San Francisco is a great place to visit with kids. The city is full of exciting things for children and parents alike! There are so many different neighbourhoods, attractions, and restaurants that it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we put together this list of the best places in San Francisco for kids. Here you will find our favourite picks in each category, from the most iconic neighbourhoods and landmarks to some hidden gems that not everyone knows about yet!
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in San Francisco, and it’s a great place for kids. They can explore the nearby park that overlooks this iconic bridge, or have fun climbing on some of its giant pillars. The views from here are spectacular – you’ll be able to see Alcatraz Island and many other parts of the bay!
We recommend taking BART if you plan to visit more than just this attraction since parking near these attractions can get very expensive when driving around SF with little ones.
It takes about 20 minutes by car or 30-45 minutes by public transit from downtown San Francisco (depending on traffic)
Take BART: About a 45-minute ride via rail located at Powell
2. Alcatraz Island
Even though San Francisco cost of living is high as compared to other U.S. states, it has some amazing places for tourists to visit. Alcatraz Island is an infamous prison island that is now a national park. It’s about an hour boat ride from Pier 33, so travelling by ferry can be quite costly for those without access to the SF Bay Ferry. You’ll need to get tickets in advance; expect long lines and crowds on weekends during peak season (April-Sept)
Take BART: About a 45-minute train ride via rail located at Powell St. Station
Sightseeing Tip: Visiting Alcatraz as well as other sites around San Francisco are best done either early or late in the day when it’s less crowded! Avoid visiting these attractions on Saturdays and Sundays between April through September if you want to avoid large crowds of people throughout downtown
3. Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39
Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 are two popular destinations for tourists. The wharf is an active port, with a variety of shops to explore as well as boat tours that leave from the pier. Kids will enjoy seeing sea lions and seals on the dockside! There is also a Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf
Fun Activities: ride tram cars up Lombard Street; visit Aquarium or Exploratorium (science museum) in Golden Gate Park
4. The Exploratorium
At Pier 15, The Exploratorium is a hands-on museum dedicated to learning. There are over three hundred exhibits that explore science and art in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and more. Kids will love their interactive demonstrations
Fun Activities: visit Aquarium or Exploratorium (science museum) in Golden Gate Park; ride tram cars up Lombard Street
5. San Francisco Zoo
San Francisco Zoo is located in the lush and hilly Tilden Park. Kids can enjoy great views of San Francisco Bay from the zoo’s hilltop location, see animals roaming freely through a natural habitat, or ride on one of their two trains
Fun Activities: Family Day at SFZoo; visit Aquarium or Exploratorium (science museum) in Golden Gate Park
There are many fun things to do with kids in San Fran! It all depends on what type of activity your children would like doing. I recommend visiting Pier 39 for some shopping, eating and playing games at Ghirardelli Square before heading over to Fisherman’s Wharf where you will find lots more food options as well as Sea
6. Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is located in the Presidio of San Francisco. It houses historic pieces from Disney’s life and career including never before seen sketches, films (including Mickey Mouse), patents for early animation techniques, a reconstructed original studio office space with desks and other artifacts
Fun Activity: Watch “Snow White” at Artist Palette Theatre; visit The Academy of Sciences or De Young Museum to see wildlife exhibits or art collections
I recommend visiting The Walt Disney Family museum which has many interactive displays that children will love! You can also let your kids play games at artist palette theatre while you watch Snow White show there. After that we should go over to museums like academy of sciences so they can learn more about animals’ lives
7. Children’s Creativity Museum
The Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco is a great place for children to explore their creativity and learn about art. The museum has many fun exhibits that are especially suited for kids, such as an Art Studio where they can try out different types of materials to make their own creations. There is also a Music Garden with colorful instruments that play on contact, water wall paintings, and plenty of other artsy activities.
A creative space filled with interactive exhibitions made just for kids! They have everything from the Kid Power Toolkit (a hands-on exhibit designed to teach children how household tools work) to the Play Garden – a peaceful area perfect for imaginative playtime away from screens.
Above are some of the most famous attractions to visit in San Francisco with kids. So if you are heading there with your family don’t forget to visit these places!