San Francisco turns into a great family city throughout the spring and summer seasons. The weather creates a relaxing atmosphere as the sunny skies light up the smiles on the kid’s faces. Whether you’re raising toddlers, children, or teenagers, San Francisco will always have something to offer for everyone. There is an endless list of family friendly activities in the city, but I’ve tried to narrow it down to my top five. By Sohaib S.
Pier 39 is a well-known shopping mall bang on the pier around Fisherman’s Wharf. The restaurants and stores won’t do too much for the kids, so don’t spend too much time window shopping. Instead, head over to the Aquarium of the Bay. The kids can learn about all the animals living in the Bay like sevengill sharks and octopuses. Younger children can go to the pool and touch bat rays and other splash zone animals.
Oh, and you can’t forget about the sea lions. Who doesn’t like sea lions? This will surely be an enjoyable experience for adults as well as kids. Pier 39 also has free entertainment spread throughout—the view of Alcatraz at the end of the pier, street performers, and much more.
Chinatown is a great opportunity to show your kids the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Culture shock is inevitable; the best way to go about exploring Chinatown is by walking through it, from point A to point B. You can venture into curiosity as you go along, but make sure you have an end point in mind. Your kids can witness Dragon Gate and explore Kite shops and other electronic toy stands.
Be sure to visit the Fortune Cookie Factory, too. The children can see how a fortune cookie is actually made and try some for yourself. If your appetite starts to build up at this point, you can try one of the many restaurants here that serve authentic Chinese food.
Inland state families must go to Ocean Beach. Californian beaches aren’t quite like what they are portrayed to be on TV, but it’s definitely worth a visit. The Pacific Ocean is a magnificent view that you won’t find anywhere else. San Francisco beaches can get pretty chilly, though. The average temperature this time of the year tends to fluctuate around the 60’s. It’s best that you come prepared.
Right across the street is the zoo. This makes a beach-visit the perfect family day out. I do recommend that you go to the zoo first, though. Walking around soaked can easily give your children the flu. The beach is also very relaxing and enjoyable during the sunset to end the perfect day.
Golden Gate Park
The majority of tourist destinations in the city tend to be shopping attractions for Californians. Unless every other store is filled with toys and electronics, your children won’t be too impressed. It’s always a good idea to get away from all of the hussle and bussle and have a productive family outing. This is what makes Golden Gate Park an amazing change of environment. Let your kids explore the answers to mysteries in the California Academy of Sciences at the beginning of the Park. You’ll find an array of interesting viewings here like the Steinhart Aquarium, the Rainforests exhibit and the Morrison Planetarium.
You can go to the Fine Arts Museum next, and then across the street to the Japanese Tea garden (picture above)—the oldest of its kind in the States. End the day by heading towards the big carousel in the children’s playground while getting a glimpse of Spreckels and Stow Lakes.
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco is pretty much synonymous with Golden Gate Bridge; you cannot visit one without the other. The massive orange structure stands tall to symbolize everything about San Francisco. A walk towards Marin County, or the other direction, is only 1.7 miles long. If you’re with toddlers, though, then it can end up being too long. You can just go as far as you want, take some photos and head back.
These are just five family outings to try when you’re in San Francisco, although the options really are endless. The city can never get boring for Californians—the Bay with your kids can also be a stress-relieving day out. The list goes on. If you’re flying in or visiting out-of-state, it can be difficult finding suitable family accommodation. HotelClub have a great iPhone app that is suited to your family’s needs. They also have good deals this summer for San Francisco hotels, so don’t forget to have a look!
Sohaib is a coffee enthusiast and an adventure travel addict who loves challenging himself and constantly pushes the limits.