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Top 5 Things and Activities to do in San Francisco with a Toddler

Updated on August 1, 2014

Crissy Field: People and Dog-Friendly Beach

My husband, daughter, and dog at Crissy Field
My husband, daughter, and dog at Crissy Field

The Beautiful Bay Area with Kids

We have a 3 1/2 year old and 6 month old. Here is a list of our top 5 things to do in the city.

Crissy Field Under the Golden Gate Bridge, SF

Crissy Field-We love Crissy Field! On a sunny day in SF, I can't think of a prettier place to go. Views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the city abound. Our daughter loves to play in the sand and walk down to The Warming Hut for hot cocoa and a cookie. On the weekend we like to go as a family and bring our dog. Park in the lot closest to the Marina and dogs can play off leash. We then walk down the flat path to The Warming Hut and back. This is a great place to appreciate SF.

Golden Gate Park and Carousel

What toddler doesn't love a carousel? We went to the Carousel in Golden Gate Park this weekend and our daughter loved it. It's a really nice carousel and we went on a great walk in the park afterward. A beautiful park is adjacent to the carousel, so bring a picnic and enjoy the day. The Academy of Sciences is a short walk away as well, if you are up for more adventure!

The Beautiful Carousel at Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park Carousel
Golden Gate Park Carousel | Source

California Academy of the Sciences Steinhart Aquarium

Our daughter loved the aquarium especially the African Penguin feeding. The feeding happens daily at 11 am and 3:30 pm with a biologist giving information. The Academy of Sciences is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out the Academy of Science website for more info.

Academy of Sciences Hours:

Monday through Saturday 9:30-5:00

Sunday 11:00-5:00

Prices of Admission:

Adult: $29.95

Child (4-11): $19.95

Youth (12-17): $24.95

Student 18+: $24.95

Senior 65+: $24.95

Admission Tickets can be bought on their website

The Beautiful Exterior of The California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences
California Academy of Sciences | Source

Ride a cable car in San Francisco

What toddler doesn't love transportation? Whether it's riding the muni train, a ferry or cable car, they are having fun. Our toddler loves just driving down Lombard St, the crookedest street in the world. The cable cars, although touristy, are fun. Kids love to look around, wave at the other passing cable cars and feel the wind.

Toddlers Love Cable Car Rides

Cable car ride with Alcatraz in the background
Cable car ride with Alcatraz in the background | Source

San Francisco Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is an amazing hands-on museum for kids and adults. This science, art, and human perception museum is great for all ages. For older kids, the Texture Dome leads you through a dark room where only touch guides you. (Advanced tickets and reservations are recommended for the Texture Dome; the price of admission is an additional fee.) Bubbles, mirrors, water features, this museum has it all. I highly recommend it.

Note: The Exploratorium will be moving to the wharf in 2013 to Piers 15 and 17 on the SF waterfront.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10:00am - 5:00 pm

Tickets: Adults (18-64) are $25.00 Youths are $19.00

Palace of Fine Arts and Exploratorium

As of 2012, the Exploratorium is located at the Palace of Fine Arts near Crissy Field, SF
As of 2012, the Exploratorium is located at the Palace of Fine Arts near Crissy Field, SF | Source

For more info on activities in the city or any large city in the US, check out They are a wonderful resource for daily activities and neighborhood activities for kids.

Map of the Different Top Spots for Toddlers in San Francisco

show route and directions
A markerCrissy Field, San Francisco -
Crissy Field, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
get directions

B markerGolden Gate Park Carousel -
198 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
get directions

C markerCalifornia Academy of Sciences -
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
get directions

D markerHop on the California Line Cable Car Here -
Pier Thirty Nine, Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
get directions

E markerExploratorium, San Francisco -
Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
get directions

What's your favorite spot for little ones in San Francisco?

See results


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    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      I actually notice that the San Francisco has a lot of interesting and befitting places for kids relaxation.

    • profile image

      Carey 7 years ago

      Bring your toddler & their favorite bear and join us for a Teddy Bear Picnic tomorrow 10/8 at 11am at Seesaw in Hayes Valley. Music, games, stories & all the Bear-essentials!

    • profile image

      Monique 10 years ago

      love the info on the SF Discovery museum. We have to find a time to take the kids. We also love the San Jose Discovery Museum..great for younger than 2 and older too!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 10 years ago from San Francisco

      Hi asapilot,

      I've been to a few other aquariums, Monterey Bay Aquarium was the best. I think the new location of the aquarium in Golden Gate Park will be amazing. The current location downtown is a bit small, but I think it's well done. Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image

      asapilot 10 years ago


      Have you been to any other of the major metropolitan aquariums and if so, how you rate the Steinhart in comparison? I love all aquariums, so I'd love to see. I'm just curious about the experience in relation to others. I live in Long Beach right behind the Aquarium of the Pacific, so I'm a big fan!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

      We recently went to the zoo and enjoyed it as well. The African safari was really nice and two giraffes were just born. The lion, tiger and hippo exhibits need major renovation though.

    • profile image

      Tom 11 years ago

      The San Francisco zoo has a wonderful exhibit that kids really enjoy.