Friday, Sep. 26, 2008

8. The Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge

The Presidio was used at different points in its 230-year history to house soldiers from Spain and Mexico before it became a U.S. military base. Its armed past notwithstanding, you won't find a more bucolic spot in the city, thanks to its abundant eucalyptus trees and yawning lawns. If, at this point, you want to fortify yourself with a cocktail or dinner, a great place for both is the Presidio Social Club, an urban hipster kind of a joint, which was once an enlisted-mens' barracks. (The Club has one daily cocktail hour, followed by one seating for dinner. If you miss them, not to worry. You can grab dinner later at the Ferry Building.)

From the Presidio, you can walk to the Golden Gate Bridge, which isn't really golden at all — it's more like a rust. (My friend Todd liked it so much, he had the color mixed at a paint store and painted his house with it.) The bridge is an engineering marvel and one of the most beautiful — if it's not too windy and foggy — walks in the country. So beautiful that some people apparently feel compelled to hurl themselves off it. The G2B is the top spot for suicides in the nation, with a person a week, on average, taking a fatal plunge.