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San Francisco Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended San Francisco Family-friendly activities

San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

1. San Francisco: 1-Hour Bay Cruise by Boat

Enjoy a 1-hour journey along San Francisco's historic waterfront and experience the thrilling history of the San Francisco Bay, with all the sound and glory it deserves. The 1-hour non-stop Bay Cruise takes you past the famous PIER 39 sea lions and along San Francisco’s historic waterfront, revealing the city’s fascinating skyline. Relax in comfort, with both indoor and outdoor seating, and enjoy a full narration describing major landmarks as you sail by. See sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the iconic San Francisco skyline as you go. Whether it’s your first time to San Francisco, or your 10th visit, the Bay Cruise is something you should experience at least once in your life. You will get a complimentary souvenir map, which is available in nine languages, and if you get hungry, there’s a full-service snack bar on board with food and drink available to purchase.

San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

2. San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

Visit the San Francisco Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals and 250 species of plants. Your full-day admission ticket includes access to the Leanne Roberts African Region and the Valentine Family Savanna. Both zones offer multi-species landscapes with giraffes, zebras, kudu, ostriches, storks, and more. At Hearst Grizzly Gulch, get nose-to-nose with rescued grizzly bear sisters Kachina and Kiona. See how lemurs leap through the Lipman Lemur Forest, the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country. Marvel at Penguin Island, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins outside of the wild. Admire the Zoo's gorillas in the Jones Family Gorilla Preserve. Feed and pet the farm animals in the Fisher Family Children's Zoo. Find the historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel and 1904 miniature Little Puffer Steam Train. Learn about the fun rides, educational programs, and exciting events for children.

San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences Entry Ticket

3. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences Entry Ticket

Visit the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-rainforest-living museum at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The superb complex incorporates all 4 attractions under one living roof, with exhibits and shows that explain the universe! Don’t miss the African penguins – and 38,000 other live animals – at the California Academy of Sciences in the heart of Golden Gate Park, a must-see attraction in San Francisco. Rocket through the galaxy at the speed of light or journey deep into the oceans of the world as the Academy boldly brings life to life. Come face-to-face with snakes and piranhas, meet Claude the American alligator with albinism, and hang out with Pierre, Howard, Ocio, and the rest of the South African penguin colony. Stroll through the rainforest dome with its free-flying birds and butterflies and become immersed in the rainforests of Borneo, Madagascar, Costa Rica, and the flooded Amazon. Discover Borneo bats, chameleons, poison dart frogs, leaf cutter ants, gliders, snakes, and so much more. Catch the latest amazing digital planetarium show, taking you on a spectacular journey to the far reaches of the universe, held 7-10 times a day. Designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum housed under a living roof will inspire lifelong curiosity for the natural world as you experience the depths of a Philippine coral reef, climb into the canopy of a Costa Rican rainforest, and fly to the outer reaches of the universe.

San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

4. San Francisco: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

Hop on board a boat and cruise around Alcatraz Island and other sights of San Francisco Bay on this round trip journey. Benefit from a straight-to-the-gate access ticket and informative commentary as you go. Cruise San Francisco Bay and sail under the Golden Gate Bridge on a 90-minute narrated tour by boat around Alcatraz Island. Skip the box office line and go straight to the gate with your ticket. See Alcatraz island from the water while listening to accounts of the chilling escape attempts and the notorious criminals that called Alcatraz prison home. Enjoy a cruise with food and drink available to purchase onboard. Cruise full circle around Alcatraz Island, allowing you to view every angle of this mysterious island, which housed famous inmates such as Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson, whose escape attempt is legendary. Gain a clear picture of what life in this maximum-security prison was like when it was the most feared institution in the American penal system.

From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

5. From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

Discover the scenic coastline of California on a day trip by air-conditioned bus from San Francisco. Visit the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Travel scenic California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, famous for its spectacular ocean views, abundant wildlife, and historical past. Stop at Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, where there are great shops and restaurants overlooking the Pacific. Next, travel through the famous 17-Mile Drive and see Pebble Beach Golf Course. Photo stops will be made along this gorgeous drive.  Your tour continues to Carmel by the sea where ample time is given to walk through this charming town dotted with lovely shops, and beautiful architecture.

San Francisco Chinatown Culinary Walking Tour

6. San Francisco Chinatown Culinary Walking Tour

Explore  San Francisco's iconic Chinatown district on this unique foodie walking tour. Discover a maze of alleys off Grant Avenue and Stockton Street, where traditional techniques that date back centuries are still practiced. Meet your guide and begin your flavor-packed adventure. See food markets and local restaurants, with a surprise around every corner. Watch artisans making fortune cookies by hand, and enliven your senses with new flavors, smells, and aromas. Search out authentic crafts and pottery, explore exotic produce, and learn about herbs and teas from the people who know them best. Uncover hidden secrets that only intrepid locals know about. Taste Dim Sum, fortune cookies, and teas. Peruse incredible antiquities, rare and unique musical instruments, and authentic cookware. Marvel at statuettes and ritual objects that are thousands of years old. Visit a music center to view musical instruments you've never seen before. Try different types of Dim Sum from the oldest Chinese bakery in San Francisco. Go to one of the city's oldest cathedrals and look inside a Buddhist temple.

From San Francisco: Muir Woods National Monument Guided Tour

7. From San Francisco: Muir Woods National Monument Guided Tour

Discover the coastal redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument on a guided tour from San Francisco, with entry tickets included. Cross the famous Golden Gate Bridge, marvel at California’s wildlife, and enjoy a sightseeing bus tour of Sausalito. Meet your guide in San Francisco to start your experience. Board the bus and drive towards Muir Woods National Monument, where you’ll enjoy 1.5 hours inside the forest. Admire the towering sequoia trees as you wander along hiking trails through the forest. Learn about the region from your guide as you appreciate the surrounding nature. Continue to Sausalito, a coastal city with sweeping views over the bay. Pass the main sights as you drive through the town on your return to San Francisco. If you want to explore Sausalito on foot, you can choose to get off the bus and see the city at your own pace. Afterwards, you'll make your own way back to San Francisco by ferry (tickets not included).

San Francisco: Exploratorium Daytime Admission

8. San Francisco: Exploratorium Daytime Admission

Discover a world of adventure with a full-day ticket to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the only place in the city where you can touch, tinker and play with hundreds of interactive exhibits. The museum is conveniently located at Pier 15 between the historic Ferry Building and Pier 39 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Perhaps the most experimental museum in the world, the Exploratorium explores the world via large-scale art installations, studies of microscopic life, motion, color and light installations, and much more. Spread across six expansive galleries, you can embrace the wild wonders of the world and beyond with exhibits that you can feel, play with, and manipulate. A learning lab for all ages, it’s the best place to immerse yourself in San Francisco’s innovative culture.

San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

9. San Francisco: Aquarium of the Bay General Admission Ticket

Explore the beauty and wonder of San Francisco's Aquarium of the Bay with this entrance ticket, giving you access to the 3 main exhibit halls. Discover the amazingly diverse marine life that lives beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters. Explore the “Discover the Bay” exhibit, highlighting the unique ecosystem that provides a home to a diverse selection of marine life. The exhibits feature more than 20,000 aquatic animals. Learn all about this delicate underwater habitat and the need for its conservation. Then, experience the magic of the habitat at “Touch the Bay,” complete with tide pools where you can touch the creatures that patrol San Francisco Bay’s waters. No trip to Aquarium of the Bay would be complete without a visit to the North American River Otter Gallery, where frisky river otters romp, swim, sleep and play. Get a scuba diver’s view of San Francisco Bay at the Aquarium of the Bay’s most iconic exhibit, “Under the Bay.” As you walk through the tunnels, you’ll see fascinating jellyfish, watch schools of fish that swim near the shore, see delicate starfish, and view larger fish, such as sharks, rays, and sturgeons, which live in the deeper waters of San Francisco Bay.

North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

10. North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour

Take a behind the scenes food tour of North Beach and Little Italy. Enjoy tasting great local foods, see how these culinary delights are made and meet the local artisans who make them on your guided walking tour. North Beach and Little Italy will awaken your senses. From the cafés and restaurants, to the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. Just when you think you can't feel any more romantic you will discover quaint shops filled with incredible crafts and ceramics that will fill you with awe. Explore the life of North Beach, as we join family bakers kneading love into every loaf of bread. And just when you think that you can't be any closer to food heaven, we visit real coffee shops that fresh roast the coffee beans daily. And if that was not enough, we uncover authentic Italian cathedrals where hundreds of couples have felt their heartstrings tug. As you taste everything from cappuccinos, chocolates, breads, pastries, olive oils, specialty meats, and more, your senses and your taste buds will come alive. Every time we find another artisan crafting food handed down through generations or weaving life into handmade crafts, you'll know that you've experienced one of the places that makes San Francisco a series of ever expanding adventures. All food and drinks are included on this tour that was voted "Best City Tour" two years in a row on Citysearch. Tasting portions guarantee that you will not walk away hungry on this leisurely walking tour that strolls 7-8 flat blocks.

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Frequently asked questions about San Francisco

What top attractions are a must-see in San Francisco?

What are the best day trips and excursions from San Francisco?

The best day trips and excursions from San Francisco are:

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Other Sightseeing Options in San Francisco

Want to discover all there is to do in San Francisco? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about San Francisco

My mom & I had only 2 days in SFO & love to binge watch TV. Obviously, we booked this tour & it was great! We got more out of it than we expected. There was a TV screen inside the van & we always saw a short clip of the movie, then drove by where the scene was filmed. I was very impressed by the amount of movies shown since I did my own quick Google research and found only about 10 movies Now, we’ve got a whole to-binge-list with movies shot in a place we’ve already been to. Bryan, our guide, is a kind person who answered a lot of our questions & made stops to take pictures when we wanted to. We saw all big sights of SFO! Can recommend it 100% ☺️ The only thing I just want to mention in order for everyone to have a good time: my mom has kind of a sensitive belly when e.g. being in a plane, boat or in this case a vehicle with a lot of movies on the screen and the typical roads of SFO. So just in case, you are also having some troubles, might bring a motion sickness medicine with you.

Excellent service and value for money . There is an english audio on loudspeakers which helped to understand the history of the bay . If you book on line go straight to queue line . Excellent information from Getyour guide .

Get your guide tickets worked well. We enjoyed the planitorim shows, rain forest and many other exhibits. Worth the price, family enjoyed it, kid is happy. Parking is 33$(max) but very convenient.

Fantastic! Great food. Great history. Entertaining. We’ll be back for another tour with them.

Great driver and guide. The coast is beyond spectacular. Really great tour.