Visiting San Francisco with kids can be really fun if you know the right places to go. Our list of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids outlines the top kid-friendly parks, interesting museums, and some outdoor spaces that kids and their parents will love.
There’s a huge list of fun things to do in San Francisco, from exploring pier 39, to playing in Golden Gate Park, to experiencing the Redwood forests of the Muir National Monument. If you are looking for a more complete list of activities, check out our 30 best things to do in San Francisco. Or, if you’re on a budget, then browse our 21 Free Things to do in San Francisco.
Looking for nightlife options? Check out our 10 best things to do in San Francisco at night.
1. Pier 39
A Classic tourist destination along the San Francisco waterfront, Pier 39 is a hotbed of activity, from shopping, dining, and historical landmarks, to fun street performers entertaining the crowds. There are also hundreds of sea lions that are resting on the docks along the edge of the pier and are themselves a popular attraction along this exciting promenade.
This a fun and family-friendly destination and we’d recommend this as one of the top things to do in San Francisco with kids.
2. Muir Woods National Monument
For an escape from the noise of the city to experience some serene forest trails and peaceful views, be sure to visit the Muir Woods National Monument. Just a short drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge, this 240 acre ancient Redwood tree forest can feel very mysterious and solemn as it’s often shrouded in the dense coastal fog.
Named after John Muir, the famous California explorer and conservationist, this area is perfect for hiking and picnicking, and in the peak summer months of April to October, it sees as many as 6,000 visitors per day.
Housing over 600 fascinating exhibits, the Exploratorium is located on pier 15 along the San Francisco waterfront and offers a fun time for the whole family. Opened originally in 1969, this groundbreaking science museum has been called “A Mad Scientists Arcade” because of its many mind-bending exhibits that focus on the physics of listening and seeing, magnetism, and electricity among many others.
We’d highly recommend visiting the Exploratorium if you have children – You can spend lots of time here without getting bored.
4. Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park is a truly massive urban park in the heart of San Francisco that is spread of 1,000 acres and is the third most visited city park in America. With many lakes, event venues, museums, and an extensive botanical garden. For another top thing to do in San Francisco with kids, we’d recommend this beautiful park.
A true breath of fresh air for residents and visitors of SF, we’d highly recommend spending some time exploring the many attractions that Golden Gate Park offers.
5. Oracle Park
If you love baseball, or just want to experience one of the most scenic baseball stadiums on the West Coast, then you need to visit Oracle Park. Home the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team, this breathtaking stadium is located right on the waterfront in the South Beach neighborhood of SF and you get an awesome view of the San Francisco bay.
If you want to experience one the most celebrated sporting events in SF, then we’d recommend you check out the Oracle Park events calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
6. Powell & Hyde Cable Car
Known as the last manually operated cable cars in the world, the San Francisco cable cars are a fun way to get around town. The cars are pulled along by a cable that runs underneath the street and the cars run at a consistent 10 miles per hour. Originally built in 1890, this historical mode of transportation has been and remains an important and iconic part of the San Francisco culture.
Riding the cable cars up and down the hilly streets of SF is a truly fun thing do in San Francisco and we’d recommend taking the cable car from Downtown over to Fishermans Wharf.
7. Aquarium of the Bay
For another great thing to do in San Francisco with kids, and to be immersed in the mysterious underwater world, you should check out the Aquarium of the Bay. This large aquarium houses over 700,000 gallons of tank space and sees nearly 1 million visitors each year. The main attraction is an amazing clear underwater tunnel called “Under the Bay”, where you are moved on a moving walkway through the heart of one of the largest tanks featuring thousands of sea animals.
8. Koret Playground
Visiting San Francisco with Children and want to know what park is the best? Well, Koret park just might be the most fun park in the city, with extensive play equipment, large grassy area, picnic tables, and the main attraction – a long slide that’s built into the surrounding hillside. This park is the top-rated park in San Francisco for kids, so we’d highly recommend a visit.
9. Land’s End Trail
Land’s End trail is a mainly short walking trail meanders along the beautiful cliffs and ends up at a scenic overlook with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Along this trail, you can see a mysterious rock labyrinth, and the ruins of the curious Sutro Baths.
To experience a bit of San Francisco nature without too much effort, the Land’s End trail is a great option.
10. San Francisco Boat Tour
For a unique perspective on San Francisco, we’d recommend booking a San Francisco boat tour, of which there are many. You can take a boat tour that showcases the Golden Gate bridge, or a boat tour around the harbor area, or even a boat tour out to Alcatraz Island.
Since San Francisco is surrounded by water, this is a really fun way to explore the city from a broader perspective.
11. San Francisco Zoo
If you are visiting San Francisco with kids, then you’ll want to add the San Francisco zoo to your list of things to do. Spread over 100 acres, this zoo has many great exhibits where you can see over 1000 different animals.
For an easy thing to do with kids in San Francisco, we highly recommend spending time at the San Francisco Zoo.
12. Ghirardelli Square
If you love chocolate, then you’ll need to visit Ghirardelli Square. As the site of the original headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, this area on the San Francisco waterfront has turned into a lively area that has many great shops, restaurants and a 5-star hotel.
We’d recommend a visit to the Ghirardelli flagship store inside the square to browse the largest selection of chocolate around.