No visit to the Presidio is complete without a stroll along the northern shoreline with its amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. From Crissy field, a former U.S. Army Airfield, the northern waterfront has something for everyone with spectacular views, great recreational opportunities and a a chance to view wildlife in the restored tidal marsh.
Crissy Field, is very kid friendly with a picnic area, a rock climbing gym, a trampoline house, a bike shop, a Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, the MIS Historic Learning Center and trails down to Fort Point. Just remember a jacket, it can be breezy along the water!
A short walk along Marine Drive from Crissy Field brings you to Fort Point which you may recognize from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” The Fort is perfect for running around in. No traffic, minimal crowds and great echos in the battlements as you race from rifle slit to rifle slit, peer through recreations of soldier’s quarters from the Civil War, examine cannons, and climb up to the lighthouse on top of the battlements.
If your children are interested in history, Fort Point is a prime example of the U.S. Army’s most sophisticated coastal fortifications at the time of the Civil War, though it quickly became obsolete with the advent of rifled artillery. During World War II it housed soldiers guarding minefields and the anti-submarine net along the length of the harbor. It was saved from destruction when the plans for the Golden Gate Bridge were redesigned to save the Fort as a national monument.
While we were there we managed to catch a photo shoot for San Francisco Ballet which was a lot of fun to watch (in between running around and shrieking….).
Things to know before you go
Books we re-read before the trip:
In Pop’s Bridge, Robert watches the building of the bridge from Fort Point with his friend Charlie whose dad is a painter on the bridge. Fort Point is still one of the best places to get a close up view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Fly High, Fly Low (50th Anniversary ed.) offers a wonderful tour of San Francisco from a bird’s perspective. It would be a fun adventure to find all of the locations pictured in the book and settle in for a snack at Emporio Rulli Il Caffe at Union Square.