The Presidio in San Francisco is a wonderful playground for children and adults. We are fortunate to have a gorgeous national park right in our bustling city, which offers some great outdoor activities for families. The Presidio also offers a wide variety of indoor experiences such as The Walt Disney Museum and ever-popular indoor trampoline park, House of Air.
It is easy to spend hours in the Presidio exploring the trails and various activities, but when hunger strikes, one has to know where to go, as most of the food options are sort of hidden from plain view. Nonetheless, there are many options that cater to whatever you may be in the mood for.
Dixie is a little bit on the fancier side and the serves contemporary Bay Area cuisine with a Southern twist. Think gumbo, burgers and fried chicken, and some other more sophisticated options. The outdoor patio on a warm day is the place to be, especially with children in tow. This is also a good spot for an afternoon happy hour, and the restaurant is very spacious, so it works well for families.
The Acre Café is located in the Thoreau Center for Sustainability on Torney Avenue. The space is open, welcoming and light filled with many delicious options for breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately, this is just a weekday option, but if you are lucky enough to be in the Presidio on a weekday with the little ones, this is a must visit for food. Right next to the café is a grassy, open courtyard, which on sunny and warm days is perfect for a little outdoor picnic with delicious food from Acre Café.
Beach Hut Café
The Beach Hut Café on the East Beach is not to be missed. On a sunny day, with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the shimmering, inviting bay, there are few better places in San Francisco to have lunch with kids. The café serves a wonderful "Small Hands Meal" that consists of a choice of sandwich (peanut butter and jelly/honey/banana, turkey and jack cheese, grilled cheese, tuna), organic juice or milk, and carrots. Not gourmet by any means, but definitely kid friendly and wholesome. There are several options that will appeal to the grown-ups, and everyone should save some room for the tart frozen yogurt that the serve. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and there isn't really a bad seat in the house.
Kitchen 39 is a pint-sized café tucked away in the San Francisco Film Center Building. The café offers a local, seasonal and eclectic menu for breakfast and lunch, Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. they serve drinks and snacks. Kitchen 39's soups, salads and sandwiches come highly recommended.
The Presidio Bowl is often a hub of activity and not just because it is one of the few places you can bowl in the city. The bowling alley is super kid friendly and even has arcade games for the little ones.
Tucked away in this bowling alley is a mini-restaurant serving some All-American favorites like grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and appetizers. The restaurant will also cater your birthday party if you are hosting it at the bowling alley.
Presidio Social Club
The Presidio Social Club is another higher end option with more gourmet food, but the space is quite open and the restaurant welcomes kids. There is also an outdoor patio where you can dine if your children are more of the active sort.
The Presidio Social Club is open daily, all day. The menu features California Comfort Food and San Francisco classics. Their grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and macaroni and cheese with herbed breadcrumbs are sure to be hit with everyone. The Sunday brunch is also quite delicious.
The newly opened Transit Café is in the middle of it all with its convenient location off the Main Post and at the spot where all the Presidio buses converge. This café is a fantastic place to unwind after a day of exploring the Presidio. You can also grab some food from the Transit Café and head out for a picnic with your goodies. The menu is simple with breakfast pastries, salads and sandwiches. The cafe serves pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven on some afternoons. They also serve alcohol—wines by the glass—for parents who are exhausted after chasing their little ones around. The views are spectacular, and it is a pity that the café is closed on weekends.
Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are San Francisco Bay Area moms and the creators of A Little Yumminess, a family food blog where they share spiced-up recipes and kid-friendly food adventures. You can also find them on Facebook.
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