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Tour Presidio of San Francisco
MainTour San Francisco Vacation Adventure
[ Overview / Recreation / Sports / Clubhouses / Attractions / Exploratorium / Fort Point / Golden Gate NRA /
Part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, The Presidio of San Francisco offers many historically significant places and spectacular natural areas to visit where a wide variety of recreational activities are possible.
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Tour Overview - Presidio of San Francisco

Southern Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this 1480 acre park historically significant places and spectacular natural areas to visit where a wide variety of recreational activities are possible.

The Presidio is an historical complex of cultural and natural heritage spanning for thousands of years when Native Americans called it the Ohlone managed and harvested. In 1776, Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived, forever disrupting Ohlone culture and beginning 218 years of military use of the area.

The Presidio served as a military post under the flags of Spain (1776-1822), Mexico (1822-48), and the United States (1848-1994). As a U.S. Army post, the Presidio protected commerce and trade, and played a logistical role in every major U.S. military conflict from 1848 until closure.

Tour Golden Gate NRA
Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the largest urban national parks in the world and offers many historically significant places and spectacular natural areas to visit where a wide variety of recreational activities are possible.

Bay Bridges Tour
Five famous historic bridges span the San Francisco Bay. Discover each in this special feature tour. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay Bridge, Dumbarton, San Mateo-Hayward, Richmond-San Rafael bridges.

Crissy Field Center
Building 603 at Mason and Halleck St, San Francisco, CA; (415) 561-7690;
Open Wed-Sun : 9AM-5PM;

Overlooking the marsh, this former US Coast Guard station includes an activity area, learning and computer labs, a teaching kitchen, library, and an information area and bookstore. A rich array of education programs that serve the community while focusing on the convergence of Urban and Natural Environments.
Farallones Visitor Center - Special exhibits for the ocean marine sanctuary located just offshore.

Presidio Visitor Center
Presidio Officers Club, 50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco, CA; (415) 561-4323;
Open Daily : 9AM-5PM (Exc: major holidays); Center Website;

Rotating exhibits and Information on points of interest and Presidio history. (Temporary Location while main structure goes through earthquake retrofitting.)

Tour California Academy of Sciences
Discover the universe around you with these facilities that include a quality aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and many special learning programs located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Historic Structures

  • Battery East - Built in the 1870s, you can view the earthen works and brick-lined magazines built to protect large Rodman guns and their ammunition.
  • Calvary Stables - Five brick cavalry stables were built in 1914 to shelter over 500 horses. A paddock stood between the stables and the cavalry barracks on the hill behind.
  • Chrissy Army Airfield - From 1921 to 1936 Crissy Army Airfield (originally a coastal wetlands) was the center of West Coast military aviation.
  • Fort Winfield Scott - Situated near the gun batteries of the coastal bluffs, Fort Scott was established in 1912 to serve as headquarters for the Coastal Artillery Corps of the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Infantry Row - Built in the late 1890's to accommodate troops consolidated at the Presidio after the Indian Wars, when many frontier forts were closed in the 1890s.
  • Letterman General Hospital - the U.S. Army's oldest named general hospital, was established in 1898 to care for sick and wounded soldiers returning from the Philippine Islands during the Spanish American War.
  • Main Post - The Main Post lies at the heart of the Presidio and marks the site of the Spanish presidio (garrison) established in 1776.
  • Pershing Square - The flagpole in Pershing Square marks the site of a disastrous 1915 fire that destroyed the residence and killed the wife and three daughters of General John "Black Jack" Pershing of World War I fame.
  • US Marine Hospital - Built in 1875 and tended the needs of merchant seamen and later involved in medical research until closed in 1981.
  • San Francisco National Cemetary - 27 acres military cemetary dates back to 1849.
  • West Coast Memorial - Curved wall of California granite set in a grove of Monterey pine and cypress dedicated to missing service members of WWII.
  • Battery Chamberlin - Built near Baker Beach in 1904, Today Battery Chamberlin holds the last 6-inch "disappearing gun" of its type on the West Coast. Gun demonstrations held On the first full weekend of each month (11AM-3PM) demonstrations of the gun and visits of small seacoast defense museum at the battery.
  • Palace of Fine Arts - Built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, it features a classical Roman rotunda with curved colonnades in an idyllic park setting.
  • Old Post Hospital - Constructed during the Civil War, the Post Hospital is one of the oldest standing buildings on the Presidio.

    Post Interfaith Chapel
    Main Post Chapel - (415) 561-3930; Chapel Website;
    A fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival built in the early 1930s, with features that embellished early mission churches. Stained glass windows depict virtues of military character, and a large wall mural depicts the peacetime activities of the Army. The Chapel is now available for public ceremonies, weddings, events, and memorials.

    Downtown San Francisco Hotel Guide


    Recreational Adventure

    Recreation Destinations

  • Baker Beach - mile-long stretch of rocky shoreline located west of the Golden Gate popular for hiking, fishing, picniking and photography.
  • The Coastal Trail - extends along the wind-swept coastal bluffs, where some of the most intact natural habitat in the Presidio harbors rare plants adapted to serpentine soil and cool foggy conditions. Gun batteries built in the 1890s for coastal defense and abandoned after World War II are scattered along the bluffs.
  • Crissy Field Marsh and Beach - The Golden Gate Promenade provides access to the newly restored tidal marsh and beaches along the bay shore are popular for walking, running, biking, birding or merely contemplating the natural views.
  • El Polin Spring - water bubbles from a rock wall at the head of this riparian valley and meadows. Visitors can explore the surrounding forest and grasslands.
  • Julius Kahn Park -located along the southern border of the Presidio this park has playgrounds and ballfields for the general public.
  • Lobos Creek Valley - home to the last free-flowing stream in San Francisco and important native plant and wildlife habitat in an otherwise urban area.
  • Lovers Lane - An easy, one-mile walking trail that begins at Funston Avenue & Presidio Blvd. and crosses a tiny brick footbridge over El Polin creek.
  • Mountain Lake - Hidden at the southern edge of the Presidio is the 1776 campsite of the Anza settlement party. Today it is home to ducks and other waterfowl.
  • Presidio Forest - A mature forest of pine, cypress, eucalyptus and other non-native trees that the army planted these trees from the 1880s through the 1940s.

    Cycling Trails
    Cyclists can explore the area on 14 miles of paved roads and along some unpaved parts of the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

    Presidio Hiking Trails
    Over 11 miles of hiking and ecology trails including the following major routes:

  • Golden Gate Promenade
  • Coastal Trail
  • Bay Area Ridge Trail
  • Bay Trail
  • Anza National Historic Trail.

    Sailing
    World-class board-sailing area borders Crissy Field

    Fishing
    Fishing and crabbing adventures start from the nearby rocks and pier.

    Photography
    Of special notice is the opportunity for photography of scenic views of the Bay Area and the Presidio's historic architecture.


    Clubhouses of Presidio of San Francisco

    Golden Gate Club
    135 Fisher Loop, San Francisco, CA; (415) 561-5444; Club Website;
    Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival-style exterior, was the site of several historic treaty signings during the early days of the Korean War.

    Officer's Club
    Adobe walls of the original Spanish fortress (dating back to the early 1790s) are incorporated into the front wings of what evolved into the Officers' Club of the early 1900s.


    Attractions

    Exploratorium - at the Palace of Fine Arts
    3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 561-0399; Museum Website;
    Open Tues-Sun 10AM-5PM (Closed Mondays except is open for major holidays);

    An experimental, hands-on museum designed to spark curiosity – regardless of your age or familiarity with science, with hundreds of exhibits to touch, look through, pick up, and tinker with, let curiosity be your compass to endless discoveries!

  • Traits of Life - Exploratorium's Life Science exhibits - Featuring over 30 new and revitalized biology exhibits and demonstrations, the Traits collection examines the fundamental elements common to all living things.
  • Tactile Dome - Discover the unseen world of the Tactile Dome—an interactive excursion through total darkness, where your sense of touch becomes your only guide!
  • The Learning Studio - the Exploratorium’s library/computer center, supports the educational and informational needs of its patrons by providing a wide variety of electronic, multimedia, and print-based learning resources.

    Sports Facilities
    The park also contains numerous sports facilities and athletic fields:

  • golf course
  • bowling alley
  • tennis courts and athletic fields.

    The Presidio Golf Course
    300 Finley Road, P.O. Box 29063, San Francisco, CA 94129; (415) 561-4661;
    Course Website;

    First founded in 1895 as one of the earliest courses on the West Coast. Historical figures such as Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower have golfed here. Today, the course is open to the general public and is home to San Francisco's only public grass-tee driving range with 6-hole practice putting green and practice bunkers.

    The Golf Clubhouse is tucked into the oldest part of the Presidio Forest and offers a warm and pleasant atmosphere for daily lunch, weekend brunch, private banquets, weddings and social receptions.

    San Francisco Museum Adventure Guide
    Discover great treasures of art and culture as these fine establishments.


    Tour Fort Point National Historic Site

    Fort Point National Historic Site
    Presidio of San Francisco; (415) 556-1693;
    Open Fri-Sun : 10AM-5PM (Exc: major holidays); NPS Website;

    Massive bay fortress was built by the U.S. Army 1853-1861 and is nearly identical in design to Fort Sumter, S.C. Although it never fought in any battles it was defended by 102 cannon and 471 men and was the principal center of defense on the West Coast until 1900.

    Today it is a museum with videos showing the history of the fort and the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge which looms massively overhead.

    Cannon-loading demostrations are given at Noon.

    To reach the fort turn off Lincoln Blvd at Long Ave.


    Tour Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

    Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
    Crissy Field Visitor Center; Sanctuary Website;
    Protects an area of 948 square nautical miles (1,255 square miles) off the northern and central California coast. Located just a few miles from San Francisco, the waters are part of a nationally significant marine ecosystem. Encompassing a diversity of highly productive marine habitats, the Sanctuary supports an abundance of species.
    Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association - dedicated to protecting Sanctuary wildlife and habitats.

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