San Francisco is a beautiful city known for The Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and, its cable cars. It's home to some of the most iconic attractions in California which made it the perfect city to Travel to and explore as a family. With so many things to do in one city, planning can be a bit overwhelming, but lucky for you, I've done all the dirty work for you. In this blog I'll include all the resources you need for your next family travel to San Francisco. Details on hotel stay, how to save on some of the best attractions in the city, where to dine, and even a google map for your convenience. We had the best time during our family travel to San Francisco and highly recommend you add San Francisco as your next travel adventure. Ok let's get to it!
Activities To Do In San Francisco
1. Bay City Bike Rentals & Tours
Nothing like exploring the city on bike. Great way to easily stop and go for pictures, avoid any parking fees, and work out a little of the extra indulging we all tend to do while on vacation. Bay City Bike Rentals has all types of bikes available, including bikes for kids and electric bikes. Rental includes helmets and a map. There are 3 different locations but I recommend the following location which is open 7 days a week unlike others. Address: 501 Bay Street. Keep in mind SF does have some uphill streets that might make biking a bit challenging but not impossible. I suggest an upgrade to electric bikes. We didn't but most likely will on our next visit.
2. San Francisco Bay Cruise
We cruised the Bay with Blue and Gold Fleet 60 minute cruise and it was amazing. It's the perfect cruise to see a lot in a short amount of time. We had the opportunity to take unobstructed views of the bridge, sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, saw the famous Pier 39 sea lions, sailed around Alcatraz Island and enjoyed San Franciscos historic waterfront fascinating skyline.
3. The Walt Disney Family Museum
As a Disney loving family we could not visit SF and not visit The Walt Disney Family Museum. On arrival we were quickly immersed into the life of Mr. Walt Disney. His upbringing, failed projects, and all the details of how Mickey & friends came about and everything in between. The museum was highly entertaining even for my 10 year old. It actually exceeded all our expectations. We spent a good two hours learning so many interesting details about the man himself and all the amazing projects that to this day, we all love so much. There were state-of-the-art galleries, memorable artifacts, original artwork, and a spectacular miniature model of Disneyland. Highly recommended!
4. Lyon Street Hearts of San Francisco Sculpture
This is one of the many heart sculptures found throughout San Francisco. You do have to climb a good amount of stairs to get to it but once there it truly is beautiful...The heart, area and views! Keep in mind this sculpture is right by a home and the steps to get to it are used by residents as exercise steps. Just be mindful and respectful when visiting.
Address: 2545 Lyon St, San Francisco CA 94123. This is an approximate address. Head to the end of the street, climb the first set of steps, then climb one more set. Parking is extremely limited. For exact pinpoint location, look at google map link down below.
5. Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Factory
This legendary handmade fortune cookie factory in SF Chinatown has been around since 1962. Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Factory makes up to 10,000 fortune cookies daily. It was a tasty & unique experience, plus we love exploring local gems while traveling. Their fortune cookies are made from scratch & available in unique flavors. Flavors like chocolate, green tea and strawberry. Once inside we were able to see how the cookies are baked fresh on a cast iron rotating griddle wheel and assembled by hand. They are so fast! We even got some unfolded cookies still hot off the griddle. And guess what? You can customize your own fortune inside their cookies with a minimum order of 50 cookies! Expect a line to get inside to order. You will find shop in a small alley and parking is not easy to find BUT it's definitely worth it.
Address: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco CA 94133
You can watch our Video HERE
6. The Painted Ladies
This is one of the most iconic and photographed sights in San Francisco. These pastel-colored homes are a popular tourist attraction specially if you were or are a fan of The American sitcom Full House (1987-1995). The opening sequence of the show features Alamo Square Park with this famous row of Victorian homes in the background, aka "The Painted Ladies". I grew up with this show and introduced it to my daughter, so we knew we had to visit. The view of the city skyline above the homes is beautiful, specially on a clear day like we had. Bring a blanket, pack a lunch and enjoy the parks views in the middle of the city. It's a beautiful view, rest stop, and great spot to snap a picture.
Address: 710 to 720 Steiner Street across from Alamo Square Park, San Francisco CA.
7. Lombard Street
Come enjoy this crooked zig-zag street in San Francisco. Walk or drive down its eight sharp hairpin turns which are surrounded by mansions and perfectly manicured landscaping and flowers. We walked and drove down the street which also makes for a really cool view and picture. Just be respectful of the homes and residents who live on the neighborhood.
8. Fishermans Wharf
It's an absolute must visit. Enjoy the shops, hundreds of different restaurants and the endless views.
Golden Gate Bridge View Points
There are so many great viewpoints but here are some of the ones we enjoyed.
1. Golden Gate Overlook is where 2 tall trees frame the Golden Gate Bridge. It's natures way of framing the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. Parking is free. I suggest going at sunset to get a view like this.
2. Battery Spencer/Marin Headlands is such an ideal location to get a close shot of the bridge. It's a popular area so expect to share this area with tons of tourist, however the area is wide enough so its not a big deal. Parking is free and from parking area you will have to walk uphill just a tad bit to get the shot. I suggest coming during sunset.
3. Crissy Field is an ideal shot if you decided to ride your bike down the Marina bike path. Large open grassy area ideal for picture or picnic, plus you can stop for free.
4. Golden Gate Postcard Viewpoint is another area for a great shot. This area is smaller and also very popular, so expect a bit of a wait if you want to get that perfect shot of yourself with the bridge. This is another area we rode our bike rental to.
How To Save Money On Above Attractions & More
Have you heard of CityPASS ? I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for ways to save money while still being able to do everything on our To Do List while traveling. With one simple purchase, CityPASS allows you to save time and money when booking some of San Francisco's best tourist attractions. Simply make your CityPASS purchase and you'll receive an email to directly choose & book your desired attractions, dates and times. You can choose from 2 different packages, one with 3 or the other with 4 attractions. With either options you are able to save 44%-50% on a package with some of San Franciscos top attractions. Three of our attractions from the list above were booked through CityPASS and it was so easy to do! To see all the attractions available and to compare the 2 CityPASS options, head on over the the website down below
Must Visit Restaurants
We are always excited to try local restaurants when we travel and these below were some of our favorites during our family trip to San Francisco. I've linked all the sites down below for your convenience.
1. Chubby Noodle- The hype on yelp is real! This is an Asian Fusion Cuisine. It's asian with a latin mix. The restaurant is beautiful, great service, fun atmosphere and the food was AMAZING. We ordered several dishes and loved them all but what I'll be craving the most are the Singapore Chile Prawns (possibly THE best chile mix I've ever tasted), Garlic noodles and Wonton soup. We also enjoyed some of their cocktails.
2. Caffe Sport- Found Right next door to Chubby Noodle and another SF must is, Caffe Sport. We walked in to see the menu right after Chubby Noodle and it immediately caught my attention so we decided to come back the very next day. What caught my attention initially was the vibrant and traditional decor. Just the decor alone transported me to Italy. The food was equally fabulous though. My husband and I always joke that our trip to Italy ruined all Italian food outside of Italy but this restaurant was amazing. The dishes were simple but extremely flavorful. Dishes I will be craving until we visit again. This is a MUST!
3. Chowders- Found on Pier 39. It's a quick and affordable stop for some classic clam chowder served on a sourdough bread bowl. Enjoy some chowder and then walk Pier 39 to explore all the shops.
4. Tancca- Great boba tea spot. Clean, fun decor, fast service and very tasty drinks. Great stop for a mid day treat and rest.
Where To Stay
Le Meridien San Francisco is a luxury upscale midcentury modern high-rise hotel located in the heart of San Francisco's financial district. It's perfectly situated to many of San Francisco's main sight seeing attractions and we loved the inviting and chic ambience, and outstanding service. The rooms were spacious, clean, plus look at those views! Waking up to the views with a cup of coffee, was the perfect way to start my mornings. We enjoyed a delicious champagne breakfast in bed, which was delicious, plated beautifully and exactly what we needed to fill up our bellies to continue exploring the city. Le Meridien San Francisco was the perfect hotel stay for our first family trip to San Francisco.
To download a map of all the locations discussed on this blog click on the link down below.
We had a wonderful time exploring the city and hope you'll find this family travel blog helpful in facilitating your San Francisco travel planning. If you enjoyed this blog please feel free to save, share with a friend or leave me a comment.
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Talk to you later!