Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar


A visit to San Francisco isn’t complete without experiencing The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar. Yes it’s a bar, but it’s also a restaurant that children won’t want to miss. The Pan-Pacific Rim menu is tasty but what makes the place so special, so impossible to miss, is the artificial thunderstorms that come on the hour while a full band plays on a boat in a moat. You’ll be blown away as the kids sip soda and you enjoy one of the Tonga’s famous Mai Tais.

Contact no: (415) 772-5278

Location: 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Learn more here.

Mission Dolores



This humble church is the oldest building in town, and the source of the name of the neighborhood where it sits. The Mission stands now as a memory of Spanish colonial times, even before the Gold Rush. The graveyard in back is of particular interest, and not just for the more macabre children, because kids can see how young many of these people (including San Francisco’s first mayor) died. The staff is happy to give a tour, which will enlighten even the nonreligious.

Contact no: (415) 621-8203

Location: 3321 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

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Maritime National Historical Park

Go back in time at the Maritime National Historical Park, which sits on the Hyde Street Pier near Fisherman’s Wharf. The park maintains a half-dozen antique ships to illustrate the maritime history of the Bay. They have square-rigged ships, paddle-wheel tugboats, and even tall schooners like the C.A. Thayer. Smell the salty air of the sea and hear the hulls creak. Try to explain to your children that at one time, these clipper ships were the fastest way to get to California.

Contact no: (415) 447-5000

Location: 499 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Learn more here.

Golden Gate Bridge

You could go to San Francisco and not walk over the bridge. Theoretically, it is possible. But it doesn’t really make much sense, does it? One of the greatest landmarks our country has to offer, the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t just there to decorate the bay, it’s used by somewhere near 60,000 people a day. Still, it does spruce up the area quite nicely. There are tours offered, but on a tour, you’ll just step off a bus for a few minutes of picture-taking. You could drive across, but you’d be too busy driving to really see the bridge itself. Trust us when we say that this is the sort of thing that’s best experienced on foot. The walk from one end to the other is about 1.7 miles, so it might not be ideal for toddlers without a stroller.

Contact no: (415) 921-5858

Location: Highway 101 North, San Francisco, CA 94129

Learn more here.

Coit Tower


Coit Tower, at the top of Telegraph Hill in North Beach, was built when a wealthy heiress, Lillie Coit, left San Francisco a large part of her fortune to be used to beautify the city. The top of the tower is the highest point in the area. It’s said Lillie intended the tower as a monument to firefighters, and that it was meant to look like the nozzle of a fire hose. Aside from a unique, 360 degree view from the top, the tower also houses a museum with various depictions of San Francisco life in the 1930s. At the bottom, walkways (some on a sharp incline) pass by some truly picturesque cottages and gardens.

Contact no:(415) 362-0808

Location: 1 Telegraph Hill Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.

Fisherman’s Wharf

This is the most touristy area in San Francisco, but there are a few things here that would be unfortunate to miss. First, buy some fresh crab from the street vendors, preferably in a sourdough-bread bowl. Next, ignore the men trying to sell you souvenirs and make a beeline for Pier 39 to watch the sea lions frolic and laze about in the sun (or fog). They’re charming animals, beloved in San Francisco, but certainly not because of their work ethic. Once you’ve finished envying their lifestyle, you can slip off to the Musee Mecanique, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum or any of the other nearby attractions.

Contact no:
Location: Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.

Camera Obscura

Park your car by the restored windmill and the tulip garden where Golden Gate Park meets the water. San Francisco is a peninsula, with the Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Since picturesque Ocean Beach is on the Pacific side, you can expect to see surfers hitting the waves as you make your way to the ruins of the Sutro Baths, a 19th-century attraction. Behind the ruins, you can find the Camera Obscura, a giant mirror apparatus based on designs by Leonardo da Vinci. Using mirrors, the camera projects a giant image of the ocean onto its walls. Take a trip back in time to Renaissance Italy and teach your children a bit about how lenses work while you enjoy the salt air of the Pacific.

Contact no: (415) 750-0415

Location: 1096 Point Lobos Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121

Learn more here.


This famous former maximum-security federal prison (and former home to Al Capone, among others) is now a national recreational area. The prison still stands, and tours are given daily. Learn the story of the “Birdman of Alcatraz”, and of the daring, impossible escape of 1962. You can even spend a few minutes locked in a cell with your child. Because this is such a popular destination, buy tickets for the ferry to the island several days in advance.

Contact no: (415) 981-7625

Location: Pier 33, San Francisco, CA 94111

Learn more here.