Trip Date 08/27/2017
Posted On 06/07/2018 13:27:47
Destinations | Walking | California | San Francisco | Presidio Picnic | Off the Grid | PresidiGo Shuttle | Fort Point
We enjoyed our Sunday afternoon spent at Presidio Picnic during the summer of 2016, so we planned an encore event for our 2017 visit.
If you have some free time on a Sunday afternoon between mid-March and mid-October take a look at the post below. The only expense for a fun afternoon for both kids and adults would be for transportation to the Presidio (and for food if you choose to purchase your lunch rather than pack a picnic).
Public Transportation to Presidio PicnicAt Matt's request (or was it a demand?), we got a very late start as we didn't leave the Haight-Ashbury District until about noon. With just one transfer, public transportation took us straight to the Presidio Transit Center and from there we walked the short distance to the Presidio's Main Parade Ground located at the corner of Montgomery Street and Lincoln Boulevard. We walked through the crowd of people of all ages that had gathered for the 11:00 AM start (or before), some with pets and some without, sprawled throughout the lawn on blankets, chairs, inflatable couches and even in tents ... and all enjoying the beautiful late August Sunday. The best way to describe Presidio Picnic is a giant family picnic complete with music and food for all tastes.
Off the Grid VendorsAfter finding a spot for the three of us, close enough to hear the music but far enough so we could hear each other talk, we set up Matt's beach tent for a little shade and spread out his blanket. With such a large selection of Off the Grid vendors, we tried menu items from several of the different food trucks including:
- Bi-Rite Ice Cream
- El Sur Empanadas
- Farm Stand Lemonade
- Grilled Cheez Guy
- Sam's Chowder
I really had difficulty deciding what I wanted to eat, so I walked the entire perimeter of the grounds at least once before choosing. It was much easier to decide on dessert as the ice cream sundae that Matt returned with looked yummy, so both Scott and I copied!
PresidiGo ShuttleAfter eating our meal, enjoying dessert, listening to music, people watching (and watching the adorable dog next to us), we packed up to explore even more that the Presidio had to offer. Back to the Presidio Transit Center we went - this time for a ride on the free PresidiGo shuttle to the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza (Crissy Field Route). From there, we followed the signs until we connected with a downhill portion of the Coastal Trail on which we wound back and forth past several vista points until we reached the base of the bluffs. Our walk continued along Marine Drive where we paused several times to soak in the view of the Golden Gate Bridge in its complete glory (i.e. no fog!).
Fort Point National Historic SiteWe continued dodging the cars and bicycles as we walked toward the entrance of Fort Point, one of few free national historic sites.
The civil war era fort, located at the end of Marine Drive on the southern base of the Golden Gate Bridge, was built to protect the city of San Francisco. The lighthouse that stands at the site today was the third lighthouse built at the fort and was in use from 1864 through 1934 when its beacon became blocked from the bridge that was still under construction.
Our self-guided tour of the red brick fortress took us through the parade ground to the casemate and powder magazine on the ground floor.
A brick stairwell led us to the upper floors which were home to the enlisted men's and officers' quarters.
Once on the rooftop of the fort, we had a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge with all of its "international orange" painted metal forming the arch over our head. The initial plan for the construction of the bridge called for the demolition of the fort, however the chief engineer adjusted the design to include the overhead arch, thereby saving the fort from its early demise.
With the clear blue skies, the view of the San Francisco skyline was so much better than the view we had yesterday from Sausalito.
After climbing down the staircases back to the base of the fort, we had an uphill hike ahead of us to get back to the PresidiGo shuttle bus stop. We paused once again to see the bridge before leaving - how can the view change so drastically in just a few minutes?
We saw just a small part of the Presidio which can be added to our list of future places at which to spend time in this city by the bay.
Tips for Visiting The Presidio in San FranciscoBelow are a few suggestions to help ensure that you enjoy your day at The Presidio:
- Make sure to wear a hat and sun screen.
- Bring a beach towel/blanket, beach tent or umbrella to help provide shade for your picnic.
- If you prefer, you can pack your own snacks or lunch with drinks (no glass) to avoid the desire to purchase food from the vendors. At minimum, bring a water bottle (again, no glass) which can be filled for free at stations in the park.
- Depending on the location of your lodging, the Presidio can be very easily reached via public transportation (Muni line 43 or the free PresidiGo Downtown Shuttle). If arriving on foot, by bicycle or by public transit are not an option, there are also a limited number of metered parking spaces.
- To have the best choice for staking your claim on a preferred spot for your picnic, plan to arrive early. The posted hours for Presidio Picnic are 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, however many of the regulars arrive even earlier in the day.
- Make a full day of your Presidio visit as there are so many options of things to do involving history, art, nature and fun for the family. Take a look at the Presidio Visitor Guide to plan a day that will be enjoyable for you and everyone in your group.
Golden Gate ParkCheck out our post titled "Walking Through Golden Gate Park" for an overview of the day that we spent exploring the park. In addition to tips for a visit to Golden Gate Park, you will also find ideas for a visit to Lands End.
Outdoor Activities in San FranciscoWhen the weather is nice and you have some free time, at what outdoor San Francisco park or other venue do you most enjoy spending your afternoon?
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