On the Promenade
at San Francisco's Crissy Field

Fisherman and the Golden Gate Bridge

On the seawall near Crissy Field's western entrance

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WHITE SAILS GLIDE ACROSS THE TURQUOISE of San Francisco Bay. They skirt the solitary island fortress of Alcatraz, and mingle with freighters on their way out to sea. Directly across the bay, the Marin hills and Angel Island are a patchwork of grassy yellows and oak olive greens. To the west is the Golden Gate Bridge, graceful and grandly imposing, its cables resembling the strings on a harp. To the east, in front of the distant blues of the Berkeley Hills, the bay bridge dances its way cityward from Yerba Buena Island. And San Francisco, all whites and pastels, drapes itself over the hills, following their contours in a way that is at once whimsical and breathtaking.

This is the view from Crissy Field, on San Francisco’s north shore between the Golden Gate Bridge and the city’s Marina district. Crissy Field exemplifies the ideal of swords transformed into plowshares. For decades, it was an Army air base -- originally a grassy landing strip, and from 1935 a tarmac-covered runway. But in 1994, Crissy Field became part of the National Park Service. Seven years and millions of dollars were spent transforming this strip of bay shore to an urban park. In 2001, Crissy Field opened again – this time, not to aircraft, but to the people.

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Crissy Field promenade and Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California City view from Fort Point, San Francisco, California Crissy Field promenade, San Francisco, California
MORE THAN A PARK, Crissy Field is, as its designers intended, San Francisco’s front yard. It is a magnificent urban space, a place to get away from it all, a place to savor views of the city and headlands and bay. The airfield is once again a broad grassy expanse, as it was in the days of fabric-covered biplanes. It’s a prime locale for Frisbee tossing and kite flying.

A broad promenade follows the shoreline, connecting Fort Point with Marina Green. To follow it is to join a veritable parade of walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. Along the seawall, and on the wharf, anglers cast their lines for perch and striped bass. Windsurfers dart across the water, their sails fluttering in the breeze.

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On the promenade, Crissy Field, San Francisco, California Surf and Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California Torpedo Wharf, Crissy Field, San Francisco, California
EAST OF THE OLD AIRFIELD is a tidal marsh, where you may well find a great egret on its stilt legs hunting for food. The marsh was created as part of the park restoration, down to the 100,000 native plants put in by volunteers. It’s a smaller version of the wetland that once occupied much of what is now Crissy Field.

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Saturday in the Park, Crissy Field, San Francisco, California Courtyard, Fort Point, San Francisco, California Fort Point interior, San Francisco, California
THE WARMING HUT, at Crissy Field’s western tip, offers coffee and snacks and a selection of books. From there westward, a roadside saunter leads to Fort Point, built in 1861 to guard the Golden Gate.

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Fort Point and Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California Sunday morning on the wharf, Crissy Field, San Francisco, California East Beach and Alcatraz, Crissy Field, San Francisco, California
CRISSY FIELD IS LOCATED on San Francisco’s north bayshore between the Golden Gate Bridge and Marina Green. This mapquest.com map shows Crissy Field's location:





For a classic and up-close view of the Golden Gate Bridge, park at Crissy Field's western end. You can get there by turning off Highway 101 onto Lincoln Blvd., just south of the bridge. A left onto Long Avenue takes you to Marine Drive. The bridge towers above you, straight ahead.




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