10 times out of 10, when given a choice (…side note, this scenario is rare) I will choose to see the ocean on vacation. Being by the water is something I need in life and seeing my kids love it makes me so happy. Cities and towns by the ocean have a different vibe to them, am I right? That vibe happens to be mine, too.
San Francisco is an incredible place to visit with kids. There is absolutely no shortage of parks, museums, events and sightseeing that kids might find entertaining. Luckily, they are all things that parents like, too. I recently took my 2 year old and my almost-1 year old to San Francisco to visit family…on my own…and was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to stay happy and keep the little ones content as well. Check out our favorites:
- Curiodyssey at Coyote Point in San Mateo. This is a hands-on science museum where kids of any age (really) get to do different science experiments with all kinds of materials: magnets, air, water, mirrors, etc. In addition to the exhibits inside is an outside area devoted to animal exhibits. Badgers, raccoons, bobcats, eagles, birds, butterflies, snakes, otters and others live in spaces that visitors can peek in at. Catch the bobcat feeding at 1:00 for a really great explanation of the animals, why they are there, what they eat, how they live and other interesting facts. There is also a great gift shop and snack shop making it easy to have an all-day adventure.
2. Magical Bridge Playground – If you are anywhere near Palo Alto and have an hour or more to kill, you have to visit this playground. It’s a socially inclusive play area designed to meet the needs of all children of all abilities. Children in wheelchairs (or adults in wheelchairs of course!) can access any and all parts of the playground and take advantage of each feature. It was designed and constructed with every child in mind: those with disabilities (both physical and those that cannot be seen such as autism or sensory processing disorders) and those without. There is literally something for everyone here and something for every age and developmental level.
3. Various Community Events – Renegade Craft Fair – We hit the jackpot when we were in town because so was the Renegade Craft Fair, a collection of artists who come together for a weekend show. Basically, every great Instagram shop on the West Coast. Everything from jewelry to furniture to watercolor prints to clothing. It is held at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion which also happens to be an incredible ‘walk-around’ spot for adults and kids alike if there isn’t a show inside. From the edge you can see the Golden Gate Bridge to the left and Alcatraz to the right. We saw sailboats and swimmers (brrrr) and played at the park, too. It’s definitely a place to visit with kids or without.
4. Half Moon Bay – drive to Half Moon Bay and hang out on one of the most beautiful beaches on the West Coast. There were very few people there when we were, and although it’s a bit of a hike down it’s definitely doable (even with a couple kids in tow) and absolutely worth it.
5 – Kabuki Theater -Sundace Cinemas has a location in downtown San Francisco that is so much fun and worth taking your kids to see a show. At Kabuki Theater, you can enjoy Humphry Slocombe ice cream (may I suggest the “secret breakfast?”) or a fantastic meal. Or stick to the traditional popcorn and candy. At 21+ shows (several are shown a day) you can take any drinks in that you purchase, including full wine bottles. Now, explain to me how that can get any better?