San Francisco turned out to be an amazing location for a multigenerational trip. I shared my family’s in San Francisco on Traveling Mom but we really enjoyed a lot more. I’m partnering with Kidifornia today and sharing 11 cool multigenerational San Francisco trip ideas with you.
1. The Exploratorium
One of our favorite San Francisco adventures was the day we spent at the Exploratorium.It’s all about understanding how our world works. From the tinkering and living systems galleries to the seeing and listening gallery, there is so much to explore. Be sure to set aside a full day for this completely hands-on museum. It’s very large and we spent a full day there exploring as much as we could until the adults were exhausted and dead on our feet, we had to drag the boys out kicking and screaming. 😉
2. Musée Mécanique
I’m pretty sure my boys would declare this arcade their favorite part of the trip. It’s located at the Fisherman’s Wharf and is fairly close to the Holiday Inn Express we stayed at, so we stopped by a few times during our weeklong stay. This is no regular arcade, though, Musée Mécanique is full of working antique games and mechanical musical instruments. You can easily stroll through without spending a dime and gawk at the crazy machines of eras gone by or grab a stack of quarters and try your hand at these unique machines.
I was a little worried about visiting Alcatraz with my kids. I knew my husband and dad would find it interesting but what about the boys? Quinn ended up really enjoying this excursion. He followed along with the audio tour really well and found it very interesting. Elliot ended up a little bored with the audio tour about halfway through. The saving grace for him was the National Parks Jr. Ranger program, we spent some time working on the activity book so he could earn his badge. Both boys enjoyed the short ferry ride to the island.
4. San Francisco Zoo
Visiting the local zoo is always an easy idea with kids, and San Francisco is no exception. While all the animals were fun to see, I really appreciated the amazing playground and fun train ride, they were a nice addition during our visit. With all the large mammals available, I found it amusing that the boys really loved the mouse house we found in the exploration zone.
5. Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is best for families with older kids who can read well. The sheer amount of Disney information is awesome for this Disney fan but the interactive exhibits were limited. My youngest was ready to leave each room fairly quickly. That being said, I loved it and would totally go back with him in a few years. Lucasfilm headquarters is nearby and an easy stop on your way to or from the Walt Disney Family Museum. It’s definitely worth seeing the awesome Yoda statue. Plus, you can walk inside the lobby and check out more Star Wars memorabilia if you visit during regular business hours.
The Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 is a great little aquarium, fun without being overwhelming. It features animals from the San Francisco Bay, complete with an underwater tunnel allowing sea creatures to swim overhead. Don’t miss the Sea Lion’s out in Pier 39’s West Marina, there’s even a Sea Lion Center with interactive displays and videos.
Chinatown is a great place to explore for a couple hours or all day depending upon the interest and activity level of your family. We enjoyed stopping by for a meal several times on our trip. House of Nanking is amazing! It’s also cool to just walk around the neighborhood and window shop, there seem to be interesting things around every corner.
8. Madame Tussauds San Francisco
I was honestly surprised by how much everyone enjoyed Madame Toussad’s Wax Museum. The museum does a great job introducing new wax figures for younger generations while maintaining some local and historical favorites for the older folks. The addition of props at some exhibits made taking pictures extra fun.
9. Cable Car
Make time to ride a cable car, it’s a classic San Francisco activity that should try at least once. Hop off at the Cable Car Museum to see how the cable car system works and learn a bit about its history. It’s small but admission is free!
10. Muir Woods
Muir Woods is a short drive away from the city making it an excellent day trip for San Francisco visitors. We opted to take a private tour of Muir Woods but you could drive yourself or opt for a regular group tour as well. The trail is accessible to both strollers and wheelchairs, making it great for younger and older family members.
11. Golden Gate Bridge
There are many ways to see the Golden Gate Bridge. You can walk over it, bike across it and even book a boat tour under it. We ended up driving over it on our way to Muir Woods and on our way back stopped at Hawk Hill to catch a pretty spectacular view of the bridge and San Francisco beyond it.
If you plan on visiting multiple San Francisco attractions, look into the San Francisco City Pass or Go San Francisco Cards. Both offer deals when visiting several attractions.