The ultimate must-visit city of the west coast of the United States has so much to offer, even for parents of young toddlers. Brandi leaves in San Fransisco and blogs about her family travels in Toddler Abroad.
Here, she is giving us a grand tour of her city, as she experiences it with her own toddlers.
My husband and I have lived in San Francisco for over a decade. We have two toddler girls, ages 4 and 2. We currently live in San Francisco’s Excelsior District. Before you come, make sure you pack appropriately. Dress in layers, the weather here is unlike other places in California. Make sure to have a medium jacket and a sweater on hand at all times. Wear comfy shoes as San Francisco is best explored on foot. Public transportation can get you wherever you need to be and the Hop On and Hop Off bus offers over 40 stops at major San Francisco landmarks.
What to do:
As one of the top ten toured cities in the US, a perfect day in San Francisco can be spent in or out doors. This City by the Bay offers so much to do for any age and level of traveler. Hikes, shopping, dining, exploring; you name it, you can do it here!
As parents with toddlers, a few our favorite activities are visiting the San Francisco Zoo, counting butterflies inside of the indoor rainforest at the the Academy of Sciences and enjoying a devious meal of Dim Sum at Chinatown. We also never miss a chance to take the cable car up Polk Street.
For adventure seekers Fort Funston, Mt Sutro and Land’s End all offer incredible views from many parts of their hiking trails.
For a taste of San Francisco’s history, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, tour Alcatraz or explore the Presidio national park.
For a fun filled day head to Fisherman’s wharf, the Exploratorium or the North Beach also known as Little Italy.
Where to Eat:
It has been said, that San Francisco ranks the 2nd best “foodie city” in the United States. You can find anything for even the tiniest of taste buds. Our top 3 favorite toddler friendly restaurants in San Francisco are:
• Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden. Just a few feet from Queen Wilhelmina’s Windmill
and the beautiful Dutch Tulip Garden, Park Chalet has an open air dining room and outdoor seating for families to enjoy while chowing down on good food. Live music, Taco Tuesdays and the beach views are a few of the reasons this beachfront restaurant a favorite for locals and visitors.
• Pasquales Pizza: Located in the heart of the Inner Sunset District of the City, Pasquales has been cooking up quality Italian food for over 5 decades. The pizza is loved by many San Francitizens. After lunch or dinner here, walk around the corner to San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery for a scoop of their classic & creative housemate ice cream.
• Hang Ah Tea Room : Open for almost a 100 years, is the oldest dim sum house in San Francisco. It is located in Chinatown between Clay and Sacramento street, at 1 Pagoda Place. It’s a small place, but the food is definitely worth the squeeze.
• Bonus during Christmas holiday: hot cocoa at the Fairmont Hotel when the life sized gingerbread house is erected.
Where to Stay:
The Marina district is a great area for families traveling with their toddlers to stay.
This neighborhood is home to the famous Palace of Fine Arts and Chestnut Street. On Chestnut Street you’ll find a wide variety of boutiques, restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops to enjoy. Locals and visitors also love to walk down Marina Boulevard and take in incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge and relax on Crissy Field Beach.
Whether it’s a day at the beach, bicycling through Golden Gate Park or bargain hunting in Chinatown, San Francisco offers a number of things to do with toddlers and you won’t be disappointed. A few last bits of advice:
1. Take your time and explore.
2. Loosen your belt and enjoy the cuisine.
3. Get plenty of rest, you’re in for a great adventure!