You can call it the City by the Bay, Fog City, SF, San Fran…just don’t call it Frisco. This week we are chatting with Leslie Harvey from Trips with Tykes to get her best tips for exploring San Francisco with kids.
ON THE PODCAST
032: Chatting with Tamara from Nashville
055: Nashville food tour
2:50 Nashville food scene
7:00 Grand Ole Opry
9:41 Union Station Hotel
12:01 Welcoming back Leslie Harvey
13:30 How long to spend in San Francisco
15:12 Must do sites in San Francisco
17:15 Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf
18:39 Getting to the city from the airport
20:03 Getting around the city
21:36 Walt Disney Family Museum
22:38 Best time of year to visit
23:25 Day trips from San Francisco
25:50 Distance to Disneyland
30:56 Best hotels for families
35:00 Best restaurants for families
38:38 Budget tips
41:29 Best place to take a family photo
43:55 Final tips
45:28 Leslie’s favorite travel gear
47:55 Tip of the week
49:07 Shout out to Rachel
ABOUT LESLIE HARVEY
Leslie Harvey publishes Trips With Tykes, a family travel blog that focuses on the joys and challenges of travel with babies, toddlers, and young kids. Her travel passions include all things Disney as well as air travel, even in spite of her constant battles with the TSA over her toddler’s juice box. Leslie is a former attorney and mother of two children, ages 8 and 3. She’s originally from Alabama but now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. Follow Leslie on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google +.
TIPS FOR EXPLORING SAN FRANCISCO WITH KIDS
- You need at least three days to visit San Francisco and you can easily spend up to a week.
- Must see sites in San Francisco include: Lombard Street, Alcatraz, Ferry Building, Pier 39, Alamo Square (with the Painted Ladies from Full House), Golden Gate Park, Walt Disney Family Museum, and Chinatown
- You must book tickets for the boat to Alcatraz in advance
- Pier 39 (where the sea lions are) / Fisherman’s Wharf is very touristy so it is worth a visit but don’t plan on spending all your time there
- The Aquarium by the Bay is a great way to learn about the local ecosystem
- If you drive, get an app to find parking but it would be best to leave the car at home and use public transportation
- To get from the airport, you can take a BART train to Union Square but if you are staying elsewhere, you may want to take an Uber or Lyft. It is about a 30-minute drive without too much traffic.
- Use public transportation in the city and if you want to get out of the city, you can rent a car for the day from an office in the system
- The cable car is used as a tourist attraction and not as much for reliable transportation
- Summer is the foggiest but September is the sunniest and warmest so fall is the best time to come. Winter is the rainy season.
- Best day trips from San Francisco include Sonoma or Napa, Muir Woods, Monterey, or the East Bay like Oakland
- Disneyland is a 5-6 hour drive from San Francisco
- Hotels are centered in Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf. Union Square is more centrally located. You need to watch the convention schedule because when large conventions come into town hotels sell out and are extremely expensive (check the Moscone Convention Center schedule).
- The Westin St. Francis is expensive but you can find deals if you travel off peak.
- The Fairmont on top Nob Hill is also great with a fun tiki bar.
- If you use Airbnb, be careful about what neighborhood you choose.
- Check the San Francisco Chronicle’s top 100 restaurant list for fine dining options.
- Good dining options for kids:
- Yank Sing dim sum
- Burritos in the Mission District
- Ethnic food
- Food trucks (Off the Grid has pop up locations)
- There are many free things to do in San Francisco
- Do the math on CityPass or GoCard to see if it will pay for itself
- Using the sharing economy (Uber, Lyft, etc) to save money
- Limit how many museums you do as they are expensive
- Be prepared that you may need to walk a lot of hills and plan your route accordingly
BEST PLACE TO TAKE FAMILY PHOTO
- Take a photo with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background from the scenic overlook across the bridge (if you head north to Sausalito)
- Another great spot to take a family photo would be at the Chinatown Gate, in Alamo Park, or at the corner of Haight & Ashbury
FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR
Leslie wears a pair of black Mary Jane-style Crocs when she visits San Francisco. Just don’t wear sneakers or you will look like a tourist.
TIP OF THE WEEK
The fog in San Francisco makes it feel much colder than you think it will be. Be sure to bring a raincoat but also something thicker and dress in layers.
MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST
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