Marking 25 Years of National Park Enjoyment
San Francisco (July, 2019) – This October marks 25 years since the Presidio transitioned from a U.S. Army post to become a new national park site within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Over those 25 years, its rebirth as a visitor destination has been rapid and monumental. With the support of non-profit partner the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service, the Presidio Officers’ Club Museum; The Presidio Visitor Center; two historic boutique hotels Inn at the Presidio and Lodge at the Presidio; and the restaurants Arguello and The Commissary have opened to the public. Park amenities also include hiking and biking trails, natural restoration areas, overlooks, and history and archaeological sites. And the Presidio and its tenant businesses have offered thousands of free programs, recreational activities, and exhibitions, serving up relaxation and cultural activities to the public that honor the Presidio’s past and future.
The Presidio Theatre
The park’s newest offering, the restored
Presidio Theatre, opens its doors to the public for the first time in 24 years after a $30 million renovation. An Army movie theatre built in 1939, the theatre is newly transformed into a 600-seat performing arts space for dance, theatre, music, and film—San Francisco’s newest performance venue and a true gift to the City. It officially opens with a ticketed party on Saturday evening, September 21, followed by a free public open house with family-themed entertainment and theatre tours on Sunday afternoon, September 22, 12 noon to 4pm.
The Presidio Theatre, operated by an independent non-profit organization and funded by the Margaret E. Haas Fund, has announced an exciting line-up this fall, including flamenco and contemporary dance, magic, improv theatre, film, and children’s theater. Performances include collaborations with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, San Francisco Mime Troupe, ODC San Francisco, American Indian Film Festival Awards, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, San Francisco Silent Film Festival and Presidio Trust, Gamelan Sekar Jaya, Jon Santos, Perla Batalla, Sintania, The Family Crest, VodVil/Andrew Evans and BATS Improv. For information about the opening and inaugural season events, visit
www.presidiotheatre.org beginning in early August. Tickets: City Box Office at
Outdoor Fun for All Ages
The 2019 season of
Presidio Picnic, co-sponsored by Presidio Trust and Off the Grid, winds down on October 20. Regular Sunday picnics feature lawn games, free yoga, and international cuisine from mobile food vendors, on the Main Parade Ground. Cultural Dance Series performances are
New Style Motherlode with original hip-hop grooves on September 15, and
Manuia Polynesian Revue demonstrating Polynesian cultural dance from Hawai'i, Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa, on October 20. Free
Presidio Y Bike lessons for the kids takes place on September 1 and October 6. The evening equivalent to
Presidio Twilight runs on Thursdays evenings through September 19—just weeks remain to enjoy food, fire pits, communal lantern-lit lawn domes, and DJ music.
The Presidio is proud to host the
1st Bay Area Korean Chuseok (Harvest) Festival celebrating the rich legacy of Korean heritage, culture, and community on the Presidio’s Civil War Parade Lawn. Presented by the Korean Center, Inc. and the Presidio Trust, all are invited to appreciate food, dance performances, crafts, and much more on Saturday, September 14 from 11am to 5pm.
Shakespeare in the Park returns with a new musical twist of William Shakespeare’s
As You Like It: A New Musical, on the Presidio’s Civil War Parade Lawn (August 31; September 1-2, 7-8, at 2 pm). Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy an outdoor performance of a new take on this beloved classic about love, voluntary exile, and how all the world is a stage.
As You Like It celebrates a brave woman who pursues her own destiny in defiance of cultural norms. This year, the Festival presents an original musical featuring nine songs by Bay Area indie rock duo The Kilbanes, and Festival Resident Artist, Phil Wong.
Fall season caps off with the Presidio’s most beloved family holiday tradition, the annual
Holiday Lights, tree-lighting ceremony on December 6. The festive event features carolers and music, visits from the fire trucks, a lantern-lit forest walk and activities in the neighboring YMCA.
Exhibitions and Cultural Programs
Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco's most historic building, is home to the
Presidio's museum with permanent and temporary exhibitions tracing the Presidio's past, a sculpture by artist
Andy Goldsworthy, free live performances and talks, and tours of the historic building. This gathering spot features a cozy fireplace and
Arguello, a Mexican restaurant by award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins.
Inside the Presidio Officers’ Club Heritage Gallery, the Presidio’s most popular special exhibition to date,
EXCLUSION: The Presidio’s Role in World War II Japanese American Incarceration, has been extended through June 2020. The exhibition invites visitors to investigate the choices – both personal and political – that led to this dark chapter in American history. Visitors can share their own thoughts on the themes of racial profiling and injustice at the
Your Voice Matters feature.
Cultural programming at the Officers’ Club dives deep into themes relative to the Presidio’s past and present. Veterans Day spins back the clock to a USO-Style Dance at the Officers’ Club in its World War II heyday. The historic dance floor will swing with the 1940s rhythms of The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, and military/vintage dress is encouraged (November 9).
Jane’s Declaration of Independence, the earliest surviving theatrical film shot in the Presidio (1915), was recently rediscovered and will be screened with live musical accompaniment in the Presidio Theatre (October 19). Presented by the Presidio Trust in association with the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and the Presidio Theatre.
The Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio presents
Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World, a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character. Guest curated by legendary animator Andreas Deja, Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World features more than 400 objects, including rare and never-before-seen original sketches, character model sheets, and concept artwork, together with nostalgic merchandise, vintage photographs, and a variety of Mickey’s earliest and most recent animated short films. The exhibition is a testament to Mickey’s transcendent influence, from cartoons and comic books to real-life appearances at Disney Parks worldwide. May 16, 2019 through January 6, 2020.
Free group tours illuminating aspects of the Presidio’s history and culture, are offered monthly leaving from the Presidio Officer’s Club. Please see our
event listings below or online for dates and times, and register early, as some sell out.
Archaeology Lab Tours are a great way to learn about the Presidio’s own archaeological process and excavations. Everyone is an archaeologist for a day on
International Archaeology Day, October 26—a family event that allows visitors to make their own discoveries and learn about the layered history of this special place. Our three-mile
Guided Art Hike visits the Presidio’s four installations by the world-renowned artist Andy Goldsworthy:
Wood Line (2010),
Tree Fall (2013), and
Earth Wall (2014). Or, download our
self-guided tour map to go at your leisure.
Main Post Walking Tours of the allow visitors to learn about the Presidio’s layered history through stories of the people and places that have shaped it.
The Presidio Experience Tour is a scenic shuttle ride around the park, filled with illuminating stories about the Presidio’s past and present, followed by a guided tour of the Officers’ Club for a deeper dive into the people and events that have shaped the Presidio since 1776.
Presidio Officers’ Club Tours surprise and inspire with exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories. Tales include adobe walls, seafaring scientists, Buffalo Soldiers, Army nurses, Philippine-American War veterans, a secret Japanese language school, Vietnam-era dissenters and much, much more.
Nature and Science
Fall is the perfect time to be outside on the Presidio’s 24 miles of hiking and 25 miles of biking trails, to get up close to native plants and animals, breathe fresh coastal air and become immerse in the park’s rich ecology. Stargazing evenings with the
San Francisco Amateur Astronomer’s Association bring the night sky up close. Pick up a map in the Presidio Visitor Center, or kids can check out an Explorer’s Backpack with all of the right tools for discovery. Volunteer opportunities abound. Help to steward the Presidio’s habitat, build trails, care for the trees and much more. See details on the website here.
Attention Calendar Editors:
Although our events are free, we advise visitors to register via the web links as space is limited. Please check our website for the most up-to-date listings at
www.presidio.gov/events. Tel. 415-561-4323.
Download a PDF of the full calendar listings >>