Are you looking for places that you can visit in the Bay Area with your whole family? Then you’ve come to the right place!
From museum visits full of learning and experimentation to spooky walking tours of San Francisco, there’s something for every family member on this list.
11 Exciting Places for a Family to Visit in the Bay Area
1. The Golden Gate Park
The Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is one of the best places for a family picnic.
You can also go boating, let the kids run wild on one of the many playgrounds inside the park, take a casual stroll through the Conservatory of Flowers, or even catch a glimpse of wild buffaloes.
If you’re going to spend a few hours in any of San Francisco’s vibrant neighborhoods, Chinatown is your best option.
The sights, the smells, and the scenery of the bustling streets will capture the attention of even the most high-energy kids.
Make sure to stop by the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory while you’re there to see how fortune cookies are made.
3. Fisherman’s Wharf
After taking a family photo at the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf sign, check out San Francisco’s famous sea lions basking in the sun at Pier 39.
This is also where you will find some of San Francisco’s best street food. The clam chowder is a must-eat, as is the sourdough bread at the Boudin Bakery!
4. Entertainment Centers
The Bay Area is full of entertainment centers for kids of all ages.
The nonprofit Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery is a great example. It has 8,000-plus square feet of exhibits and classrooms. There are also lots of cool things for kids of all ages to explore!
Cost: Varies; the Santa Cruz Museum of Discovery has $5 tickets for kids and $8 for adults (18+)
5. San Francisco Zoo
With 100 acres of animals, attractions, and special exhibits, the San Francisco Zoo is full of exciting entertainment options – whether you’re an animal lover or not.
If you have kids in multiple age groups, definitely check out the incredibly well-designed Elinor Friend Playground.
It has three different areas – one for toddlers, one for preschoolers, and one for pre-teens – so nobody will be left out!
Cost: $23 for adults (15 – 64), $19 for seniors (65+), $17 for kids (4-14)
6. Art Museums
If your kids are a little more grown up, the Bay Area has some pretty cool art museums for the whole family to see.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is a great choice – especially because General Admission is free for everyone 18 and under!
Cost: Varies; SFMOMA tickets cost $25, but it’s free for kids 18 and under
7. The Walt Disney Family Museum
If you are taking the kids on a family trip to San Francisco, the Walt Disney Museum is one of the places you should have on your list.
It has a 12-foot model of Disneyland as Walt Disney first imagined it, a theater showing a variety of Disney movies, and even one of the studio’s original camera cranes that were used in the production of Snow White.
Plus, the museum offers many kid-friendly events all week long, so definitely check out their schedule before you go!
Cost: $15 for kids, $25 for adults (18+), free for children ages 5 and under
8. The Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is one of the places that adults and kids tend to love equally as much.
Kids really love looking at themselves in the Anti-Gravity Mirror (it looks like you’re floating!) and watching the Soap Film Painting (yes, that’s a thing!).
There are hundreds of things you can do at the Exploratorium so plan to spend the whole day there, especially if you have school-aged kids with you.
Cost: $29.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids (free for children 3 and under).
9. Amusement Parks
If you’ve got multiple days to spend in the Bay Area, spend a day at one of the many amusement parks.
The Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA is just 1 hour away from San Francisco and brings together the thrill of amusement park rides and the calm atmosphere of a zoo visit.
You can ride an elephant, feed a giraffe, and go on any number of kid-friendly rides while you’re there!
Cost: Varies; $49.99 for a day pass at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
10. The Aquarium of the Bay
The Aquarium of the Bay is home to more than 20,000 marine animals, including sleek sharks and stingrays, some very secretive octopi, and frolicking river otters.
It’s also one of the best places to visit to learn about the most important environmental challenges our planet is facing today.
Cost: $27.95 for adults (13-64), $17.95 for kids (4-12), $22.95 for seniors ($65+). (Special family bundles available)
11. Haunted Walking Tour
Did you know that San Francisco is one of the most haunted cities in the United States?
If you want to see multiple areas of San Francisco in one go, walking tours are a great option – and a haunted one will make your visit absolutely unforgettable!
The adults will enjoy learning about the history of the old Fog City while teens get a thrill out of keeping an eye out for ghosts.
Cost: Varies; typically $25+
The Haunt Experience
From amusement parks to haunted houses, there is no shortage of fun things for a family to do in the Bay Area.
If your kids are a little more grown up – and would be thrilled to learn about the spooky history of San Francisco – our Haunted San Francisco Ghost Tour is for you!
It will take you and your family on an unforgettable journey through the streets of San Francisco.
But if you’re ready to experience the spooky side of San Francisco…