’s historic, natural, and recreational assets for the inspiration, education, health, and enjoyment of all people at no cost to taxpayers. Spanning nearly 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio is defined by its history, spectacular views, natural habitats, and beautiful opens spaces. It is home to 3,000 residents and 200 tenant organizations, many of which welcome and serve the public. The Presidio Trust is focused on welcoming all to the national park experience, protecting and enhancing the environment, and operating in service to the public. Learn more at www.presidio.gov.