101 Things to Do With Kids in the Bay Area

Shayna Abramson
Oct. 10, 2014

It can be exhausting to keep searching for activities to do with kids. Luckily for parents, nannies and babysitters who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, this region is chock-full of family-friendly activities.

"The quality of local family attractions is really high," shares Nathalee Ghafouri, one of the founders of MommyBeta. "An abundance of nature and good weather also make it easy to plan and execute family outings."

Amy Heinz, founder of Using Our Words, agrees: "The Bay Area has all that a big city has to offer. You don't have to drive far to find anything your heart (or kid) desires."

Below is a list to help get you started enjoying the many family-friendly activities the Bay Area has to offer.

  1. Check out the murals at the 24th & York Mini Park.
  2. Enjoy a puppet show at Happy Hollow Zoo.
  3. Attend a story time.
  4. See the sea lions at Pier 39.
  5. Rent a rowboat and paddle away at Vasona Park.
  6. Ride a cable car on Market Street.
  7. Visit the lobby of the SFPUC building to learn about San Francisco's water supply at the "Snowfall to Outfall" exhibit.
  8. Splash around with the frogs at Mitchell Park.
  9. Admire the 555 Mission Street Sculpture Garden.
  10. Unleash your inner Star Wars fan at the Presidio's Yoda Fountain.
  11. Look up in wonder at the books flying overhead at the northwest corner of Broadway & Columbus Avenue.
  12. Learn how to "think with your hands" at the Exploratorium.
  13. Pick cherry tomatoes at the Smith Valley Farm.
  14. Say hello to the lions at the San Francisco Zoo.
  15. Sled down the slippery slides at Seward Street.
  16. Enjoy the beauty of the San Mateo Japanese Garden.
  17. Race around an indoor go kart track.
  18. Picnic at Golden Gate Park.
  19. Play life-sized "Monopoly in the Park."
  20. Tour the Jelly Belly Factory.
  21. Explore your creative side at the Children's Creativity Museum.
  22. Climb to new heights at the rock climbing wall in Ortega Park.
  23. Go running around Lake Merced.
  24. Visit the hands-on exhibits at Randall Museum.
  25. Indulge in some gourmet food at Play Cafe.
  26. Hike on the Tiburon Historical Trail.
  27. Explore an entire museum dedicated to Pez candy.
  28. Go wild at The Jungle Island.
  29. Try the slides at San Mateo's Magic Mountain Playground.
  30. Find a kid-friendly yoga class and get your child's pose on!
  31. Get to know the river otters at the Aquarium of the Bay.
  32. Explore the ancient world at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.
  33. Ride the high seas and watch for majestic whales.
  34. Build Lego creations at Play-Well TEKnologies.
  35. Unleash your inner artist at Doodle Bug.
  36. Take in some modern art at the SFMOMA.
  37. Stroll through the streets of Chinatown.
  38. Pick your own strawberries at Swanton Berry Farm.
  39. Go zip-lining at Adventure Playground.
  40. Learn how to roller skate at The Golden Skate in San Ramon.
  41. Exercise your brain at the Academy of Sciences.
  42. Learn about fire safety at the Fire Department Museum.
  43. Test the limits of your beliefs at Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
  44. Spend an afternoon in the heavenly Angel Island.
  45. Start your child's financial education early with a visit to the Wells Fargo Museum.
  46. Have a contest for who can jump the highest on the Great Jump's giant trampolines.
  47. Discover the Children's Discovery Museum.
  48. Dance together at a Family Dance Class.
  49. Ride the merry-go-round at Kennedy Park.
  50. Watch a movie the old-fashioned way at Capitol Drive-In.
  51. Ride the Redwood Valley Railway.
  52. Take a tour of Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory.
  53. Explore Jewish culture at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
  54. Become an astronaut for a few hours by visiting the Chabot Space and Science Center.
  55. Go ice skating and bowling at Yerba Buena.
  56. Mold a masterpiece on a pottery wheel at Kids 'N Clay.
  57. Spend time mini-golfing at Urban Putt.
  58. Get spooked while ghost-golfing in Concord.
  59. Eat some chocolate at Ghiradelli Square.
  60. Learn about green energy at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo.
  61. Watch the birds at Hawk Hill.
  62. Watch a fun performance put on by the Bay Area Children's Theatre.
  63. Get wet on a San Francisco Duck Tour.
  64. Go biking around Lake Lagunitas.
  65. Splash around at Raging Waters on a hot day.
  66. Gape at the redwoods in Redwood Regional Park.
  67. View, touch and even sit on outdoor art pieces featured at The Albany Bulb.
  68. Visit Hayes Valley Farm and teach kids about planting and growing.
  69. Play captain in the Control Room of the Legendary Warship Museum in Alameda.
  70. Trek across a suspension bridge and through a rock tunnel at Point Bonita.
  71. Walk around and under the multiple waterfalls of the Vaillancourt Fountain.
  72. Pet, feed and watch presentations with live animals at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.
  73. Get down and dirty at the Work Day and Barn Dance at Pie Ranch.
  74. Climb all over this indoor playground on a rainy or cloudy day.
  75. Find a movie theater that hosts kid-friendly events.
  76. Dive into the deep end at of the San Francisco indoor swimming pools.
  77. Spend the day at Tilden Park enjoying the animals, the carousel, the miniature Steam Train and more.
  78. Go for a ride on one of these kid-friendly bike trails.
  79. Hike through nature at Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve.
  80. Take your group of adventurers on a Muir Woods Quest -- a self-guided 8-page quest through the forest, written in fun rhymes you can read as you go.
  81. Get your food truck fix at the Bites Off Broadway food truck festival from May to October.
  82. Head to a local farmer's market for fresh foods and local products.
  83. Explore underwater life at the Marine Mammal Center.
  84. Play old fashioned arcade games at Playland-not-at-the-Beach.
  85. Make a fun mess at the Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley.
  86. Learn how computer chips are made and more at The Intel Museum.
  87. Stare in awe at the astronomy and laser shows at Fujitsu Planetarium.
  88. Step into a storybook at this whimsical theme park.
  89. Meet the playful river otters at Curi Odyssey at their daily feedings.
  90. Eat and play at Super Franks an entertainment restaurant for families with kids.
  91. Go bowling or ice skating at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
  92. Get artsy at the Museum of Craft and Design.
  93. Go camping next to the Golden Gate Bridge at Kirby Cove.
  94. Learn about Native American culture at the Museum of the American Indian.
  95. Go kayaking or paddle boarding.
  96. Visit the Pirate Supply Store
  97. Play some oldies but goodies at the Muse Mechanique.
  98. Go on a scavenger hunt through the city with City Clues.
  99. Go for a speedy RocketBoat Ride on the San Francisco Bay.
  100. Take the kids and the dog to the Point Isabel park for a do-it-yourself puppy bath and treats at the Sit & Stay Caf.
  101. Shoot for a hole-in-one at each San Francisco landmark.

So, what are you waiting for? Get a jump on this list and start exploring the Bay Area with your family.


Shayna Abramson is an English teacher and freelance writer.

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