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Travel Guide: 3 Days of Family Fun in San Francisco

Visit for the cable car rides, famous houses and delicious food

Head west for the refreshing temperatures of San Francisco, California. Aside from the cool temps, the city is home to many must-see spots, from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to the famous Painted Ladies and Fisherman’s Wharf. The Golden Gate City is known for its hilly streets, so remember to pack comfortable walking shoes!

Day 1

Start off the day with breakfast at Jane. This charming eatery and shop serves a mean avocado mash toast and offers plenty of caffeinated drinks. For the kids, opt for Jane’s Dragonfruit Smoothie bowl, made from more than five different fruits. We advise arriving early, as a line usually forms soon after the doors open.

Walk off breakfast at the Walt Disney Family Museum, where kiddos can learn how the famous red-short-wearing mouse came to life. The museum’s current exhibit, Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, showcases the contributions that specific artists—the nine old men—have made to Disney over the years. This exhibit runs through Jan. 7, 2019, and it gives visitors an inside look at original art from films such as Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty. General admission to the museum is $25 for adults, $15 for ages 6–17, and free for kids 5 years and younger. Admission to Disney’s Nine Old Men is an additional $9.

After visiting Mickey Mouse and friends, catch some rays at Dolores Park. Make sure to bring cash for the snack carts you’ll pass on the way to the Helen Diller Playground.

End the day with dinner in Chinatown. The area has myriad of restaurants to choose from, but we suggest trying R&G Lounge, centered on the Chinese philosophy of the five elements. Menu items include seafood and meat options, along with noodles and rice. Call for reservations.

Day 2

Enjoy breakfast in Little Italy at Caffé Greco. Choose from lattes, cappuccinos and other espresso-filled drinks, and pair your beverage with a muffin or buttery croissant. The café also serves salads and Paninis, in case you are looking for a brunch-style meal. Seating is available indoors and out.

Photo Courtesy of California Travel and Tourism Commission

Next, visit the iconic Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf, home to sea lions, souvenir boutiques and restaurants. If a first-hand view of the infamous Alcatraz Island and prison is not enough for you, grab a few souvenirs at the attraction’s gift shop or take the kids (mini) bungee jumping. The cost is $10 per person, and jumpers must weigh at least 30 pounds.

Finish off the day with popcorn and a movie at the iconic Castro Theatre from the 1920s. Kid-favorite films, such as Moana and Frozen, often grace the big screen at the Castro, and you can warm up your vocal cords for theatre-hosted sing alongs.

Day 3

Get your grub on with a hearty brunch at The Grove. Kid menu items include classics such as French toast, and mac and cheese. Don’t worry about having to wake up too early for breakfast here—it is served all day.

Photo Courtesy of The Grove

A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without visiting those houses you remember from Full House. Known as the Painted Ladies, these pastel-colored houses make the perfect backdrop for an impromptu family photo.

Another can’t-miss attraction is the 746-foot-tall Golden Gate Bridge. Free bridge walking tours are available on Thursdays and Sundays (visit sfcityguides.org for details and times of the tours).

While in the area, take the kids to Koret Children’s Playground at Golden Gate Park’s southeast corner. The playground, which dates back to 1888, is notable for its slide and carousel. Ride fees are $2 for adults, $1 for children ages 6–12 and free for kids 5 years old and younger.

Then, visit the San Francisco Cable Car Museum where kids will learn all there is to know about these iconic modes of transportation. Stop by the museum’s gift shop to take home an authentic cable car bell. Admission to the museum is free.