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Category: Tour Presidio
Insights, activities, ideas, and fun things to do and see while visiting the Presidio of San Francisco.
“Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears; Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,” – Joseph B. Strauss, chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge in a poem he wrote to mark its completion in 1937. He died less than a year later.
It is nearly impossible to imagine San Francisco without the iconic orange span of the Golden Gate Bridge. It attracts more than 10 million visitors and at least that many Instagram selfies a year, and is a huge reason visitors flock to the Presidio.
These days, “protecting the San Francisco Bay” usually refers to improving water quality, restoring wetlands, or controlling invasive species. But for most of the 20th century, San Francisco Bay was America’s most valuable Pacific port, and the US Government and military invested an enormous amount of time and money building defenses against a feared enemy attack from the sea and air.
Seventy five years ago, ten weeks after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which formed the basis for the mass forced removal and incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast. Two-thirds were American citizens. The other third, not born in the US, were prohibited by law from becoming US citizens. Over half were children or infants.
If you had visited Mountain Lake 20 years ago, you would have been underwhelmed. This small urban lake at the southern tip of the Presidio was severely polluted and choked with algae. Resident bird and fish populations were dying off. It was a sad state of affairs for one of the most important natural and historical sites in the city.
Today, after a decade of careful remediation and restoration, Mountain Lake is once again a haven for native wildlife, a resting stop for migrating birds, and a lovely spot for San Franciscans and visitors to enjoy the beauty and history of the city.
Just up the road to the south of the Inn there is a peaceful green glade full of the sound of birds and the trickle of a water. The waters spring from the underlying serpentine rock and sustain a lush riparian habitat that is one of San Francisco’s most diverse spots for birds, butterflies, and native flora. This spot, El Polín Spring, has been the heart of the human and natural history of San Francisco for many centuries. With its native plant and animal life restored as part of the complex Tennessee Hollow Watershed restoration project, the waters of El Polín now nourish a new generation of San Francisco residents and visitors.
Andy Goldsworthy is one of the most well-respected artists in the world. His site-specific work has been featured in locations as close as Stanford University and as far away as the Australian Outback and the North Pole. He first visited the Presidio in 2006 and was immediately taken by the historic architecture, wild landscape and its relationship to the city of San Francisco. Luckily for us, Goldsworthy has found the Presidio to be an inspiring location and with the support of the FOR-SITE Foundation we are fortunate enough to house 4 of his installations. Also luckily for us, all of his installations are located within walking distance from the Inn.
Inn at the Presidio offers a distinctive location for San Francisco travel. As the only hotel in the Presidio, The Inn offers the most unique vantage point for exploring the city. Whether it is playing 18 holes at Presidio Golf Course, bike riding through the forested hills, bird watching at Crissy Field, or enjoying an afternoon of culture at the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Presidio offers activities for everyone.