San Francisco is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is particularly ideal for kids due to its small size and very few tall buildings. Kids feel comfortable walking the streets of San Francisco. There’s more to do in this city than can be covered in a single vacation. Here are some of our favorite things to do in San Francisco with kids.
1. Take a Ride in a San Francisco Cable Car
A San Francisco cable car allows you to take a ride and check out the National Landmark at the same time. This age-old mode of transport has been kept alive by people’s enthusiasm for it. It is a great and iconic experience. It’s almost like going on a mild roller-coaster ride especially when going downhill while holding on the sideboards. The downside to the cable cars is the winding lines to get on and the crowded cars. A family with a stroller might find it a bit stressful to use the cable cars. Nonetheless, it is an experience to look forward to for the whole family.
2. Visit the Beach
Going to the beach with kids is always a safe bet. It’s not different with San Francisco beaches. The kids can build sand castles, fly kites, play tag, and basically let their imagination run wild as you busk in the sun. Ocean Beach is the best family beach and is located just outside the Golden Gate on the west side of the city. The long stretch of beach is flat and is an excellent spot for beach play. You can have a meal at the Cliff House nearby or opt for Beach Chalet, a microbrewery restaurant located just down the beach. The only down side to Ocean Beach is the cold water and strong waves. Some people might find this a turn off. Note that it may not be a good idea to get into the water if you’re not an experienced swimmer.
3. Visit Chinatown
If you haven’t been to Chinatown, then you need to make time to visit with the kids. It is exotic, energetic and colorful, and is full of shops with all kinds of cool stuff for kids such as kites, fortune cookies, and souvenirs. The kids also get to learn a bit about the Chinese culture in the bargain. They will also get to watch the goofy contraption at the fortune cookie factory making treats. If you don’t like crowds, you might want to visit on a weekday.
4. Pier 39
Want to buy your kids souvenirs to remember their trip to San Francisco by? Then the specialty and souvenir shop at Pier 39 are the perfect place to start. That’s not all, the pier also features plenty of entertainment for kids with frequent performances on the stage situated near the end of the pier. The whole family can take a walk through the underwater Aquarium of the Bay. You can see California sea lions on the westside of the complex.
5. Butterfly Joint
Butterfly joint is a woodworking shop for children. One of the owners, Danny Montoya, is an accredited early-childhood educator and will work with kids from the age of 2 in a perfectly safe environment. At the Butterfly Joint, your kids will wear mini work aprons and work on projects such as tables, keepsake boxes, name boards, wooden spoons, stools, and many more items. You can rest assured they won’t be using any power tools. Children from the age of 10 and above are taught how to use basic wood working tools such as hammers, chisels, and saws. Woodworking at the Butterfly Joint is one of the things to do in San Francisco with kids.
6. Ghirardelli Square
This is where the first Ghirardelli chocolate candy was made. None have been made at that location since the 1960s. Today, their former manufacturing site is a dining and shopping complex. It’s a great place to buy San Francisco themed chocolates and soda fountain treats, sundaes, and shakes. If you’re looking for a fun place to hang out with the kids and spoil them rotten, then the Ghirardelli Square is perfect.
7. Fisherman’s Wharf
This is one of the iconic San Francisco sights. You’ll find plenty of colorful boats, goofy tourist attractions and street performers. Your kids will definitely love visiting this place. The attractions at the Fisherman’s Wharf include Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Wax Museum, and the Musee Mecanique. If your kids have an interest in maritime attractions, they can take a ride in the Pampanito submarine. Fisherman’s Wharf is usually crowded and you may want to keep off if your kids are not interested in checking out docked fishing boats. Remember that it’s a working pier and has no guard rails. You’ll want to keep an eye on your kids.