San Francisco with Kids
On the Move
Adventure Cat sailing. Them: playing on the trampoline at the bow of this 55-foot catamaran. You: enjoying a drink and the bay sunset on the stern deck.
Cable cars. This one's a no-brainer. But don't miss the Cable Car Terminus at Powell and Market Streets, where conductors push the iconic cars on giant turntables, and the Cable Car Museum, where you can see how cable cars work.
F-line trolleys. Thomas the Tank Engine fan in tow? Hop on one of the F-line's neat historic streetcars. Bonus: this line connects other kid-friendly sights, like Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and the San Francisco Railway Museum.
Sneak in Some Culture
Mission District murals. Kids can appreciate the colorful murals in the Mission's alleys and on buildings, especially if you follow it up with a meal at one of the area's excellent eateries.
Walt Disney Family Museum. Older children may appreciate the videos and displays about the life and times of the man behind Mickey Mouse, including a detailed model of Disneyland.
Stern Grove Festival. Enjoying a delicious picnic in a eucalyptus grove, your kids might not even complain that they're listening to—gasp—classical music (or Latin jazz or opera).
The Great Outdoors
Aquatic Park beach. Does your brood include a wannabe Michael Phelps? Then head to this popular beach, one of the few places around the city where it's safe to swim. Many other Bay Area beaches have powerful currents that make swimming dangerous.
Golden Gate Promenade. If your kids can handle a 3.3-mile walk, this one's a beauty—winding from Aquatic Park Beach, through the Presidio, to Fort Point Pier near the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Muir Woods National Monument. If these redwood trees look tall to you, imagine seeing them from 2 or 4 feet lower.
Stow Lake. When feeding bread to the ducks gets old, rent a rowboat or pedal boat at this Golden Gate Park favorite.
Just Plain Fun
Dim sum. A rolling buffet from which kids point and pick—likely an instant hit during a break on a Chinatown stroll.
Fisherman's Wharf, Hyde Street Pier, Ghirardelli Square, and Pier 39. The phrase "tourist trap" may come to mind, but in this area you can clamber around old ships, snack on chocolate, and laugh at the sea lions.
Musée Mécanique. How did people entertain themselves before PlayStation (or TV)? Come here to find out.
Oracle Park. Emerald grass, a hot dog in your hand, baseball . . . and suddenly, you're 10 again, too.
San Francisco Zoo. Between Grizzly Gulch, Lemur Forest, and Koala Crossing, you can make a day of it.
Yerba Buena Gardens. Head here for ice-skating, bowling, a carousel, a playground, and the Children’s Creativity Museum, a hands-on arts-and-technology center.
Learn a Thing or Two
California Academy of Sciences. Penguins, free-flying tropical butterflies, giant snakes . . . what's not to like?
Exploratorium. Hands-on children's creativity museum.