Five Things For Families To Do in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of our favourite cities in the world - a perfect blend of west coast living with a hint of Europe thrown in for good measure.

We asked Sheila, a San Francisco native, to put together her top five of fun things for families to do when visiting San Francisco.

San Francisco is a versatile city filled with endless food and entertainment options that are unique, memorable and great for the entire family.

My favourite spots to visit with mine are below:


1. Golden Gate Park

After several years of living in San Francisco, to this day Golden Gate Park is one of my favourite places to visit. The thing I love about it the most is its versatility. You can take a stroll by Stow Lake with the geese and ducks that live there or you can rent a paddle boat and enjoy the view from the water.

If you want to take your family somewhere fun and educational then visit the California Academy of Sciences and experience the infamous “living” roof and immerse yourself in a world of history and science that is equal parts stimulating and exciting.

The Conservatory of Flowers is the perfect spot for a picnic, especially if you’re visiting in the spring. You’ll find that you can spend the entire day in Golden Gate Park and still not have seen everything it has to offer.

goldengatepark.com

2. Park Chow

After a long day of exploring the park, a short walk up to Irving Street will take you to a wide selection of restaurants and shops that cater to every palate. My personal favourite is Park Chow; a restaurant that specialises in organic, sustainable, locally grown ingredients that make you feel that much better about indulging in some of the tasty dishes that are featured on their menu.

The ambiance is welcoming and warm, with an upstairs patio that makes you feel like it’s summer time all year round. The layout is spacious yet cozy and is accommodating for large groups making it ideal for the whole family. The menu features a wide range of dishes from a succulent lamb burger to my personal go-to; the linguini with seafood tossed in a buttery lemon sauce.

They also have several pizza, pasta and sandwich options that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters along with a great kid’s menu that I am not ashamed to admit I have ordered off more than once. If you have room, the flourless chocolate cake will be the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.   

Park Chow | 1240 9th Ave | San Francisco | CA 94122

chowfoodbar.com

3. Lands End

If you and your family enjoy finding activities that are both physical and visually stimulating, Lands End is the perfect way to see some of San Francisco’s most breathtaking views while also enjoying a fun hike. The hike itself is pleasant and not strenuous making it enjoyable for everyone. There are several points along the way that are too stunning to pass up, so make sure you have your camera ready. Taking the trail down to the beach allows you to experience the bay in person and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge are to die for.

Land’s End | 680 Point Lobos Ave | San Francisco | CA 94121

4. Bi Rite Creamery

San Francisco may be cold but that doesn’t stop it from having some of the best ice cream spots in the country. Arguably one of the best creameries can be found in the Mission District right next to Dolores Park. Bi Rite Creamery always has a line trailing out the door but it is absolutely worth the wait.

The Mission has the best weather in the city and with the park right there it’s a great area to visit with kids. Plus there are always a ton of cute dogs around which is a huge bonus in my book! Bi Rite changes its selection of flavors with the season but one that always has a spot on their list is the Strawberry Balsamic, which is fantastic! It’s tart and fresh tasting, making it the perfect treat to enjoy on one of those rare sunny San Francisco days.

Bi Rite Creamery | 3692 18th Street | San Francisco, CA 94110

biritecreamery.com

5. Mel’s Drive In

If you’re a fan of the 1973 film American Graffiti then you already know where I’m going with this. Mel’s is a 1950s themed restaurant chain with a few locations in Southern California and just one left on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco. I’ve been going there since before I even lived in the city and always looked forward to getting a burger there when I would visit growing up.

Red vinyl booths and an old school jukebox are trademarks of this diner that celebrates the past. The classic diner menu is what is to be expected but the food does not disappoint. Their burgers are cooked perfectly with fresh vegetables and their milkshakes are an absolute must.

Mel’s is a fun and unique place to take your family if you want to eat somewhere that feels like vintage Americana.

Mel’s Drive In | 3355 Geary Blvd | San Francisco | CA 94118

melsdrive-in.com

Have you been to San Francisco before? What would you recommend as fun things for families in San Francisco?

Sheila Smires is the founder of She Smiles All Day, a blog about fashion, beauty and food with San Francisco as its background and inspiration.