San Francisco’s Crissy Field is a shining example of what revitalization and restoration can do for a destination. Today locals and tourists alike flock to enjoy the beaches, promenade, and recreation opportunities, but up until the new millennium this waterfront stretch was definitely not one of San Francisco’s premier destinations.
Crissy Field’s history is rich and varied. Up until the late 1700’s, the land Crissy Field now calls home was a pristine salt marsh used by Native Americans as an area to harvest shellfish. The U. S. Army took over the region in 1846 and began using the wetlands as a dumping ground, filling it completely by the 1870’s. What was the army to do with a filled-in marsh? Turn it into the first Air Coast Defense Station on the Pacific Coast, of course!
The airfield, named Crissy Field for Major Dana H. Crissy who perished in the crash of an Air Service test flight, may have originally seemed ideally located but the fog, wind, and construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, made flying conditions difficult. The airfield closed shortly after thereafter. Crissy Field was used for training and helicopter deployment during World War II and Vietnam but from the 1970s through the mid-nineties, the area was nothing more than old asphalt and abandoned buildings.
Crissy Field was given new life in 1994 when it was handed over to the National Park Service. The NPS deemed it a "derelict concrete wasteland" but after some environmental monitoring and help from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Crissy Field has been turned into one of San Francisco’s premier destinations.
The tidal wetlands and sand dunes of Crissy Field’s past are now becoming part of its future as well. Rehabilitation efforts have now given walkers, cyclists, kite flyers, ball players, and skaters a beautiful shoreline promenade to enjoy and the opportunity to see what a healthy bay front ecosystem is supposed to look like. Crissy Field is where San Franciscans head when they have a free day.
If rainy weather hampers your visit or the fog is so thick that Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge views are nonexistent, head over to House of Air for of the most fun anyone can have indoors. Housed in a historic airplane hangar at West Crissy Field, House of Air is like a bounce house paradise for adults. This indoor trampoline park is wall to wall (and sometimes on the wall!) trampolines, creating one bouncing good time. The fun is undeniable and the workout is fantastic. Since there are few things better on this planet than trampolines and dodgeball, the folks at House of Air have create a dodgeball room where competitors can leap as they dodge. As you can imagine, House of Air is quite popular and advance reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.
Get a feel for Crissy Field today and jump on a flight to San Francisco!