San Francisco is one of the most popular travel destinations in the United States, and for good reason.
Known for its stunning views, iconic landmarks, diverse neighbourhoods, and rich history, the city has plenty to offer visitors of all ages.
If you’re travelling with kids, you’ll be happy to know that San Francisco is also a great place for family fun.
We’ll highlight some of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids.
Try Local Food
When you’re travelling with kids, it’s important to keep everyone happy and fed, and one of the best ways to do that is by trying out some of the local breakfast spots.
This city is known for its diverse and delicious food scene, and there are plenty of san francisco breakfast restaurants that offer something for everyone in the family.
Whether you’re in the mood for classic American breakfast food or something more adventurous, San Francisco has got you covered.
One popular breakfast spot is Mama’s on Washington Square, which serves up delicious breakfast dishes like omelettes, pancakes, and French toast. The cozy, family-friendly atmosphere makes it a great place to start the day with the family.
For a taste of San Francisco’s famous sourdough bread, head to The Mill, where you can enjoy toast with a variety of toppings, including homemade almond butter and jam.
Another popular spot for breakfast is Plow, which offers classic American breakfast dishes with a twist. Try their signature dish, the Plow, which features two eggs, crispy potatoes, and your choice of bacon or sausage.
For something a little more adventurous, head to Brenda’s French Soul Food, which offers a unique blend of French and Southern cuisine. Try their beignets, which are like fluffy, powdered sugar-covered doughnuts, or their savoury shrimp and grits.
No matter where you go for breakfast in San Francisco, you’re sure to find something delicious and satisfying that the whole family will enjoy.
Visit the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is a unique hands-on science museum that has been inspiring curiosity and creativity in visitors of all ages since it first opened in 1969.
Located on Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, the museum is dedicated to making science accessible and engaging for everyone. With over 600 interactive exhibits spread across six main galleries, visitors are encouraged to explore, experiment, and discover for themselves the wonders of the natural world.
One of the things that sets the Exploratorium apart is the fact that the exhibits are not just informative, but they are also designed to be fun and engaging.
Kids can create their own art using light, sound, and motion, or explore the inner workings of the human body through interactive displays and exhibits. There’s even an exhibit that lets you create your own earthquakes, which is always a big hit with kids.
The museum is not just for kids – adults will also find plenty to fascinate them, with exhibits that explore topics like the physics of light and sound, the behavior of fluids, and the complexities of the human brain.
There are also daily science demonstrations and workshops where visitors can get hands-on experience with scientific principles and ideas.
One of the great things about the Exploratorium is that it encourages visitors to take a hands-on approach to learning.
Instead of just reading about science or watching demonstrations, visitors are encouraged to touch, explore, and experiment for themselves. This approach not only helps to make science more accessible and engaging, but it also fosters creativity and curiosity in visitors of all ages.
Ride in Cable Cards
Cable cars are a quintessential part of San Francisco’s history and culture, and they offer visitors a unique and thrilling way to explore the city. The cable car system in San Francisco is the last manually operated cable car system in the world and has been in operation since 1873.
Riding a cable car is a great way to experience San Francisco’s famous hills and breathtaking views.
Kids will especially love the experience of riding on a cable car, as it’s an exciting and unique way to explore the city. The ride can be a bit bumpy, so make sure to hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
As the cable car travels up and down the hills of San Francisco, kids can take in the stunning views of the city, including iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
The experience of riding a cable car is not just about transportation, but it’s also a fun and memorable experience that the whole family can enjoy.
One of the most popular cable car routes is the Powell-Hyde line, which starts at the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market Streets and travels up and down the steep hills of San Francisco.
Another popular route is the California Street line, which travels through the financial district and offers great views of the Bay Bridge.
Explore Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco’s most beloved and iconic attractions, and for good reason. This 1,000-acre park is home to a diverse range of attractions, including museums, gardens, playgrounds, and more. There is truly something for everyone in this expansive park, making it an ideal destination for families with kids.
One of the highlights of Golden Gate Park is the Japanese Tea Garden, a serene and tranquil oasis that’s perfect for a peaceful stroll. The garden features traditional Japanese architecture and landscaping, including a koi pond, a tea house, and a Zen garden. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the garden or participate in a traditional tea ceremony.
Another must-see attraction in Golden Gate Park is the de Young Museum, which houses an extensive collection of American art from the 17th century to the present day. The museum features works by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, and Edward Hopper, as well as special exhibitions that rotate throughout the year.
The California Academy of Sciences is another popular attraction in Golden Gate Park, especially for families with kids. The museum features a wide range of exhibits and interactive displays that explore the natural world, including an aquarium, a planetarium, and a rainforest exhibit.
For kids who need to burn off some energy, the Children’s Playground is the perfect destination. This playground features a wide range of climbing structures, slides, swings, and even a carousel. There’s also plenty of open space for running and playing.
Visit the San Francisco Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo is an exciting and educational destination for families with kids who love animals. Located in the southwestern corner of the city, the zoo offers a wide range of exhibits and activities that are perfect for kids of all ages.
One of the highlights of the zoo is the African Savanna exhibit, which is home to giraffes, zebras, and other African wildlife. Visitors can get up close and personal with these majestic animals, and even feed them from a raised platform.
The Lion House and Tiger Exhibit are also popular attractions, where visitors can watch these big cats roam and play.
For kids who love more hands-on experiences, the zoo features a petting zoo that’s home to a variety of domesticated animals, such as goats, sheep, and pigs. There’s also a playground area where kids can run, climb, and play.
The San Francisco Zoo offers a train ride that takes visitors on a tour of the park. The train ride is a great way to see the entire zoo and learn about the different animals and habitats.
The San Francisco Zoo also offers a variety of educational programs and events for kids, such as animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, and summer camps. These programs are designed to educate and inspire kids to develop an appreciation and respect for wildlife and nature.
Visit The California Palace of the Legion
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is a world-renowned museum located in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. This impressive museum is a stunning destination that’s perfect for families with kids who love art and history.
The museum’s collection of over 70,000 works of art spans a wide range of styles, time periods, and cultures. Visitors can explore galleries devoted to ancient art, medieval art, and European paintings from the 17th to the 20th century.
For kids, the museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities that are designed to educate and inspire.
One popular exhibit is the “Art of Ancient Egypt” gallery, which features a life-size replica of an ancient Egyptian tomb that visitors can explore.
Kids can also participate in hands-on activities that allow them to create their own art and learn about the techniques and materials used by artists throughout history.
The California Palace of the Legion of Honor is home to a number of special events and activities throughout the year. These events include art classes, lectures, and live performances that are designed to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.
San Francisco is a great place for family fun.
From exploring Golden Gate Park to riding the famous cable cars, there’s plenty to see and do for kids of all ages.
Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, there’s no shortage of family-friendly activities in San Francisco.