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Residents of San Francisco and the Bay Area have a unique and stunning resource in the Presidio, a national park within the boundaries of our city. Several restaurants have opened on Presidio land (see below), and the old military structures house both commercial and non-profit entities. The Presidio is home to wild plant and animal species, hiking trails, and waterfront habitat.
The Presidio is open 24 hours, every day of the week. No fees are required to enter the park. You can access the Presidio's restaurants, trails, and businesses by car, foot or public transport.
A Presidio map is also available. (This page may load slowly.)
The Presidio and San Francisco were originally home to the Ohlone people whose lives were abruptly uprooted and altered with the introduction of the Spanish settlements in the 1770s. The Ohlone had more than 50 tribes throughout the Bay Area. The arrival of settlers brought an end to the Ohlone way of life as they fell victim to disease, displacement and forced labor. Today, the Ohlone Muwekma tribe is fighting for important Federal recognition.
El Presidio was established by the Spanish 1776 as a frontier fort. After Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821, the Presidio flew the Mexican flag for 24 years. The U.S. Army seized the Presidio in 1846, during the Mexican American War, and remained there until 1994 when the land was officially transferred to the National Park Service.
The Presidio wasn’t always a forest. In the late 1800s, eucalyptus, cypress and pine trees were planted throughout the area. The trees are now more than 100 years old, and are part of what make the Presidio such a scenic enclave of the city.
Congress created the Presidio Trust in 1998. The Trust assumed responsibility for the land at that time.
The Presidio Trust receives Federal appropriations which diminish each year until 2012 when the funding ends, and the Presidio must become self-sustaining.
The most recent change, opened in 2005, is the Letterman Digital Arts Center developed by George Lucas.
The Presidio hosts regular volunteer bird counts and other nature-oriented activities. Species of birds include raptors, goldfinches, orioles and hummingbirds, and water birds like cormorants and herons. Raccoons and skunks are among the mammals.
Source: National Park Service - Presid[o Wildlife
The Presidio hosts regular exhibits, walking tours, a special history tour aboard the PresidiGo shuttle, classes, and nature activities. Most of these events are free for San Francisco residents and visitors.
- Acre Cafe (at Thoreau Center for Sustainability): Features local, organically-grown food, salads, sandwiches
- Dish Cafe (at San Francisco Film Centre): Breakfast and lunch, sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods
- La Terrasse: French brasserie with good wine and cocktail menu
- Pres a Vi (Letterman Digital Arts): Restaurant and wine bar with a diverse, international small-plate menu
- Presidio Cafe (at Presidio Golf Course): Casual lunch and dinner menu plus weekend brunch
- Presidio Social Club: Seafood, chops and comfort food like mac-and-cheese
At Crissy Field:
- Crissy Centre Cafe (Crissy Field): Coffee, juices, sandwiches and baked goods - there's also a gift shop inside Crissy Field Centre
- Warming Hut (Crissy Field): Coffee, drinks, snacks and baked goods - also park books and souvenirs.