Out with the Kids: Things you can do in San Francisco with Family

7 mins read

San Francisco is home for a little bit of everything for every kid and kid at heart to enjoy. As you pass through the Golden Gate Bridge to enter the heart of Northern California, you’re in for a treat of science, art, and nature. 

Explore science

Explore your inner young Sheldon Cooper (and the rest of the gang) as you sing “Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries…“. Here are the must-visit places that will surely make educational trips more fun for you and your kid!


Pier 15, Embarcadero & Green St.

San Francisco, CA 94111


Enjoy science at your fingertips here at the San Francisco Exploratorium with great interactive exhibits and demonstrations. There is a large variety of learning and hands-on activities that kids can try like stepping inside a tornado or even building their own electrical circuits. While science labs can sure look a bit intimidating with all the white lab coats and experiments, it can also be casual, cool, and fun! Even adults will surely have a great time here!

California Academy of Sciences

 55 Music Concourse Dr. 

San Francisco, CA 94118


San Francisco is home of eclectic architectures and this is undeniably also one of the city’s prized attractions. Sitting inside is one of the largest museums of natural history in the world with over 46 million specimens. It also houses an aquarium, planetarium, and a four storey rainforest. It’s also easy to get here as it’s located in the Golden Gate Park. 

Engage in art

Let you and your kids’ creativity bloom as you indulge yourself in the magic of San Francisco. Take a walk down imagination lane with these must-visit places. 

Walt Disney Family Museum 

104 Montgomery St, 

San Francisco, CA 94129


One way or another, a Walt Disney film has truly touched your heart and visiting this museum which pays tribute to the works – from the first animations to unrealized projects – and legacy of the man himself is a good way to spend your time in San Francisco. It is located in The Presidio of San Francisco, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center

1 Letterman Dr.

San Francisco, CA 94129


Also located inside the Presidio, the Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center is home to the props, memorabilia, and costumes from the Star Wars film. Fans of the movie series will surely have a great time taking endless photos here with life-size Yoda, Darth Vader, and Boba Fett statues. There’s also a large meadow with “a creek-fed lagoon, 500 trees, shrubs, and ample walkways and sitting areas” which not only offer as a resting place with scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts but also as ideal spots for picnics. 

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus Ave. 

San Francisco, CA 94133


Go ahead and feed your inner bookworm self with pages and pages of books in world literature, arts, progressive politics, and selected titles related to San Francisco culture provided by the nonprofit City Lights Foundation. This bookstore founded in 1953 has been an icon in the literary world here in San Francisco. Additionally, it’s the first all-paperback bookstore in the US and also the birthplace of the Beat movement which had a significant impact in American culture and society by setting precedent to activism and anti war movement. 

Experience nature

In a jungle of urban lights and tall buildings, it’s easy to get lost in bricks and walls but San Francisco is also a perfect place to take a walk or a hike and reconnect with Mother Nature. 

Muir Woods

Mill Valley

San Francisco, CA 94941


There is no bad time or day to go here and take a relaxing walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy the magical woods filled with gigantic old growth coastal redwoods cooling their roots in the Redwood Creek. This primeval forest is a federally-protected national monument since 1908 which serves both as “refuge and laboratory, revealing our relationship with the living landscape”. 

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes Station

San Francisco, CA 94956


This is the perfect escape for those who are called by the seas. It’s both a natural sanctuary with its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges” and a human haven which preserved “a tapestry of stories and interactions of people”. The drive out here also offers an absolutely stunning view of the coastline along the Pacific Ocean. Aside from that, it is highly recommended to take a visit to the park’s lighthouse. 

Everything in San Francisco

Aside from these wonderful attractions, you can also take your time to relax and have fun at Pier 39 which is basically a two storey shopping mall with gorgeous views of the famous Alcatraz Island (which you can visit via Pier 33) and the Golden Gate Bridge. While this place may have gotten a bad reputation from locals, it’s a definite must-see for any tourist. After all, it also has its own colony of sea lions!

Another fun thing to try here is to ride the iconic cable car! These iconic San Francisco cable cars built 150 years ago and designated as national historic landmarks have been in all sorts of movies and photographs so you should not miss a chance to ride one. There are three lines you can hop on and if you have the time, try all of them!

Explore science. Engage in art. Experience nature. Everything in San Francisco. 

Thomas Lake

Resident tech nerd for the SF Times.