Activities in San Francisco

Alcatraz Island National Park

Address Alcatraz, CA Map, Ferry Alcatraz Cruises (the only way to get to the island) leave from Pier 33, just south of Fisherman's Wharf. The F line streetcar stops at Pier 33., Tickets Advance purchase highly recommended up to 60 days in advance from Alcatraz Cruises. There is no entrance fee for the park itself., Schedule Ferries depart every 30 minutes beginning at 9am Website

Even if your kids are too young to understand what a jail is, a trip to Alcatraz can be interesting and fun. Most kids enjoy the ferry ride on San Francisco Bay and the flowers and birds on the island. Daytime tours are self-guided and you can go at whatever pace works for you and your kids. For older kids, this is a great way to understand a part of our history first-hand. more

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

California Academy of Sciences

Address 55 Music Concourse Drive San Francisco, CA 94118 Map, Tel 415 379 8000 Call, Website

DeliciousBaby says: 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

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

De Young Art Museum (Fine Arts Museum)

Address 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco Map, Tel 415.750.3600 Call, Cost Adults $10; Ages 13–17 $6; 12 & under Free. Special exhibition surcharges may apply., Hours Tu-Sun 9:30am-5:15pm; Fri until 8:45 p.m., Tickets Reserve Online to beat the lines. Service fee charged., CityPass Included in City Pass Tickets Website

The de Young museum of Fine Arts has made a special effort to make art fun for families visiting with kids. There are special family tours on weekends, drop in art classes on Saturdays, and the opportunity to visit a working artists studio inside the museum. The collection itself is kid friendly too, with kids educational materials available at the information desk. For more information, visit the de Young Guide for Visiting Families more


Address 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 Map, Tel (415) 561-0399 Call, Hours Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, Cost Adult (18-64) $14.00; Ages 13-17 $11.00; Ages 4-12: $9.00; 3 and under: Free, MUNI #30, #43, #28 and #29, CityPass The Exploratorium is one of the seven museums included in the Website

This hands-on museum, just for kids, revolutionized the way that children's museums and science museums are set up around the world. Housed within the walls of San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium has of hundreds of science, art, and human perception exhibits. While school age children will understand the science behind the exhibits the best, virtually everything is engaging even for young toddlers and preschoolers. For crawlers, there's an enclosed play area with books and toys. more

Ferry Building Marketplace

Address Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA Map, Tel (415) 693-0996 Call, Hours M-F 10-6; Sat 9-6; Sun 11-5 Website

The ferry building marketplace is the center of a transit hub that connects all of San Francisco's neighborhoods and the surrounding bay communities. It was completely renovated and reopened in 2003 as a marketplace for specialty food producers, restaurants. cafes, and food-related shopping. more

Ghiradelli Square / Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory

Address 900 North Point Street, San Francisco, CA Map, Tel 415.775.5500 Call, Hours Sun-Thurs, 9am–11pm; Fri–Sat, 9am–Midnight, Location West side of Fisherman's Wharf and one block west of the Cable Car turnaround at Beach and Hyde Streets. Website

Ghiradelli square has just been recently re-vamped with new shops and restaurants. The hi-light still remains the tour of the original Ghiradelli factory where you can see chocolate being made on the original equipment. There is also an ice cream fountain specializing in hot fudge sundaes. more

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company

Address 56 Ross Alley, (at Jackson St), San Francisco, CA 94108 Map, Tel (415) 781-3956 Call, Hours Mon-Sun 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Website

If you (or your kids) have ever wondered how fortune cookies are made, this is the perfect place to find out. I can remember being fascinated by the "assembly line" during my own childhood visits. The fact that it has been a tourist destination for a generation doesn't take away from the charm (if anything, the "50c charge to take a picture" and other rules only add to the feeling that you are visiting a family run business and not a high-budget tourist trap.) more

Golden Gate Park Carousel

Address 320 Bowling Green Drive, San Francisco Map, Tel (415) 831-2770. Call, Cost Adults $1.50, Ages 6-12 $.50, Ages 5 and under free if accompanied by a paying adult., Hours Change seasonally, call for details. Currently Fri-Sun 10am-4:30pm Website

There's been a carousel in Golden Gate Park since 1888, and as you might expect, this one is beautiful. more

Japanese Tea Garden

Address Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco CA 94118 Map, Tel (415) 752-1171 Call, Open Daily

The admission charge ($5 for adults, $1.50 for kids 5+) might seem steep when there is so much green space around the Japanese Garden, but this is really a lovely place to visit with children. The garden features beautiful plants, bridges (trust me your kids will love crossing them) and koi filled ponds. more

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground

Address 320 Bowling Green Drive, San Francisco, CA 94199 Map, Directions Follow the signs to the Carousel. You'll find the Koret Children's Quarter behind the Sharon Building

This huge playground, reopened in 2007 after extensive renovation, is a child's dream. Besides the usual climbing structures, there's a lounge swing, a sand area and "river" (to make wet sand), huge concrete slides, and a huge rope tower for climbing. more

Outdoor Exploratorium at Fort Mason

Address Fort Mason, San Francisco Map, Open dawn to dusk everyday, Maps available in the Main Office from 9 am – 8pm and here Website

Fort Mason, an old military has been reclaimed as a cultural center. For kids, one of the most exciting things about this destination is the outdoor science exhibits provided by the Exploratorium. This is a great place to run, enjoy the outdoors, and enjoy some hands-on kid focused activities. more

Pier 39

Address pier 39, san francisco Map, Hours Change seasonally, check website for details, Cost Free to visit, activities are at extra charge, Streetcar F line, Discounts Show your AAA card at the welcome center for a coupon book Website

Pier 39 is super touristy, but it's also super fun for kids. There are live shows, a carousel, a bungee trampoline (kids must weigh at least 30lbs), shopping, and a small aquarium. If the weather is good, you can also take a ferry tour or rent a kayak. The highlight, however, is the sea lion population, which swells to 900 during winter months and is almost all elsewhere during the summer. 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

Street Car - F line

Address 77 Steuart Street, San Francisco CA 94105 Map, Tel (415) 974-1948 Call, Cost Adult $1.50; Ages 5-17 50¢; Under 5 Free, Museum Wed-Sun 10:00am to 6:00pm Website

While everyone knows about San Francisco's hill-climbing Cable Cars, most are not as familiar with its historic streetcar system. The electric rail vehicles serve Market street and the waterfront… a perfect route for tourists. Cars were taken from historic streetcar lines around the world, refurbished, and put into use here. 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

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

Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center

Address 750 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 Map, Tel (415) 777-3727 Call, Website

Located at Yerba Buena park, this ice skating and bowling facility is set up well even for young kids. Both the Ice Skating Rink and the bowling alley have toddler sized shoes available. 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

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33rd Republic

Address San Francisco, CA Map, Website

33rd Republic is an online shopping site for kids clothing and accessories.
Headquartered in San Francisco, the website lets parents find thousands of fashionable brands from around the globe. more

Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia

Address 214 California Drive, burlingame, CA 94010 Map, Tel 650-347-2301 Call, Website

Opened in 1995, the Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia features an example of every Pez candy dispenser ever sold, plus other classic toys. more

Golden Gate Bridge Walk

Address San Francisco, CA 94101 Map, Tel (415) 921-5858 Call, Website

Park at either the north or south end of the bridge and walk across the bridge (all the way, or just far enough to get a feel for being over the Bay!). Or, rent a bike at a bike shop in the city or and bike across the bridge. The view is incredible, the kids love watching the boats, helicopters, and cars, and it's a fun way to get some fresh air. more

Musee Mechanique

Address Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133 Map, Tel (415) 346-2000 Call, Location Pier 45 Shed A at the end of Taylor Street Website

The Musee Mechanique is a museum of old mechanical arcade games - you won't see these many other places. The kids can even play the games! more

Museum of Craft and Folk Art

Address 51 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103 Map, Tel 415 227 4888 Call, Website

Located in the Yerba Buena area, the Museum of Craft and Folk Art is a unique museum in San Francisco. While their exhibits change every couple of months and are always family friendly (check out their website at, they also offer FAMILY DAYS once a month. Call 415 227 4888 for more information, but these days usually include storytelling, music and a craft. more

San Francisco Fire Engine Tours

Address 2801 Leavenworth St San Francisco, CA 94133 Map, Tel 415-333-7077 Call, Website

Open air tour in a vintage fire truck. Each participant is given a real fire jacket. The unique guides and travel through the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge make this a great way to tour the city. more

Seward Street Slides

Address Seward St & Douglass / St San Francisco, CA 94114 Map,

a secret huge slide! little ones can go down with mom/dad. bring your oen cardboard. more

The Marine Mammal Center

Address 2000 Bunker Road, Sausalito, CA 94965-2619 Map, Tel 415.289.7325 Call, Website

Whether you’re an environmentalist wanting to understand what plights affect the residents of our oceans or a parent of school-age children looking to see a cute baby seal, there are lots of discoveries to make at The Marine Mammal Center’s rebuilt headquarters in Sausalito, California. The Center’s glass walls and viewing platforms allow visitors to peer into the workings of a state-of-the-art animal rescue, rehabilitation and release facility – from food preparation stations to animal care chartrooms and patient pools housing a variety of species. It also reveals key areas used for marine mammal research – from laboratory activities to necropsies (post-mortem marine mammal examinations). Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Free admission and small fees for docent and audio tours. Free self-guided tours available. more

The Republic

Address 3212 Scott Street San Francisco, CA 94123 Map, Tel 415.817.1337 Call, Website

The Republic is a huge space in the heart of the marina that has 13 TVs (usually used for sports) but on Tuesday nights they have "Kids Night" where they show a kids movie on the 82" tv and serve a great kids menu. more