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If you are looking for fun things to do in San Francisco with kids, you will never be out of options. The City by the Bay has cram-full of things to do with kids — from amusement parks, cable car rides, charming old Victorian homes in the hilly neighborhoods to a ferry trip across the bay. There are just so many San Francisco kids activities and attractions to enjoy that will round out the family escapade.
San Francisco offers a never-ending list of things to do with kids and attractions to explore. The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic landmark that is always on top of the must-go-places list for the whole family. They have historic theaters and museums that provide hands-on experiences for the kids. And the best part of the excursion — most kid-friendly spots are located within an area easily accessible to everyone.
You don’t have to go anywhere because all the unique kids attractions are here. Plus, there are a lot more quirky things to discover. These only-in-San Francisco experiences are perfect opportunities for everyone to have the most fantastic family bonding moments.
To save you time, we narrow down our list to 20 fun things to do in San Francisco with kids.
We want to start the list of things to do in San Francisco with the obvious: the Golden Gate Bridge. But we always see the bridge—and it’s remarkable as ever. However, have you tried taking a bike ride or even a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge? Some companies offer fun things to do on the iconic bridge. Blazing Saddles is one of the best that provides a guided tour across the landmark. You can bring a bike or rent one. Either way, your kids will indeed have fun.
The cable car is always on the list of things to do in San Francisco. It’s an icon of the city in the first place. You probably took a cable car ride several times. But this ride is a good kick start to the San Francisco kids activities you are planning to do for the whole day. It’s an excellent way to imbibe the San Francisco spirit in your children. You can even follow up with a visit to the Cable Car Museum.
We have given the two prominent places, and now we go to the thrilling part of the things to do with kids. We start with a trapped room. The Real Escape Game, for instance, is one the most puzzling and exciting places among San Francisco kids activities. There are plenty of themed rooms full of puzzles and riddles. This experience will not only excite your kids and test their mental skills, but it’s also an opportune time to bond with each other most amusingly.
Arcade games have been in the spotlight of fun in the 80s. And they are always on the list of things to do in San Francisco. And although we are in the digital age, it doesn’t mean playing antique games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong cannot be fun. If you are one of the kids who have hooked with them before, why not introduce it to your kids. Musee Mecanique is one of the many museums that offer an interactive tour and let you play with their collections. They have a wide array of antique arcade games, and you will never be out of options.
Jumping on a trampoline and playing dodgeball are both fun things to do with kids. But what if you can do both at the same time and do them most satisfyingly? House of Air is full of San Francisco kids activities, from jumping on over 8,000 square feet of trampoline space to weekly leagues of dodgeball. They also offer classes and training for kids if they want to get serious with the art of trampoline jumping or dodgeball.
Pier 39 has always been part of fun things to do in San Francisco. It’s coined as the “Disneyland of San Francisco.” The place is complete with kids attractions, museums, performances, and games. The things to do with kids here include bungee jumping and hopping on a giant trampoline in Frequent Flyers, playing arcade games in Player Sports, going on a puzzling adventure in Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, or riding the classic San Francisco Carousel. It also hosts some of the most visited attractions in San Francisco, like the Aquarium of the Bay, Marine Mammal Centre, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. If you have already visited Pier 39, for sure, you haven’t exhausted all the fun things to do here yet, especially for your kids when they are having fun. It’s always something new.
One of the best things to do in San Francisco is to play sports. If your kids love golf but not old enough to play on a real course, Urban Putt is the place to be. It has 14 holes of putt designed and presented to replicate iconic and legendary San Francisco locations. For parents, the site has a lovely restaurant and bar upstairs. Adults can enjoy some cold beverages and pleasant food. Indeed, it’s a venue for the whole family.
The Julius Kahn Playground and Clubhouse has always been on the list of things to do in San Francisco. It is one of the oldest among kids activities. But it has been rebooted in 2003 and transformed into a “Parisian-style” playground. From then on, it never stops developing fun things to do for children, such as interactive wet sand where they can play sculpture and climbing areas where they can explore and meet new friends. On the other hand, adults can watch their children with relaxation as they engage with the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais’ beautiful scenic view.
Among San Francisco kids activities, going to museums is one of the fascinating fun things to do because your children will undoubtedly enjoy it. At the same time, they will also learn something new. Going to the Children’s Creativity Museum, for instance, is one of the important things to do in San Francisco with kids. It has different hands-on arts and various technology immersion. Kids can create clay creatures, do a stop-motion animation video. There are also thrilling activities, such as participating in the Mystery Box Challenge. For sure, your kids would love this museum—they learn while having fun.
If your kids love Mickey Mouse and all the Disney characters, they will enjoy the Walt Disney Family Museum. Housed in a historic building, the museum is full of sensational things to do with kids. Besides the nostalgic galleries and displays about the different Disney characters and their creator’s life, kids can also immerse themselves with interactive exhibits. They can touch and experience some of the presentations and learn first-hand the early beginnings and progress of Walt Disney and his movies. There are listening stations and over 200 video screens.
You’ll never have enough things to do in San Francisco, especially with their various museums and exhibits. One of the most satisfying kids attractions for children is the Exploratorium. It is known as “A Learning Laboratory.” It features over 600 interactive exhibits that include subjects on engineering, psychology, biology, and geography. Among the best examples of hands-on galleries are the Tactile Dome, where kids go through a pitch-black sphere and rely only on their sense of touch, and the Colored Shadow are, where they can play around with colorful lights.
This next museum on the list of things to do in San Francisco with kids is located on the bay near Sausalito. And even though you have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get there, it will be a worthwhile trip, for sure. Especially for your kids who will love fun things to do in this museum, such as indoor interactive galleries and exhilarating outdoor experiences like gravel pits, spider web installations, and tide pools.
If your kids are Star Wars fans, they will love the Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center. This center serves as the headquarters of Lucas Film. It houses a spread-out public park space that has different statues commemorating George Lucas and his creations. The most iconic part of it is the fountain with a life-sized statue of Yoda. There are also fun things to do in Building B’s lobby, where kids can see some of the Lucas Film memorabilia, such as costumes and props from the Star Wars franchise. There are also public grounds within the vicinity where the whole family can have a nice picnic.
The Golden Gate Park is always on the top of the list of things to do in San Francisco. It houses plenty of kids attractions, beautiful sights, activity centers, and playgrounds. You can find here some of the most famous nature-centered attractions in the city. That includes the colorful Japanese Tea Garden, the magnificent Conservatory of Flowers, the expansive San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the incredible Stow Lake, where you can take a boat ride.
You cannot run out of things to do with kids in this park. It has a spacious facility of learnings called the Academy of Science. You can find here the Steinhart Aquarium, the Osher Rainforest, the Kimball Natural History Museum, and the Morrison Planetarium.
It also hosts the classical playground called the Koret’s Children Quarter that features a vintage carousel originally built-in 1914. The gorgeous merry-go-around has 62 animal figures to ride. But not only that, there are plenty of fun things to doat Koret’s. It has entertaining spaces that your kids will enjoy, like climbing walls, cool slides, and a delightful playground. It also has a vast area of grace for a family picnic.
If your kids are into ships and submarines, there are real ones docked at Pier 45 in Fisherman’s Wharf, and they are open to the public. One magnificent sample is the USS Pampanito, a historic submarine used in six missions during World War II. They transform it into a museum. Now, you can have a complete tour of the inside of a submarine. It’s one of the most exciting things to do in San Francisco because it will rouse both the parents and the kids—a great family bonding time.
Visiting a zoo must always be included in the list of San Francisco kids activities. And if you indeed decide to go to one, San Francisco Zoo must be your first visit. It houses over 1,000 exquisite animals that include big cats, birds of prey species, bears, exotic fowls, and different primates. Aside from animal sightseeing, there are plenty of other things to do with kids inside. One activity you must not miss is riding the Little Puffer. This transportation is a delightful steam train ride through the expansive zoo.
Among the kids attractions, visiting a modern art museum is the most refined one. One famous place like this is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Here, you get to appreciate some of the best present-day paintings and other forms of art. It also hosts traveling exhibitions from other places. After a day tour in this museum, your kids will appreciate the world of arts more.
In your list of fun things to do, don’t miss the Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. In this vintage store, not only that you can buy and eat the best fortune cookie in the world, but you also get to see how they make it. Their factory is open to all, and you get to witness first-hand how they produce cookies in the most classical way you can imagine. Celebrities and known personalities have visited this place, and it is always part of their list of best things to do in San Francisco. And while you are in Chinatown, you can take the opportunity and have a family food trip.
If your kids are into outdoor adventures, going to Muir Woods is one of the best things to do in San Francisco. With this activity, you get to appreciate and wonder the magnificent and gigantic coast redwoods—almost all of them are at least a hundred years old. You can also marvel at the serene Redwood Creek. This place has been federally protected since 1908 and recognized as a National Museum since then.
If your kids are into nature, they will love the Presidio. It offers terrific trails through their magnificent outdoors with perfect Bay Area scenery such as the Marin Headlands and the coastal forest. One of the famous tracks here is called the “The Batteries to Bluffs Trail.” It highlights elevation changes along the western shoreline, where you will be delighted with the scenic view of the glorious bridge and the Marin Headlands.
San Francisco is home to a little bit of everything with so many kids attractions to discover and San Francisco kids activities to enjoy. Its rich history, distinctive character, and scenic landscapes will impress every one of every imaginable taste. Kids of all ages love exploring these areas — family-friendly parks, innovative museums, and beaches too! The list goes on and on, and the bay city always has something to offer to parents looking for things to do with kids.
There are just so many things to do in San Francisco with kids. They will never run short of something to wow, teach, and amaze your kids. The cultural, traditional, and quirky live side-by-side around the bay area makes it one of the best places to go. So, what are you waiting for? Go out with your kids and discover the magnificent San Francisco.
San Francisco offers a wide variety of opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all-year-round! Check out our list of kids resources. Are you looking for more things to do with kids around San Francisco? Browse through our places to go and camps section. If you’re even more curious and seek to learn more about kids’ topics, tips, and guides, check out our blog posts.
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