San Francisco’s Presidio Tunnel Tops Park Is Set to Open in July

The much-hyped park project will feature numerous trails, a two-acre nature play area for kids, and a pedestrian link to the waterfront for the first time in 80 years.

San Francisco’s Presidio Tunnel Tops Park Is Set to Open in July

As if we didn’t already love the Presidio—and its Golden Gate Bridge views—enough.

Photo by Shutterstock

Bundling views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and large swaths of the city skyline and the bay, the much-anticipated Presidio Tunnel Tops is a new 14-acre park that is coming to San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area this summer. The opening date is July 17.

Built over two freeway tunnels (the pair linking San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge), the ambitious park was created by the same company that designed the High Line in New York City. It will include trails, picnic areas, a pavilion, a campfire circle, and meadows with more than 180 varieties of native plants. There will also be a visitor center that will host ranger-led talks and where visitors can purchase food. And in lieu of a playground of metal slides and monkey bars, the two-acre nature play area for children uses fallen tree trunks, boulders, and other natural materials.

A rendering of Presidio Tunnel Tops gives a sense of what the park will look and feel like come July.

A rendering of Presidio Tunnel Tops gives a sense of what the park will look and feel like come July.

Rendering courtesy of Presidio Trust

The green space is intended to give “people living in this very urban city access to the national park experience,” Charles Strickfaden, communications director at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, part of the U.S. National Park Service, told AFAR.

The park will also connect the Presidio with Crissy Field on the city’s northern waterfront via a new pathway. The last time it was possible to walk from the Presidio to the bay was in 1936, when Doyle Drive was constructed, dividing the landscape.

“One of the biggest virtues of this project is that it will tie [everything] together as one park—allowing people to walk, cycle, and stroll from the bayfront into the Presidio and vice versa,” James Corner told AFAR when the city first broke ground on the project in 2019. (His firm, James Corner Field Operations, designed the Presidio Tunnel Tops as well as NYC’s High Line.)

Presidio Tunnel Tops is another example of a city transforming transportation infrastructure into open space, much as Corner did in designing the High Line, a project that turned an abandoned light-rail line into a vibrant outdoor walkway in New York’s Meatpacking District.

Because Tunnel Tops will be a raised plateau with 360-degree vistas, Corner hopes it will be a centerpiece of the city where visitors and locals alike can see “everything that is essentially San Francisco”—the city skyline, forests, the bay, and Golden Gate Bridge.

Cassie Shortsleeve contributed reporting.

>>Next: Why You Should Visit San Francisco This Summer

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at AFAR. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR