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One Day in San Francisco at the Presidio Lodge near Golden Gate Bridge

Taking a road trip along the west coast gives you the perfect opportunity to visit San Francisco; one of the most recognizable cities in the country thanks to the Golden Gate Bridge.

During our one night stop over we had dinner with friends, walked across the bridge, and had an amazing stay at the newly renovated Lodge at the Presidio. Due to its location and amenities, I highly recommend staying at the Presidio when visiting San Francisco.

What is The Presidio?

The Presidio is a Park Trust that operates areas around Golden Gate Bridge at no cost to taxpayers. The non-profit organization operates various businesses in the park to raise funds to maintain the area. They work closely with the National Park Service to offer visitors a unique park experience in an urban local.

The Presidio property where the hotels are is a former military base, and the hotels have been renovated from the barrack housing. The Presidio offers you the opportunity to stay at the closest hotels to the Golden Gate Bridge.

the presidio in san francisco
The Presidio in San Fransisco offers tons of free activities and has the closest hotel to Golden Gate Bridge.

Staying at the Lodge at the Presidio

As I mentioned above, our whole family fell in love with the Lodge at the Presidio. Here’s a look at what our stay was like and what amenities are available.

I will note that there is another hotel property at the Presidio, the Inn at the Presidio, which also looks to have beautiful rooms and is located near the Lodge. Check out the rooms and pricing for both properties if you’re trying to decide where to stay.

Thank you to the Presidio Trust for hosting our family for our one-night stay.

presidio lodge
The Lodge at the Presidio is a former military barracks.

Our Room at the Presidio Lodge

The Lodge offers a variety of Queen and King rooms, including rooms that have a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and even a 2 Queen Bed Suite that is perfect for families. We stayed in the 2 Queen suite which actually had 3 beds when you include the sofabed. It was extremely spacious and had a unique loft design that our girls loved. I loved everything about our room, from the ample space to the lovely woods wall mural.

two queen suite lodge at the presidio
Our two queen suite at the Lodge at the Presidio.

Wine & Cheese Evening

When we arrived and checked in, we were delighted to hear that the Lodge offers a hosted wine and cheese reception. We all grabbed some simple nibbles (meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, and cookies) and I enjoyed a glass of wine. The girls were delighted to see that bottled elderflower lemonade was included and they loved pouring their own glass to drink.

wine and cheese presidio lodge
Wine and cheese for an hour every evening at Lodge at the Presidio.


Breakfast is also included in your stay and you’ll find a simple continental breakfast provided. It included oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, and bread. The room where the reception and breakfast are served is beautiful and welcoming to families. They even have board games on the bookcases.

presidio lodge breakfast
Breakfast at Lodge at the Presidio.
dining room at the lodge at the presidio
Lobby dining lounge at the Lodge at the Presidio.

Check rates for the Best Hotel in San Francisco – Lodge at the Presidio

Presidio Picnic

Just as we arrived they were wrapping up the Presidio Picnic. Every Sunday from about April to October they host a giant picnic on the grounds in front of the Presidio Lodge. Food trucks are on hand serving a variety of cuisines and from noon to 2, there is a special cultural dance performance. The perfect way to enjoy a sunny San Francisco Sunday.

Free Presidio Shuttle

After breakfast, we took advantage of the free Presidio shuttle and went to the Golden Gate Bridge. The PresidiGO offers two shuttles, one goes around Crissy Fields and to the Golden Gate Bridge. The other goes into Downtown San Francisco. With traffic and parking costs around San Francisco, this shuttle is an excellent way to see the city without worrying about parking.

And here’s a great guide for how to get around San Francisco.

presidio free shuttle
PresidiGO Free Shuttle to Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge Walk

The Presidio shuttle drops off at the main visitors center for the bridge, on the south side of the bridge. We decided to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge to the north side, in order to see the two views of the bridge. I think both offer unique views and you should try to see both. The south side offers a better shot of the bridge span, whereas the north side viewpoint offers you a chance to see the bridge and the San Francisco city skyline.

family photo at the Golden Gate Bridge
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Visitors Center (south side).

From the welcome center to the north side Golden Gate Bridge viewpoint it’s just under 2 miles (1.9 miles). Which can feel surprisingly long when you’re walking across, the bridge is 1.7 miles across. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the north side viewpoint, and we were walking pretty quickly. Then we had to walk back across where we caught the shuttle again back to the hotel. The shuttles run about every 20-30 minutes.

golden gate bridge walk across
It’s 1.9 miles walk across the Golden Gate Bridge from the visitors center to the north side viewpoint.

You can rent bikes if you’re not up for walking across the bridge. If you do decide to walk across, allow yourself two hours for the experience. Another option might be to walk across one-way and then order an uber to take you back to your hotel after you reach the lookout.

Other Presidio Activities

While the Golden Gate Bridge is the highlight attraction for staying at the Presidio, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Too many to list here, but some of the highlights include, The Walt Disney Family Museum, a 24-mile network of trails, bird watching, as well as cultural and historical museums. Kids can even have the chance to jump on a trampoline in an old airplane hangar.

We loved our stay at the Lodge at the Presidio and all of us want to return for a longer stay so we can enjoy more of what the Presidio park has to offer. I highly recommend it as the perfect place to stay during your west coast road trip (or any San Francisco trip!)

golden gate bridge walk
Tips for walking across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
lodge at the presidio in san francisco
Staying near the Golden Gate Bridge at the Presidio Lodge in San Francisco.

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