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Kid-friendly San Francisco
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Kid-friendly San Francisco

At first glance, San Francisco might seem too cosmopolitan and sophisticated to also be kid friendly, but all you have to do is look around and you’ll see kids bounding around the city with their oh-so-chic parents and having a grand time of their own. That’s because San Francisco is a vibrant, multi-cultural melting pot where people of all ages, ethnicities and economic backgrounds come together to enjoy a quirky, exciting place where anything is possible.

Of course, some spots in San Francisco are more kid friendly than others. You might not want to take your wee ones clubbing in the Mission, but you wouldn’t do that at home anyway, would you? But using your own good judgment there are plenty of places to take your littlest of tykes for some fun that aren’t so saccharin the adults in your party won’t enjoy it too. Some of the city’s top picks for kids include:

  • Exploratorium. Located in the Palace of Fine Arts, this experimental, hands-on museum features hundreds of touchable exhibits that will spark their imagination – and yours.

  • Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39. It might not be at the top of most adults’ lists, but with its famous sea lions, carousel and quaint little shops, this is a must-see spot for kids of all ages.

  • Golden Gate Park. An obvious choice, yes – but a timeless one nonetheless. With acres of lakes, grassy fields, playgrounds and more, it’s the perfect spot to eat your lunch and burn off some energy.

  • Cable Cars. Hop on one of the city’s famous cable cars and take a ride across town. Afterward, stop by the Cable Car Museum and get a fun-filled history lesson about this interesting mode of transportation.

  • Chinatown. Another obvious selection, but again – one that’s also fabulous. Walk through the shops, stop for lunch, tour a fortune cookie factory and watch as this bustling neighborhood ebbs and flows.

  • Neighborhood Restaurants. Skip the big chains and get a true taste of San Francisco. From fries at Fritz in Hayes Valley to burritos at Le Faro or La Taqueria in The Mission, with great local restaurants on virtually every corner, there’s no reason to go to the same old restaurants.

  • Point Reyes National Seashore. If you can get your hands on a rental car, take a drive north to Point Reyes. With its gorgeous views, unique plant and animal life and trails for hiking to your heart’s content, it’s a wonderful location for families to explore.

One last tip: If you can find a map of San Francisco that will fit into a small, unlined notebook, you can paste the map into the notebook and use numbers to plot your points of interest. On the pages following the map, write in the corresponding numbers and leave plenty of blank room for the kids to add their own thoughts about the trip, post cards and ticket stubs and they’ll have an instant memory book commemorating their trip!

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