Fun Things To Do In Sf – There are so many great things to do in San Francisco with kids, including many can’t-miss things outside of the city. Below we share a list of our top picks for things to do in San Francisco, and below we share all the details!
Yes, I am going to start the post with a place that is out of town. This is our favorite thing we did while there and we highly recommend you take the time to visit.
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** Please note that this map does not show exact driving times – be sure to check Google Maps on your phone as traffic is known to be bad in San Francisco. Also note that you will be crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and there will be a one way toll.
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You walk through these magical forests full of giant redwoods and you can just feel and feel the power of Mother Nature and how beautiful she is. Children of all ages will love walking among these beautiful giants.
It was so exciting that this oasis is just a short walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city. When you’re there, you feel like you’re hundreds of miles away from it all! It is worth the drive and time to come out and visit Muir Woods. To this day it is one of our top deals in the entire US!
When to visit: Any time of the year and any time of the day. We went just before they were about to close and it was so cool to see the sun setting through the trees. But I doubt you’d pick a bad time of day.
How to visit: Plan ahead for this trip as you must purchase your parking spaces online before you show up. We were there in the off season so we could get a time slot later that day. But we have learned during high season (summer) or weekends that you may need to get your time slot in advance.
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Or don’t worry about parking and instead take a tour bus from downtown San Francisco that will take care of the transportation for you!
Another option for nature lovers or if you’re looking to get out of town. Note that with traffic and distance, this can be a full day visit. But if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, this is your escape.
The walk is beautiful, and once you’re there, the views of the coastline along the Pacific Ocean are pretty epic. Look ahead and plan to visit on a day when the lighthouse is open. They also have a visitor center with small museums and rangers on staff to help make recommendations on what to do while you’re there (depending on the weather and what’s open and closed).
When to visit: The visitor center closes at 5pm on some days, so be sure to check the hours as you’ll want to stop to get a map and tour the museum there. Also check which days the lighthouse is open so you can take a walk down
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How to visit: Keep in mind that this drive can take over an hour to reach the visitor center, and then another 30+ minutes to get to the park’s other destination, the lighthouse. You also have to consider rush hour – and it’s just known that there’s always traffic in San Francisco.
Of course, when you visit San Francisco, you will want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, which is the main attraction of California! We didn’t stop (parking is nearly impossible down there), but instead drove over the bridge to get to the Bay Area Children’s Museum to see the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Then we headed to Muir Woods.
It is an iconic place and worth a visit. If you want to see it from the water, be sure to check out the Golden Gate Bay Cruise! Or hop in a GoCar for a GPS-guided tour!
How to visit: If you’re driving, be prepared for a steep toll – but you only have to pay one way, so that’s cool!
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Your kids will love the Bay Area Discovery Museum and it’s in a great location. You are right next to the Golden Gate Bridge – you can see it when you visit the museum. You can also walk around the parking lot and take fun pictures with the museum in the background.
They also had tons of great kids activities and exhibits, including indoor and outdoor options. It was a little on the younger side (our 11 year old was a little too old but still found things to do).
When to visit: Check the hours – they usually close at 5pm and also check the current events and if you can go during an event, there will be more people but also more to do.
How to visit: Use your reciprocal museum membership for discounted entry! Also note that they have a very cute kids restaurant on site.
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Lands End is a national monument within the San Francisco Department of National Parks. This is a beautiful place on the water that used to be a famous bathhouse. The baths are no longer there, but you can walk around the site and pass some of the ruins.
It’s a beautiful area and another way to get a little outside of the city and all the fun and craziness there. They also have a very cute gift shop.
When to visit: A sunny day will be good. But we went when it was overcast and it was still beautiful.
How to visit: There is a car park on site so you should be able to get a spot in the car park and then head out for a walk.
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Here is an activity that is at the heart of city life! Always a busy area full of shops and entertainment! It has a really cool vibe and look and feel to the area and fun shops and restaurants that you want to check out.
We walked around the pier area and checked out a few shops before sitting down to eat. . . We foolishly put our backpack on the open seat at our table and someone came and stole it! Take note here as this is an area known for this sort of thing.
You can also explore the San Francisco Bay where you can see Alcatraz, or if you plan ahead (I’m not good at planning ahead) you can take a boat ride to see Alcatraz! I’m really disappointed that we missed out. Next time!
Be sure to look for sea lions sunbathing and if you want you can check out the Aquarium On The Bay. And if you want to explore further, head over to Fisherman Wharf for more restaurants and shops.
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How to visit: There are parking lots and facilities in the city center, but they are expensive. You can take a bus, cable car or Uber and it will most likely be better.
If you’re looking to get out into nature without leaving the city, check out Golden Gate Park. In the park you will find Stowe Lake, the ocean beach and the Japanese tea garden. The park is huge!!
We didn’t get to explore all of those places, but we did spend a few hours at Corrett Square and the kids loved it! They had a slide that you needed a cardboard box to sit on so you could slide down! So San Francisco and very cool!
The San Francisco Zoo is a great zoo filled with animals that you and your kids will enjoy seeing. They also have a big park for kids to play.
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Here you can spend the whole day watching animals and playing in the park. With a quick break to eat.
How to visit: There is a large car park so you can park right next to the zoo and walk in.
Located in the center of the city is this amazing children’s museum! They have many different activities with children. We could have stayed all day. Then, once you’re done, you can go outside to play in the park.
It’s not a children’s museum full of toy grocery stores and the like, but they do have clay animation you can make (kids can make their own stop motion movie), karaoke where kids can dress up and write in green. Put a screen behind them!
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How to visit: You need to find somewhere to park. There are garages around, but be prepared that you may need them
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