You won't even feel bad about getting lost
Look, I know it can be confusing. It's not a simple rectangle, like our more well-known parks, and almost all of the locations in the Presidio refuse to use real addresses. Where is the China Brotsky Gallery? Well, it's sort of in the old army hospital, down a hallway? But all of these details just add to the mystique. Sure, that means every time I want to go somewhere new, I have to figure out which gate to enter, and which one-way street to take... but remember The Secret Garden? Anything that needs a literal wall and gates has to be good.
And once you're inside, there's simply so much variety. You can go bowling. You can play golf. And because it's a former army base, there are gyms and pools and what used to be a hospital. I'm not saying a cemetery is everyone's cup of super-fun-times tea, but it's got one of those too.
It’s easiest to think of The Presidio in sections: over by Crissy Field, there's a nicely rehabilitated wildlife habitat, with lots of big white birds and cute quail, and a few remodeled buildings that house a trampoline gym, a rock-climbing facility, and a bike rental places. Then there's the Main Post (and the Letterman buildings), which have businesses and museums and yoga studios and all kinds of historic stuff, like the Presidio chapel. Along the Pacific Ocean, in the Baker Beach coastal area, you'll want to walk the Coastal Trail and take pictures over the bluffs. But it's the Southern Wilds that's probably my favorite part, because it's so often the most ignored. This is where the fog rolls in along empty trails that wind through tall cypress trees. You can literally camp here right here in the wild, or you can just get lost in the eucalyptus groves on a short walk after work.
And you probably will get lost. I can almost guarantee this inevitability. Maybe you'll wander down the creek, past a baseball diamond where soldiers used to play, through the forests behind the barracks, where coyotes run, and you'll come upon the ruins of the century-old batteries. And you'll look out past them, over the city's edge, into the Pacific Ocean, and think: this is so much better than never having the chance to get lost at all.
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