Best of San Francisco
The last stop of our family road trip through California! If you’ve never been to San Francisco, you really must go. We came here on our babymoon when I was pregnant with Olivia and knew we would bring our kids back one day. So here’s our favorite things to show your kids in San Francisco!
Muir Woods. One of my favorite walking trails we’ve ever visited! Definitely do not miss this on your visit. The scenery is gorgeous and the kids will love seeing all of those huge trees, and especially the ones they can stand in. There’s enough stroller friendly trails that it’s well worth it for kids of all ages. There is a small café here if you plan to be here during meal time.
Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39. This area is the heart of San Francisco’s tourism. Here you’ll find plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants in every price point, a small playground and carousel, sea lions, and wonderful views of Alcatraz and the San Francisco bridge/bay. Get a table by the window at Fog Harbor and then grab a bag of donuts at Trish’s downstairs for dessert! Alcatraz & bay tours leave from the wharf, but reservations can book up months in advance, so take that into consideration when making your plans. We visited Alcatraz back in 2013 before kids and loved it!
The sea lions! As mentioned above, the sea lions are on Pier 39 but are so cool, they get their own paragraph. Kids could watch these sea lions interact with each other all day! They are loud and very entertaining! There are bleacher style seats available in case you need a break from all the walking you’re sure to do here.
Side story: we had been singing “Old MacDonald” with Olivia earlier that day, so when we got to the sea lions she asked, “mommy, where are the cows & pigs?”
Golden Gate Bridge. Definitely take the time to walk or drive on it, just so you can fully grasp how big it is! You will be able to catch views of it from around town, but nothing like what you’ll see when you’re up close. The north side of the bridge has some pretty awesome views, as well as Crissy Field & Land’s End on the south side. These spots are awesome for the kids to have some playtime with the bridge making a nice background for all of your photos!
Sausalito. Just 20 minutes from Muir Woods, and on the way back to San Francisco, is this amazing little town that you will quickly fall in love with. Try to grab a table for lunch at Napa Valley Burger Co and sit outside. There are plenty of little shops & souvenir stores, and a great grassy area to chase dogs & birds in! On a clear day, you can see the entire San Francisco skyline across the bay, with plenty of sailboats coming in & out of the Sausalito marina.
Painted Ladies. As you probably know, this colorful row of Victorian homes are shown in the intro for Full House, so I always wanted to visit them and we finally did! We even got to take a picture with a dog that looks like Comet – He lives in the blue one! There is a playground there with great views of San Francisco too. Colorful townhomes can be found all over the city, but this particular row seems to be the most popular.
Ghirardelli Square. With free samples at every entrance, need I say more?! This chocolate is so amazing and well worth ordering something off the menu – we tried a brownie sundae and it was delish! There are a few places to order treats, but the least crowded is at the bottom of the square, just across the street from the bay.
Other recommendations: Howard’s Café for a local’s breakfast, The Buena Vista for breakfast with a view, ride a trolley car, rent a GoCar, visit Lombard Street, shopping in Union Square. The list can go on, but these are a few other highlights that we’ve done from previous trips and would love to do them again with the girls someday!
Breakdown of costs in San Francisco:
Priceline Hotel (Hilton Fisherman’s Wharf) for 4 nights, plus taxes & parking: $1,430
Entry to Muir Woods: $12
Meals & Groceries: $342
Trolley car toy souvenirs: $11
Ghirardelli Brownie: $19
City parking fees: $25
Four day total: $1,844