Presidio of San Francisco

Overview

The Presidio preserves an astonishingly complex cultural and natural heritage within its 1480 acres. Today, visitors enjoy the history and beauty of the Presidio. Within its boundaries are more than 500 historic buildings, a collection of coastal defense fortifications, a national cemetery, an historic airfield, a saltwater marsh, forests, beaches, native plant habitats, coastal bluffs, miles of hiking and biking, and some of the most spectacular vistas in the world. A great place to start your trip is at the Visitor Center. The Presidio Visitor Center is temporarily located in Building 105 Montgomery Street. A permanent visitor center is set to open in 2014. In addition to rotating exhibits, the Visitor Center houses a bookstore. They are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years days. For thousands of years, the Ohlone, American Indian inhabitants managed and harvested the natural bounty of what is now the Presidio. In 1776, Spanish soldiers and missionaries arrived, forever disrupting Ohlone culture and beginning 218 years of military use of the area just south of the Golden Gate. 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. International military campaigns, the rise of aviation, World Fairs and natural disasters left their mark here. On October 1, 1994, the Presidio became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Since 1998, the Presidio has been jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust. The Presidio Trust is a special public-private governmental agency tasked with managing most of the buildings of the Presidio and making the park financially self-sufficient by 2013.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

The climate tends to be windy and cool throughout much of the year. Summers are foggy, with the best weather in spring and fall. Dressing in layers is advised.

Directions

Driving: 

The Presidio can be reached from the north by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge (Highways 1 and 101); from the east by way of Lombard Street (Highway 101); and from the south via Highway 1. Note: Detours and delays are possible due to construction on Doyle Drive and the Golden Gate Bridge approach. Check out www.presidioparkway.org for the latest updates.

Flying: 

San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose International Airports service the San Francisco Bay area.

Public Transport: 

San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) buses serve the Presidio via the 28, 29 and 43 lines. Bus service from the North Bay to the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza is available through Golden Gate Transit.