Our family took a trip to San Francisco in September. My kids couldn’t believe that we were going to California, but not stopping at Disneyland. I had to break out a map to show them how far away San Francisco was from Disneyland. We had a ton of fun exploring the city, we’re sharing some of the fun things you an do in and around San Francisco.
Fisherman’s Wharf – The Historic Fisherman’s Wharf is home to PIER 39, Ghirardelli Square, Anchorage Square, the National Maritime Museum, and Historic Hyde Street Pier. You’ll find souvenir shops and stalls selling seafood and produce. You can take in the postcard views of the bay, Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz.
Boudin Bakery – There is a Boudin Bakery located at the Wharf, it’s a great place for lunch, but it’s also a great place to visit. You can watch their bakers busy at work crafting batches of bread by hand through their 30-foot observation window. Some of the loaves they make are amazing!
Ghirardelli Square – If you are a chocolate lover you can’t visit San Francisco without a stop at Ghirardelli Square to get one of their yummy ice cream treats. The location is great with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Ride a Trolley Car – My husband and I have been to San Francisco a couple times and we had fond memories of jumping on the Trolley Cars and exploring the city. The ride on the trolley car had always been one of the highlights of our trips, we were excited to experience it with our children. Our previous trips had taken place during the week. Our family trip had us in downtown San Francisco on a sunny Saturday. A sunny Saturday is not the best time to try and fit 6 people on a trolley car. So, if you are in town during a weekday and or have a small family a ride on a trolley car is a must. If it’s a super busy day, skip it, it’s not worth the cost.
Here’s a tip for you: Instead of catching the trolley at either end where there is usually a long line, catch the car at a stop or two up from one of the starting points. In most cases you can easily hop on (unless of course it’s a sunny weekend and you have a large family).
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (China Town) You can see fortune cookies being made by hand right before your eyes. They are located at 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco and are open every day from 9:00 am – 6:00. The offer samples! The samples are flat, fortune-less and delicious. While visiting you are allowed to take all the pictures you want. In exchange for taking photos the company asks that if you leave $.50 in the tip jar, or buy some fortune cookies. We went with buying fortune cookies!
California Academy of Sciences – The California Academy of Sciences is such a cool natural history museum! We got to visit the aquarium, a rainforest, experience an earthquake, see a show in the planetarium, and so much more. In addition to the cool exhibits we had lunch here and the food was really good. I highly recommend a stop here for sure.
Walt Disney Family Museum – We are HUGE Disney fans, so it made sense for our family to stop by and tour The Walt Disney Family Museum. We really enjoyed our visit here. If you have really young kids they may get a little bored, but our Disney loving teenagers were happy.
Baker Beach – You can easily access Baker Beach, where you’ll be able to stick your toes in the sand and get a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We loved that this beach wasn’t overly crowded. FYI! I just had a reader let me know some parts of Baker Beach are “clothing optional”. I’m thinking that would not be very family friendly. Clothing was worn by everyone on the section of beach we were at, but you may want to do some research before you head there. (Thanks for the heads up Erin!)
Muir Woods – You will need to travel a little to get to Muir Woods, but it is totally worth it! The walk through the woods is peaceful, stunning and something I highly recommend you do. Our stroll through this forest was one of the highlights of our trip.
Escape Game – An escape game isn’t something exclusive to San Francisco, in fact they are very popular now and you can probably find one in a major city near you. We visited the Escape SF and had so much fun trying to escape the room. We made it out with about 5 minutes to spare. I loved how we had to work together and everybody helped in solving the puzzles to help us get out. Children 8 and older can do the Antique Room with adult supervision.
See the “Full House” House – If you have a fan of Full House, you probably need to drive by this popular house to get a snapshot in front of it. You can easily add this on to another excursion. We drove past it after we visited the California Academy of Science.
Here are some other suggestions: