If you had a doubt about San Francisco being a suitable destination for kids, this list will convince you. Most of the activities listed here are best for kids between 5 and 12 years old. The ones suited for little ones are marked with LO.
If there was just one to pick of this list, it would be this one. San Francisco’s Academy of Science is a heaven for kids. They will love the gigantic aquariums with tens of colorful fishes, an open pool with manta rays and sharks swimming by, the tropical forest with its butterflies flying around you and its parrots. And in case you need further convincing, the place has a fantastic indoor playground with a miniature forest and ship. Also a great refuge if its cold or rainy out.
Location: 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, (415) 379-8000.
2- The Zoo. LO
Kids of all ages will find an activity perfect for them at the zoo. The little ones will love being outdoor, seeing and hearing tons of other kids and hopping on a little steam train. Slightly older kids will love petting the goats and sheep in the petting zoo. All the family will enjoy the giraffes, ostriches, lions, penguins, bears, hippopotamus, kangaroos and plenty of other animals living there.
Location: Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco, (415) 753-7080
3- Koret’s Carousel and Playground in Golden Gate Park. LO
This hundred year old carousel with its wood structure and shiny colorful animals will take you and your kids in a fairy world the time of a ride. Right next to it, you will find a large playground including playing structures, slides, swings and a gigantic rope spider net for climbing.
Location: Martin Luther King, Jr and Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco, (415) 861-0778
4-Ocean Beach – a gigantic sand box. LO
On the very western edge of San Francisco stretches a long and wide sandy beach. It is a great location to breathe some fresh air, have a picnic, play in the sand or chase birds. Not located in the center of town, this beach is not considered a prime tourist attraction, so you’ll get a chance to mingle with locals.
Location: Along the Great Highway, San Francisco
A hands-on multimedia museum with unique activities such as an imagination playground where kids are free the organize their own play area. In multimedia labs, they will also learn to manipulate digital images, or create an album cover for a music video. Kids under 5 will enjoy the “early birds” drop in activities including music and storytelling.
Location: 221 4th St, San Francisco, (415) 820-3320.
An indoor play area built with a San Francisco theme. You find a cable car, little grocery store, gas station and pet store all looking like SF buildings. The place is mainly a preschool, but you are welcome to try the play area for a day. Great for a rainy day.
Location: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St, San Francisco, (415) 440-7335.
Gigantic indoor structure with tunnels, bridges, slides and all kinds of fun stuff for kids. There are two play areas, one for infants and toddler and one for juniors.
Location: 2 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, (415) 702-6638.
Older kids will enjoy get the most enjoyment out of this sensory museum. they’ll explore each of their senses in various funny ways.
Location: Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, (415) 528-4444.
San Francisco’s food scene will please you as much as your kids. No doubt they’ll love the craft chocolate and organic ice cream (locally made of course), and the numerous kid friendly ethnic restaurant around town.
See the “Eat” section in SF Neighborhood Guides.
Kids around 10 years old will love standing up in one of these old-fashioned street cars going up and down the steep streets of San Francisco. It feels like being on a ride in an amusement park, and is a great way to see the city.