10 Best San Francisco Adventures for Kids of All Ages

The words "San Francisco" might not immediately bring "kid-friendly activities" to mind, but, with a little imagination and determination, you and your whole family can uncover a treasure trove of fantastic activities. Sure, at first glance, this city is a dense urban area dedicated to adult activities like dining and dancing. But San Francisco's own resident parents have pushed for more kid-friendly activities and accommodations in recent years, such as the enormous, theme-parkish children's playground in the Mission. And, let's face it, California has always been a playland for kids of all ages.

San Francisco has always offered fun family activities like enjoying Italian ices while walking the hills of North Beach or spotting a zebra at San Francisco Zoo. And since San Francisco has one of the greatest percentages of "green areas" of any city in the US, you're never too far from a welcome patch of grass for kids to run and run and run so they will sleep and sleep and sleep when get back to the hotel. Whether it's Golden Gate Park, Buena Vista Park, or the long stretches of Ocean Beach, if all else fails you can simply rely on California's gorgeous natural landscape that both kids and adults can appreciate together.

Photo courtesy of used in book.


During Alcatraz's 34 years as a prison, most of its inmates were simply high-risk escapees and troublemakers. Still, the prison plays strongly in national memory thanks to infamous residents like Al "Scarface" Capone and Robert "Birdman" Stroud....  Read More

Touchstone Climbing
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


If the hills of San Francisco weren't enough to poop the kids out, head to Touchstone Climbing in the Mission and let them literally climb the walls. Walls for every age and capability are available, with helpful instructors for those weak-kneed...  Read More



No matter your age, you can't take a trip to San Francisco without visiting Fisherman's Wharf. Like the cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf is quintessential San Francisco. It's often the first destination for tourists, and...  Read More



One of the best "default" activities for kids and adults in San Francisco is to explore Golden Gate Park. You can make a full day or it by walking through the park, stopping for paddle boat rides, viewing the famous bison, and enjoying snacks...  Read More

Mission Dolores Park
Photo courtesy of nguy1


For years, Mission Dolores Park was simply the heart of the Mission district, offering wonderful views of downtown and lots of space for San Francisco hipsters to play frisbee and enjoy a late afternoon beer. This is a true city park: often...  Read More



If the kids have been on their very best behavior and deserve a real treat, take the time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum. This premium stretch of real estate just below Sausalito and right on the bay has...  Read More

Yuerba Buena Gardens
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy


How many times have you taken the kids on a trip and found yourself stuck downtown, surrounded by nothing but adult-centered activities? Yuerba Buena Gardens is the San Francisco city cure for that dilemma. Not only does Yuerba Buena offer large...  Read More



The Exploratorium believes the fundamental childhood traits of being playful and curious should be fostered for a lifetime. Founder Frank Oppenheimer believed in intertwining art and science to make learning attractive and memorable through...  Read More

Ghirardelli Square


Ghiradelli Square might just be the best example of an adult-friendly and a child-friendly San Francisco activity. For the adults, Ghirardelli Square is the place to go when you're seeking top-tier San Francisco malls. The open-air complex...  Read More



What says family better than Walt Disney? While this Walt Disney attraction can't offer roller coaster rides like Disney World and Disneyland, it can offer an engaging education for the entire family. Some of permanent exhibits include the...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom