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Top 5 Things to Do in San Francisco With a Toddler

Robin lives in the bay area and has lived in San Francisco. She has three children that love to explore our beautiful city!

My husband, daughter, and dog at Crissy Field.

My husband, daughter, and dog at Crissy Field.

Visiting the Beautiful Bay Area With Kids

We have a 3½-year-old and 6-month-old. Here is a list of our top five things to do in the city when traveling with children:

  1. Crissy Field
  2. Golden Gate Park and Carousel
  3. California Academy of Sciences
  4. Cable Cars
  5. The Exploratorium

1. Crissy Field Under the Golden Gate Bridge

We love Crissy Field! On a sunny day in SF, I can't think of a prettier place to go. Views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the city abound. Our daughter loves to play in the sand and walk down to "The Warming Hut" for hot cocoa and a cookie.

On the weekend we like to go as a family and bring our dog. Park in the lot closest to the Marina and dogs can play off-leash. We then walk down the flat path to "The Warming Hut" and back. This is a great place to appreciate SF.

Golden Gate Park Carousel

Golden Gate Park Carousel

What toddler doesn't love a carousel? We went to the carousel in Golden Gate Park this weekend and our daughter loved it. It's a really nice carousel and we went on a great walk in the park afterward. A beautiful park is adjacent to the carousel, so bring a picnic and enjoy the day. The Academy of Sciences is a short walk away as well if you are up for more adventure!

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California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

3. California Academy of Sciences

Our daughter loved the aquarium especially the African Penguin feeding. The feeding happens daily at 11 am and 3:30 pm with a biologist giving information. The Academy of Sciences is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out the Academy of Science website for more info.

Academy of Sciences Hours

  • Monday through Saturday 9:30–5:00
  • Sunday 11:00–5:00
Ride a cable car with Alcatraz in the background.

Ride a cable car with Alcatraz in the background.

4. Ride a Cable Car

What toddler doesn't love transportation? Whether it's riding the muni train, a ferry, or a cable car, they are having fun. Our toddler loves just driving down Lombard St, the most crooked street in the world. The cable cars, although touristy, are fun. Kids love to look around, wave at the other passing cable cars, and feel the wind.

As of our family visit, the Exploratorium was located at the Palace of Fine Arts near Crissy Field, SF. It has since moved to Pier 15.

As of our family visit, the Exploratorium was located at the Palace of Fine Arts near Crissy Field, SF. It has since moved to Pier 15.

5. San Francisco Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is an amazing hands-on museum for kids and adults. This science, art, and human perception museum is great for all ages. For older kids, the Texture Dome leads you through a dark room where only touch guides you. (Advanced tickets and reservations are recommended for the Texture Dome; the price of admission is an additional fee.) Bubbles, mirrors, water features, this museum has it all. I highly recommend it.

Note: The Exploratorium has relocated to Piers 15 and 17 on the SF Bay waterfront.

Top Spots for Toddlers in San Francisco

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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