Fun For All Ages
Ready for some fun? The city of rollicking cable cars and kid-centric museums, tours and parks – and, of course, the world famous Fisherman’s Wharf with its endless amusements – has heaps of ways for kids of all ages to get wacky or get down to some serious exploration.
Many of the attractions highlighted in this itinerary are included in San Francisco CityPASS which includes pre-paid admission, saving you 44% or more off. And getting to all these attractions — not to mention Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and other notable sights — is easy with a Muni and Cable Car 7-Day Passport, also included in each CityPASS booklet. It’s like having red carpet, VIP access to all of San Francisco’s greatest hits. CityPASS is perfect for the first-time, next time and every time visitor.
The entry court of the nearby de Young museum, its expansive lobby, café, museum store, sculpture gardens, and 144-foot-high observation deck offering panoramic Bay Area views, are open to visitors free of charge. The museum is noted for its collections of American art from the 17th through 21st centuries, textile arts and costumes, contemporary art, and art from the Americas, the Pacific, and Africa.
Lines tend to be shorter in the morning so opt for a cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf. Make sure you take a look right at Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world, for a breathtaking view of the Bay.
No need to tell the kids the next stop is a museum. At the Exploratorium on Pier 15, children and adults are encouraged to touch and play their way through the more than 600 science, nature, art and technology exhibits. Hint: Streetcars are often at capacity coming from the Wharf area and it may be easier to check with the Exploratorium for a recommended bus route or plan on walking back to the Ferry Building and enjoy some yummy cupcakes from Miette, a scoop of gelato or check out the farmers market on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The samples are great and kids get a first hand lesson on the merits of farm-to-table fare.
The California Academy of Sciences, which opened Sept. 27, 2008, combines inventive architecture and eye opening exhibits to inspire visitors to explore and protect the natural world. A museum for the 21st century, the Academy includes an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and scientific research facilities under one roof — a living one at that.
Follow the sounds of barking sea lions to PIER 39, where you can sail the bay on one of PIER 39's many water attractions, discover 20,000 local sea creatures at Aquarium of the Bay and more. Enjoy free daily shows by local street performers and musicians or explore a variety of attractions exclusive to The PIER.
This behind-the-scenes tour of AT&T Park takes you to places only the players and staff go including the dugout, an indoor batting cage, the press box and the field warning track. Little sluggers will enjoy these 90-minute excursions to where one of baseball’s most hallowed franchises plays. And be sure to allow enough time to visit the Giants Dugout Store. Batter up!
Located in a historic building in the Presidio, the Walt Disney Family Museum honors the remarkable life story of Walt Disney, who raised animation to an art and created an American legacy. Enjoy daily screenings of Disney classics, a scale model of Disneyland, and contemporary interactive exhibits.
The world-famous Madame Tussauds wax figure museum lets guests get up close and personal with their favorite stars from entertainment, politics, sports and more. Visit with incredibly life-like celebrities, including Bay Area icons, like Steph Curry and Janis Joplin. Madame Tussauds provides a complete fun and interactive experience for everyone. And check out The San Francisco Dungeon next door for a journey through the city history's darker side with live action and special effects. (Note: The San Francisco Dungeon is not recommended for children under 10)
Pop in to Ghirardelli Square (pronounced Gear-ah-dell-e) to stock up some chocolate-covered snacks. When it’s time for lunch; there are loads of opportunities for a classic clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl or a walk-away shrimp cocktail.
The landmark Cliff House is nearby and a good spot to refuel before heading home for a warm bath and a bedtime story.
If your return route puts you back downtown hop out and head down Third Street for a visit to Yerba Buena Gardens and Metreon. Dinner here is sure to please everyone, with eateries offering everything from juicy burgers and burritos to Japanese noodles and roasted chicken.