San Francisco for Families
San Francisco is a fantastic city for families, as there are plenty of activities to keep the young ones occupied, and best of all, many of these adventures are pretty parent friendly too. From the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory to the famous City Lights Bookstore and the Walt Disney Family Museum, families of all ages will find plenty to do while visiting San Francisco.
56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
Although most of the manufacturing of fortune cookies is done outside of San Francisco, one factory is still running and is a popular tourist spot in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Of course the smell of the cookies being freshly made will draw you in. You’ll get a free sample and be able to buy then in various-sized packages and flavors. If you can elbow your way in you can observe the making of the cookies, where lots of people fold them by hand. Whatever money they make on cookies probably pales in comparison with the 50 cents they charge per photo—quite entrepreneurial of them!
4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
In an age when many independent bookstores have surrendered to the advance of chain stores and Amazon, City Lights is a true survivor. Since it was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, it has served as a gathering place for San Francisco’s literary communities. Everyone from beat poets to left-wing critics of America have found a welcome here. City Lights is also a publishing house, with Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems being perhaps the single most famous book it has put out, though it counts scores of other works by some of America’s leading contemporary literary figures on its list. You can drop in anytime to find an unexpected tome, and the store also has a crowded calendar of readings.
Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA
A few blocks east of Goldsworthy’s more prominent Spire is this installation of fallen trees snaking through the still standing ones. Wood Line is located within the cypress grove near the intersection of Presidio Boulevard and West Pacific Avenue, just off Lovers’ Lane. Thousands drive by this spot and never notice it. It’s a beautiful work. View it, walk around it, walk on it, experience how it changes over time.
At Pier 39, more than 20,000 sea creatures from the San Francisco Bay and California coastline await your visit. Walking through the aquarium’s transparent tunnels immerses you in the bay’s diverse aquatic life, as you come eye-to-eye with the native sevengill sharks, watch the hypnotic motion of the jellyfish, and even touch a grand bat ray’s wing, if you dare. Four adorable otters live here, too. The aquarium hosts daily naturalist-led animal feedings, and curators give talks about tide pools, octopi, and climate change, interactive experiments. New virtual-reality experiences allow you up-close “access” to whales and polar bears. Otters, considered watershed ambassadors, are indicators of healthy waterways. Splurge on a behind-the-scenes tour and shark-feeding tour in addition to the regular admission ticket, and you’ll have an unforgettable day at this amazing waterside habitat.
2815 Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
There’s still a fish market vibe at the Fisherman’s Wharf harbor, packed with stall upon stall of delectable catches. If you’re going to try a local favorite—and you should—try the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Other tasty choices include crab, lobster, and shrimp.