As part of our mini-series on the City by the Bay, we are covering the top Visiting San Francisco with Kids Tips! In this post, we cover San Francisco Travelers Safety tips, the things to skip in San Francisco with kids, where to stay in San Francisco with kids and the top places to eat! For the sister post that goes along with this one click – The Ultimate Things You Have to do in San Francisco with Kids!
We love San Francisco and think it is surprisingly child-friendly! While the streets are super steep, the sidewalks are wide and can be easily navigated with a stroller. Also, we have found that people in San Francisco are so patient and so nice to kids! Obviously, you get some people everywhere who hate kids (booooo) but for the most part, everyone was incredibly nice and patient with Beckham. It didn’t matter if we were in a kids museum or a nice restaurant, almost everyone was so patient and went out of their way to be kind to him.
Visiting San Francisco with Kids Tips
Travelers Safety in San Francisco when Traveling with Children
San Francisco currently has a large homeless population and at times, this can be quite shocking. While we were there we saw a man and woman administer drugs to themselves via syringe on the sidewalk, and we saw another man pooping off to the side of the road. We have all been to San Francisco and we knew what to expect, however, for first-time visitors we suggest doing your homework before you go and make sure you are aware of the issues.
We have traveled to San Francisco many times and have never felt threatened. Like traveling anywhere else, safety always needs to be in the back of your mind and being aware of your surroundings is a must. I made sure to go over and over and over and over what Beckham what to do if he got lost and employed the “safety-pin” method every day – If you don’t know what this is, you can check out our most recent Disneyland post where we go over it in detail. I also made sure that I knew where Beckham was at all times and if he was with another adult, I verbally communicated that that adult was in charge of Beckham until they had let me know otherwise.
The Diversity of San Francisco Provides for Some Excellent Teaching Moments
We really tried hard to make the things Beckham was seeing teaching moments and to help explain certain situations to him. If this is something you are not quite ready to do with your children, San Francisco might be a destination that is better saved for a later date. We had no problem taking Beckham and had the absolute BEST time but we do want to present you with some things we noticed and think everyone should be aware of. All in all, we wouldn’t hesitate to go to San Francisco again with little children, we think this diverse city is a fabulous place to learn and explore!
The Best Places to Stay with Children in San Francisco
Our top recommendation is a bit pricey and if it isn’t in your price range, don’t fear there are lots of other family-friendly options that are a little bit more economical. The reasons why we love this hotel so much is that the staff is excellent with children, the rooms are spacious, the amenities are fantastic, and the location is perfect. It is close enough to be in walking distance of most things but out of the city center enough that we were able to get away from the craziness that is Market Street. They offer super fun kids activities and we just think it is fab! We stayed here the last two times we have visited and have loved it each time.
One thing that we DON’T love about the Ritz Carlton SF
Something to note, the food is very expensive. I am talking $32.00 for some cheerios and milk from room service. NO THANKS! After the first day paying for breakfast we stopped at a CVS on the way home and asked the hotel to clean out the minibar so we could stock it with our $2.00 milk instead of having to pay $32.00 plus tip every day.
Other Family-Friendly Options
We have not stayed at any of these locations but have heard fabulous things and they were recommended to us by several of our guides. They are all a bit cheaper than the Ritz Carlton. These might be some great options if you don’t know where to start and need something a bit more economical.
The Best Places to Eat with Kids in San Francisco
Each of these restaurants is SUPER yummy, super casual, and kid-approved!
Get the chicken sandwich and the snickerdoodle shake. Hello, yummy!
The best margarita pizza in the whole city!
Tacos, burritos, and chips and salsa? Yes, please!
Self-described as a Mecca for farmers, vendors, and food lovers we can’t recommend the Ferry Building enough. Anything we have ever eaten in here has been divine and the casual and laid-back atmosphere is perfect for children. With a vast patio out back where the littles can watch boats and ferries pass by, it is such a fun place to rest and grab a yummy bite to eat!
Best Sweet Treats for Kids in San Francisco
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream (If they are not serving the Harvey Milk + Honey Graham when you visit, you deserve to shed a tear or two)
Johnny’s Doughnuts (The Citrus Orange Doughnut is life changing!)
Ghirardelli Chocolate at Ghirardelli Square (Chocolate – enough said :))
Trish’s Mini Doughnuts (The doughnuts are delish but the lemonade should be skipped)
Snickerdoodle Shake at The Melt (Yes, we are putting it on here twice – it is just that good!)
Things to Skip in San Francisco with Kids
These are some things that just did not live up to the hype and have no place on our Ultimate Things You Have to do in San Francisco with Kids list. In fact, we thought these were such busts that we decided to make a things to SKIP in San Francisco with kids list just for them (is that harsh??).
The Museum of Ice Cream
This Instagram Famous Museum is LAME. LAME. LAME. Save yourself the $38.00 per ticket + tax and a service fee and put your money elsewhere. Oddly a museum about ice cream was quite sexual (Beckham obviously didn’t get any of the innuendos) and seriously smelled like stinky feet the whole time. NOPE!
Riding a Cable Car
We know we might have people who disagree with us, but there are a couple of reasons why this is on our list.
- 1) The price. It is $7.00 ONE WAY, per person, and there are other places in San Francisco that are far more fun and enjoyable.
- 2) The crowds. Every other tourist has riding a Cable Car on their bucket list and the car we got on was packed to the max.
- 3)The unreliability. Finding the cable car stops takes a masters degree to figure out. We walked up three different hills only to have to walk back down one and then up again to find a location that was operating cable cars and we could board. There is not a specific schedule, so you just have to wait for the next available and hope the car that comes by isn’t full. (We had to wait for over 40 minutes).
If getting on a cable car and snapping that famous San Francisco picture is on your list, we suggest heading down to Powell and Market street and seeing where many of the cable cars end their route. Visiting the Cable Car Museum is also such a fun and educational alternative.
The Aquarium of the Bay
Unless it is raining really hard and you need somewhere to hunker down for a while, this is somewhere that we can’t suggest when considering the price. There are far better things to do with your time and money. After visiting here, we decided to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum in Presidio and we all enjoyed that so much more! Even Beckham was incredibly disappointed with this aquarium. On the way out he said “well that was lame.” He’s only 5 and recognized that it was a bust.
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