San Francisco might be known for sourdough bread and tech startups, but its best sights and activities are the ones designed for families. Before I moved here a decade ago, the thing that came to mind about San Francisco was my own childhood visit to the Exploratorium, where my siblings and I got to play with hands-on exhibits.
This diverse city is full of immersive museums designed specifically for kids as well as parks that are great year-round (especially since the weather doesn’t change much). It’s also small enough that you can hit a lot of the best spots in a fairly short time. Here’s how to spend three fun-filled days in the “Foggy City.”
The fog rolls in quickly; always carry a light jacket.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the immersive Exploratorium.
On your first day, explore the sights and historic neighborhoods on the bay side of the city. Start on the Embarcadero, where you can visit the Aquarium of the Bay or the Exploratorium for hands-on fun or hop on a ferry to Alcatraz. For lunch, head up the hill to Chinatown for dumplings and a peek into a fortune cookie factory.
If the weather’s hot, keep going west and spend the afternoon on the soft sand of Ocean Beach; you can pick up some banh mi sandwiches in the Sunset neighborhood on the way. Alternatively, drive down the coast a few minutes to the San Francisco Zoo. For dinner head to the Mission for enormous burritos and other Mexican-American specialties.