Pershing Square

Categories History

With its acres of lush lawns, the Presidio's Main Post doesn't lack inviting picnic spaces. But if you're in search of a proper table for your alfresco meal, head to Pershing Square, located across from the Presidio Officers' Club.

This picnic area features four large tables with a commanding view of the Main Parade Ground, the iconic brick barracks along Montgomery Street, and San Francisco Bay.

It comes with a side of history, too. The site is named after General John J. Pershing, who was stationed briefly at the Presidio in 1914 as commander of the 8th Brigade before being dispatched to the Mexican border to pursue Pancho Villa. Though he was an important figure in military history, eventually becoming the first General of the Armies, the Pershing name is forever tied to tragedy. The flagpole in Pershing Square marks the spot where Pershing's two-story Victorian house stood before it was destroyed in the 1915 fire that claimed the lives of his wife and three young daughters (his son survived). Flanking the flagpole are two Spanish bronze cannons that once guarded the Golden Gate. Among the oldest cannons in North America, they were cast in Peru in the late 1600s.​​

Why we Love It : located in the heart of the park just across from the Presidio Officers' Club (and not far from the Presidio Visitor Center)

What's Provided: Picnic tables (no grills)

​Getting There: Presidio GO Shuttle – PRESIDIO HILLS ROUTE (weekdays only); paid parking nearby

What to Do

Pershing Square is located where an active archaeology dig​ happens every year from April through October, where archaeologists work to uncover the original Spanish Colonial fort built here beginning in 1776.

If you left your picnic basket at home, you can find some take-out nearby, such as the famous burgers, curly fries, and other comfort food favorites from the Presidio Bowling Center.