Explore San Francisco

Things to Do With Kids in San Francisco

San Francisco, a city that's rumored to have more dogs than children, isn't likely the first place that comes to mind when planning a family vacation. For one, pushing a stroller up the famously steep hills is not for the faint of heart. And there's no denying that many visitors come to indulge in the cutting-edge food and drink scene and unabashedly off-color entertainment.

Yet in this city rife with green open spaces and surrounded by glorious natural splendor, families with children of all ages will find more than enough activities to fill a trip, from world-class science museums and sprawling parks to antique carousels and gigantic playgrounds. A community spirit abounds for those who seek it—major cultural institutions like the Museum of Craft and Design, the de Young Museum and the Presidio Officers' Club regularly host kids-only activities, and the warmer months bring festivals like Sunday Streets, where vehicle traffic in neighborhoods throughout the city is temporarily re-routed to accommodate a pedestrian-only, family-friendly block party.

And for some children, even San Francisco itself can feel like an adventure park, with its cable cars, sea lions at Pier 39, sailboats dotting the bay, historic ships on Hyde Street Pier, colorful Chinatown, colossal redwoods and famous chocolate shops. If you're looking for a quick way to score tickets to San Francisco's top destinations, CityPASS offers admission to the most popular attractions at a reduced rate, rolled into one ticket price.

Children's Creativity Museum

This hands-on, multimedia arts and technology experience for kids of all ages is located in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood. The museum promotes 21st century skills—creativity, communication and collaboration—to inspire new ideas and a spirit of invention.

The San Francisco Zoo

A vast array of wildlife awaits at this facility near the far edge of Ocean Beach. The attractions include a children’s petting zoo and a lemur forest.

Hyde Street Pier

Home of the world’s largest collection of historic ships, Hyde Street Pier offers regular ranger-guided tours and hands-on demonstrations. View 19th and 20th century historic square-riggers, schooners, ferryboats and tugs.

Golden Gate Park

Bigger than New York's Central Park and encompassing over 75,000 trees, this horticulturally diverse urban oasis is home to countless attractions, including the de Young Museum; California Academy of Sciences; Japanese Tea Garden; Botanical Gardens; Stow Lake; Conservatory of Flowers; Garden of Shakespeare's Flowers; two hist

California Academy of Sciences

The academy is an international center for scientific education and research and the only museum in the world to house an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum under one (living) roof. See what’s shaking at “Earthquake,” an exhibit exploring how seismology has shaped earth's past and present.


On a spectacular waterfront location on Pier 15, this educational center offers an array of interactive scientific exhibits and hands-on displays that stimulate the senses and minds of the young and old alike. Ongoing: “After Dark,” the Exploratorium's 18-and-up event from 6-10 pm on the first Thursday of the month features c

Sea Lion Center

The sea lions that hang out at the docks by Pier 39 have become a world-famous tourist attraction, getting millions of visitors each year.

House of Air

Jump to your heart's content at this expansive indoor trampoline park, located in an airplane hangar in the Presidio. The park includes large trampoline decks with trampoline walls and a children's bounce house.

Mission Dolores Park

This generous square of grass on the Mission District’s west side is a great place to soak up some sun on most days and an even better place to get a glimpse of real San Francisco culture. Kids play on the monster playground, dogs romp together and adults in couples and groups lounge on the grass with picnics.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Located in Marin County, this award-winning interactive learning center is designed for children up to age 10. "Lookout Cove" allows children to play outdoors on interactive iconic Bay Area landmarks while they can design and create hi-tech projects in the "Fab Lab." 

Yerba Buena Gardens

The Yerba Buena Gardens offer nine different types of gardens, ranging from a butterfly garden to a children’s learning gardens. Other features include a center for the arts, a carousel, an MLK memorial, an ice-skating rink and bowling center, plus child care facilities.

Lafayette Park Playground

The playground in the 11-acre park features climbing structures, metal slides, an orange spinning ride, swings, rubberized ground and other imaginative play spaces. Located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, the park also offers sweeping views of the city and bay.