San Francisco turns into a wonderful city for families during the spring and summer. The weather is perfect with sunny skies and beautiful days; it really sets the perfect scene for a family vacation. San Francisco has it allâ€”whether you have teenagers, school kids, or toddlers, there's something for everyone. The options are endless, and I have tried to give you my top five family activities in the city.
Pier 39 is a famous shopping mall located right on a pier beside Fisherman's Wharf. You'll find a lot of restaurants and stores here that won't do much for kids, but there's a lot more to do. You can visit the Aquarium of the Bay which is a great opportunity for kids to learn about animals living in San Francisco Bay, such as octopuses and sevengill sharks. You can also take your kids to the touch pool to touch splash zone animals and bat rays.
You’ll also find sea lions spread throughout which is a great experience for both kids and adults. Pier 39 is also home to a lot of free entertainment. From street performers to the view of Alcatraz towards the end of the pier, it makes a perfect day-long family activity.
Chinatown San Francisco is home to one of the largest Chinese communities excluding Asia. Your family might go through a bit of a culture shock when you explore this wonderful part of the city. The best way to tackle Chinatown is by simply walking right through it, venturing into whatever you find curious. Let your kids observe Dragon Gate, which is the only real Chinatown Gate in all of North America. You can visit the buildings and stores and enjoy Asian dÃ©cor while the Kids can explore places like the Kite Shop.
Families can't miss the Fortune Cookie Factory on Jackson Street, either. Show your kids how fortune cookies are actually made, and then try some fresh ones for yourself! If that gets your appetite going then be sure to munch on some authentic Chinese food.
If you're visiting the city from an inland state, then a trip to the beach is a must. Unfortunately, Californian beaches aren't too warm, sunny and filled with lifeguards and women in bikinisâ€”save all of that for the TV. What you will see, however, is the Pacific Ocean at its best; true beauty that you can't find in any other state. But be warnedâ€”San Francisco beaches are pretty cold. The average temperature around this time of the year hovers around the 60s, so come prepared.
So what makes Ocean Beach the perfect family spot? Well if you look around you'll see the zoo right across the street. You can easily fit in the beach and a visit to the zoo in one dayâ€”although I do recommend getting the zoo out of the way first. If you're at the beach late into the day, enjoy the sunset with your kids over the ocean. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Golden Gate Park
Many of the tourist destinations in San Francisco are also shopping attractions for locals. Every corner holds a store of some sort, and unless they're stalked with electronics or toys, your kids won't be too pleased. This is why Golden Gate Park makes for a nice change of scenery. Spring is the best time to let your kids explore the California Academy of Sciences (at the start of the Park). You'll find all sorts of interesting things here such as the Morrison Planetarium, Steinhart Aquarium, and the Rainforests exhibit.
Continue to the Fine Arts Museum right across the street and then onto the oldest Japanese Tea garden in the States (picture above). Once you're done exploring, jump into a car to witness Spreckels Lake or Stow Lake, and then the elaborate carousel beside the children's playground.
Golden Gate Bridge
People automatically think "Golden Gate Bridge" when they think "San Francisco". No trip to the city is complete without a visit to the grand orange structure standing tall, symbolizing everything that is San Francisco. The 1.7 mile walk across towards Marin County is a perfect family journey. If that's a bit too long, then you can always enjoy the views walking partway, taking photos and then return back.
These are just five of the many activities you can do in San Francisco. The city is never gets old for Californians. A day by the Bay with your kids is another perfect stress-relieving activity. The options are endless. If you're visiting from out-of-state or flying in from abroad then you may have trouble finding affordable accommodation. HotelClub have some great deals running up to the summer on San Francisco hotels, so be sure to check there.