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

Learn more here.

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

Learn more here.

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

Learn more here.

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

Learn more here.

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

Learn more here.

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
Learn more here.