American Family Adventures: San Francisco With Kids In 48 Hours

Travel-Tips-San-Francisco WITH KIDS-in-48-hours

Let’s start here. Avoid the $30 parking fees and the tourist spots of Fisherman’s Wharf and The Ferry Building like the plague. Can you deal with that? Can you handle saying ‘no’ when people back home ask you if you went to Fisherman’s Wharf? And they WILL ask. Listen, nobody from San Francisco goes there. No one. That’s your clue to skip it. Now let’s go and have some real fun experiencing the real San Francisco with your kids. Here’s how to visit San Francisco with kids in 48 hours and have the time of your lives:

  • Gaze at and walk across the marvelous Golden Gate Bridge, there’s a scenic lookout pull off heading north to Sausalito, just after you drive across the bridge. Park there and walk south toward the city and then back again. Stop, kiss, hug, snap a few pictures and take it all in.
  • Get back in your car and go 10 more minutes to Sausalito, the city of houseboats. Stroll around the small waterfront community with great restaurants, neat shops, and killer views of Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge and the city skyline. Eat at Barrel House or FISH. Or both. 😉
  • Buy a half dozen chocolate iced-old fashions and a handful of cold milks from Bob’s Donuts on Polk St, eat them in your rental car you ‘parked’ illegally across the street.
  • Spend 20 minutes going down the Seward Slides (courtesy cardboard usually provided at the top). There’s free short term parking at the base of the tiny neighborhood park.
  • Keep your kids up late and take a slow drive down Lombard Street when there isn’t a soul around.
  • Wind your way up to the top of the Coit Tower hill in the dark too. Great Bay Bridge views from up there, and that is THE best bridge to see at night.
  • Baseball season? See a Giants game at AT&T Park.
  • Basketball season? Head over the Bay Bridge to watch Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, my man Draymond Green, and the rest of the exciting Golden State Warriors in one of the best home court atmospheres in the NBA.
  • Get a cone of Cherry Garcia from Ben & Jerry’s at the intersection of Haight & Ashbury. It’s the sweetest way to pay your respects.
  • Buy a zine, some beat poetry, a kid’s book from their modest downstairs selection, or some piece of counter-culture literature from City Lights.
  • If you can afford it, splurge for dinner at Blue Stem Brasserie downtown. Order the cheese board, the pork belly appetizer, and the filet mignon. You’re welcome.
  • Walk around Chinatown and find someplace, like Delicious Dim Sum, to order a pork dumpling and some sweet breads. You may have to point and smile, and you might not get a smile back, but you will get some extremely inexpensive and delicious grub for nothing more than the spare change in your back pocket.
  • See if a kindie (kid’s + indie) band is playing somewhere in town, because San Francisco is home to some of the best, including the remarkable Frances England and The Alphabet Rockers.
  • Play in the Alamo Square playground and take a goofy picture of your kids in front of the famed Painted Ladies homes.
  • Ride on a cable car, but only after you first visit the Cable Car Museum. It’s small and free and essential to understanding how the cars work and the role they played in the history of San Francisco. Also, there’s a sweet collection of photographs from before and after the great fire. Oh, and a gift shop if you’re so inclined.
  • Take the Alcatraz tour. It ain’t cheap and yeah, it is touristy I’ll admit but the free audio tour included is rad for all-ages, the views are incredible, the ferry ride enjoyable (with solar panels and wind turbines on board to learn a bit), and the lovely gardens and birds outside offset the heaviness of the cell blocks perfectly. If you call, they offer a family 4 pack of Alcatraz ferry tickets that’s fairly reasonably priced.
  • Have fun in San Francisco with your kids!

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