Here are the top 10 family things to do in San Francisco! If you’re planning a vacation with kids to this great city here are the must see spots we loved.
We took a longer than normal road trip this year and combined our love for nature (visiting Sequoia), and our love for big cities and all they have to offer (this San Francisco trip)! We have three girls and wanted to show them all the things we love about this great city, and the things I remembered visiting during my last visit when I was in high school. If you’re planning a vacation here there are SO many things to do but we decided to narrow it down to the top 10 family things to do in San Francisco so you definitely don’t miss those!
In addition to sharing what we did and you shouldn’t miss, we have tips on how to save money on your stay and some of the most popular attractions by booking it all on a site called Reserve Direct, we thank them for sponsoring this post and visit so we could share what we did and why we loved each one with you here today!
- Find a giveaway from Reserve Direct below too!
Top 10 Family Things to do in San Francisco:
- Fishermans Wharf – There are tons of things to do in this area including fishing, renting bikes to tour around the city that way, grabbing a bite to eat at several cute restaurants and street vendors there. The best part for us was people watching!! Totally free and leads to many discussions as to where they might be from. We met so many wonderful families who lived in Denmark, Poland, and even Australia who were visiting San Francisco too while we were there. There are so many tourists and if you strike up a conversation it is so fun to see where everyone else lives.
- San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure – When we booked our hotel room on Reserve Direct, we were given the option to save more money on site seeing opportunities by purchasing a CityPass San Francisco discount booklet. This boat tour was just one of the fun items included in this coupon book and we were most excited to experience this! Traveling under The Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island it really gave you an up close view of both of them, something you couldn’t get any other way other than on a boat!
- Ghirardelli Square – Um well if you love chocolate this is a must! There are 2 stores there with TONS of different options including raspberry filled chocolate squares, caramel filled, mint infused and so many others. You get a taste as you enter the buildings, and they even have an ice cream parlor in each where you can get a sundae topped with everything Ghirardelli. There are other quaint shops in the area as well and a large open area across where you could sit and have a picnic or just let the kids run around.
- Exploratorium – A great hands on museum for kids you could spend quite a bit of time in. We only got a quick peek inside as we were so busy for 2 days straight that we arrived 15 minutes before they closed but in just that short amount of time my kids loved it and would’ve definitely come back if we had another day. This is one of the other free entrances you get when you purchase the San Francisco City Pass booklet!
- Aquarium of the Bay – Located on the famous Pier 39 this is a great aquarium that is 3 floors high and has a hands on area at the very top where kids can touch sea animals gently and really get up close to a sea otter! They have two long tubes like this one you can walk thru and be surrounded by all types of different fish, and the second one is filled with sharks. While there you are near a lot of other things like the ferry (we did both of these on the same day since they were so close to one another), small restaurants, and a boardwalk. This attraction is also included in the City Pass!
- Lombard Street – Definitely a favorite amongst free family things to do in San Francisco with kids! You can either wait in a line to drive down the crookedest street, or park on a side street and walk up and down it watching all the other cars wind around…and around…and around (that is what we did). We love finding really unusual places like this to show our kids, definitely something they won’t forget for sure.
- Coit Tower – We had a bit of extra time one day so we headed here to check it out. You can pay a small fee to go to the very top and get a fantastic view of the whole city, or just walk around and explore the surroundings which is what we did. The view from the front is amazing! You can see Alcatraz and the entire Golden Gate Bridge from there without even going up to the top of the tower. We explored the area around it and watched an elderly gentleman sketching which was SO cute! We sat and talked to him for a while about his life, his favorite places in San Francisco, and how he became an artist. Remember when I said people watching and meeting new faces was so great, he was probably the highlight and my girls are sure to remember his stories. 😉
- The Golden Gate Bridge – Yes on the boat tour you get a great vantage point traveling underneath it, but we wanted a different angle and you can get it by driving over it (super fun), and then when you get to the other side there is a road where there are multiple scenic view spots to stop and see just how amazing and big it really is.
- Union Square – If you love shopping and/or window shopping this is the place to visit! It has the largest Nordstrom there, and tons of great places to eat. The trolley lets you off right there so it’s super convenient and our hotel was very near too. We stayed at the Serrano Hotel for three nights and it was great for us. We were on a higher floor and had a great view of the city. With comfy beds and a very helpful staff, there were two parking garages within feet of the entrance and we got an added discount when we booked thru Reserve Direct when purchasing our stay there + a City Pass for each of us.
- Ride the Trolleys – When you purchase the City Pass you get to ride any trolley for three full days while you’re there which saves you a ton since each way is $7 per person! Even if you don’t have a specific destination in mind just hop on in order to experience it. Honestly though it is your best mode of transportation while you’re in the city. Parking is very limited there and the trolleys have stops at just about every popular spot so you just look at the map, find where you want to go, and hop on and on as much as you like! Probably top on our list of family things to do in San Francisco.
San Francisco is such an interesting city with so many things to do with kids that you could literally stay for a week and probably not see it all. It is nice to have a few things in mind that you REALLY need to see during your stay so that is why we put together this list of top 10 family things to do in San Francisco for you.
As a special treat Reserve Direct wants to offer one lucky family a $200 to their site! Use it to book a hotel room, grab a few CityPasses, or snag amusement park tickets on their site!