A Guide to San Francisco with Toddlers

Posted on November 19, 2018 |

Traveling to San Francisco with toddlers in tow? We’ve got you covered! Our family activity go-tos in the Bay Area will make your next family vacation an absolute no-brainer. 

It’s time to stop asking yourself if there are things to do in San Francisco with a toddler, because there are plenty of family-friendly options in the city. 

We went ahead and picked out all of the best kid-friendly restaurants, museums, shops, and attractions for families visiting San Francisco – let’s take a look!

Fun Museums for Toddlers in San Francisco

Exploratorium

Spend time exploring the world with your kids at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s interactive museum of science, art, and human perception. 

Possibly one of the most fun, interesting, and educational experiences you can have in San Francisco with children; the Exploratorium offers numerous galleries and exhibits to roam through while encouraging both you and your kids to learn and experience the world in a unique way. 

No need to worry about your child being too young to enjoy the museum, you’ll see just how rad the Exploratorium for toddlers can be!  

Characterized as “a mad scientist’s penny arcade, a scientific funhouse, and an experimental laboratory all rolled into one”, the Exploratorium is the perfect place to start off your San Francisco family vacation itinerary!

And a few other favorite kids museums in San Francisco

The California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences, located smack in the middle of Golden Gate Park is an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum all in one! 

Your toddlers may be yawning, but only because they’ll be so exhausted after the excitement from within! 

Children’s Creativity Museum

Adding the Children’s Creativity Museum to your list of things to do in San Francisco with toddlers is a must. 

This museum is perfect for kids ages 2-12 and offers a totally unique and creative experience, that shifts the focus “from media consumption to media production”, encouraging children to get their creative juices flowing!

Walt Disney Museum 

Who said you have to go all the way to Disneyland to experience the magic of Disney? 

Located in the historic Presidio District of San Francisco, the Walt Disney Museum dives into the animation and stories that captured so many children’s hearts. 

There may not be spinning teacups to get dizzy in all day long, but you and your family can experience the Disney magic through the interactive galleries and art exhibits that populate the museum.

Note: The Walt Disney Museum museum, although a great option for a family day out in San Francisco, is not only geared for Children but for parents too! 

The Best Guided Tour of San Francisco with Toddlers in Tow 

Can’t decide which guided tour of San Francisco to choose for the most family fun in the Bay Area? Don’t look too far!  

Dylan’s Tours has the perfect itinerary for you and your family. For instance, our Electric E-Tuk San Francisco Highlight Tour is an adventurous way for young families to explore the city, and the only one of its kind! 

things to do with kids in bay area - dylan's tours san francisco

Plus, kids (and adults alike) absolutely love cruising up and down the San Francisco hills in our 100% electric Tuk Tuks, taking you to all of San Francisco’s iconic neighborhoods and attractions.  

Our E-tuks are heaps of fun to ride and are perfect for the families who don’t want to spend 6+ hours in a minibus with a little one!

Outdoorsy Things to do with Toddlers in San Francisco

Golden Gate Park

Things to do in San Francisco with toddlers - Golden Gate Park

Looking for some great outdoor things to do with kids in the Bay Area? Look no further than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park! 

Even bigger than New York’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park spans over 1,000 acres and is home to a ton of Bay Area attractions for families. 

Stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden, paddle boat on Stow Lake, hop on the carousel with the kids, or visit the Bison Paddock in the park’s western meadow – yes, we said Bison!

There are so many places to visit in the Bay Area for families and they happen to all be in one place! Think you can see it all in one day?

Where to Eat in San Francisco with Toddlers

Here are some of our picks for best kid-friendly restaurants in the bay area!

Giorgio’s Pizzeria

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Cost: $

Location: Inner Richmond District

Having been in the Inner Richmond district for 40+ years, Giorgio’s Pizzeria has made a name for itself as a staple for family dining in the Bay Area. 

With its checkered tablecloths, large booths, and traditional Italian cuisine, kids get to eat their favorite kind of P’s…Pizza and Pasta! 

Cheesy goodness in their food and on their faces when they “say cheese!” for the camera, while the whole family enjoys handmade Italian comfort food.

Sears Fine Food

Cost: $$

Location: San Francisco’s Union Square

With all the sightseeing you’ll be doing, make sure you fuel up in the morning with a visit to Sears Fine Food! 

A traditional American, kid-friendly brunch place in San Francisco that gets plenty of foot traffic in bustling Union Square. 

Make your way over to Sears Fine Food with your little early-risers and try out their famous Swedish Pancakes, all 18 of them!

If you’re looking for a breakfast more on the savory side, be sure to get an order of one of their specialty egg dishes, “Lee’s Eggs Benedict” is a crowd favorite. 

Fuel up and head out!

Farm Burger

Cost: $$

Location: Berkeley’s Gilman District

Looking for kid-friendly restaurants with a play area? The Bay Area has so much to offer, don’t feel limited to staying in San Francisco – head over to the East Bay and make a stop at Farm Burger in Berkeley! 

Farm Burger prides itself on their fresh, healthy food options from locally sourced farms in the area, and as a bonus, the Berkeley location has a portion of the restaurant sectioned off for kids. 

Chalkboard walls, building blocks, and crayons for coloring are all at your toddler’s fingertips while you sit back and enjoy a beer from their unique selection. It’s easily one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in the East Bay…Can you say yeehaw?!

Shopping in San Francisco with Toddlers – the Best Baby Stores 

Hoping to get your “shop” on and take home some San Francisco souvenirs for your little one? These are the best baby stores in San Francisco!

Aldea 

Cost: $$-$$$

Location: The Mission District

In terms of all things baby, Aldea is hands-down the number one pick for San Francisco locals! 

With their hand-picked selection of eco-friendly and safe toys, decor, and furniture, Aldea is a sustainable goods store that encourages community engagement. 

Their adorable modern-rustic facade is sure to draw you in on your next visit. Be sure to check out their events page before heading over to see if their toddler classes in San Francisco are in session!

Fiddlesticks

Cost: $$$

Location: Hayes Valley

Reviewed as the “best toy store in the Bay Area”, Fiddlesticks is a go-to for fun and hip clothes and knick-knacks for your young one! 

If you’re looking for things to do with toddlers in the Bay Area be sure to bring them here! They pride themselves on being the kids’ store that provides products for young ones to be comfortable and funky-fresh in all day long.

Sprout

Cost: $$-$$$

Location: Russian Hill District

Sprout is another San Francisco staple for keeping you and your tot happy and healthy! 

They are fully stocked with baby gear, clothes, toys, furniture – you name it! With the slogan, “We do the research so you don’t have to”, they focus on making products that are safe and comfortable for kids and parents alike. 

Check out their website for “Sprouts Exclusives”!

The Best Hotels for Kids in San Francisco 

Want to know what the best hotels for kids in San Francisco are? These are our pick from one parent to another.

Pier 2620 Hotel 

Cost: $$-$$$

Location: Fisherman’s Wharf

In the hub of the action at Fisherman’s Wharf,  Pier 2620 Hotel, offers families a fantastic stay in a central and safe area of San Francisco.

Just outside your hotel room you have access to a variety of family-friendly activities; Ghirardelli’s Square (more chocolate than you can imagine!), Cable Car rides, Little Italy, Lombard Street, and Chinatown…and the list goes on! 

Keeping in mind that the time you spend inside is valuable too, Pier 2620 Hotel offers the modern comfort of San Francisco themed-decor rooms in a truly unique hotel that’s perfect for kids. 

Handlery Hotel

Cost: $$-$$$

Location: Union Square

Want to stay in the heart of the city with your toddlers? San Francisco’s Handlery Hotel in Union Square is as central as it gets! 

Not only are you in the thick of the action, this hotel features one of the few heated outdoor pools in the city, and dog-friendly rooms for those of you traveling with your furry kids too. 

The relaxing, modern luxury of the hotel rooms are the perfect way to wind-down after a long day of exploring San Francisco with kids. 

Hotel Zephyr

Cost: $$-$$$

Location: Fisherman’s Wharf

Say “Ahoy!” to your new favorite home away from home!

Can’t get enough of Fisherman’s Wharf? Well, luckily there are plenty of kid-friendly hotels around the area. 

Another recommendation for those of you looking for a playful place to rest your head, Hotel Zephyr is an upscale, boutique waterfront hotel and a fun place for families to stay. 

Feel like the captain of your vacation in your hotel room, located adjacent to Pier 39, and complete with a TV, workspace, games, and a full bath! 

If you want a full list of our favorite hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf – check out this post. 

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For all things San Francisco and all things fun, we’ve got you covered! You should never feel pressure to plan your whole family vacation alone, and that’s where we come in. 

Check out Dylan’s Tours for a locally-guided family-friendly tour of San Francisco that you can’t get anywhere else.

Bay area kids activities - San Francisco

Since vacationing with wee-ones can be particularly difficult at times, we even pick you up directly from any hotel in downtown San Francisco, literally you won’t have to worry about a thing! 

What kid-friendly San Francisco activity would you be most excited about doing with your toddlers on your next visit to San Francisco?

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