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What’s New at the Presidio (Fall 2018)


​​​​​​​​​Presidio of San Francisco (August 15​, 2018) – Swing into fall at the Presidio, where a new season of tours and programs illuminates the Presidio’s nature, history, art, archaeology, food and culture, both outdoors and inside the historic Presidio Officers’ Club. Free exhibitions​ in the Presidio Officers’ Club museum galleries and the Visitor Center display the park’s rich past and orient visitors to current amenities and activities. The seasonal change brings a different experience of the national park’s stars, plants and wildlife. As the summer fog lifts, recreational opportunities abound on the Presidio’s green spaces, trails, beaches, golf course, and also indoors with activities like bowling, trampoline jumping, rock climbing, yoga and more. Welcoming all visitors, The Presidio Trust announces a fresh slate of free public programs for all ages, running from September through December, 2018. The following are event highlights, followed by a chronological schedule of all events.

Outdoor Fun for All Ages

The Presidio is one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the country, home to native wildflowers, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and 323 species of birds. This fall our naturalists lead Guided Nature Walks introducing visitors to wild areas around the park from the coastal bluffs to the hidden wetlands. In addition, our docents lead Art Walks, History Walks and shuttle Bus Tours, leaving from the Visitor Center.

The Presidio Stargazing Party with the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers lets families look at the moon and stars through giant telescopes on the Main Parade Ground September 20 and December 15. The season also includes Family-Friendly Bike Rides, a Film Night featuring The Lorax, and more.

The Walt Disney Family Museum and the Presidio Trust present The Big Draw, the world’s largest drawing festival with over 1,000 expected citizen artists, on October 13. The annual event celebrates Walt Disney’s contributions to the world of art and drawing—this year, activities spread out on the Presidio’s Main Parade Ground as well as inside the museum. The much anticipated annual Holiday Lights, the Presidio’s Traditional Tree-Lighting Ceremony, wraps up the season on December 7.

History and Culture at the Presidio Officers’ Club

The 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 spring of 2019. 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. This Halloween, favorite musical storyteller Jill Tracy returns to lead a Lantern Walk: In the Footsteps of Spirits, a night walk to haunted Presidio spots, followed by a piano concert inspired by those same ghostly tales—part of her acclaimed Sonic Séance series (October 25-27). 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 for the costume contest (November 3).

In October, the Presidio offers several free events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Presidio 27: “Mutiny” at the Stockade. On October 14, 1968, 27 prisoners in the Presidio Stockade staged a peaceful sit-down protest to call attention to the treatment of fellow prisoners and the conditions inside. Just days before, a guard had shot and killed a prisoner, and GIs had taken to the streets of San Francisco in massive anti-war demonstrations. For staging this peaceful protest, the Army tried the 27 for mutiny, the most serious military offense. A panel discussion with several of the original 27 prisoners, their lawyers, and other distinguished guests plus a visit to the historic stockade will help explore the events that shocked the Army and the nation – all in the place where it happened, with the people who took part.

Park-goers can talk with archaeologists at work at the Presidio’s live dig where experts are excavating the original Spanish Colonial fort El Presidio de San Francisco on Fridays and Saturdays through October 20 just outside the Officers’ Club.

Archaeology Lab Tours and Open Lab Hours take place each Wednesday, and the Archaeology Lab Gallery features a display of Presidio artifacts, with extended drop-in hours Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Everyone is an archaeologist for a day at International Archaeology Day, October 20, a family event that allows visitors to make their own discoveries and learn about the layered history of this special place.

Food + Entertainment

Presidio Picnic, co-sponsored by Presidio Trust and Off the Grid, runs every Sunday on the Main Parade Ground through October 21, featuring lawn games, free yoga, Zumba with Gigi Hill-Hopkins of the Bayview Y, and international cuisine from mobile food vendors. As part of this season’s monthly Cultural Dance Series, Travel Backyard performs classical and folk dances from India on September 23, and Manuia Polynesian Revue demonstrates Polynesian cultural dance from Hawai’i, Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga, and Samoa, on October 14. Free Presidio Y Bike lessons for the kids happen September 2, and October 7 adds a free helmet give away.

Presidio Twilight runs on Thursdays evenings through September 20, complete with fire pits, cabanas, and live music. The Presidio’s restaurants Arguello, Transit Café and The Commissary, serve up seasonal specials andm a range of fresh options.

FREE Shakespeare in the Park returns with performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Presidio’s Civil War Parade Lawn (September 1-3, 8-9 at 2 pm). The play is for all ages—bring a picnic and a blanket to enjoy the park setting.

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 Tel: 415-561-4323.

Contact Us

Presidio Trust Media Relations

Lisa Petrie

(415) 264-7787