Family Activities in San Francisco: A Guide

family activities san francisco

There are plenty of family activities in San Francisco! The key is knowing what to look for. You want to make sure everyone in the family has a great time. So, you should find activities that are not only entertaining but are also engaging for family members of all ages. But what makes an activity family-friendly? Let’s break down what it means to be family-friendly, and then we can dive into things for families to do in San Francisco.

Bring the whole family to Eagle Cafe, a historic San Francisco institution known for its breakfast, lunch, and bay views.

Understanding Family-Friendly Activities

Parents have a lot to consider when deciding on which activities would be good for the family! From fun to safety, there are many important components to a family-friendly activity. Here are a few that we think will ensure everyone has a great time.

Variety and Range in Interests

Activities that can cater to a wide range of interests are best. Adults and children will be entertained and engaged by very different things, so considering activities that suit both is ideal. For example, while adults might enjoy learning about history, children enjoy marveling at fascinating exhibits. Instead of taking the kids to a heady historical museum, the family can compromise by going to an interactive science museum like the Exploratorium. That’s a fun San Francisco activities for families!

Accessibility for All

It is important that all members of the family be able to access the activity. Whether you are bringing the grandparents along, disabled family members, or need to consider the needs of children’s age groups, ease of access is crucial. Will all family members be able to participate in the fun?

Consider how you will get to the event: public transportation, walking, by car. Is there parking nearby? Is everyone in the family comfortable walking the required distance to the venue? For younger children, consider stroller-friendly paths to your destination. The less hassle, the more enjoyable the activity will be.

Necessary Breaks

Everyone needs to take breaks, but families have more breaks to consider. Potty breaks, snack breaks, and rest breaks. Does the location have restrooms suitable for the family’s needs? For example, the family may need a diaper changing station or a wheelchair accessible stall. Does the location have seating nearby for snack breaks and rest breaks? Having a place to refuel is essential. Everyone needs to rest their legs every now and then, especially parents who are carrying children!

Learning is Fun-damental

Who says learning can’t be fun? Every moment can be an opportunity to learn something new. The best family activities in San Francisco sneak in learning in entertaining ways. When kids (and adults!) learn something new while also having fun, the experience becomes even more memorable. For example, San Francisco things to do with kids like museums, aquariums, and zoos have plenty of child-friendly and entertaining activities fun for the whole family.

Safety First

Safety is a non-negotiable. This becomes an especially important factor when considering activities for children. Places with clear safety measures like security, lifeguards at pools, and staff trained in first aid can give parents peace of mind. It’s also helpful to consider is the space itself is safe. For example, is a busy road overly accessible to wandering children, or is the space too open to strangers? Knowing the activity is safe will help the family relax and fully enjoy themselves.

Cost Matters

Finally, think of the cost. Families are paying for more than just one or two people–often four or more! Look for activities that offer value for the money spent without compromising on the experience. It’s also helpful when there are family passes, discounts for children or seniors, and free activities for younger kids. It’s about making the most of the activity without breaking the bank.

San Francisco has a diverse array of activities and attractions. In other words, it has many options that can tick all of these boxes! From museums and parks to scenic outdoor spaces, San Francisco is a playground for families of all kinds. Families seeking enriching and inclusive activities are sure to find what they are looking for in this city.

Family Activities in San Francisco

San Francisco has something for every family. With its copious cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, and educational experiences, things to do in SF with kids is easy to find! Here are some of our top recommendations for things to do with family in San Francisco.

Pier 39 sign with drawings of sea lions against a background of the San Francisco hills

Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 39 – Family Activities for San Francisco

PIER 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf isn’t just a place to go–it’s an experience! This bustling waterfront spot is full of activities perfect for the whole family. It is the best way to experience Fisherman’s Wharf’s maritime culture.

  1. Entertainment: Pier 39 is famous for its lively atmosphere. Street performers dazzle families with magic, music, and acrobatics. The pier is also famous for being a place sea lions call home. It is so fun for visitors of all ages to look at them with delight! There is a heart for kids on Pier 39 that you’ll want to take family photos with, too!
  2. Adventures: This pier is also a hub for many boat tours. Families can sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, go whale watching in the Bay, and more. There are plenty of activities on the pier for the whole family, too. From the Aquarium of the Bay to the rides, PIER 39 is sure to entertain.
  3. Dining: Families looking to try classic San Francisco dishes and fresh seafood will love Pier 39. It is full of kid friendly restaurants with a range of price points while serving quality ingredients. For example, try Eagle Cafe, Pier Market Seafood Restaurant and Wipeout Bar & Grill.
  4. Shopping: Pier 39 is a treasure trove for shoppers. It has unique shops and boutiques throughout the pier. It is perfect for finding souvenirs, artisanal crafts, and kids’ toys. Families can enjoy browsing shops together and finding keepsakes that will remind them of their San Francisco adventure.

Important Factors for Families

  1. Accessible: Accessibility is a priority at Pier 39. There are elevators and escalators located at the beginning, middle, and end of the pier. There are also clean restrooms and ample parking in the parking garage across the street. The pier is also easy to find with public transportation – the F line is right out front.
  2. Safety: Families need not worry about safety when at Pier 39. The pier has security guards patrolling the area to ensure a happy and safe experience for all guests.

In essence, PIER 39 offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to the unique needs of families. For locals and tourists alike, PIER 39 is full of things to do with kids in San Francisco.

More San Francisco Kids Activities

There are many more family activities in San Francisco. Here are a few more to consider.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a must-visit place for families in San Francisco. It is full of activities for all ages. From the California Academy of Sciences (which has a planetarium, aquarium, AND a natural history museum!) to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the park is an exciting stop for families. The San Francisco Botanical Garden is over 55 acres and home to over 8,000 species of plants from all over the world. Additionally, it has educational programs for children! Golden Gate Park has a free shuttle for easily moving around the vast space.

Crissy Field

Crissy Field is a favorite for families in San Francisco. The park offers beautiful views of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. And, it has lots of space to picnic, fly kites, and more. Spend quality time as a family in the great outdoors, right in San Francisco.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is open 365 days a year and has more than 2,000 exotic, endangered, and rescued animals on its 100 acres. Moreover, the zoo is home to San Francisco kids activities like historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel, Little Puffer Miniature Steam Train, and more. Check their calendar to witness animal feedings family members of all ages would love!

family activities san francisco

Eagle Cafe – Perfect for Families

Eagle Cafe is located at the entrance of PIER 39. This restaurant is an ideal spot for families exploring San Francisco. This historic eatery has roots tracing back to 1928! It has a menu that caters to all tastes, including a kid’s menu. From breakfast to lunch, Eagle Cafe serves American food with spectacular bay views.

A welcome atmosphere sets Eagle Cafe apart from other restaurants. The staff is friendly and accommodating for families. The casual settings helps families feel comfortable and relax to enjoy their quality time together.

Moreover, Eagle Cafe’s location on the pier makes it the perfect place to have a meal before or after a day of fun family activities. Families can explore the many attractions that make PIER 39 a unique destination.

Eagle Cafe website

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