Westin St. Francis Glass Elevator

The St. Francis is a lovely hotel, and one of the best things about it is that security doesn’t seem to mind when people who aren’t hotel guests use its glass elevators. There are five elevators that run the height of the building and offer spectacular views of the city and the Bay. It’s well-known to locals that this is the best view in town. children enjoy taking a trip to the top almost as much as they like Fisherman’s Wharf. Sure, this isn’t a traditional tourist attraction, but it’s so much fun. And since it’s free, you can’t argue with the price.

Contact no:(415) 397-7000

Location: 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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Wave Organ

File:Wave Organ 2.jpg

The Wave Organ, an Exploratorium artist-in-residence piece, is a wave-activated acoustic sculpture located on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay at the tip of the Marina. It’s not a video game, nor is it in high definition. It doesn’t shock you terribly or run up your credit card. It just makes a very pleasant sound that your children will find delightfully bizarre. Waves going through the Wave Organ make it play something that’s not quite music, but certainly not just noise. It’s like stepping inside one of the seashells that you hold up to your ear.

Contact no: (415) 561-0360

Location: 1 Yacht Road, San Francisco, CA 94123

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Union Square

File:Union square san francisco.jpg

If San Francisco has a heart, it’s in Union Square. This open-air plaza is ideal for sitting to enjoy a drink while you watch tourists, businessmen, shoppers, street performers and all the rest of the residents of the City by the Bay. Be sure to check local listings to see if any events are taking place in the Square, as the plaza is home to art shows, fashion shows, parties, and sometimes demonstrations, political and otherwise. On the plaza, there is a little café where you can get pastries, coffee or a glass of wine. Union Square is home to the TIX booth (350 Powell Street); buy discounted tickets there to shows at the downtown theaters.

Contact no: (415) 433-7827

Location: Post Street and Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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USS Pampanito

San Francisco is home to one of the “most popular historic vessels in the country”; it is a giant WWII submarine that sank six Japanese ships. Now, it’s a living museum where you and your children can marvel at this immense symbol of military brawniness. Submarines are inherently fascinating to kids, and any children learning about World War II in history class should definitely see the USS Pampanito for a well-rounded lesson in the past.

Contact no: (415) 775-1943

Location: Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.

Top of The Mark


The View


Located on the 19th (and top) floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, the world-renowned sky-bar affords an almost 360 degree vista of San Francisco, including views of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz. The Top of the Mark is as famous for its 100 different martinis as it is for the view, but before 8pm, it serves soft drinks for the children as well.

Contact no: (415) 616-6916

Location: 1 Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108

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San Francisco Ghost Hunt

Good orb! There was no lights in the background..

The Ghost Hunt is a walking tour of San Francisco which focuses on ghosts and other paranormal activity. The organizers claim that all of their information is backed up by research, but we’re not so sure. Even skeptical kids will have fun on this two-hour tour. The tourguide, Jeff Fassbinder, says this is a chilling supernatural adventure, so please dress warmly because it gets chilly at night in San Francisco. This hunt is not recommended for children 8 and younger.

Contact no: (415) 922-5590

Location: 1590 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Learn more here.

Parrots of Telegraph Hill

The rowdy and charming flock of Cherry-headed Conures is thought to have come here in the late 80s, and they’re still delighting curious children today. Originally from South America, no one is sure exactly how they ended up on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. In the 90s their fame grew along with their numbers, and there are now more than 100 parrots in the group. These are beautiful, brightly-colored, tropical parrots, who manage to survive in San Francisco due to the mild climate (which seems to suit the human inhabitants as well). Several years ago, their primary caretaker, Mark Bittner, wrote a book and contributed to a film about this curious flock, which only increased their fame. They’re now the most loved feathered citizens of the city.

Contact no:

Telegraph Hill Boulvard, San Francisco, CA 94111
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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

Learn more here.

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

Learn more here.