Downtown San Francisco & Union Square With Kids, San Francisco, California

San Francisco's downtown core has a wonderful variety of activities for kids. Best of all, unlike most of the city, the area is relatively flat and easy to cover on foot. San Francisco's waterfront district is also nearby.

Cable Car Ride

Address 99 Powell St, San Francisco, CA Map, Tickets From a conductor or at the turnaround, Cost Adult & Youth (ages 5-17): $3.00 each way; Under 4 Free Website

The cable cars are worth riding, at least once (and parents with toddlers will probably ride them over and over). Of the three routes, Powell-Hyde (to Aquatic Park) and Powell-Mason (to Fisherman's Wharf) are the most scenic, and the easiest to catch from downtown. more

Union Square Park

Address union square, san francisco, ca Map, Tel (415) 477-2610 Call, Website

Union Square Park, located in the heart of San Francisco's shopping district. The square often features live music and other fun events during the summer, and there is also a cafe and free wi-fi. A half-price tickets booth is located at the edge of the park. more

Crepe O Chocolat

Address 75 Ofarrell St, San Francisco, CA 94108 Map, Tel (415) 362-0255 Call, Menu Online Menu

In addition to the obvious sweets, this restaurant serves delicious sandwiches and salads that are made right in front of you. Counter service means that you will be served quickly, and that you can easily order takeaway for a picnic. Expect interesting combinations like goat cheese, figs and a plum jam or honey-rose yogurt. Prices are very reasonable for good quality food in this neighborhood. more

Citizen Cupcake

Address 2 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108 Map, Tel (415) 399-1565 Call, Hours Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm; Fri & Sat 10am-10pm, Location 3rd Floor of Virgin Megastore Website

In addition to the gourmet cupcakes and pastries that the name would lead you to expect, Citizen Cupcake also features gourmet sandwiches and salads. This is a great place for a light bite to eat and a fabulous dessert. It also has wonderful views of San Francisco's busy streets. more

Yerba Buena Gardens

Address 750 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94103-3113 Map, Hours 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Parking Yerba Buena Garage, Fifth and Mission Website

Yerba Buena Gardens covers two square city blocks bounded by Mission, Folsom, Third and Fourth Streets. There is a 2-1/2 acre grassy meadow, a huge waterfall (dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr) and lots of public art. more

Children's Garden (Playground) at Yerba Buena

Address 701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA Map, Website

The Children's Garden, on the rooftop at Yerba Buena Gardens is among the most innovative urban playgrounds in the world. The play circle includes a sand circle, a play stream where children interact with the flow of water, a xylophone and 25 foot tube slide. There's also a child sized hedge labrynith. Scheduled activities for kids, including story hour, are also available. Check the website for details. more

Children's Carousel

Address 4th and Howard, San Francisco Map, Hours Daily 11am-6pm, Cost $3 for 2 rides Website

Take a ride on this beautiful, hand carved, 1906 Carousel. The carousel was beautifully restored by the City of San Francisco in 1988. more

SFMOMA (Museum of Modern Art)

Address 151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 Map, Tel 415.357.4000 Call, Hours Mon-Tues 11am-5:45pm; Wed CLOSED; Thurs 11am-8:45pm; Fri–Sun 11am-5:45pm, Cost Adults $12.50; Students $7.00; 12 and under Free, Strollers Available to borrow from coat check Website

The modern art in SFMOMA can be very fun for kids. Some of the installations are quite wild, and it's fun to get the kids imagination's going by asking them to describe what they see. We also like the "mesh" bridge on the top floor. Make sure to set some ground rules (no touching, no yelling) before you enter the museum. more


Address 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 Map, Tel 415.820.3320 Call, Hours Wed-Fri 1pm - 5pm; Weekends 11am - 5pm, Cost Adults $8; Ages 3–18 $6; Age 2 & under Free Website

Zeum is a hands on multimedia museum. Kids can make their own claymation, music videos, soundtracks and digital art. This is best for school age kids and older, but 3-5 year olds will get something out of it too. more