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Main Post History Loop 

Discover a ton of history in a short walk through the heart of the Presidio.


The Main Post is the historic heart of the Presidio. This easy loop lets you experience several of the special places found there. 

As a National Historic Landmark District, there’s history to explore almost everywhere you look within the Presidio. Nowhere is that history more concentrated that in the center of the park at the Main Post. 

This itinerary includes visits to the Presidio Visitor Center, Funston Avenue, Chapel of Our Lady, the Presidio Officers’ Club, Pershing Square, and more. 

This itinerary includes about one mile of walking and takes one to two hours. 

What to bring: 

  • Sunscreen 
  • Extra layers and rain gear if necessary 
  • History 
Estimated Time 
  • 1-2 hours 
Age Level 
  • All ages 
What to Bring:
  • Sunscreen 
  • Comfortable shoes 
  • Extra layers 

Mapping Your Day

Map indicating the stops on the Main Post Loop itinerary.

Itinerary Overview

Stop 1: Presidio Visitor Center
Stop 2: Funston Avenue “Officers’ Row”
Stop 3: Chapel of Our Lady
Stop 4: Presidio Officers’ Club
Stop 5: Pershing Square
Stop 6: Montgomery Street Barracks
Stop 7: Final Stop – Restrooms at Presidio Transit Center

Nearest Parking

There’s a large parking lot next to the Presidio Visitor Center just on the other side of Lincoln Boulevard near the Main Parade Lawn. See below for transit information.

Stop 1: Presidio Visitor Center

Start your adventure at the Presidio Visitor Center. Built in 1900, this building was the Presidio’s guardhouse, a central location for guarding the post and holding prisoners. In 1951 after World War II, it was converted into a bank and a post office. In 2017, it was reborn as the Presidio Visitor Center. 


Tip: In the north (rear) room of the Visitor Center, don’t miss the storytelling panels. Additionally, a large interactive digital table invites visitors to make connections among the people, places, and events that have shaped the Presidio across two centuries (and has text in English, Spanish, and Chinese). 


Directions: Exit Presidio Visitor Center and turn left (east) on Lincoln Boulevard. Then, turn right on Funston Avenue to reach your next stop – Officers’ Row. 

Interior of Presidio Visitor Center with people looking at an interactive digital table. Photo by Mathew Millman.Photo by Mathew Millman.

Stop 2: Funston Avenue “Officers’ Row”

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Army built these homes for officers and their families. It’s one of the oldest intact streetscapes in San Francisco. An interesting fact is that the front porches were originally on the other side facing the parade ground. They were reoriented in 1878 so the homes would face those entering the Presidio from the east. Today, the buildings are workplaces for a variety of organizations. 


Tip: For a history lover’s staycation, book a room at the Inn at the Presidio, located at the top of Funston Avenue. It was once home to unmarried officers. The Inn is among the Historic Hotels of America. 


Directions: When you reach the top of Funston Avenue, turn right on Moraga Avenue at the Inn at the Presidio. Walk just a short distance further to reach your next stop on the left – the Chapel of Our Lady.   

White homes with red roofs on historic Funston Avenue.

Stop 3: Chapel of Our Lady

Chapel of Our Lady was built in 1864 during the Civil War. This quaint chapel was the U.S. Army’s first house of worship at the Presidio. Generations of military personnel attended non-denominational services here. 


Tip: Between the chapel and the Presidio Officers’ Club, look for the recreated foundations of El Presidio de San Francisco, the original Spanish fort. 


Directions: Keep walking west on Moraga Avenue to reach your next stop the Presidio Officers’ Club. If the main entrance is not open, enter through Colibri Mexican Bistro. 

Exterior photo of the historic chapel of our Lady.

Stop 4: Presidio Officers’ Club 

Originally constructed in 1776 by Spanish settlers, the Presidio Officers’ Club was expanded by the US Army for quarters, offices, dining, dancing, and other social events. It was remodeled again in the 1930s to reflect a Mission Revival style. In 1973, the back rooms and bell tower were added.

In 2014, it again underwent a full rehabilitation and now houses the Presidio History Exhibition. It is also is home to Colibri Mexican Bistro. And it’s a popular destination for weddings and celebrations. 


Tip: Don’t miss the Mesa Room where you can see adobe walls dating back two centuries. And the EXCLUSION exhibition details an important period in American history. 


Directions: Exit the building and walk past Colibri Mexican Bistro. At the crosswalk, cross Moraga Avenue to reach your next stop – Pershing Square. You can’t miss it – if you look north, you’ll see a flagpole with picnic tables and views of the bay. 

Image of the exterior of Presidio Officers Club,

Stop 5: Pershing Square

The Presidio is one of the only national park sites with an active archaeological dig site – and you’ll find it at Pershing Square. Researchers work here seasonally to learn more about El Presidio de San Francisco, the original Spanish Colonial fort. Check the website for dates. 


The square is named for General John J. Pershing, whose wife and three daughters died in a house fire here in 1915 while he was stationed on the Mexican border. You’ll also see two bronze cannons forged in Peru in the 1600s. They are some of the oldest pieces of artillery in North America. 


Tip: There are picnic tables at Pershing Square, making it a good spot to take a break and enjoy views over the Main Parade Lawn toward the bay. 


Directions: Continue west on Moraga Avenue. Right after Presidio Bowl and before Presidio Theatre, turn right on Montgomery Street. After two short blocks, you’ll see the historic red-brick Montgomery Street Barracks on your left. 

Flagpole and archaeology site at Pershing Square.Flagpole and archaeology site at Pershing Square.

Stop 6: Montgomery Street Barracks

In the 1890s, the Army built these substantial brick barracks to house troops. They had heating, indoor plumbing, kitchens, rec rooms, and even space for tailors and barbers. The Main Parade Ground (now lawn) was constructed alongside so the soldiers could conduct drills and exercises. Today, the barracks have been reimagined as workplaces for a variety of organizations. 


Tips: If you love looking at these beautiful historic barracks, what’s better than staying in them? The Lodge at the Presidio offers this opportunity. This boutique hotel offers historic details AND spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. 


Directions: Continue north toward the bay. Then make a right on Lincoln Boulevard and return to Presidio Visitor Center. Note: many days, park rangers offer history talks at 4 pm at the Campfire Circle next to the Visitor Center. Check the events calendar  or ask inside. 

Red-brick barracks along Montgomery Street in the Presidio.

Stop 7: Final Stop - Restrooms at Presidio Transit Center

If needed, you can find all-gender wheelchair accessible restrooms inside Presidio Transit Center.  


Tip: Check out the Presidio Pop Up mobile food trucks right across Lincoln Boulevard. They offer delicious food celebrating the Bay Area’s diverse cultures and cuisines seven days a week.   

The front of the Presidio Transit Center on a sunny day with digital kiosks in front.

Getting to Your Starting Point 

Map of the Presidio

By Public Transit

Muni Route: 43  

Stop: Presidio Transit Center 

By Presidio GO Shuttle

Route: Downtown Route 

Stop: Presidio Transit Center 

By Car

Hourly and daily paid parking is available at large lots near the Presidio Visitor Center.

We’re Here to Help

Have a question about the park? Want help planning your next visit? We’ve got you covered.

Representatives from the National Park Service, Parks Conservancy, and Presidio Trust standing in front of the Presidio Visitor Center