Top 20 San Francisco attractions

Presidio Officers Club

free admission
Presidio Officers Club

Visit San Francisco's oldest building and an authenic Spanish-era adobe from the 1700s.

The Presidio Officers Club is San Francisco's oldest building.  It was constructed in the 1770s by the Spanish at the northernmost point of their empire.  

There's so much to see here!  

Explore the Mesa and Anza rooms that date back to 1776, sit by the roaring fire in the grand Moraga Hall, or learn about 10,000 years of local history at the Presidio Heritage Gallery. There's also a fabulous Mexican restaurant.

10 best things to do at the Presidio Officers Club

1. Learn how the Presidio Officers Club began as a Spanish army post in 1776. 

The Presidio Officers Club was constructed in 1776 as part of a Spanish army post.  It was established at the most northernmost point of the Spanish Empire in Alta California, now known as San Francisco, to fend off claims from rivals Russia and the U.K. 

It later fell under Mexican rule in 1821, then U.S. rule in 1846 when American soldiers captured the Bay area. The U.S. Army made changes to the adobe, before transferring it to the National Park Service nearly 150 years later in 1994.  

Officers Club PresidioOfficers Club Presidio

2. Visit the beautiful Spanish-era Mesa Room. 

As you pass through the entrance of the Presidio Officers Club, explore the oldest part of the building in the Spanish-era Mesa Room. When 200 Spanish soldiers and their families arrived in the late 1700s, they recruited Native Indians from the Coast Miwok and Bay Miwok tribes to build these adobe walls. 

Mesa Room at Presidio Officers ClubMesa Room at Presidio Officers Club

This Mesa Room has an incredible atmosphere, steeped in history. If only these walls could talk!  

A three year renovation between 2011 to 2014, stripped back alterations made by the U.S. army since the 1880s. This work revealed the 1770's adobe walls were constructed from clay bricks.

Exhibits at Mesa Room at Presidio Officers ClubExhibits at Mesa Room at Presidio Officers Club

The Presidio Officers Club is a very special place - the site of San Francisco's very first building.  It's only one of two Spanish-era buildings left in San Francisco. The other is Mission Dolores.

Archaeologists have made some incredible finds here, like fragments of pottery that Spanish Colonists purchased from Mexico.

3.  See how the Mesa Room was used as U.S. Army headquarters in the 1800s.

The Mesa Room below was used as the Post Commander's Office in the 1880s by the U.S. Army.  By this time, the Presidio was the biggest employer in San Francisco. Can you see the green clapboards around the fireplace?   These were used to cover the original adobe walls.

From 1846 to the Philippine-American war in 1899, the U.S. Army tripled the size of the Presidio, building army barracks, a hospital, firing range, and wharf.  They also created a windbreak by planting thousands of trees on what were previously sand dunes.  These forests are still visible at the Presidio today, and part of what makes it a very special place.

4. Learn how the Mesa Room became an Officers' Club in the 1900s. 

By the early 1900's the adobe was now utilized by the U.S. Army as an Officer's Club, with a major renovation taking place in 1934 to give it a Mission Revival look.  The "O-Club" was a popular place for officers to relax during downtime, playing billiards and cards.  

In the 1930's, the Mesa Room was used as an Officers' Billiards Room.

By the 1970s it was a television room used by Officers. 

5.  Visit the striking Anza Room. 

The Anza Room is across the hallway from the Mesa Room, one of two rooms that survived the Spanish colonization.  It can now be rented as a function room, seating 36 people.

Anza Room at Presidio Officers ClubAnza Room at Presidio Officers Club

6.  Hang out at stunning Moraga Hall, the social center of the Presidio Officers Club.

The Moraga Hall is the main living room of the Presidio Officers Club, beautifully designed in Mission Revival architecture. Observe the Mission Revival elements, like the dark heavy beams distressed to look old, white stucco walls and ceilings, and iron chandeliers.  An incredible job was done during the restoration to bring this room back to life.

This striking hall was the social hub for officers of the U.S. Army, where dances and events were held. Check out the historic black and white photos on the walls, capturing some of these fun events.  The Officers were in great company, entertained by Old Hollywood celebrities like Veronica Lake, Bob Hope, and Joan Crawford.  

Today visitors are welcome to sit by the fire in lobby, and soak up the tremendous history and atmosphere.  It's such a serene atmosphere, you'll never want to leave.  You can also peek out the front windows for Bay views.  This hall is simply gorgeous, and can be rented for events. 

Lobby at Presidio Officers ClubLobby at Presidio Officers Club

7. Dine at the Presidio Officers Club restaurant.

The restaurant is next door, housed in the old kitchen.  This room was part of the massive three year restoration project. It has a delicious Mexican menu, and serves yummy drinks like margaritas, agave flights, cocktails, beer and wine.  There's also a kid's menu.  You can also sit at the open air courtyard outside the restaurant, with peep-through views of the Bay.

Officers Club Presidio RestaurantOfficers Club Presidio Restaurant

Patio at Presidio Officers ClubPatio at Presidio Officers Club

8. Visit the free Presidio Heritage Gallery. 

The free Presidio Heritage Gallery is at the back of the building, with exhibits covering Japanese Exclusion, and the history of the Presidio.  

Presidio Museum San FranciscoPresidio Museum San Francisco

The Exhibits document the last 10,000 years of history at the Presidio.

Presidio Army MuseumPresidio Army Museum

You can also learn about the history of the Presidio since the U.S. Army occupation in 1846.

The exhibition has a strong focus on the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. The Presidio was at the epicenter of the Japanese exclusion policy, a shameful part of its history.

9.  See the names of Japanese interred during WWII.  

The glass walls outside the Presidio Heritage Gallery, display the names of 120,000 Japanese interred during WWII.  Many families have found relatives on this deeply poignant wall.

In 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, facilitating the removal of Japanese Americans from California, Oregon and Washington State.  The Western Defense Command at the Presidio, led by Commanding General deWitt, implemented this Executive Order by issuing a total of 108 exclusion orders. Japanese Americans were given mere days to pack up and leave their homes, only able to take whatever they could carry.  

10. Explore other nearby attractions at the Presidio.  

The Presidio Officers Club is located at the Main Post at the Presidio, the heart of the Presidio's cultural activities. It's within walking distance of other must-see attractions, like the Presidio Visitor Center, Walt Disney Family Museum, and walking trails. You can also stay nearby, at the Inn at the Presidio

Know before you go

  • Address: 50 Moraga Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129, at the Presidio.
  • Hours: check here (closed Mondays).
  • Museum admission:  free.
  • Arguello Restaurant:  check hours.
  • Presidio Shuttle:  free shuttles from downtown to the Presidio, and around the Presidio.

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