63 things to do in San Francisco with kids

San Francisco is one of those cities which tempted me for years – and while I didn’t exactly intend to wait until after my daughter was born to visit California, it turned out to be a fantastic place to visit with kids too.

View across the Golden Gate bridge in California on a sunny day as a small boat passes underneath - one of my 63 things to do in San Francisco with kids, my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.
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For starters, it has all the big attractions you might expect from a major city but never felt as overwhelming or busy as some others in America. There are lot of quirky things to discover too, which is always a winner with my daughter – plus plenty of outdoor space, from parks to beaches… in fact, so much that I found 63 things to do in San Francisco with kids.

If you’re spending longer than our couple of days, it’s worth looking at a San Francisco CityPass or Go San Francisco Explorer Pass to help keep costs down although you needn’t spend a fortune with some great free things to do in San Francisco among my pick of the best for families.

If San Francisco is your first stop on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip, check out my 10-day itinerary for a California road trip with kids as well as things to do in Northern California with kids and some great days out from San Francisco with kids

A vintage fire truck tour - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Take a vintage fire truck tour

Wrapped up against the summer fog in an open-top fire truck, we rattled and rocketed up and down the famous hills of the city, from Fisherman’s Wharf across the Golden Gate bridge to the viewpoint near Fort Baker on this vintage fire truck tour.

Plenty of heads turned as our bright red truck trundled along, which just added to the experience.

And if you do get bumped around a bit, it’s easily one of the most memorable and fun ways to see some of the sights.

Spot sea lions

We had no trouble seeing (and hearing… and smelling) the colony of California sea lions than live at Pier 39.

You might spend longer than you think as you stand around watching them swimming, sunbathing and scuffling over the best spots on the pontoons – and it’s a bonus free San Francisco attraction if you’re visiting the city on a budget.

Fantastic for kids who love animals too.

Spotting sea lions - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Take a cruise

While you’re on the waterfront, don’t miss heading out onto the water on one of the San Francisco boat tours available.

Take a cruise on the San Francisco Bay for great views of the skyline, bridge and Alcatraz (scroll down for more details if you want to visit the island too).

There are plenty to choose from, most lasting between around one and two hours including this Bridge to Bridge option, as well as longer cruises taking you beyond the city to Muir Woods National Monument.

If you want to take a day trip from this city, try this tour to see Sausalito, Muir Woods and the giant redwoods, with the option of a half day or full day out as well as more ideas for day trips from San Francisco with kids

Escape to Alcatraz

Even better, take the cruise out to Alcatraz itself to combine sightseeing with a visit to the notorious island jail.

Book in advance as tickets do get snapped up, but even young kids will be fascinated by the famous prison and there’s plenty of space to run around as well as cells to hide in.

There’s also an immersive audio tour to discover more about the history of Alcatraz, its most notorious inmates and just why it was so hard to escape from.

Alcatraz - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Hit the beach

Although Ocean Beach, on the city’s western edge, isn’t great for swimming because of the strong currents, you can very easily while away a few hours building sandcastles or flying a kite in the ocean breeze.

Or head over to Baker Beach in the southwest corner of the Presidio, a mile of sandy shoreline with great views to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands – it’s worth knowing the northern part is a nudist beach and swimming isn’t advised for kids here either though.

If the weather is good enough to take a dip, Crissy Field East Beach is one of the best beaches in San Francisco with kids, and great for surfing too.

Ocean Beach - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Explore Golden Gate Park

Head across the road from the beach, and you can spot the windmills in Golden Gate Park, before a gentle wander under the trees.

Stretching across 2.5 square miles, the windmill is only the first of the reasons to visit the park, as the whole site covers 1,017 acres and is home to a string of family attractions.

But even if you only have time for a short visit, it’s definitely one of the fun things to do with younger kids.

Discover the San Francisco botanical gardens

Also in the park near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way, the San Francisco botanical gardens have more than 50,000 individual plants to admire in its 55 acres.

Visit at weekends, and there are interpretation stations with staff to explain more about the gardens, plus some family activities at different times during the year.

Stop and smell the roses

And orchids, begonias, hibiscus… plus hundreds of other species) at the nearby Conservatory of Flowers too.

The Victorian-era greenhouse, another of the attractions in Golden Gate Park, holds over 2,000 species of plants & flowers.

There are discounted rates for kids, and children under four enter free.

Head to Japan

You could even transport yourself to another world without leaving the park at all, by making a visit to the Japanese tea garden. As I said, it’s a big park…!

Stop for tea in the tea house, looking out over the pond, as well as seeing what the future holds with a fortune cookie as you explore.

The pagoda is one of the few surviving structures from the 1915 world’s fair, and has recently undergone a major renovation.

Spy bison

While you’re in the park, say hi to the family of American bison which live in the buffalo paddock.

They’ve lived here since 1890 when a pair were brought to the park, and you can now spot the herd around John F Kennedy Drive in the north-west corner.

(And how to make your kids groan? Bring out the old jokes… what’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison? You can’t wash your hands in a buffalo).

Click here to book tickets and tours for the best things to do in San Francisco with kids

Spot leopard

If you’re visiting San Francisco with kids who love animals, you can see more rare species like the snow leopard during a visit to the San Francisco Zoo.

Set just beyond Lake Merced and alongside the ocean, it’s home to over 2,000 animals, many of them rescued.

From tiny insects to towering giraffe, no-one’s going to be bored during a day out here, especially with lions, bears and tigers on display as well.

See parrots in the urban jungle

Spy some of the flock of wild parrots who live on Telegraph Hill, with Coit Tower to spot nearby as well. Bright green with vibrant red heads, the cherry-headed conures have found an urban jungle to enjoy.

If you (or your kids) don’t fancy climbing up or down the steep Filbert steps with the beautiful gardens surrounding them, you can also spot the birds in Sue Bierman Park near the Ferry building.

Head underwater

If sea creatures are a favourite, head to the Aquarium of the Bay, which has a whopping 20,000 marine animals inside.

You can book a behind-the-scenes tour to find out how they’re cared for, as well as exploring the three main halls, getting hands on with seastars in the interactive tide pools, and spotting everything from river otters to sharks.

The Discover the Bay exhibit is also great for learning more about the waters around the Aquarium itself, with information on the marine life which makes its home in San Francisco.

Discover the world (and space)

Transport yourself from under the waves and out into the stars: there’s an aquarium, as well as a planetarium, a rain forest and 40,000 animals under one living roof at the California Academy of Sciences natural history museum – skip the line with this ticket.

You can journey into space at the world’s largest all-digital planetarium or be reminded of some of the wonders of nature here on earth, from the African Penguin exhibit to the rainforest dome, as well as the wildflowers growing on the 2.5 acre living roof.

There’s also a new temporary exhibition coming this year, running from May 26 to January 21, 2024, on The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, looking at the largest land animals which ever lived – some of which grew to the length of four buses. The Mamenchisaurus model, a whopping 60 feet long, will also be on display.

Enjoy the music of the waves

Go and listen to the Wave Organ at the marina – head beyond the Golden Gate yacht club for some lovely views, and possibly a small recital as the organ pipes transform the tide’s movements into music. Well, sounds at least.

Easily the most unusual concert you’ll hear in the city and entirely child-friendly – not to mention being completely free if you’re visiting San Francisco on a budget.

The wave organ - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Take a drive

To explore the whole city, follow the city’s 49 Mile scenic drive – you can download a map before you visit, and travel past some of San Francisco’s most famous attractions and best-known neighbourhoods.

As well as taking you along the coast, you can drive through the Golden Gate Park to Twin Peaks, the Mission District, Chinatown and Russian Hill plus plenty more.

Join a bus tour

If you’d rather let someone else do all the hard work, join a Big Bus Tour around the city’s different neighbourhoods.

With 24 stops, you can hop on and off as the fancy takes you, and there’s the option to upgrade your ticket to include a Sausalito trolley tour and night-time tour, or a Big Bus Tour plus Alcatraz visit.

See the views

Head to the top of Twin Peaks to enjoy panoramic views of the city. If you’re looking to get active and your kids are ready for the challenge, there are family-friendly hikes.

But if you’re visiting with younger kids, short on time, or simply don’t fancy heading up on foot, you can also drive up to soak in the views.

Bike the bridge

Rent bikes and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge for another experience of the iconic landmark – there are a mix of guided bike tours as well as the chance to explore at your own pace.

If you’re visiting San Francisco with teens or older kids, this two-day tour package takes you across the bridge by bike as well as including entry to Alcatraz.

View to the Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field Park, San Francisco, California - cycling across is one of my top things to do in San Francisco with kids

Take a walk

Ride (or walk) one of the trails at The Presidio – The Batteries to Bluffs trail is a great one if you’re visiting San Francisco with kids.

Less than a mile long, it’s short, not too challenging and with some amazing views out across the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge.

But there are a string of other trails to try at The Presidio with kids, including a loop that’s less than three miles long to discover the coast.

Discover the labyrinth

For a longer walk, follow the trail from the Land’s End Lookout to see the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a labyrinth, and more fabulous views of the coastline.

There’s a five-mile circular version of the walk, although you can also choose a shorter section to get a taste.

Ride the cable car

Hop on one of the classic San Francisco cable cars at some point during your stay – invented here around 150 years ago, they’ve been named a National Historic Landmark.

The Powell-Hyde line is probably the most famous of the city’s cable cars but the California Street line is the quietest if you want the experience without the queues.

Hold on tight and don’t try riding outside unless you’re a local.

And see what powers them

You can see the massive mechanisms which keep the city’s famous cable cars running too, with a visit to the free Cable Car Museum on Nob Hill.

There’s a collection of historic cable cars, which first started running in 1873, as well as a look at how technology has changed and the efforts to save the city’s iconic transport.

Take the crooked street

Discover the twisty turns of Lombard Street, either in a car or on foot (start at the top and work down).

The ‘Crookedest Street’, running between Hyde and Leavenworth is famously not even the crookedest in San Francisco – Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill neighbourhood claims that title – but it’s definitely impressively bendy and pretty.

Lombard Street- one of 63 things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Boat on the lake

Rent paddleboats on Stow Lake, another of the many attractions in the Golden Gate Park and a lovely way to escape the city bustle on a sunny day.

There are rowing boats as well as pedal boats, plus electric versions if you want a more relaxed experience

Ride the ferry

Venture out to Angel Island state park, known as ‘Ellis Island of the West’ for another great day outdoors in San Francisco with kids.

Discover its history on the tram tour – or with a guided Segway tour – as well as taking a stroll around to enjoy the views of the city skyline and the bay.

For more days out from San Francisco with kids, check out my top picks

View the bay

For another spot to gaze to the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, find a viewpoint with a rather different history at 19th century Fort Point.

Hitchcock fans will recognize this spot from Vertigo, but there’s also a free app to download to tell you more about the site, including self-guided tours, what to see and things to do.

Watch the gliders

Head over to Fort Funston, one of the best hang-gliding spots in the country – you might not fancy taking to the air with kids, but watching them soar from the 200ft high cliffs is a great sight.

Be aware that the surf and undertow are dangerous here, so don’t be tempted to paddle.

San Francisco’s stylish spot

Choose one of the city’s most elegant spots for a family photo opportunity, with a trip to the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina neighborhood.

Used for events, you can wander around snapping a few shots or bag a bench to soak up the architecture.

Get a photo of the Painted Ladies

The colourful row of Victorian and Edwardian houses along Alamo Square Park is one of San Francisco’s most famous spots.

Dubbed the Painted Ladies (or the Seven Sisters), they have appeared in a string of movies and TV shows – for fans of Mrs Doubtfire, the house from the movie is a short walk away at Steiner Street.

Snap a celeb

Pose for a different photo opp with San Francisco celebs like Janis Joplin and Steve Jobs at Madame Tussauds, as well as stars, politicians and Silicon Valley bigwigs galore.

As well as the usual big name stars immortalised in wax, this particular branch of the waxwork museum also celebrates local artists, activists and lawmakers who’ve played a role in the city’s history.

Shoot your own music video

Be the director of your own video (complete with costumes and green screen) at the Children’s Creativity Museum’s Music Studio.

Originally called ZEUM, the interactive arts and technology museum has plenty to encourage kids to be creative, from animation to sculpting and play areas too.

Get animated

Inspire budding animators at the Walt Disney Family Museum, learning about Disney’s own rise to celebrity.

As well as seeing some of his own early cartoons and discovering more about his life, with the story narrated by Disney himself, the cinema also shows classic movies.

See the Yoda Fountain

At the Presidio, the life-sized Yoda statue is at the entrance to the Lucasfilm offices, just off Letterman Drive.

The offices themselves are open during weekday working hours with more Star Wars memorabilia inside, including a life-size Darth Vader.

Explore Japantown

One of only three officially designated Japantowns left in the USA – the others are in San Jose and Los Angeles – it’s perfect for small fans of anime (and sushi).

The Japantown neighborhood is home to the Japan Center and Japantown Collectibles for starters. Or you can also take walking tours, as well as making the most of the chance to snap up plenty of quirky souvenirs.

Debate the murals

See some of the city’s most colorful murals as you walk along Balmy Alley in the Mission District. There are guided tours, and the murals are constantly changing, but you can see artistic commentary on everything from human rights to local politics.

If you fancy combining street art and food, there’s this great Mission District tour that’s great with older kids, mini foodies or babies who’ll snooze in their buggy!

Climb the mosaic steps

Check out the 16th Avenue Mosaic Steps, a series of 163 tiled steps put together by more than 300 local people.

Featuring fish and birds, as well as sun, moon and stars, the bright colours and intricate designs are gorgeous and constantly changing as you climb.

Play Where’s Wally (or Where’s Waldo)

It’s called Where’s Waldo in the US, Where’s Wally in the UK – but the stripy clothes are the same, whatever name you give him.

And if you head to Russian Hill with your eyes peeled, you’ll see the signs for Waldo Street have had a brightly striped makeover.

Get creative

Home to American art from the 17th to 21st centuries, including textiles and other works, there are some great reasons to visit the de Young museum with kids.

Stop in on Saturdays and there are free family art activities ranging from sketching to making your own artwork, often themed around one of the pieces from the gallery’s collection or one of the special exhibitions.

Explore some art

There’s more inspiration for families at the Asian Art Museum, as well as occasional special activities including storytelling.

Explorer Packs may be available from the family activity table in South Court, with props and playthings to introduce young visitors to line, shape, colour and texture, or you can check out suggested ideas for different ages on the museum website.

Keep an eye on tiqets for discounts on tickets too.

And see world-class sculpture

Think deep thoughts while staring at a cast of Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Thinker’, at the main entrance to the Legion of Honor’s art collection.

Take a look inside at the collection and temporary exhibitions too, which feature artists and styles from around the world.

Enjoy some music

Soak up some more culture during one of the San Francisco Symphony’s family concert performances, known as Music for Families.

Taking place on selected Saturday afternoons, there are pre-concert activities and interactive performances, as well as family-friendly concerts at other times throughout the year.

Take a creative workshop

If you’re looking for a few unusual souvenirs, the 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store is a great place to stop in with kids.

For those spending longer in the city, check out the great workshops for kids at aimed at aged 8+ as well.

Hit the arcade

If you haven’t blown your allowance already, save some of your pocket money for the Musée Mecanique, with its collection of early-20th century arcade games.

The collection at Fisherman’s Wharf is free to enter, but with over 300 different machines, you’ll want some change to make the most of them.

Board ship

Stand on the deck of a 19th century square-rigger ship at the Maritime National Historic Park – one of half a dozen historic vessels at Hyde Street Pier.

There are plenty of activities for kids taking place as well, or check out the Agents of Discovery game with missions for families to complete as you explore.

Dive dive dive!

Well sort of… let your imagination roam free in the USS Pampanito submarine, docked in Pier 45 near Fisherman’s Wharf.

The sub, used during the Second World War, is now a museum with torpedoes, engine room and mess hall on display.

For more historic ships and boats, it’s only a short walk further along to Hyde Street Pier as well, where you can spot a steamboat and square rigger among others.

63 things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Get curious at a museum

Across the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito is the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which mixes science and creativity.

With seven different exhibition spaces, it’s aimed at children under 10 with daily drop-in programmes as well as plenty to explore.

Or invent your own design

Build your own contraptions in the Exploratorium’s’s South Gallery, where the exhibits are dedicated to the art of tinkering.

With more than 650 different interactive exhibits, this attraction at Pier 15 is the kind of place that’s perfect for curious kids to get hands on, and learn about physics, music, art, biology and more at the same time.

Discover what’s below the city surface

Find out more about the city’s geology with the Discovery Street Tours which take strolls along hidden alleyways and up hills as they delve into the science of everyday life.

Best for teens and above, as there’s often a lot of walking, but groups of six or more can arrange private tours.

Learn about the great fire

Learn about the city’s fire of 1906 at the San Francisco Fire Department Museum, along with the chance to eye up some historic fire engines – including the first built in California.

Admission is free but as it’s staffed by volunteers, opening hours are limited so check the site before you turn up.

Spot the Golden Fire Hydrant

Set at the corner of 20th and Church Streets, this fire hydrant was one of the few which worked after the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire.

Responsible for saving several streets, it gets a new coat of gold paint every year to mark its role.

Splash in the fountain 

On the Embarcadero, just across from the Ferry Building, this huge sculpture has ladders and stepping stones to encourage you to get up close.

Properly called the Vaillancourt Fountain (but also known as Quebec Libre!), the water has been repeatedly turned off during California droughts but either way, it’s a memorable spot.

See the giant sundial sculpture

On the Ingleside Terraces, the sundial is the largest in San Francisco – it’s even pretty accurate (when there’s no Daylight Savings at least).

Over 100 years old, the diameter of the dial with Roman numerals is an impressive 34 feet.

Take a spin on the historic carousel in the Koret’s Children’s Quarter of the Golden Gate Park. The merry-go-round was originally built in 1914, and is still twirling after renovations.

Forget ordinary everyday horses and take your pick from dragon, camel, and goat, as well as frogs, dogs, roosters, and pigs.

Go sliding

Ride down the concrete Seward Street Slides – designed in the 60s by a 14-year-old, the park survived attempts to develop it and the park opened in 1973.

And it’s the perfect thing to do in San Francisco with kids, not least because the signs insist, no adults unless accompanied by a child.

Bring a piece of cardboard to sit on, although you might find a few leftover to borrow.

And more sliding

Save your cardboard and whoosh down the 40-foot Bernal Slides in Bernal Heights – the top is at Winfield and Esmerelda.

Made of metal (don’t try this in shorts!) and opened in the late 1970s, the hill has been redeveloped to create a mini park around them…

Find a playground

Younger kids will prefer Dolores Park‘s Helen Diller playground, just off 20th street – this impressive play area has just undergone renovations before reopening in 2022, so it’s looking its best again too.

As well as the usual playground fun, you can slide down a Mayan pyramid and dash across a suspension bridge as you explore, plus there’s the exciting 45 foot long Super Slide here too.

Run off to the circus

Learn juggling and tightrope skills at the Circus Center with after-school classes – over-eights only, but all levels are encouraged.

And not only do you not need any experience, even better, it’s completely free!

Pier 39 - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Get lost in a mirror maze

The most fun way to get lost in San Francisco… at least for a bit, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze on Pier 39 adds a twist to the usual labyrinth-style puzzle.

Black lights make the reflective maze glow so as well as helping you lose track of where you’re going, there’s always a series of great effects if you want to stand and stare between finding your way out – free for under-fives.

Go to a ballgame

Get a taste of a Major League baseball game as you watch the Giants play at Oracle Park.

You can pick up tickets for as little as $20 if you plan ahead, and even if those don’t have the best view, it’s a great experience for families.

Strap on some skates

The Yerba Buena Ice Skating rink is open year-round, with public skating sessions and skate hire for all ages.

Or if you’re visiting in the holidays, the seasonal Union Square and Embarcadero Center rinks open in the run-up to Christmas as well.

Learn your fortune

This is your lucky day – maybe. Find out how the fortunes get inside the cookies, with a trip to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown.

It’s free to visit, although you’re encouraged to leave a tip or buy some cookies to sample at the end, especially if you’re going to take photos.

You can also visit as part of a walking tour of Chinatown, where you pay what you want for the 90-minute walk through the district.

Ice cream at the ferry building - one of my 63 top things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds.

Have an ice cream

Ghirardelli Square is the classic spot for ice cream, but for more unusual flavours head to the Mission district and Bi-Rite Creamery or Humphry Slocombe, where you could try anything from blood orange to smoked s’mores.

Humphry Slocombe also has a stand in the Ferry Building, where you can pick up a string of other delicious treats at the same time.

For more California city breaks, check out my pick of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids and San Diego with kids, as well as ideas for day trips from San Francisco and things to do in Northern California

**First published 2016, updated 2023**


63 things to do in San Francisco with kids - my pick of the different places, tours and attractions in San Francisco for a family holiday, from parks to museums, activities and playgrounds in this California city.

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links, including links to websites offering discounted tickets or skip-the-queue options. Any purchases you make are unaffected but I may receive a small commission. All options are ones I’ve tried or recommend as the best things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Main image/Golden Gate bridge courtesy Depositphotos/all other images copyright MummyTravels



  1. Looks like a great list of fun things to do for anyone! I did not know that the neighboring street of Vernon St holds the title for crookedest street! I’ll have to look more into that for the next time we are in Cali visiting my family. #CityTripping

    1. Thanks – definitely plenty for adults too. And oops, typo there as it should say Vermont Street not Vernon Street (now corrected!) which has an extra bend but isn’t quite as picturesque.

  2. Amazing list Cathy! It all sounds so much fun! I’d love seeing the sea lions and buffalo too – how awesome. Please don’t tell me you did ALL of these when you were in San Fran? Respect. #citytripping

    1. Thanks – and the sea lions were fab (the buffalo a bit less entertaining but we did see them). And I didn’t fit all 63 into three days – now that would be a challenge!

  3. Wow, such a long list, love it! Have you been there before, how did you come across all of these? I love that there is so much nature, e.g. the sea lions, I never imagined that about San Francisco, I’d love to go, it is just the long plane ride that deters me.

    1. You’re definitely spoiled for choice! It was my first visit, but I did quite a bit of pinning and guidebook reading plus some tips from the tourist board, so came up with far more than we could fit in.

    1. SO many – the fire truck was one of my highlights, probably more than my daughter (although she liked it, it was a bit foggy and it’s an open top fire engine!)

  4. I was in San Francisco for 3 days and haven’t even done most of these! I love that city and I do think it’s a place I don’t mind going back to. 🙂

  5. Amazing list and some things I have never heard of or done – love the charming fire truck tour! I need to play tourist with my kids there – we always go directly to family and friends and don’t see all the amazing things there are in that great town! #CityTripping Cheers from Copenhagen – Erin

    1. The fire truck tour is fantastic, one to try even if you know the city inside out, I think. Hope you get to try a few more when you’re next back.

    1. Thanks! I loved the Ferry Building – we went over for lunch and ended up nibbling our way around quite a few other stalls there. I suspect I could have stayed a lot longer if I hadn’t had a few other places I wanted to fit in that day.

  6. Wow, what a varied list of wonderful attractions! The Japanese tea garden sounds like a great place to relax away from the busy streets, and I would love to try out one of the cable cars and feel like I’m in a film! #citytripping

    1. There is so much to do – you really could visit again and again without running out of ideas. Golden Gate Park is amazing too, easily a day on its own if you wanted.

  7. Wow! Awesome and detailed list! So much to do! I love the mosaic stairs and the Japanese tea garden sounds nice. Those roads look a little scary though! #citytripping

    1. The mosaic stairs were rather wonderful – just so detailed. I left the driving on Lombard Street to my husband, I admit!

  8. Love this list – lots of quirky things, not just the main attractions. Never mind the kids – this would all suit me perfectly! The mosaic steps look gorgeous.

    1. Thanks! Alcatraz was amazing – had such a fun time there, if that’s not a bit of a contradiction for a fearsome prison.

    1. So full! There were about a billion tours I would have liked to have done (if I had endless money/time/was visiting on my own) as well. It’s incredible how much there is with kids too though.

  9. Thanks for sharing all of these ideas! We’re going to San Francisco in September, so this will definitely help with planning. We don’t have kids yet, but most of these sound fun for just adults too!

  10. What a fantastic post! I love San Fran and was just saying to D the other day how much I’d love to go there with him and the kids – I went there for a fortnight years ago, before we got together. I can still remember the smell of those sea lions! I had some tasty clam chowder nearby, and ate at a gorgeous veggie restaurant called Greens. I wonder if it’s still there…thanks for the memories!

    1. Thanks! There’s no missing the sea lions, for sure… Greens is still there although I didn’t go in but had some fantastic seafood nearby – a friend had the clan chowder which looked wonderful too.

    1. Thanks – I was really intrigued too. I’m not sure we heard it at its best, but it’s a nice walk along and really interesting if you get the waves just right, I think.

  11. Wowsers! What a bumper post. I’ve always wanted to visit SF (being a huge fan of Charmed) but have somehow never managed to get close. I’m definitely pinning this post for when I do.

    1. I’m so glad I finally got there – hope you do too, I’m sure you’ll love it (and plenty of extra reasons to tempt you now!)

    1. It is! They spiral slightly whenever I compile them 🙂 The mosaic steps were the last thing we did on the way out to the coast, and they were a really fun little note to end the city on.

  12. 63!! When I visited San Francisco, I got the CityPass you mentioned and just followed the attraction included in the pass and tried to tick as many off as possible. #CityTripping

    1. I know! I was a bit taken aback when I counted up – the City Pass is a great way to start when you’re packing a lot in, I think.

    1. Thanks! And yes, I think 3-4ish is a good age to enjoy a lot of this – my daughter has had quite a few long-haul flights so far, but it’s definitely getting easier as she gets older.

  13. Wow this list is brilliant! One of my very first travel memories is from a family trip to San Francisco (from Australia) when I was only 4 years old. We were on a cable car when the breaks failed and it hurtled down a steep hill with all of us passengers trying to hold on for our lives. Scary moment! Your list has made me want to go back and explore this beautiful city again, with my own little family. Thanks for putting this list together.

    1. Thanks! Although eek that’s a very scary memory – I hope you do get to go back and have rather more fun next time.

  14. San Francisco is the city in the US that I want to see the most, all your suggestions are so great. I’ll definitely come back to your post if I go and need to plan my trip 😀

  15. San Fransisco is definitely on my ‘places to go’ list and you have given so many ideas of things to do and see so thank you for that. Although I have always wanted to visit the waterfront (and the sealions, of course!) and see the Golden Gate and the mosaic steps, after reading your post the big child in me cannot wait to play find Wally live! Now I just have to check if the slides you mention are suitable for adults too! 🙂

    1. We didn’t make it to The Exploratorium last time (not enough days) but loved wandering round the Ferry Building too and picking up food.

    1. I love that! He has a very good point… And I could hardly believe the total myself when I totted everything up: just so much for families there, hope you have an amazing time when you do get there.

  16. Great list! As a San Francisco local, I’m glad to see so many family-friendly activities included. My kids love the Exploratorium and the San Francisco Zoo. We also enjoy visiting the Japanese Tea Garden and the de Young Museum. Can’t wait to try out some of the other suggestions!

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