Located amidst the chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills and famous land marks, The City By the Bay offers many fun, family-friendly and often times free activities.
What follows is an insider’s guide to San Francisco from long-time resident and devotee, Kacey of the Three Bay B Chicks. If you only have a few days to spend in this amazing city with your family, here are several activities and restaurants worth checking out.
1. The Pirate Store
Located at 826 Valencia, this is San Francisco's “only independent pirate supply store.” As you can see in the photo, the walls of the store are lined with drawers. Inside each nook and cranny, you never know what you might find. Items such as eye patches, designer glass eyes, Scurvy Begone medicine and pirate dice all could be awaiting your discovery.
Kids love this place almost as much as the adults. It’s really fascinating and quite unique. In addition, you can feel good about buying something like a spyglass because 100% of the proceeds from the store benefit the 826 Valencia Writing Center, an organization that works to provide tutoring and free workshops to students in San Francisco.
Store hours: Open everyday from 12:00–6:00 pm
Location: 826 Valencia
Phone number: (415) 642-5905
2. The Randall Museum
Located on a 16-acre hill overlooking San Francisco, this small, dynamic, city-run museum focuses on area wildlife and offers hands-on art and science classes for children and families.
In addition to hosting interactive exhibitions in its main lobby and a new, permanent, tree-house themed exploration zone for toddlers, the Randall Museum has over 50 species of live animals kids can view . . . and some they can even touch!
Pack a picnic and plan to eat on the grass surrounding the museum.
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Location: 199 Museum Way
Phone number: (415) 554-9600
3. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Take a quick peek into the world of fortune cookies. Located in a small alley in Chinatown, your kids can see first-hand how that darn paper gets inside those yummy cookies.
Cost: FREE + cookie samples!
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 8:00 am-8:00 pm
Location: 56 Ross Alley at Jackson Street
Phone number: (415) 781-3956
4.California Academy of Sciences
Recently renovated and reopened in 2008, what sets this museum apart is its living roof, rain forest dome, and state-of-the art Planetarium. For this tourist attraction, do believe the hype. It is fabulous.
Cost: $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for youth ages 12-17, $14.95 for children ages 6-11, FREE for children under age 6; FREE admission to the public on the third Wednesday of every month
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 9:30 am–5 pm; Sunday, 11 am-5 pm
Location: 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park
Phone number: (415) 379-8000
5.Koret Children’s Park
Hands down the best playground in San Francisco. Kids love the cement slide and the nearby historic carousel.
Location: 320 Bowling Green Drive, Golden Gate Park
It’s hard to go wrong with cuisine in San Francisco. The biggest challenging is choosing a restaurant and not overeating. Here are a few places where my family and I enjoy dining:
1. Giorgio’s Pizza
This might not be the best pizza in San Francisco, but for kids it rocks. Every Wednesday night from 4:00 pm–6:00 pm is Kid’s Happy Hour. Kids make their own pizza and the restaurant cooks it to perfection. If you can’t make it on a Wednesday, the wait staff will always give your kids a little pizza dough to play with at the table. This is heavenly. Adults can actually relax a bit while waiting for their order because the little ones have “play dough” to keep them occupied.
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 11:00 am–10:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am–11:00 pm;
Sunday, 11:00 am-9:00 pm
Location: 151 Clement Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenue)
Phone number: (415) 668-1266
2. Chenery Park
For starters, Chenery Park is located in the Glen Park district, which is a family friendly neighborhood nestled in San Francisco. This restaurant is for a family with young children who is looking for a nice dinner. Tuesday’s are family night and many locals from the neighborhood enjoy taking their kids out for dinner here in the hopes of helping them learn how to eat in a nice restaurant.
Hours: Tuesday–Thursday 5:30 pm–9:00 pm; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 pm–10:00 pm
Location: 683 Chenery Street (between Carrie Street & Diamond Street)
Phone number: (415) 337-8537
3. Ella’s Restaurant
This is my family’s “go to” spot for breakfast. Comfort food, homemade breads and lots and lots of kids from the neighborhood. The chicken hash is delish, and the pancakes and French toast are long-time favorites of ours. The restaurant can be a little pricey for breakfast, but the portions are generous. Arrive early to avoid the line out the door. It’s that yummy.
Hours: Monday - Friday 7:00 am-3:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday 8:30 am-2:00 pm
Location: 500 Presidio Avenue (between California Street & Masonic Avenue)
Phone number: (415) 441-5669
It’s hard to make suggestions for lodging since I live here. However, I’ve found the reviews on travelsavvymom.comto be helpful. Most of the hotels reviewed for San Francisco are in very good and convenient locations.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Feel free to e-mail us with any questions you might have and enjoy your travels in San Francisco!
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