If you are thinking about what to do in San Francisco with Family you are in the right place. Here is a list of mostly outdoors and free things to do in the City when you decide to visit it.
1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
Walking on the Golden Gate Bridge didn’t hit me at first as a fun thing to do. However, you can’t see as much of the bridge or views when you drive through it. I can’t believe I haven’t done this before. I finally did it and it was awesome! We didn’t bring the kids as we wanted some alone time, just the two of us on our anniversary. It is very cold (remember it is pretty much always cold in San Francisco) and it can be foggy as well. We got lucky and got some open blue sky in our way across, but the weather grew colder on our way back.
It is a fun walk and not too long – about 4 miles there and back. The Golden Gate Bridge is a stunning piece of architecture that runs for almost two miles connecting the city Of san Francisco with Marin County. It took many years for this bridge to get built and after many years of struggle and opposition, it opened to the public in 1937 as the longest suspension bridge on the world. Of course, that was many years ago but It is amazing to walk on this piece of history.
2. Visit the cable car museum
This museum is free to access. What you find in this museum are the actual wheels that pull the cables which move the cars on the street. Consider it as a working museum. It contains lots of historical facts about cable cars and different little exhibits about the San Francisco cable car system, and of course a little souvenir shop. The kids were mesmerized.
Location: 1201 Mason Street near the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco
3. Take a cable car
Of course after visiting the cable car museum you have to take the cable car. You can wait in line for around 45 minutes (cable cars leave every 10 minutes or so) to get good seats or try on the cable car. The other choice is to jump on a car on the street, but you may not find enough space for everyone or find seats, and it is a bit risky for kids. However, the pros are you don’t need to wait very long, and you can have the cable car experience of hanging off the side.
4. Check out Union Square
Beautiful Union Square has a skating rink during the winter months besides so many great stores and decorations. A must-see for sure! There’s so much amazing shopping right there – an Apple Store, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Sak’s 5th Avenue, and so many more. It’s an incredible place just to gawk if nothing else.
5. Explore Chinatown and visit the Golden Gate Cookie Factory
Walking around Chinatown is fun. My little one told me “I feel like I am in China”. People speaking in Chinese and so many signs written in beautiful Chinese script.
Most people don’t know this but fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco. At the Golden Gate Fortune cookie company, you get to see how they make them. A taste of warm crispy and hot off the press fortune cookies are included. Turns out that fresh fortune cookies taste amazing! They also sell a variety of specialty fortune cookies you won’t find anywhere else, such a cool treat and fun gift.
The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is located on 56 Ross Alley in San Francisco.
Although this place is not cheap by any means, it is worth it for kids with so much to see and touch. This is not just a museum it is a unique place that is even fun for adults because it lets you explore how the world around you actually works.
The Exploratorium has science, technology, and art with lots of interactive exhibits with explanations alongside dealing with mathematics, physics, biology, and more. It is also a showcase of environmental sustainability efforts as part of its goal to become the largest net-zero museum in the country.
It is usually crowded during weekends but it is a great place for families. It is located on Green St, Pier 15, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111
For more information visit https://www.exploratorium.edu
7. Climb Coit Tower
This is a place that I just visited for the first time and I strongly recommend it to you. We choose to walk there from the Exploratorium and we took the stair from the bottom of the hill. It was a pretty insane climb. Of course, the kids were way ahead of us and climbed those stairs like monkeys in a tree. Not the same for us adults for sure but it was a great exercise after the Thanksgiving dinner food coma.
Once we were on the top we got an amazing view of the Bay Bridge and pretty much all of San Francisco. To my surprise, the kids had a blast chasing a mouse that was running around the lobby!!! After the commotion that it caused we started the line for the elevator. You can’t take the stairs only the elevator, and it costs $9 per adult and $6 per kid. While you are waiting in the hall for the elevator, there are beautifully painted murals from the 1930s that tell San Francisco’s history.
The line for the elevator lasts about 10 minutes or so and admits 8 people per elevator. Once we got in the top the view was breathtaking as you can see.
Coy Tower is located 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94133 for more information go to https://sfrecpark.org/destination/telegraph-hill-pioneer-park/coit-tower/
8. Chill out in North Beach
The North Beach neighborhood is adjacent to Chinatown and it is known as San Francisco’s Little Italy.
Here you will find great Italian pastries, gelato, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars and it is close to the Financial District. In this neighborhood, you can also find the world-famous City Light BookStore. This iconic, must-visit bookstore is an independent bookstore that specializes in world literature, politics, and art. It was Founded in 1963. It is a cultural trip especially for those who have their world view shaped by Fox News. 🙂 Located at 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133.
I hope you find this helpful! Now go on and enjoy some good family-friendly places in San Francisco.