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Things to do in San Francisco: A Kid’s Guide

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Do you want to visit San Francisco with your kids? This article is a guide for what to do on a family trip to the Bay Area. I show all of the best spots that will keep everyone entertained and happy!

Three kids in front of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco.

This list is not comprehensive. I had to leave out some important activities such as the California Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Zoo, due to time. We spent a total of six days in the Bay Area and these were things that we were able to accomplish.

In fact there is no shortage of things for the whole family to do in San Francisco. Museums, attractions, zoos, parks and beaches are just a few ways that a family can spend time together having fun.

A boy in a red phone booth in San Francisco, California.

The list below represents my best effort to capture some of the “fun facts” about each of these 10 top activities. Use this list as a resource for your family. This article is written for parents in particular, so it does not have some of the information that you may see on trip advisor or other travel sites. It’s purpose is to help answer questions like “what can I do with my kids” in San Francisco and give an overview about what those things are.

San Francisco Giants Baseball Game

If you’re kids love sports, you’ll definitely want to catch a San Francisco Giants baseball game. They play at beautiful Oracle Park in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood. The park is easily accessible by car and public transportation. We were able to find and pre-pay for a parking spot about 1/2 mile away.

View of Oracle Park in San Francisco.

When going to the game, make sure you plan ahead for meals. They have a variety of options available at the stadium, but if you’re kids are picky, you might want to make sure they are full before you go.

There is a family area behind left field where kids can run bases and slide down the giant Coke bottle slide. Unfortunately for us, it was closed during our visit.

A boy in a San Francisco Giants uniform at Oracle Park.

Painted Ladies & The Full House Residence

Another fun place to stop is San Francisco’s iconic Painted Ladies. These beautiful houses are know to my kids because they are featured at the end of the opening sequence from the tv show Full House. The houses are located at Steiner Street and Hayes Street. Parking was hard to find here, but with some patience we were able to grab a spot right across the street.

San Francisco's Painted Ladies

Alamo Square Park is where you can hang out and get the best views. We took a walk around the park and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

If you’re a Full House fan, make sure to check our the Tanner residence a few blocks away at 1709 Broderick Street. Just be aware that someone actually lives there so you’ll want to be respectful of their space and property.

Tanner residence from Full House.

Boudine Bakery

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf and Boudin Bakery. The bakery has been a San Francisco staple since 1849 and is world famous for their sour dough bread.

Boudin Bakery Cafe street sign in San Francisco.

You can watch the talented bakers prepare sour dough loaves from outside through the windows. Inside there is a sit down restaurant as well as a quick service cafe.

Bakers at Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.

We highly recommend the chili or clam chowder in sour dough bread bowls or a grilled cheese sandwich on sour dough. Yum!

Chili in a sourdough bread bowl from Boudin Bakery in San Francisco.

Lombard Street

Welcome to Lombard Street, the “crookedest street” in the world! Lombard street stretches across San Francisco, but this one block section of the road features tight hairpin turns and has up to 250 cars drive through an hour!

Lombard Street in San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

If you want a chance to park near the bottom of Lombard street, don’t be discouraged if you have to circle for awhile. I parked on some neighborhood streets and walked up with my kids…it was well worth the walk once we got there.

Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate park is located in the hart of San Francisco and consists of over 1,000 acres of public land. It is shaped in a large rectangle and is often compared to New York’s Central Park, but is actually 20 percent larger.

Large windmill at Golden Gate Park.
Golden Gate Park

There are many different things to check out in the park, like a herd of buffalo, and large windmills surrounded by beautiful gardens. The park’s western edge borders the Pacific Ocean.

The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most iconic landmark in San Francisco. This large suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate straight which connects the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

There are many ways to enjoy this bridge including driving over it, which we did both ways, walking, or riding a bike. There are also a few bus tours that will take you over the bridge.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is a block in San Francisco that consists of shops, restaurants, and a hotel. It was purchased in the 1800s to be the headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Entrance to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco.

We came for the chocolate and the ice cream and were not disappointed! Make sure to get the Brownie Sundae, it might be the best brownie I’ve had in my life!

Two boys in front of Ghirardelli Square.

Pier 39

Pier 39 in San Francisco is a great place for kids. There are tons of shops and restaurants and even a two-story carousel.

Two story carousel at Pier 39.
Pier 39 Carousel

Pier 39 is also the best place to watch Sea Lions! Depending on when you go, this area is packed with Sea Lions, but if you visit in the summer time like we did, most of them will have gone south for breeding, but will start to return in the middle of August.

A sea lion at Pier 39.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz is an interesting place to take older children. You will need to purchase ferry and tour tickets from Alcatraz City Cruises.

Alcatraz City Cruises ferry boat.

When you arrive on the island, be prepared for a steep walk up hill. The tour guides informed us that it was equivalent to walking up 13 stories.

Alcatraz Island in San Franciso Bay.

At the prison, you will download an app that has the audio tour. The tour is narrated by former prisoners and prison guards. My boys favorite part was seeing the cells of three of the prisoners who escaped.

A row of prison cells at Alcatraz.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

If you have a thrill-seeking family, you need to visit Six Flags Discovery Kingdom! This amusement park is located in Vallejo, California about 30 miles from San Francisco and is half thrill rides and half zoo.

Entrance to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Some of our favorite rides (I mean my boys favorite rides) were Batman, Joker, and Wonder Woman.

Two kids in front of a DC Universe sign at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

As far as animals go, we really enjoyed the bird show, lions, and the amazing dolphin tricks!

A dolphin in a pool at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

Redwood Regional Park

Redwood Regional Park is located in the hills east of Oakland which is right across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco. This park is a great way to get out in nature, but still be close to the city. My family and I went on a short hike and enjoyed a picnic beneath the majestic redwood trees.

Three boys in front of Redwood trees at Redwood Regional Park.

San Francisco is a wondrous city with so many things to do for the whole family. This list of kid-friendly activities should help you get started on your next trip (or just make it easier when planning).

I hope that this video was helpful and provided some great ideas for what’s in store if you visit the Bay Area. What are your favorite places to see in San Francisco? Share them in the comments below!

Watch the Video Here:

YouTube thumbnail for 10 things to do in San Francisco with Kids!

Southern California

Are you thinking about a trip to Southern California? I have some tips for you!

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