San Francisco is a fun, family friendly city where you won’t need a car to get around. It has great public transportation, as much as San Franciscans may complain about it. You can get all around town on buses, metro, old fashioned trams and the beautiful cable cars, which even city dwellers use for fun. Between its accessibility and the variety of attractions for the young and old, there’s lots of fun to be had. The views are breathtaking and there’s lots to do for kids.
At only 49 square miles, you can walk across the city in an hour. However, beware the famous hills, a great workout for anyone on foot! Children enjoy the hills, especially if they get to ride the cable car from downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco is foggy, with very mild weather year-round, so any time is perfect to visit. Fleece jackets are a must, even in the summer. The best way to dress is in layers.
If you’re visiting San Francisco with the kids, there are some must-do activities to explore.
SAN FRANCISCO FOR ALL AGES
Cable Car Ride • This is a must-do for any visitor to the city. The route starts at Powell Street at Market, and begins the first ascent over a very steep hill. As you cross the city towards Fisherman’s Wharf, the descent begins, and the water views with the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge emerge. Breathtaking and fun!
California Academy of Sciences • This is an amazing place for kids and adults. With lots of activities and shows, including a simulation of the famous 1906 earthquake, it’s truly a unique place to learn and have a great time.
Alcatraz Tour • Yes, it’s a prison, but the whole trip is worth it. A ferry takes you there, providing beautiful views of the skyline and Golden Gate Bridge. Once on the island you get to see the prison and the garden surrounding the building. The tour includes an interesting audio explanation of the facility, its history and the notorious men who were imprisoned there, such as Al Capone.
Helicopter Tour • This is a bit pricey, but worth it. You get to see the whole Bay area, the bridges and neighborhoods. The pilot tells you all about the city including some history, and the birds-eye view is exhilarating.
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Golden Gate Park • This park features playgrounds, football fields, a lake where you can rent a paddle boat, and a flower garden to explore. You can also have picnics and barbecues.
Fisherman’s Wharf • Yes, it’s touristy and even a little tacky, but Fisherman’s Wharf is still a beautiful spot. Near the Golden Gate Bridge, there are lots of family-friendly seafood restaurants, a wax museum, aquarium, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, and the famous otters and sea lions inhabiting Pier 39.
Golden Gate Bridge • The beautiful scenery and a crazy, windy walk will impress and tire out the kids. If you are lucky, you may get to see the fog rolling in—an unforgettable experience!
These are just a few things kids will enjoy in a city that has so much to offer visiting families. There are plenty more fun-filled activities and attractions. If all else fails, people-watching while having a picnic is always a winner. Come and see for yourself!