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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Babymoon trip for the older child

This Friday, Alex, Toby and I are taking a much-anticipated trip to San Francisco! We'll be visiting my sister for a week, and we're thinking of it as a babymoon trip for Toby. Since his world will be turned upside down when the baby arrives this summer, we decided to front-load all our vacations this year and take one last trip as a family of three, during which we'll dote on him, have tons of mommy-daddy-Toby time, and do everything he loves most: planes, trains, playgrounds, a million tacos for lunch:)

I'd love to ask: Do you have any family-friendly advice for San Francisco? Any yummy restaurants, ice-cream shops, playgrounds, museums, toy stores, or overall kid-friendly activities? We want to make it really special for Toby and would be grateful for any insider tips. Thank you so much!
P.S. Toby's first trip to San Francisco, and grown-up San Francisco advice.

(Illustration by Kevin Dart; photo by Alan Levine)

234 comments:

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becahdawn said...

I'm sort of surprised at all the recommendations for the Exploratorium. Yes, it's amazing. And it's one of my favorite places in San Francisco. But it's not toddler-friendly. My kids are 2.5 and I doubt I'll take them there for at least another year. The Bay Area Discovery Museum (just across the GG Bridge) is a slam dunk for the under-4 set. We love Dolores Park, Tartine, Bi-Rite (if it's sunny, everybody else in the city will also be there). An amazing short excursion is CuriOdyssey down near the airport. It combines a small science museum & a little zoo that's perfect for small children. Also the steam trains in Tilden Park (Berkeley) are a big hit for little ones. Check out the Creativity Museum. And Cal Academy is great for toddlers (though expensive)! The aquarium is amazing, there are penguins, there's lots of space for running & exploring, and it has a nice toddler room where you can sit down and relax while Toby plays! The cafe also has wonderful food. Have fun!!!

Paige said...

Yes Dolores is a must visit and then get Bi-Rite ice cream after :)

Catherine Masi said...

Toby's such a lucky boy. Have tons of fun!

Andrea Pomerance said...

I just bought the San Francisco ZigZag City Guide for Kids on a recent trip and it was great. Tons of fun suggestions on keeping the little ones entertained! Enjoy your trip!

http://zigzagcityguides.bigcartel.com/

Sbsc3212 said...

I second PAXTON GATE FOR KIDS. Awesome place. Also, The Ice Bream Bar is very cool.

tk said...

Flora Grubb Gardens www.floragrubb.com

Park Chalet Garden Restaurant (beach end of Golden Gate Park) for brunch on a sunny day (you can eat picnic style on a huge lawn...kids can run around)

Tennessee Valley trail walk to beach (Mill Valley)

Children's Fairyland (Oakland)

Explore the bunkers around the Marin Headlands (Rodeo Beach)

Ferry ride to Marin

Ride Bart to East Bay

Alex Bronstad said...

Cole Valley suggestions:

Padrecitos for tacos
http://www.padrecitosf.com/

Ice Cream Bar for old timey after dinner treats!
http://theicecreambarsf.com/

Unknown said...

ok i didn't read everything so could be repeating other people - but yes to Dolores Park, and definitely a trolley ride. Can you go across the bay bridge to Oakland? If so they have a great zoo, a park called Tilden Park that has a real functioning steam train that you can ride, and a little play land called Fairyland that is totally weird and awesome - it's basically a big alice in wonderland park with tons of things to ride and play on. have fun!

Jaymie said...

Fairyland in Oakland
New Exploratorium
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Hamsa said...

I had a babymoon with my daughter in SF when our roof suddenly sprung a leak so we left home for the repairs. Of all the recommendations, the Bay Area Children's Discovery Museum was the keeper. It's immediately over the Golden Gate, so you'll need a car. It's a collection of old army buildings with free form art going on, aimed at the very young. I watched my daughter paint on clear panels and then squeegee off, and snip and tape fabric around stuffed animals on a group sculpture, and she was so deeply into it she didn't say a word for over an hour. I learned a lot about mothering that day, inadvertantly.

Skip the Exploratorium. It's too old for your guy, and it's very expensive. We went on a lucky free day and enjoyed a few things, but largely it was me being intrigued and her not. It's very pricey for that. Do it when he's eight. The zoo is like zoos everywhere. The cable cars, kids love. Enjoy and hope the bumpy bits are few!

Emily Nathan said...

Joanna- Some ladies mentioned Tilden, and while I think the train is awesome and little farm is cute I would recommend if you go, go EARLY! Its hot and bright in the east bay mid-day (even late am) and its not nearly as lovely as early, so there is that.
Also, I am not sure if anyone mentioned Crissy field (you must know it). The weather is amazing right now and if it holds Crissy is such a local spot but also epic. Right under the GG bridge, hop skip from the Presidio and a super fun (chilly water) calm beach. Likewise, if it stays warm, and you want beach and yummy food and cute stuff, go out to ocean beach to hang out - maybe brunch at Outerlands when it opens Sat am, then check out The General Store and other beauty in the neighborhood. Sunset an awesome time to be out there but don't plan on eating without a long wait...
Also, the Academy of Sciences certainly was mentioned somewhere above right? In the park, good food, TONS to see, better on a weekday...
emily
tinyatlasquarterly.com

Oihana Olalde said...

I'm in love with San Francisco! For children and adults it's nice biking to Presidio to play with comets and tasting chocolate from Ghirardelli's.
The Golden Gate park is awesome for children too.

Natalie B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Natalie B said...

Make sure to visit Noe Valley... sweet family friendly neighborhood next to the Mission: Farmers Market on Saturday, FroYo at Easy Breezy, and a nice stroll down 24th street. For burritos, I have said it before and I'll say it again... El Farolito for the BEST burrito in SF (and most authentic, Papalote doesn't count :) )

A quick visit across the bay in Sausalito to the Bay Area Discovery Musuem and lunch at Cavallo Point (crab sandwich and the burger). Make sure to bring some goodies to enjoy on the grass and take in the view.Cant recommend this enough!!

Joanna Goddard said...

these tips are all so amazing! thank you so much. alex and i spent ages going over every single one and now we're psychotically excited for the trip. thank you again!!!!!

Sadie said...

Totally with you Jenna on the Academy of Sciences. I was lucky enough to get in for a holiday party and a wedding and couldn't believe that people would pay their admission costs for such little to view.

Lindsay Himmer said...

I said Oakland, but I meant Monterey. Monterey is GREAT if you havent been I highly suggest it! You should rent bikes and go for a family bike ride and eat clam chowder out of bread bowls!

trinaenriquez said...

I second these recs. This is actual a post-ballet ritual for me.

trinaenriquez said...

Main Street's pretty cool. I like the chorizo hash, the cornmeal buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and bacon, and the spinach feta omelet.

trinaenriquez said...

I agree that Outerlands is awesome (especially the eggs in jail, but the Dutch pancake is also a wonder). Still, with Toby in tow you're probably not going to want to wait the hour+ to get a table for brunch.

Amanda Villaveces said...

awesome park! but its in Monterey not Oakland.

Unknown said...

Beignet Sundays at Devil's Teeth Baking Company in the Outer Sunset. Beignets made to order. Yummy breakfast sandwich. Surfers. Perfect Sunday mornings.

lulu103 said...

Or better yet, just "the city." ;)

Unknown said...

When we lived there, my 2 yr old loved getting a cupcake on chestnut and eating it at the palace if fine arts grounds, you can feed ducks there too. It's just gorgeous and relaxing. Take a blanket. And the best cupcake shop was called susiecakes.

Fashion for the rest of us said...

It is a great idea! My husband and I did the same before our baby boy was born three months ago -- a family trip dedicated to my older son. It was great, bot just for him, but for all of us, to connect before the baby took center stage.

http://fashion-for-the-rest-of-us.blogspot.ca/2012/11/memories-from-washington-dc.html

Irene Irene said...

A must-to-go place: 826 Valencia!

http://www.inspiredlyinsane.com/2013/03/826-valencia-paxton-gate.html#more

Have a wonderful trip!

jm said...

Have a great time! I love that San Francisco poster!

Morgan said...

I'm a toddler nanny in SF and the Randall museum has a beautiful view of the city as well as a bunny petting zoo and an interactive train play area. The Academy of Sciences is also fun. The little girl I watch loves the aquarium section and the rainforest exhibit complete with actual butterflies and birds. There is a beautiful live Rooftop as well. And the conservatory of flowers is close by in Golden Gate Park and perfect for photos on a sunny day. It looks like a floral Taj Mahal. There is also a cable car museum that I went to as a child and loved. Definitely take Toby on a cable car ride. My parents finally took me as an adult as we always by passed it visiting the city in my childhood and it was still as exciting as I thought it would be as a child. And Mama' s in Washington Square Park has an amazing brunch and makes all of there own bread. If you go on a week day closer to closing there is hardly even a line. And Tartine by Bi-Rite has amazing breads and chocolate croissants. By far the best bakery in town.

Nan Myers said...

Miette for a sweet treat, and the most beautiful little store.

Meg - [Life of Meg] said...

I 100% agree with taking a picnic lunch (from Tartine) to Dolores Park and then grabbing a cone of the world's best ice cream at Bi-Rite afterward.

From one SF native, I give it a 5 star family friendly afternoon! :)

Unknown said...

It's just so easy for you.

Unknown said...

It's just so easy for you.

v3soft said...

Information about trip is good to read. I enjoy to go such a nice trip. Thank you for your experience.

V3soft.com

Liana Sanjana said...

everything you need right ??? :) and those destinations must be soooo awesome, belive you'll enjoy it ! :)
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