Northside Activities

Make the Presidio your destination for summer fun


With the Presidio as the Northside’s backyard, many take advantage of this wonderful resource, certainly a jewel in the crown of all the city’s beauty, available within walking distance to most of us here in the Northside. Whether it is hiking, biking, running, walking, or even camping, the Presidio offers a multitude of activities for locals and visitors alike.

Perhaps not surprising, the Presidio was recently awarded the 2018 Silver Cable Car Award by the San Francisco Travel Association for transforming the park from a former U.S. Army base to a destination national park. The award recognizes the Presidio’s contribution to making San Francisco a visitor destination.

To accommodate those visitors, the Presidio has been home to an intimate 26-room boutique hotel, the Inn at the Presidio, since 2012. And just a few days ago on June 28, the inn’s sister hotel, the Lodge at the Presidio opened with a celebrated ribbon cutting. Larger than the inn at 42 rooms, the lodge faces the Main Parade Ground, just doors away from the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Presidio Visitor Center.

Even if the Presidio is on your daily agenda, here are some highlights of what’s happening this month for the whole family. All Presidio-sponsored events are free.


Every Saturday the Presidio Officers’ Club hosts Creative Family Fun educational art projects for kids. July topics are Find your Trail (July 7); Shark Shenanigans (July 14); The Great Presidio Band Stand (July 21); and Towering Trees, the Redwoods (July 28). Drop in from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration preferred, but not required.

Additional Saturday events are the Y Bike Learn to Ride Program (July 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Bikes and equipment are provided, all ages are welcome, no reservations required, and the Family-Friendly Bike Ride (July 14, 10 to 11:30 a.m.). Bring your own bike for this four-mile ride where registration and helmets are required.; 


The Walt Disney Family Museum is currently featuring two exhibitions: Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: Masters of Animation (through Jan. 7, 2019) commemorating Walt Disney Studio’s most celebrated artists with never-before-seen personal artwork, paintings, sculptures, concept art, and character drawings. Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane (through Sept. 3), showcases the work of one of Disney’s most influential animators/artists responsible for such unforgettable characters like the Beast, Tarzan, Ariel, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel. Wednesday–Monday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., 104 Montgomery Street, 415-345-6800,

The Presidio is home to four Andy Goldsworthy art installations, which is the largest collection on view in Northern America; visit each on this three-mile Guided Art Hike: Andy Goldsworthy in the Presidio (Saturday, July 14, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Registration required. 

Book lovers and history buffs will enjoy the Presidio Book Club (Saturday, July 21, 1–3 p.m.) for a discussion of America’s Cold War: The Politics of Insecurity by Campbell Craig and Fredrik Logevall, which will expand your understanding of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR and its influence on the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. All are welcome regardless of whether you’ve read the book.

The Presidio Sunday Picnic (through Oct. 21), which offers Off the Grid food trucks reflecting Bay Area cuisine, celebrates a different cultural heritage each month with ethnic dance entertainment on the fourth Sunday. The China Dance Theatre (July 22, noon and 2 p.m.) performs Chinese ethnic and folk dance. 


There’s still time to see Exclusion: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration (Tuesday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.), a special exhibition in the Presidio Officers’ Club, which has been extended through spring 2019. This sobering exhibition tells the story from all perspectives of a dark chapter in U.S. history. 

At the Archeology Lab, learn about the Presidio’s archeological process and excavations every Wednesday year-round with guided tours (1–2 p.m.), followed by the Open Lab (2–4 p.m.) where you can talk to the archeologists at work. 

Take a behind-the-scenes docent tour of the Presidio Officers’ Club (Saturday, July 7, 11 a.m.), and learn about adobe walls, seafaring scientists, Buffalo Soldiers, Army nurses, Philippine-American War veterans, a secret Japanese language school, Vietnam-era dissenters, and more. Registration not required.

On the Tour of General Dewitt’s Office (Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m.–noon), you’ll see the office where General Dewitt made the decision to imprison Japanese-Americans without due process. Registration not required. Call the Visitor Center for additional information: 415-561-4323.

For an in-depth adventure, take the Presidio Experience Tour (Thursday, July 19, 1–3 p.m.), which starts with a shuttle tour of the park, where you’ll hear stories past and present about the Presidio, finishing with a guided tour of the Presidio Officer’s Club.

Whichever events you choose, you will surely find joy and learning in our remarkable backyard.



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