Inner Richmond District


The Inner Richmond is a bustling multicultural soup, often described as the friendliest neighborhood in the city. It’s filled with stucco houses and grand mansions and has easy access to the Presidio, a plethora of inexpensive eateries, and a good variety of shops. The Richmond is quieter than the go-go Mission, and the fog comes in earlier than elsewhere. On its main dining and shopping drag, Clement Street, you’ll find great Burmese, Thai, and Chinese bakeries that sell steamed dumplings and pork buns for under a dollar and exotic (yet cheap) produce markets where you can play “guess the vegetable.” Drink some Hong Kong-style pearl tea (complete with marble-size tapioca balls), stop by Haig’s Delicacies (642 Clement Street) to browse the rare, imported spices, or sit down for a French bistro meal, and you’ll come to appreciate the neighborhood that sprouted from the sand dunes. This is the best neighborhood in San Francisco for young children, but be forewarned, parking is hard to find on the weekends.

Contact no:
Location: Clement Street and Park Presidio Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94118

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Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

Fortune cookies were invented in Golden Gate Park, but the biggest local producer these days is Golden Gate Fortune Cookies & Company. This place isn’t easy to find, and you’ll wander through Chinatown, past the souvenir shops, and down a rundown alley before you come across it. In this antiquated bakery, which makes thousands of fortune cookies every day, you and your children can watch women quickly folding thin platters of dough over slips of paper to make the famous cookies. Sadly, they won’t let you see the wise old sage that writes the advice on the fortune cookies. As samples they give out thin, sweet wafers. Kids love the antiquated machinery, and it’s rare these days for them to see food actually being made.

Contact no: (415) 781-3956

Location: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94108

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Cable Car Museum

Take a ride on a cable car. San Francisco is famous around the world for its cable cars, although most San Franciscans don’t ride them often. They can take you over the hills that are the biggest and hardest to climb. The Cable Car Museum in San Francisco, built around the cable cars’ powerhouse, is open to the public. And the cable cars themselves function as a museum you can ride, which is more fun than reading a plaque. Here’s a secret tip: On the corner of Powell and Market Streets, there is usually a long line to board the cable cars at the turnaround. Walk a few blocks to the corner of California and Van Ness where there will hardly be a line. Hold on tight!

Contact no: (415) 474-1887

Location: 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

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49 Mile Drive

A long, scenic drive around the city, the 49 Mile Drive winds its way around most of the major attractions in San Francisco. It takes you through the storied Presidio, circles Golden Gate Park’s Stow Lake, through Chinatown, and to the top of Twin Peaks. Kids who don’t like long trips needn’t worry; there are plenty of interesting stops along the way.

Contact no:
Location: San Francisco, CA

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Scroungers’ Center for Reusable Art

For your children who are more interested in the box a toy came in than in the toy itself, this is the place for them. It’s a treasure trove of art materials for dedicated scroungers and curious kids alike. The founders of SCRAP converted an old warehouse into a holding pen for fabric, glass, wood, plastic, cardboard, tile, and paper for art supplies. It’s fun to just walk around here with kids, and something always ends up catching their eye. This is a place with a hidden lesson about ecology also, but they don’t beat you (or your children) over the head with it.

Contact no:(415) 647-1746

Location: Parts (SCRAP), 801 Toland Street, San Francisco, CA 94124

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Schein & Schein

Don’t think of this as a map store, think of it as an art museum that won’t bore your children. Schein and Schein sells a staggering assortment of antique prints and maps, each one with a geography and history lesson built right in. Some of their maps are quite reasonable and would make a perfect gift, but make sure you explain that the little country on their map hasn’t been called “Belgian Congo” for years and that Colorado is now a state.

Contact no: (415) 399-8882

Location: 1435 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Little Fish Boutique

This cozy shop in San Francisco’s West Portal District is a veritable emporium for the enlightened child. Browse everything from developmental and educational toys and books to organic cotton baby clothes. There are also some equally stylish items for either grandma or grandpa to peruse.

Contact no: (415) 681-7242

Location: 320 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127

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Green Apple Books

This is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. Every single square inch, and every centimeter for that matter — if you prefer metric — is packed with tomes. The shop specializes in used and rare books, which might interest you, but their children’s section is the finest in California, full of books you haven’t seen since you were a child, and all at reasonable prices. Whether you and your children are looking for a Harry Potter book, Hansel and Gretel, or Horton Hears a Who, you’ll find it and a lot more at Green Apple.

Contact no: (415) 387-2272

Location: 506 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

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Chinatown Kite Shop

San Francisco is windier than Chicago, that’s a fact. As proof, we present the Chinatown Kite Shop. This shop is filled from wall to wall with kites and string. It sells every variety of kite, from the Hex Spinner Wind Wheel to the handmade Chinese Bat-Kite. It has sport kites, racing kites, fighting kites, and even standard-issue nondescript kites. After buying your kites, you can make your way to nearby Crissy Field where, weather permitting, you and your child can fly your new kites by the Bay.

Contact no: (415) 989-5182

Location: 717 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108

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Chinatown — San Francisco

San Francisco’s historic Chinatown is a legendary tourist attraction and the largest Chinatown outside China. This noisy, sprawling, big, beautiful, crowded neighborhood is perfect for wandering during the day with your children. The stores that sell less-expensive items, like DVDs or small, live turtles, cater to locals; the stores with more expensive goods — a porcelain cat that waves hello or a silk kimono — are for tourists. The ceremonial entrance to Chinatown is the gate at the corner of Grant Avenue and Bush Street.

Contact no:

Bush Street and Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108
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