In this episode of Civic Couch we turn our eye to travel.
I recently took a family weekend trip to San Francisco. It was a quick trip; we flew in Friday morning and left Sunday evening.
That’s not a lot of time but we were able to jam in many family fun activities. My wife is the planner and had all of our activities mapped out months in advance. My 7-year-old daughter and I are the adventurers, we seek fun. It’s a good combination.
After checking into our hotel in Union Square, we jumped on the Powell St. Railway Car. I’ve been to San Francisco many times in the past but never rode one. My daughter was excited to ride one and there was a stop right outside our hotel. We rode it down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Fisherman’s Warf is one of the busiest and well-known tourist attractions in the United States. Seafood restaurants are everywhere but we were saving our hunger for our next stop, Ghirardelli Square, home of the “Original” Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. It’s a short walk from fishermans warf, even in the rain. It’s a bit expensive but my wife and I enjoyed our milkshakes while our daughter had a chocolate bar.
The next day we got up early for our first adventure, a treasure hunt through Chinatown and North Beach / Little Italy. Beth at City Clues was our guide. The hunt begins in Chinatown. We had a list of things to find, Chinese menus, our Chinese zodiac sign etc. We even tried Thai Chi! The tour includes the discovery of how fortune cookies are made and a visit to a hidden temple. From ChinaTown we ventured to North Beach, where Beth gave us a new list of things to find. My daughter loved being in charge of reading the list and being the first one to find the clues. In North Beach we visited the Molinary delicatessen. This landmark deli was founded in 1896 and is still family owned. The treasure hunt then lead us to Z. Cioccolato, a sweets shop specializing in award winning fudge. My daughter was excited about the free fudge samples while my wife was more interested in the salt-water taffy. The tour concluded with an uphill walk to the famous one block section of Lombard Street, claimed as “the most crooked street in the world”. At the top you have a great view looking towards Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower
From there we purchased tickets for the Big Bus. This is an open top bus with hop on hop off stops all throughout the city. We opted for the 2-day pass that cost $54 per adult and $36 for my daughter. No matter rain, cold or wind my daughter wanted to sit up top and I didn’t mind either. It’s a great way to see the city, no obstructions. They also supply headphones to listen to a tour guide and ponchos to stay dry. We took the bus throughout the city… Fisherman’s Warf… Haight Ashbury but by far our favorite part was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge with the cold wind blowing us around!
Our final day started off back on the big bus… in the rain. A morning ride around the city with a special lunch destination, Tony’s Pizza in North Beach. They open at noon but the line starts forming around 11am. The interior has an old school Italian feel to it. The menu offers more types of pizza than I knew existed with different cooking styles and temperatures. We played it safe, one Margherita and one half-cheese/half pepperoni with and order of Garlic bread. It’s definitely worth waiting in line for.
Our last stop before heading home was the Walk Disney Family Museum. This museum features the life and legacy of Walt Disney. The museum’s galleries are designed so that they can be taken in quickly or slowly, at a high level or a detailed level, depending on how deep you want to go. I was worried that my daughter would get bored but they have interactive displays that she had fun with. Our favorite display was the huge model of Disneyland properly named The Disneyland of Walt’s Imagination.
So there it is, Family Fun Things To Do in San Francisco. Yes, there are a lot of places we missed, the largest being Alcatraz. This was a weekend trip and we just didn’t have time to hit them all.
Thanks for watching!