Presidio Tunnel Tops
The Presidio Tunnel Tops bridges over the newly tunneled Presidio Parkway (formerly Doyle Drive), which for years has separated the historic Main Post from the highly popular waterfront below, including Crissy Field and Crissy Marsh. The Tunnel Tops project reconnects the city to the bay. Through a series of connecting pathways, bluff landscapes, dynamic overlooks, and social gathering places, the Tunnel Tops is set to become a central place to meet and learn, to experience, to enjoy, and to forge new forms of community and events.
Presidio Plaza, the social and connective center of the park, hosts the newly renovated Visitor Center and Transit Center, a central gateway for visitors who arrive at the Presidio via public transit. New trails through the Presidio Plaza and across the Tunnel Tops will connect the Presidio’s Main Parade Ground to Crissy Field at Mason Street. A series of curved pathways connect the Presidio Plaza to key Tunnel Tops destinations like the new Campfire Circle, Cliff Walk, and to the Central Overlook and trail down the bluff towards Sports Basement.
The Campfire Circle sits in a hollow at the edge of the Main Parade Ground and adjacent to Presidio Plaza. With a central fire pit and plentiful seating that can accommodate classic national park experiences like evening Ranger Talks, as well as a broad array of community programs, the Campfire Circle is a gathering place for both day and night. Its rich, garden-like setting features a stunning view of the Main Post and historic Montgomery Street barracks. Because the Campfire Circle is on solid land instead of on top of the tunnel structure, it can support trees and large shrubs such as Torrey Pines, Banksia, and cypress to provide shade and wind protection.
Golden Gate Meadow
One of the largest areas of the Tunnel Tops, Golden Gate Meadow is a serene landscape of tall grasses and perennials that frames a generous open lawn that will become San Francisco’s go-to place for picnicking, kite-flying, family gatherings, and other types of recreation. Bordered by gardens and the Cliff Walk, the meadow offers unimpeded views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and the Marin Headlands beyond, creating a quintessential San Francisco experience.
The Cliff Walk is located along the upper edge of the bluff, connecting the western and eastern parts of the site and offering stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and the Outpost below. Along the Cliff Walk are three scenic overlooks and sculptural seating that evokes the wind-swept dunes of the native Presidio landscape. The Cliff Walk follows the edge of the embankment, offering continuous 360-degree panoramic views while connecting to the major overlooks and gathering areas.
The Presidio Steps connect the Cliff Walk to the Outpost below, creating a new space for visitors to experience the steep bluff while also stopping and enjoying the panoramic view. Generous lawn terraces give way to an open plaza with a large informal platform, creating a natural series of viewing platforms. On either side of the steps, native bluff planting on gently sculpted mounds protects the area from harsh winds to create a comfortable environment.
Crissy Field Center
For nearly 20 years, the Crissy Field Center has offered park programs that support academic achievement, environmental literacy, and leadership and career development for young people across the region in a partnership of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Presidio Trust, and National Park Service. The Crissy Field Center’s programming will reside in two buildings (one renovated and one brand new) with two new labs, a spacious outdoor courtyard, and classrooms that will become fully accessible and updated to increase program capacity. The expanded Crissy Field Center will expand our welcoming pathways to the Presidio, strengthen partnerships and increase collaboration among organizations serving children, youth and families.
The Courtyard is the new outdoor heart of the Crissy Field Center, bordered by Building 603, Learning Labs, and the Field Station. The Courtyard is a real amenity for the center, featuring flexible space for events and an outdoor barbeque area with picnic tables, shade trees and planters.
Adjacent to the Crissy Field Center and Outpost will be a new kind of scientific field station. A curated microcosm of the Presidio, this Field Station offers a dynamic space filled with a wondrous abundance of real things such as field specimens, artifacts and tools. Its authentic “lab atmosphere” will invite exploration of seasonally changing activities, each rewarding curiosity and patient observation. It will also function as a welcoming “park base camp” for both the public and for groups (by reservation) to gather and get oriented for their Presidio visit. It will inspire and expand visitors’ sense of place and wonder about the natural world and cultural artifacts of the Presidio—ways of relating to the world that can continue in their everyday lives: in neighborhoods, local parks and beyond.
The Outpost is a unique child-friendly landscape of multi-sensory and place-based learning, exploration, enquiry, creativity, and physical challenge, immersed in the Presidio’s native habitat. The Outpost features are geared toward a wide variety of play experiences while providing a range of physical challenges, opportunities for learning, free play, and investigation. The play features are structured around the concept of graduated risk – as the child moves through the landscape, the challenges become greater. The types of activities fostered here include climbing, swinging, sliding, crawling, socializing, and observing. There are interactive water features that encourage cooperation between children and allow them to manipulate water directly. Outdoor classrooms provide spaces for the Crissy Field Center programs to hold classes while immersed in the landscape. Children can build, make art, run experiments, grow plants, and investigate the natural and cultural world of the Presidio. Natural and cultural stories are embedded throughout a constellation of rich experiential and recreational spaces that nourish the experience of childhood and grow a lifelong relationship to nature and the outdoors.
The Outpost offers elements suitable for a range of ages, from toddlers to preteens, with some elements and experiences geared towards teens and high school students involved in the youth mentorship programs run by the Crissy Field Center.