In a city with miles of (relatively) clean beaches and year-round sunshine, parks can often get overlooked as outdoor hangout destinations. But the beaches have been known to get foggy, and can sometimes even be windy, too. Some people stampede to Balboa Park when such unfortunate conditions occur, but longtime residents in the know choose the smaller but equally beautiful Presidio Park to meet their nature needs.
A 50-acre swatch of green, tree-laden land nestled on a hill above Old Town, Presidio Park looks over Middletown, Old Town and Mission Valley and is a lovely place to play, picnic, lounge and stroll about. But there's more to the place than the lush greenery and sweeping vistas that immediately meet the eye. The park also happens to be the site of the first permanent European settlement on the Pacific Coast, El Presidio Real de San Diego, which was built in 1769. (The original Presidio doesn't exist anymore, but if you want a deeper glimpse into the history of the spot, you can pop into the mission-style Serra Museum and check out their collection of historical artifacts.)
If you believe the whole point of going to a park is to stay out of doors, you could always commemorate your time on the historic land by roaming around the park pretending to be a Spanish missionary or, if you're feeling really authentic, a Kumeyaay Indian-they lived at the base of the very same hill for about 700 years before the Spanish conquest. --Kia Momtazi