With its eclectic architecture, the ringing of vintage trolley bells and endless places to visit, San Francisco will fascinate toddlers. The city’s unique culture makes it the perfect place to escape the monotony of everyday life and have some fun with your little one.
Embark at the Embarcadero
Begin your trip at a very popular destination—the Embarcadero. This area starts at AT&T Park, the home of San Francisco’s major league baseball team, the Giants. Toddlers love the excitement of baseball games—from foam fingers and hot dogs to stray balls and home runs. Get tickets to a day game and enjoy the view; the stadium is right on the edge of the bay so you can watch the wind catch the waves during the game.
Science and sea lions
After a few hours at the ballpark, head up the Embarcadero to the Fisherman’s Wharf. The walkway will be lined with piers, but make a stop at two special ones.
The first is Pier 15, the new home of the Exploratorium. This museum is perfect for toddlers. Each exhibit teaches visitors—both young and old—about science or perception with a hands-on approach. Whether your little tyke is running his or her fingers along a table with magnets that shift inside when you touch it, or wandering through a room that appears to shrink the further you go, he or she will be giggling. And so will you! With exhibits focusing on human behavior (perception and memory), seeing and listening, the local environment and creating something, you will be having just as much fun at Pier 15 as your toddler.
Travel a little further to Pier 39 to catch a glimpse of some California sea lions. As you walk along the left side of the pier, you will come to an area that overlooks the floating docks where these cute creatures like to rest. As they soak up the sun, they sometimes bark noisily at one another, which is sure to delight the kids. As you continue further up the Embarcadero, watch for street performers who will be singing, posing or doing various physical stunts to please the crowds.
Once you reach Jefferson Street, take a left and stop by Cioppino’s Restaurant. Locals will tell you that cioppino, a stew made from various kinds of seafood, originated in San Francisco in the late 1800s when Italian fishermen would return to shore after a day’s work. They would all toss something they caught into the pot of stew. Although their cioppino is what they are known for, their extensive menu offers you a chance to introduce your little one to new kinds of food. Stop by Ghirardelli Square for dessert. You can grab some chocolate from the Ghirardelli chocolate store and sit next to the fountain below the red Ghirardelli letters that loom over the plaza.
While you’re in the area, why not venture out on a boat? Pass under the Golden Gate Bridge to see the famous landmark from a different perspective. Toddlers will have a blast drifting across the choppy waters of the bay, and the view of the skyline from the water will give you the perfect photo opportunity.