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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco with kids is a wonderful adventure, and it’s in Travel For Kids’ own "backyard." It's an ocean city, and you're never far from the San Francisco Bay. Just a few of our favorite things to do with kids in San Francisco are watching the sea lions back on the docks at Pier 39, stroll down the Embarcadero, go fly a kite with kids at Marina Green, take a ride on the cable cars. And a climb to the top of Coit Tower in San Francisco with kids makes them feel like they’re on the top of the world.

San Francisco Photo Album
  Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39
Golden Gate Bridge & Marina
    Chinatown
    North Beach
    City Center Union Square and Nob Hill
    The Embarcadero
    South of Market St. – Yerba Buena Gardens
    Mission District
Japantown
Golden Gate Park
Greater San Francisco
Marin County - Muir Woods
exploratorium san francisco
 

Tip: A visit to the new Exploratorium on the Embarcadero is a "must see" with kids. Our short video is just a preview of tons of hands-on activities everyone in the family will enjoy:

(Tip: Use your San Francisco CityPass.)

   

San Francisco is famous for its cable cars, but it also has historic streetcars, the F line. From the city center, pick up the streetcars on Market Street, ride down Market to the Ferry Building, along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf.

   

Tip: In summer, pack some warm clothes since the weather can be chilly and foggy in San Francisco, particularly down at the Marina and around the Golden Gate Bridge.

family hotels san francisco california

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in San Francisco, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in San Francisco, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

San Francisco family hotels
travel tools san francisco

Buy a San Francisco CityPass for discounts on museums, the new Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, Aquarium of the Bay, plus Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, and 7 day unlimited trips on cable cars and buses. Savings for the whole family:

San Francisco CityPass
kids books san francisco california
     
The City by the Bay childrens books san francisco  
The City by the Bay
Elisa Kleven, Tricia Brown, The Junior League of San Francisco

Charming tour of San Francisco neighborhoods, plus fun facts about the city. Intricate collage illustrations look for a dog, a cat and a baby in every scene. (Picture book)

 

     
Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco
John Skewes, Michael Mullin

Take a trip around San Francisco with Pete and his dog, Larry. After Larry takes a wrong turn on Lombard Street, he runs up Coit Tower, down to Fisherman's Wharf, past the stone lions in Chinatown, through Golden Gate Park, all the way to the ocean at Seal Rock. (Picture book)

 

 
Larry Gets Lost in San Francisco
     
Al Capone Does My Shirts alcatraz kids books adventure
 

"Today I moved to a twelve acre rock covered with cement." Moose Flanagan was an ordinary 7th grader until his dad takes a job on Alcatraz. Now Moose lives on an island where Al Capone works in the laundry, J. Edgar Hoover gets his pocket picked, and a bunch of kids foil an attempted escape. Two funny, unforgettable adventures on Alcatraz! (Chapter book)

 

     
The Golden Gate Bridge
Jeffrey Zuehlke

Read about the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world – how it was built, how the bridge works, and what is the exact color of the bridge. (Picture book)

 

 
kids The Golden Gate Bridge
     
Pop's Bridge  
Pop's Bridge
Eve Bunting, C.F. Payne

"My pop is building the Golden Gate Bridge." Two boys watch their dads work on the bridge, skywalkers who string the cables, painters, carpenters, riveters, laborers, working together to build the most beautiful bridge. (Picture book)

 

     
Into the Firestorm
Deborah Hopkinson

It's 1906, and young Nick has recently arrived in San Francisco. On the night of the earthquake, Nick leads a little girl and her injured mother to safety, and risks his own life to save his employer's golden dog. A fabulous story that conveys the experience of devastation and heroic efforts after the earthquake. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
san francisco earthquake kids The Earth Dragon Awakes  

"The Earth Dragon is mad." Gripping story of two families during the San Francisco earthquake, and the aftermath, the Great Fire. Wonderful local color – people setting up households on the sidewalk, pumping water from underground cisterns to fight the fire, escaping the city on ferries across the bay. (Chapter book)

 

     
Earthquake in the Early Morning (Magic Tree House)
Mary Pope Osborne

The magic tree house has spun Jack and Annie back to San Francisco on April 18, 1906. In just minutes, the whole city begins to shake and roll it's the big earthquake. Will they get out of San Francisco before the fires spread? (Easy reader)

 

 
     
kids san francisco Exploring Chinatown  
Exploring Chinatown
Carol Stepanchuk, Leland Wong

A cultural tour of San Francisco's Chinatown. This is a wonderful background for what you'll see – herb shops with unique aromas, stationery stores and calligraphy, the Tin How temple, art galleries with brush paintings, New Year's parades, festivals and dragon lore. (Picture book)

 

     

In this Chinatown mystery adventure, a priceless ruby is stolen from Miss Chinatown during the New Year's parade. Can three kids find the real thief, and what's the secret of Gum Lung? (Easy reader)

 
     
Brothers chinatown san francisco children  
Brothers
Yin, Chris Soentpiet

Gorgeously illustrated story that captures the heart of San Francisco. A new imigrant, Ming is left alone to tend store in Chinatown. Befriended by a kind-hearted Irish boy, Ming widens his horizons, and together the boys have a plan to save the store. (Picture book)

 

     
Humphrey The Lost Whale
Wendy Tokuda, Richard Hall

True story of Humphrey, a humpback whale, who made a wrong turn and wandered into San Francisco Bay. When Humphrey swims up the Sacramento River, he's in big trouble, but there's a plan to save him. (Picture book)

Editor's note: In May 2007, a mom and baby whale made the same wrong turn.

 

 
Humphrey The Lost Whale san francisco
     
toddlers books san francisco Maybelle the Cable Car  
Maybelle the Cable Car
Virginia Lee Burton

"Maybelle was a cable car, a San Francisco cable car …" Big Bill might be a newer, faster bus, but Maybelle is still the best on the steep hills. Irresistible story of how the people of San Francisco saved their beloved cable cars, Maybelle is a classic. (Picture book)

 

     
San Francisco, Baby!
Ward Jenkins

Exciting sights of San Francisco in rhymes and pictures. "Let's sail across the bay and see Alcatraz along the way." Full two-page illustrations, delightful for little ones. (Picture book)

 

 
San Francisco, Baby! books
     
City Walks with Kids: San Francisco  
City Walks with Kids: San Francisco
Leslie Crawford, David Needham

50 colorful cards, with fun maps on one side, and information on the other, for walks around Fisherman's Wharf, the Embarcadero, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, and more, plus how to get there with public transportation. Let the kids pick what to see today! (Guide)

 

(More children's books on other San Francisco pages)
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