10 Things to Do With Kids in San Francisco

The city by the bay is definitely an accurate description for San Francisco.  Many attractions are on or near the water including the city’s biggest attraction, the Golden Gate Bridge.  There are many more things to see and do in San Francisco though and many are kid friendly.  Check some of these sites out the next time you and your family are in San Francisco.

  1. The Exploratorium (San Francisco, CA 94123).  An amazing new concept in museums and perfect for kids.  The Exploratorium is located inside the Palace of Fine Arts.  The concept of the Exploratorium is to give kids and adults a hands-on learning experience in many different areas.  There are cow eyeballs in an exhibit where everyone can touch an actual cow’s eye and learn about the parts of the eye.  There’s a planetarium and a place you can make your own petroglyph and the list goes on and on. 
  2. Paramount’s Great America Theme Park (Santa Clara, CA 95054).  Meet your favorite Nickelodeon characters at Nickelodeon Central or ride one of the family friendly rides like the Rip Roaring Rapids.  There are also 11 roller coasters and thrill rides from which to choose.  Top off your trip with a ride on the world’s tallest double decker Ferris wheel. 
  3. Raging Waters (San Jose, CA 95148).  The largest water park in Northern California and home to the Dragon’s Den and a 350,000 gallon wave pool.  Stay cool in one of the many water slides or other wet and wild attractions.  This park is only open May-September.
  4. iFly SF Bay (Union City, CA 94587).  This is an indoor sky diving facility that is a tunnel of wind that gives you the same feeling as free-falling from an airplane.  Kids as young as 3 can do it.  Your first time you will get instruction, a jumpsuit, goggles and other things that you will need to have a successful experience.  There is no upper age limit, but they want you to be in good physical shape and not weigh more than 230 lbs. if you are less than 6 feet tall.
  5. San Francisco Chinatown (San Francisco, CA 94108).  Immerse yourself and your family in another culture for a while by strolling through San Francisco’s Chinatown.  This is the largest and oldest Chinatown in North American.  Enjoy a tea tasting or some authentic dim sum.  This is a sight to behold because it is so different than the rest of the city.  Don’t plan on bringing a stroller through though because these shops are small and cramped.
  6. Golden Gate Bridge/Park (San Francisco, CA 94118).  The jewel in San Francisco’s crown has to be the beautiful red golden gate bridge.  You can walk across or rent bikes and ride across the bridge.  If you go to Golden Gate Park you will be able to capture some fabulous iconic pictures of the bridge.  No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge.
  7. Koret Children’s Playground and Carousel (San Francisco, CA 94118).  This is one of the oldest and biggest playgrounds in the city.  It’s located in Koret Children’s Quarter in Golden Gate Park.  The kids will love sliding down the giant hillside slide and riding on the 1912 Carousel.  There’s also a huge climbing structure where kids can play for hours.  This playground is geared for kids over the age of 3.
  8. Golden Gate Ferry Ride (Larkspur, CA 94939).  Take a ride on the ferry and get a view of the bridge from the water.  Riding on the ferry will allow you to feel the wind off the water and the enjoyment of riding on the boat with or without your car. 
  9. Cable Car Ride (San Francisco, CA 94115).  You must ride a cable car while you are in San Francisco.  These cable cars have been around since 1873 and will truly give you the full experience of how hilly San Francisco truly is.  You can buy a ticket for a single ride for $5 or by an all-day pass which will give you time to enjoy the cable cars and the city.  You can even get off at the Cable Car Museum for free and learn the history of the cable car.
  10. Land’s End Trail (San Francisco, CA 94121).  Probably one of the greatest hiking trails in San Francisco.  The trail runs right along the water and if you go far enough you can actually go under the Golden Gate Bridge.  Along the trail you will see the Sutro Baths and Mile Rock Beach.  To reach the beach you will have to go down about 100 steps, but the views are worth the effort.
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