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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: Escape from The Rock Bay Cruise

2. 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.

San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

3. San Francisco: Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour

Hop aboard a sightseeing bus for a tour of the City by the Bay and delve into the fascinating history of San Francisco and its legendary landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf. The hop-on-hop-off route stops at the main points of interest all around San Francisco.  Experience the diverse culture, beautiful parks, stunning architecture, and picturesque views from the top of an open-air sightseeing bus. Hop off anytime and create your customized itinerary at your leisure. Explore 3 routes depending on your ticket purchase. San Francisco City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Sit back and enjoy the ride as you cruise through the city on an open-top bus. Learn about the unique history of San Fransisco while passing through Chinatown, Union Square, Civic Center, and the Alamo Square.  Panoramic Night Tour Board the night bus to explore the dazzling city of San Francisco at nighttime. Climb the historic Nob Hill for a stunning close-up view of the magnificent Grace Cathedral. Then, make your way across the grand Bay Bridge for picturesque views of the city skyline from Treasure Island, the World Fair site in 1939. After heading back to the city, continue along the Embarcadero to view the glittering lights of the Port of San Francisco.

San Francisco Zoo Admission Ticket

4. 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: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

5. San Francisco: Bridge to Bridge Cruise

See both the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on a single boat tour with personal headphone audio included. Explore San Francisco's famous landmarks, history, natural history, architecture, and Native American culture on board this unique bay cruise. During the 90-minute round trip cruise you'll depart from Fisherman's Wharf, one of the city's busiest tourist attractions. From there, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 1937, the Golden Gate is one of the world's most famous and beautiful bridges, and was at one point the largest suspension bridge in the world. Cruise past Alcatraz Island, once home of one of the world's most infamous prisons, and take the chance to enjoy the stunning San Francisco waterfront. The boat will pass along the harbor before heading under the colossal San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Then it's time to head back to the charming city of San Francisco by the sea.

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: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

8. San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge Catamaran Cruise

Experience the beauty of San Francisco Bay on a round-trip catamaran cruise. Take in San Francisco's breathtaking skyline as you sail by Alcatraz Island and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Feel the breeze and keep a look out for sea lions. Admire your surroundings from a protected viewing area, or live on the edge and stand on the canvas trampoline nets with the waves beneath your feet. Pick up a helpful navigation guide providing information about San Francisco's landmarks as you sail past many of them. Make this experience complete by taking the helm from the captain and steering the catamaran yourself. This sail is the perfect activity for kids as well as kids at heart. The captain and crew are always there, happy to snap a photo or answer your questions about the sights of San Francisco. If all this excitement makes you hungry or thirsty, you’ll find snacks, soda, beer, and wine available at the cabin's snack bar.

San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

9. San Francisco: Go City Explorer Pass with 2-5 Attractions

Explore San Francisco at your own pace and according to your interests with an easy-to-use sightseeing pass. Select 2, 3, 4, or 5 must-see, must-do attractions and tours from a comprehensive choice of over 25 things to do in San Francisco. Save time and money as you don't have to buy separate attraction tickets. Ride the hop-on-hop-off Big Bus tour and get to know the city, enjoy a San Francisco bay cruise, visit informative museums, rent a Go Car for an hour, experience the thrills of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and much more. Tours and cruises: • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco: 1-day Classic Tour • San Francisco Bay Cruise • Escape from the Rock - Cruise around Alcatraz • All-Day Comfort Bike Rental by Blazing Saddles • Go Car Tours San Francisco 1-Hour • Scenic Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour • 1 Day MUNI Pass • Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour • Tiled Steps Urban Hiking Tour • San Francisco All-Day Bike Rentals at Golden Gate Park Museums and places of interest: • California Academy of Sciences • Aquarium of the Bay • Exploratorium • Madame Tussauds • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom • San Francisco Zoo & Gardens • The Flyer - San Francisco's Flying Theater • The Walt Disney Family Museum • California's Great America • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor • Legoland Discovery Center • USS Pampanito • Asian Art Museum • USS Hornet Museum • The Contemporary Jewish Museum Please note attractions and tours are subject to change. Check your included digital guide for an up-to-date attraction line-up including opening times and instructions on how to access each attraction with your pass before you go.

San Francisco: Exploratorium Daytime Admission

10. 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.

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  • Water activities
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Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Family-friendly Activities

What are other things to do than Family-friendly Activities that are worth visiting in San Francisco?

The other unmissable things to do in 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

Cynthia was a great tour guide! We easily made friends with her and she facilitated a friendly rapport among the group! She knew a lot of history about the neighborhood and all its Italian restaurants. We never would have learned all their back stories had we just been walking around ourselves. Very enjoyable! We recommend whole heartedly!

Welcoming friendly crews with a nice small Group atmosphere which meant no crowds, no ferries and all at a very comparable price, completely awesome trip in a very good windows of opportunity for the views. Felt very safe and I'm very knowledgeable hands, Emma and Keith.

Amazing cruise and very informative tour about the Bay Area and near by places. Would definitely recommend this tour. Remember to carry a hoodie as it gets cold on the upper deck.

Super easy having everything my already paid for! Some things were far away from where we were staying so didn’t get the opportunity to do them.

exhilarating!!! Our captain Charles was incredible, so knowledgeable and made us feel super safe. Couldn’t recommend this boat ride enough!!