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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:

1 – 200 of 234   Newer›   Newest»
Sarah said...

Definitely check out the SF Zoo. You may even get to see the new tiger cub. Also, Golden Gate Park has a special kids section with an old carousel. Also in the park is the Academy of Sciences, which has an aquarium in it and was recently re-done. And just this past April, the new Exploratorium opens on one of the piers (I think 15 & 17) which is totally geared to kids and is all hands-on. Have fun!

Meg said...

Gorgeous photo of the bridge! Hope Toby has a wonderful babymoon!!!!!

meg-made

Megan Philip said...

Definitely check out the recently reopened Exploratorium.

http://www.exploratorium.edu/

It's super fun. For ice cream, I'd recommend Bi Rite.

http://biritecreamery.com/

They create many delicious, always changing, adventurous flavors (such as basalmic strawberry and cheesecake with rhubarb swirl). With the weather as nice as it's been lately, it should be a real treat.

Kayleezy said...

The playground at Dolores Park is awesome! Toby will love it. You can make a morning of it and then get sandwiches from Tartine (18th and Guerrero) and ice cream at the Bi Rite Creamery after (between Guerrero and Dolores on 18th). If the weather is nice, Crissy Field has a great toddler friendly beach. China Beach is also nice for the littles. Nopalito on 9th Ave for lunch after the academy of sciences or the big playground at golden gate park - very kid friendly! Have so much fun!

Sage Crown Parker said...

We did some really fun things in San Fran, see here:
http://sageisland.blogspot.com/2012/11/vacation-photos-san-francisco.html

I would highly recommend visiting the Conservatory of Flowers!

Enjoy ;)

Allison said...

I think i live close to your sister if you are close to D part - Savor Restaurant on 24th st in noe valley has a gorgeous outdoor patio in the back and is VERY VERY kid friendly, i take my baby and dog there almost every weekend! echo the comments that the playground at Dolores is awesome for kids, there is alos a playgound called Noe Valley COurts on 24th and Douglas I think that is specifically for kids under 5.

Erin Williams said...

Museums! The Eploratorium is AMAZING (but possibly too old for a toddler). http://www.exploratorium.edu/

Or the Children's Creativity Museum: http://creativity.org/

SF Cable Car Museum: http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/

Mel's Drive-Ins are awesome diners with tabletop juekboxes and awesome kid meals that come in paper cars: http://www.melsdrive-in.com/

There are random buffalo chilling in Golden Gate Park (fenced in, of course): http://www.golden-gate-park.com/buffalo-paddock.html

For a nice family day, go to Crissy Field in the Presedio. It has GORGEOUS views of the bridge and the bay and there's a little spot to get sandwiches https://www.facebook.com/pages/Warming-Hut/153336938015532

miss mara said...

Arizmendi Bakery for sure. Located in Inner Sunset neighborhood @ 1331 9th Ave. Heaven. Check out their pizza and bread schedule...

http://www.arizmendibakery.com/

labuonaforchetta said...

A couple of years ago I spent 3 months in SF for work and 7x7's "Big Eat" list was my saving grace. I HIGHLY recommend a look at their 2013 edition. http://www.7x7.com/big-eat-2013#/0

Erin Williams said...

Oh! And if you'll be there on Friday evening the Bay Area Children's Discovery Museum is having a circus! http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/programs-and-events/fundraising-events/playdate/playdate-2013/

Katie Brightbill said...

YES! So many... I have a category on my blog devoted to San Francisco with kids! www.stylesmaller.com the tab called "in the city"... food, parks, walks, etc.

Perfect spot for a babymoon!

M.M. said...

I was nanny here (SF) for many hears, the Academy of Sciences is pretty fun, as well as the rest of Golden Gate Park (check out the cool Children's Playground and carousel)! There are lots of great spots to picnic too, I would suggest laying out a blanket near the Conservatory of Flowers.

Betsy said...

The Seward Street Slides! (If they aren't closed at an inconvenient time - and there's really no way of knowing ahead of time.)

jean said...

Go to Bi-Rite for Ice Cream (near Dolores Park), or Humphrey Slocombe on Harrison. If you care to venture across the city a bit Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous for ice cream is amazing, or Smitten Ice Cream truck in Hayes Valley; Miette is a great candy store. Delfina, or Farina for pizza is amazing. The Cal Academy of Sciences is great for kids.

Greer Ramsey said...

I highly recommend the vegetarian restaurant Greens. I had my wedding reception there (after a ceremony at Fort Mason)and the food, ambiance, and view are amazing. Also, Delfina Pizzeria is SO wonderful. Have a great time!

Erin Williams said...

I'm sorry...one more. If you're driving make sure you turn the hills into roller coasters. My brother and I thought it was the most hilarious thing to go "chchchchchch" going up the steep hills and then when we got to the top, throwing our hands in the air and yelling "wooooo!"

Katie said...

I'm seconding a few recommendations already made: the new Exploratorium should be fun for Toby; Dolores Park's new-ish playground is super cool (although, I went with a friend and her 2-year old and most of the structures seemed to be for bigger, older kids ... if you discover this, too, try this little park in Noe Valley at 24th and Douglas, which is appropriate for toddlers); tacos at Tacolicious (and one cool thing about Tacolicious: they donate to a local school and other organizations [http://www.ediblesanfrancisco.com/?p=4331]); if chocolate is your thing, across the street from Tacolicious is Dandelion Chocolates, an artisinal chocolate bar maker that also sells several different types of rich "drinking chocolates"; Paxton Gate for Kids is in that area, nice toys etc for children; the Farmers Market at the Ferry Building, which you've probably checked out already, has lots of good food and musicians to entertain your budding violinist ... Have fun!

Dagny Brown said...

I really love Pizzetta 211 for lunch before heading to Golden Gate Park. It's a tiny Italian-style pizza restaurant tucked in to a residential area near the park. There is always at least one family with a toddler munching on their (amazing) margherita.

Cindy Chen said...

Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley! It's a 1930s style soda fountain that makes its own syrups and extracts. Zazie has a phenomenal brunch nearby and since the wait is often long, you can pop into the bar next door and get a bloody mary or two while you wait.

My sister and her niece (1 year old) is also in town this weekend. We're going to hit up Off the Grid in the Presidio which is very kiddo friendly. Food trucks, picnic, Presidio. Can't beat that.

Enjoy the week! It's lovely weather out here right now.

Leanne said...

How fun; I hope your family has a blast. Here are a few child friendly activities to do in San Fran: 1) San Francisco Zoo, 2) Exploratorium at Pier 15, 3) Golden Gate Park, 4) Yerba Buena Gardens and I bet Toby will love riding on the local Cable Cars!

http://theroadlesstraveledtoday.blogspot.com/

Meaghen said...

San Francisco is basically the city of good food. Anywhere you go will be good. Some of my favourites were Park Chow (http://www.chowfoodbar.com/park_location.html), Social Brewery (http://socialkitchenandbrewery.com/), and Burma Superstar (http://www.burmasuperstar.com/ - there will be lines). There are tons of fun walks around the coast—especially the west side!

bigfathoochiemama said...

Another vote for Bi Rite, especially since you're staying near Dolores Park! It's one of the things I miss most after moving to Denver. Definitely go to the Exploratorium. It was my all time favorite field trip as a kid. There's so much to do and learn, even at Toby's age, it'll be a blast!

Quick tip if you want to take the cable cars - DO NOT get on at Powell and Market! Just go up a few blocks and you don't have to wait in the massive line. Have fun!

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
liz said...

my girls (soon to be 3 years old) are mesmerized by photos of mama and papa at muir woods - the trees are AMAZING and there is a nice boardwalk running through much of the park. we got there on public transportation and the bus ride itself was an adventure. it might make a nice little half-day trip.

Jennifer Manzano said...

Everyone has made some really great recommendations: I also LOVE Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, which is close to your sister, at 15th and Valencia. It's all gluten-free, Venezualan food that's a little different and super yummy. Kid-friendly place, and a twist on tacos. Yuca fries (french fry alternative) and tasty empanadas! Corn cakes filled with tons of delicious fillings. And plantains! Really great food, not expensive, and a little different while still being kid-friendly. Have fun...it's also REALLY WARM here right now...nicely different from the usual cold & foggy SF summers.

Regine Karpel said...

How sweet of you two! Hope he enjoys it!
www.rsrue.blogspot.com

Cait said...

This travel site has a lot of good suggestions for families traveling to SF. LOVE that city enjoy! http://www.homeandabroad.com/browse/list/sites.ha?destId=&siteThemeId=1201

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alyssa said...

I 2nd all the SF reccs.

For the peninsula - go to the little diner at the San Carlos Airport and watch the little planes take off and land. http://www.skykitchencafe.com/

For an awesome toy store, go to Talbots Toyland in downtown San Mateo. They have train set galore and a little one travels on a track around the store. http://www.talbotstoyland.com/

Coyote Point is beautiful and has a really fun kids play area. And a fun little museum for kids. http://curiodyssey.org/

Lynette said...

There are so many things that I love about San Francisco... but my absolute favorite is The Candy Store in the Russian Hill neighborhood. The owners, Brian and Diane are hilarious and have become friends we visit so often. They have an excellent selection of high quality candy sourced locally, nationally and internationally, I personally enjoy the black licorice and a selection of candies from Sweden. I've been buying the French Marshmallow Ropes for my nephew since he was 2 (he's now 6), he calls them "marshmallow snakes" and when I sent him one recently he told his mom, "Aunt Lynette must really miss me!" It's a must stop whenever we have friends or family in from out of town! And if you stop by, tell them Josh and Lynette sent you!

Lynette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JennyDSweetie said...

Another of my favorite bloggers, Maggie Mason, wrote a whole list:
http://gomighty.com/GoTravel/you-left-your-heart-here-were-not-giving-it-back/

Jen said...

826 Valencia's Pirate Store (http://826valencia.org/store/), where profits benefit the attached writing and tutoring center, is a must for kiddos and kids at heart. I also recommend Plouf (http://www.ploufsf.com/), in the adorable Belden Alley, for a possible adult night out. San Francisco is magical - enjoy!

JacPfef said...

Joanna, you have to try Humphrey Slocombe. It's my favorite ice cream shop in the entire world - it has the craziest flavors: smoked chocolate sea salt, honey-thyme, even beet-hibuscus sorbet (which is surprisingly amazing).

Here's their website: http://www.humphryslocombe.com/www.humphryslocombe.com/Home.html

sev2108 said...

I've lived here for ten years...Definitely the Academy of Sciences (who doesn't like to see an albino alligator and butterflies landing on you in a rainforest?), the new exploratorium (just opened last month...there are still attractions that toddlers would enjoy, even if the science is too complicated)

Ride the cable cars and check out the seals in Fisherman's wharf. They are huge and make lots of noise :-)

Kayla Ruben said...

bi-rite creamery for ice cream! and the exploratorium at golden gate park is a really cool interactive museum and you can also walk around the grounds and gardens of the park, which are beautiful!

J and H from Beyond The Stoop said...

it's totally touristy, but you MUST take him to see the seals (sea lions?) at Pier 39. even i'm amazed at the and love to watch them interact and i'm a mature adult (so I think anyways :P)

Danielle said...

i'd 2nd or 3rd so many of the previous recommendations:
cable cars are a ton of fun for kids, but do not board it near Market street (powell). I used to live in North Beach and always found it easier to board on Hyde, if memory serves

The Discovery Museum is my 3.5 year old nephew's favorite place and he also adores Train Town, if you're willing to spend some time in Sonoma.

Avoid Fisherman's Wharf for any other reason than to get In'n'Out (I think the Neapolitan shake is worth the trip, as is the "grilled cheese" (i'm a former vegetarian), but I bet Shake Shack burgers give it a run for its money/might be even better)

if you're staying through next Friday, May 10th, the academy of science is having a sleepover: https://www.calacademy.org/events/sleepovers/ (but the natural history museum in NYC does the same thing)

Have fun! I'm from the Bay Area and can't wait to move back to SF in a few years (from NYC)

trinaenriquez said...

Will you be in the city proper or staying on the peninsula?

It may be too late to book a May tour of Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, but it wouldn't hurt to check I guess. You can always stop into the shop and gaze out at the pasture with all the goats.

Since you're going to be out here a week, if you haven't been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, then you really need to go!! Make a day trip out of it. It's possibly the best aquarium in the U.S. (I may be biased, but I doubt it:)...time your visit for the Open Sea and Otter feedings, and get Toby to the touch pool. You can have breakfast at First Awakenings (mmm, blueberry pancakes) beforehand and then drive down to Point Lobos for a short hike after...such a gorgeous, dramatic piece of NorCal coastline: roiling waves and paradisiacal China Cove, where you can sometimes spot a sea otter bobbing in the surf.

Yank Sing (the Rincon Center location) in S.F. could be fun for you guys, especially if you sit in the atrium. Don't miss out on the xiao long bao!

If you're in San Carlos some evening, make your sister take you to Cuisinett; it's a French country-food place on San Carlos Av near ECR and the Caltrain station. Simple but good.

Roseann said...

Yes yes yes! The Mission District: Dolores Park, Bi-Rite Creamery for ice cream, great pupusas at 16th and Valencia, killer tacos at El Castillito at 17th and Mission, (especially their vegetarian tacos, like a mini tostada piled high and super cheap).

If you make it across the bridge to Berkeley you have to take him to Mr Mopp's toy store, also the Berkeley Rose Garden is out of control right now! Hundreds of rose varieties all in bloom, fragrant, think an amphitheater of roses complete with creek to play in. Will not disappoint, great view of the golden gate bridge. And directly across the street from that is Codornices park where there is a huge cement slide, he will love.

Have a blast! Excited for you guys. xoxo

Loren said...

the Randall Museum (http://www.randallmuseum.org/) it's free and they have trains and legos and...all kinds of amazing. our almost-three-year-old can't get enough (closed on Sundays though).
and if you're going to do a zoo, go to the Oakland zoo instead of the one in SF if you have time. way better, great place!

Michelle said...

How sweet! The woman who runs the blog Shutterbean lives in San Fran with a small child and offers a lot of suggestions for good spots to eat!

http://fullbellywornsoles.blogspot.ca/

Mia Stizzo said...

definitely don't miss the exploratorium! go on a week day though, because weekend crowds get gnarly. we love Musée Mécanique at fishermans wharf. tons of super old timey arcade games (if you can even call them that) that cost like, a nickel each. toby would love it. if you have the time, you should also check out a giants game! the park is beautiful. have a blast!

tali said...

I was just there and am now obsessed with Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley. They make the ice cream there to order, so I think it would be fun for Toby to see(and it's so delicious). Also, the shop was made out of an oversized shipping container.

Kim said...

Loving cup! it has the most amazing coconut rice pudding (as voted by the local 7x7 magazine) and also the most amazing frozen yogurt you get to add your own toppings and they whip it all together for you to make it even more delicious and frozen.

also Pizzeria Delfina is to die for.

Carleigh said...

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is like heaven for toddlers. Just over the golden gate bridge.

mvictoria said...

Whenever we visited my grandparents in Oakland as little kids, they would always take us to this place called Fairyland and I thought it was the coolest place ever. It looks like it's still as wacky and kitschy as it ever was, if you make it over to Oakland it might be worth a visit! http://fairyland.org/

pancakesandpoodles said...

You must must must take him to Fentons in Emeryville (the ice cream restaurant from Up!). It's ADORABLE and the ice cream is delish. It's one of my favorite bay area spots :)

Mia Stizzo said...

the monterey bay aquarium is AWESOME. i don't think your biased at all. :) monterey/pacific grove would be such a perfect day trip.

Paige said...

Restaurants: Padrecito, Umami for Sushi, Bar Jules, Mamacita, Central Kitchen, Bistro Aix.

Julie said...

My favorite SF restaurant is Macaroni Scuie Scuie. Awesome family owned Italian Restaurant.

Emily Bird said...

If you're looking for tacos your family should hit up Tacolicious. It's kind of (no definitely) amazing.

Kirk&Nancy said...

This may for your next trip, but my son visited Adventure Playground in Berkeley as he was turning six and fell madly in love. It is unlike any playground we have ever visited. Have a wonderful trip!

Sarah O. said...

Tartine for delicious baked goodies (http://www.tartinebakery.com/). Musee Mechanique for awesome antique games (like the fortune teller in Big)that you can actually play (http://www.museemechanique.org/). Exploratorium & CA Academy of Science are great as is Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley.
Bombay Ice Cream for delicous Indian ice cream flavors in the Mission (http://www.yelp.com/biz/bombay-ice-cream-san-francisco), also not far from Delores Park, which is fun.
Enjoy!

Ashley Brannon said...

My favorite ice cream shop in SF is Bi-Rite! If you find yourself in the Mission District, I highly recommend grabbing some honey lavender or earl grey scoops. :) My favorite spot for pupusas (I believe it's called Panchita's) is on 16th and Valencia. Enjoy, darlin! xo

Markell Lewis said...

the Randall Museum is a hidden gem! super kid friendly and has breathtaking views of the city too.

Markell Lewis said...

the Randall Museum is a hidden gem! super kid friendly and has breathtaking views of the city too.

Abby said...

Please read a few articles from The Bold Italic before you go. It's the super coolest SF-based hipster online mag ever!

Oh, and eat at The Ramp near (in?) Hunters Point.

trinaenriquez said...

@Mia Stizzo: Right??? Actually, a day at the aquarium and then Point Lobos is pretty much my idea of heaven.

Also, Joanna, if you can make it out to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve along the coast at low tide, Toby might get a kick out of wandering around looking close-up at the tidepools.

Alia McCarville said...

The Japanese Tea Garden is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! You will go instagram-crazy! Japantown is fun. Fishermans Warf is a must.

Alia @ http://simplesavvythriftynifty.blogspot.com/

Coug Gal said...

Bay Area Discovery Museum is the best for toddlers - so much outdoor space and not as crowded as Exploratorium which is geared toward older kids.

Megan said...

The House of Air at the Presidio is a huge old hangar that's now a trampoline park-- I was there with my niece and nephew last year (they were 12 at the time) but there were families there with kids around Toby's age. Alex could get in on the fun, too! (I think my brother-in-law had just as much, if not more, fun than the kids!) It might be a good place for Toby to get his wiggles out if you happen upon a rainy day. :)

Hope you all have a blast in SF!

Mary M. said...

My twin sister lives in San Francisco, too! I miss her so much all the time. We get to spend a whole weekend together at a friend's wedding in May, can't wait!

Donna said...

So excited you're coming to the city by the bay!! The weather is has been fabulous lately.

Be sure to head over to the exploratorium, they just recently moved into a brand new space on the Embarcadero!

Off the grid on Friday's at Fort Mason or at the Presidio on Sunday - amazing assortment of trucks and very family friendly!

Happy to send more if you want to send me a note, travel safely!

xoDonna
www.soyouagree.com

autumnempire said...

Check out the writings of Michelle Bigley and you can download her great iPhone App 'San Francisco Families' on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/san-francisco-families/id350633781?mt=8

fruitcakeandpie said...

Travel to Baker Beach for gorgeous photo opportunities and time to play in the sand. The SF food (and ice cream) is amazing. My favorite restaurant & item is grilled chicken and caesar salad from the Zuni Cafe. Definitely worth the stop. I also recommend traveling through the Mission District for fun shopping and stops.

Hope you all have a great time!!

Sarah said...

I'm from the Bay Area too (and miss it!) and brought my kids for visits often. We also loved the Bay Area Discovery Museum (http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/) just over the Golden Gate Bridge on the way into Sausalito. And of course the Exploratorium which is all new now and should be even more spectacular. Bring layers and be ready for cool fog and warm sun all in the same day. Have fun!

williamsburgbaby.com said...

We have similar plans to take a babymoon with our son (in the expectation that we may have a new baby in 2014.) We're going to France with him in June, and it will be our first big (well, big non-extended family) trip as a family of three. Great idea!

Kathleen Emma said...

The Exploratorium and the Academy of Science are two wonderful places for kids. If you haven't explored Golden Gate Park, it's definitely worth a drive/bike around. On the east end there is a big playground for kids with a carousel and on the west end there are bison! If you go on a Tuesday, you can head out to Beach Chalet after for Taco Tuesday.

There are lots of cute restaurants and bars in Hayes Valley. Get Toby an ice cream at Smitten, where they have individual serving ice cream made with liquid nitrogen--tons of smoke! Right next door there is a small playground and Biergarten, where people bring their kids all the time. There are German pretzels, big beers and delicious snacks. There are even blankets in case you get cold.

Have fun and enjoy!!

P.S. When my parents brought my brother home from the hospital, we had a little ceremony where they let me hold him and then they gave me a fun toy (a barn that moo'ed when you opened the doors) to congratulate me for being a new big sister. It made me feel really special and included during a time that was (for once) not about me. Super important for firstborns who are not used to sharing the attention!

trinaenriquez said...

I should mention that Harley Farms is particularly fun for kids as the farm's "kids" (i.e., baby goats) are coming in, and it's a cheesemaking haven...Dee Harley has won several awards for her chèvre rounds and other goat cheeses, many of which are decorated with edible flowers from her garden, and the tour was super fun and down-to-earth. We were allowed to try milking a goat during the tour I did, hee. There's also Phipps Country Store & Farm, which is almost literally across the way from Harley Farms—Toby could maybe pick strawberries there. And afterward you could take in the rustic goodness of Duarte's (doo-arts) Tavern in Pescadero (cream of artichoke soup! olallieberry pie!).

Emmy M. said...

Humphrey Slocombe... agreed. SO GOOD.

Kate(lyn) said...

I live in SF and though I don't have children I always take visiting nieces and nephews to Smitten Ice Cream.

http://smittenicecream.com/home/Home.html

I like it much better than Bi-Rite and Humphrey Slocombe and the cute little Hayes Valley location is conveniently located next to a park with a very fun playground. Also, the kids LOVE to watch the ice cream being made right in front of them. It's an extra special treat and a science lesson. After the park, I suggest walking across the street to Miette.

https://www.miette.com/

It's an adorable little sweet shop with walls filled with gorgeous jars of candy and an impressive selection of baked goods (all beautifully crafted.) It's out of a dream. Enjoy!!

emc said...

If you feel comfortable riding a bike with a belly, rent a bike with a trailer and head around Golden gate park. It's the best way to see a city.

That's what we did:
http://jarrahetal.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

Princess Kayel said...

I think bringing ypur first child on a special trip before the next one arrives, is very important.

http://princesskayel.blogspot.com/

Lauren said...

OMG yes.
The Bay Area is brimming with ice cream shops. As others have mentioned, some of the favorites are Humphry Slocombe, Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, Smitten. Fairfax Scoop if you make it to Marin (killer vanilla honey lavender ice cream). Another more old school option in the city is Mitchell's - I recommend Ube (purple yam). In Berkeley there is also Ici (they drip chocolate in the bottom of their cones so that the ice cream doesn't drip out) and Tara's (bay laurel ice cream and homemade black sesame seed cones). My all time favorite, however, is Bi-Rite soft serve. Avoid the lines at the main shop and go straight to the soft serve window next door. It's true that the main shop has delicious and inventive flavors, but their soft serve is my platonic ideal for ice cream - just the right heft, creaminess, and intensity of flavor.
At the farmer's market at the SF Ferry Building, Mijita makes delicious tacos and has seating outside with views of the water. Boulette's Larder makes some of the best hot chocolate I have ever had in my life. During the market, the proprietor of Anna's Daughter's Bread doles it out of a copper pot and serves it with a dollop of homemade, not too sweet whipped cream.
For Toby, I recommend the steam trains at Tilden Park in Berkeley. They also have a carousel and petting zoo. Not too far from there is the Lawrence Hall of Science, which has incredible views of the city and bay. While you are in town, you could pick up pizza from Zachary's or Cheeseboard.
Not far from Muir Woods and Muir Beach is Slide Ranch - they have a working farm and offer programs for families where they teach you how to milk goats and make cheese! If you head south to Santa Cruz, you can pull off Hwy 1 in Davenport and pick your own strawberries at Swanton Berry Farm.
Whatever you do, you should have a lovely time.
Enjoy!

marcus / cait said...

Hi Joanna! I am a nanny for a little boy about Toby's age, and here are our suggestions of fun things to do on the Peninsula:

-Main Street Coffee Roasting Company in Redwood City has delicious food, and amazing lattes! They also have a pretty outdoor patio with seating and live music sometimes. The most appealing thing about the outdoor seating for us, was that they have a ton of toys and an area for kids to play while you wait for your food!

-There is a duck pond in Palo Alto that my little buddy LOVES to go to. Lots of goose poop all around, but he likes to see the birds and there is a trail that walks around the duck pond by the bay. There is also a small airport, and planes and helicopters constantly fly over the duck pond. Also check out Edith Johnson Park nearby in Palo Alto. They have a huge cement slide that you sit on cardboard and slide down- very fun!

-Someone already mentioned the Sky Cafe by the San Carlos Airport, and the San Carlos Train Station also has a cafe. Not too many great views of trains from the cafe, but it is right at the train station, and there are lots of train pictures on the walls.

-San Carlos has a lot of good parks: Highlands Park is rather secluded and usually uncrowded. Stafford Park in RWC has water features and is a huge park!

-La Hacienda in San Carlos has delicious, homecooked tasting Mexican food and yummy crispy tacos.

-The Reading Bug in SC is my little buddy's favorite chill bookstore hangout, and the Hiller Aviation museum in San Carlos has lots of planes to look at.

Have a great trip!!!

Hillary B. said...

Bay area discovery museum in Marin, Zero zero for pizza and ice cream. Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley. Children's Fairy Land, Oakland.

suzanne said...

steam trains in tilden park (berkeley) are a must for train loving boys! and it's a nice, relaxed activity for a pregnant mama :) tilden also has a darling carousel and petting zoo. you could make a whole day trip to tilden park and then enjoy zachary's pizza in berkeley for dinner. have fun! maybe we'll see you around!

Unknown said...

BiRite creamery in the MIssion and go to Dolores Park, which has a great new playground.
The train in Tilden Park is the best for boys.

Erin Sunshine said...

I echo Suzannes recommendation! We just ventured to Tilden Park for the first time last weekend and it was a HIT. The steam trains, the petting zoo and a great little beach on Lake Anza - pick up Bake Sale Betty's and enjoy a beautiful day there! My 3 year old was in heaven.

gilliansarah said...

Smitten ice cream! My baby was fascinated by the process :)

julielannon said...

The Wooly Pig Cafe is a cute little lunch spot near Golden Gate Park, they have a delicious beet and goat cheese sandwich with green beans in it! I went there with my niece who was 4 at the time and she loved the pink lemonade.

SFMallyGirl said...

Ditto to Bi-Rite and Dolores Park's sweet new playground and Tilden Park/ Lake Anza beach if the weather is nice!

Kathryn Michel said...

Definitely check out the new exploratorium! It is supposedly amazing! Also, be sure to check out the cable car museum if Toby loves trains! If the weather keeps up as it is, and it has been GORGEOUS lately, stop by bi-rite ice cream, they just opened a new one on Divisadero, and they have the original near Dolores park. For tacos, I recommend tacolicious (definietly go during the daythough to avoid the bar crowd) and also Tacko, both of which are in the marina but during the day are super fun and there are tons of families walking around. Hope you have an incredible trip! Like I said the weather this past week has been amazing, and I'm sure Alamo Square will be bautiful, so stop by and see the painted ladies, and Toby can play in the playground there!

myheartscontentblog.com said...

Oh you made me jump when the page loaded...I've just been driving over GGB. We went to the Bay Area Discovery museum in Sausalito which my little boy (3) and his best mate ADORED, Toby would love it. In Sausalito there's the best ice-cream shop as well (with your back to the ferry port, walk to the main street, turn right and it's on the left). I think your sis lives in S.C doesn't she? If so, Burton Park is fantastic and has water jets out the ground. Also locally, try CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point, which my son loves and Vanilla Moon for cupcakes on Laurel in SC. The zoo has a new baby tiger cub who everyone loves but we haven't spotted yet. And we also love pedal or row-boating on Stow Lake in GGP.

myheartscontentblog.com said...

Totally agree. My son (3) loved it. He also liked the carousel in Tilden Park but his favourite is the one in GGP at the big playground.

Audrey said...

As a Berkeley girl born and raised, I HAVE to suggest the steam trains in Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley. It'll be worth the quick trip across the Bay-- definitely worth half a day. A fun mini train experience for Toby, a beautiful carousel just a five-minute drive away if you think he'd be into that... and plenty of amazing sites all over the park to lounge and have a picnic. For it to be a real Berkeley experience, pick up a Cheeseboard pizza and a big salad to share on the way there (and when you're picking up said pizza, let Toby watch the workers rebuilding the facade of Chez Panisse across the street!) Bring some fresh fruit, cheese, and Nalgenes full of water, and you're looking at a fun family lunch.

Habitot in Berkeley is amazing for kids, too! Ici in Berkeley has great ice cream. But if you're going for ice cream in the Bay Area, you've really gotta go to Bi-Rite in SF proper. If you're looking for a great taco place, Tacolicious in the Mission is amazing-- and the staff are always GREAT with kids. The Japanese tea garden and California Academy of Sciences are right next to each other in Golden Gate Park and are IMMENSELY enjoyable for the whole family (the Academy of Sciences especially!)

Enjoy your trip to the Bay!

Yana said...

Redwood Forest Steam Train
http://www.roaringcamp.com/steamtrain

Candice said...

Get yummy truffles from XOX Truffles. Also go to breakfast at Mama's cafe. It is cash only and there tends to be a line but it is WORTH THE WAIT!!! Kara's Cupcakes at ghirardelli square is AMAZING too!

Shayna said...

I'm sure it's already been recommended, and it's not technically in San Francisco, but the Bay Area Discovery museum is AMAZING. Just the view alone is worth the trip across the bay into Marin. I enjoyed myself as much as my toddler. Also, another out of the city but Fairyland in Oakland is awesome, low-key and super unique experience. Enjoy!

JBrasch said...

My 7 year old nephew still talks about the "train day" we took him on four years ago. We rode up to the city on CalTrain; took Muni to the Ferry building for lunch; walked to the California cable car (least crowded line) and took it to the end and back; rode one of the old fashioned street cars up Market; and took BART back to CalTrain. If your sister is local she can help you with logistics, but it's super easy and SO much fun for little boys who love trains!

dramamama said...

The Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio is supposed to be fun http://www.waltdisney.org/

The Exploratorium is a must!

Park Chow in the Inner Sunset is very kid-friendly http://www.chowfoodbar.com/

I second pretty much all the other foodie places everyone has listed. The Ice Cream Bar in the Cole Valley neighborhood is especially fun.

Elizabeth Spraitz said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Sarah!

Lindley Anne said...

When we lived near SF and my brother and I were little, my mom would walk us through the flower mart and we thought it was the coolest thing out there... so many beautiful plants + flowers + colors!

Robin said...

I've got a 3-year-old boy and live in the Mission -- and here's a few folks haven't yet mentioned:

Great tacos at El Metate or Papalote (super fresh and healthy here...) -- both kid-friendly and adult-approved ;) La Taqueria has the best tacos hands-down in the city -- but they're a bit unruly for kids. All of these are in the Mission walking distance from the park.

If it's hot, Toby can join the kids and run around in his diaper in the water fountains at the newly updated Mission Playground -- which is just off Valencia between 19th and 20th, right in your hood (and the playground part is a little more manageable and small scale than Dolores Park if you want to change things up).

And more deliciousness: try Craftsman & Wolves for amazingly gorgeous pastries in the morning, and Mission Cheese, for a great afternoon cheese plate and glass of wine -- both are between 18th and 19th on Valencia. There's also a funny high-tech hi-fi store selling portable turntables and such that just opened on Valencia between 19th and 20th that has a sort of old-fashioned photo booth with snaps for $1.50 -- don't miss it ;)

Have fun -- and we apologize in advance for saying hi if we see you on the street. We live in the neighborhood and are often out and about!

Robin said...

Oh - and Namu Gaji on the corner of 18th and Dolores has a very kid-friendly happy hour on the early side. Korean tacos, cheap beer, and a kids menu -- plus a "bar" counter where Toby can watch the chefs in action!

Susan said...

Children's Fairyland in Oakland is a must! Toby would also love the steam trains in Tilden Park. Ice cream at Ici on College Ave in Berkeley won't disappoint!

Sarah and lily said...

Perhaps a bit too old for Toby... but these are fun! http://www.yelp.com/biz/seward-street-slides-san-francisco

Also Nopalito is a delicious (fancier) Mexican restaurant (I go with my little cousins all the time).

(I live and grew up in the Castro :)

parisbeekids said...

Oooh, really looking forward to your San Francisco trip post and glad to see so many people have such great suggestions. We're hoping to go to San Francisco from Paris next year at some point to help promote my husband's work. We can't wait!!

xoxo PARIS BEE kids blog

Samantha Scarlett Jessica said...

I have dreamed of going there.

Go and do the Bay cruise! It's great way to get away from the city so you can enjoy its skyline. The traditional cruise goes around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge, a nice trip that rounds out your San Francisco experience.

Go to Golden Gate Park.. It's apparently San Francisco's Central Park.

Drive around. Take the 49-Mile drive around San Francisco! It's a must!

Hope you enjoy your stay there! :)

lindsay said...

DOlores park for sure! Best playground. While you're there you should stop by Bi-Rite Ice Cream. The BEST. Also pebbles donuts in the ferry building. They're vegan! SO healthier for Toby. :) Seward slides in the castro. Huge cement slides, it's closed Mondays though. This is right by Kite Hill, which is a beautiful spot, perfect for a quick sit down, maybe a picnic. For tacos I recommend Gracias Madre. It's vegan and has amazing tacos. They're philosophy is being grateful, and all food is made with LOVE. Have so much fun!

Shelly Kerry said...

Central Kitchen in the Mission for brunch on Sunday! I work there and we would love to have you stop by!

The Well Read Fish said...

Smitten Ice Cream!
They make their ice cream right in front of you - from scratch - with liquid nitrogen!

http://smittenicecream.com/home/Home.html

Ambee said...

I live in the bay area (in fact I think I saw your sister on bart recently!). No kids of our own yet - but we will soon.

The new location of the Exploratorium just opened on the Embarcadero. I haven't checked it out yet but have heard good things, and the old Exploratorium is one of my favorite all time SF places (and wonderful for kids!). The relatively new California Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park is definitely worth a trip. There's also the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito that is more geared towards little kids and you could tie that in to a lunch or dinner at Fish in Sausalito - an absolute bay area gem (and they are very family friendly and have a kids menu).

Bi-rite ice cream and Dolores Park make for a nice afternoon.

Tacos in the mission of course - La Taqueria or El Farrolito are faves - though I personally love Papalote.

The SF Zoo is pretty decent.

If you head to the east bay - there's the steam train in Tilden Park. And if you're over there anyway - my favorite mexican spot is Picante in Northwest Berkeley and ice cream at Ici in the Elmwood area of Berkeley beats BiRite - IMHO.

Have a wonderful trip. Can't wait to hear what your favorite spots were!

madrasandtonic said...

I'm a native San Franciscan and it's a great place for small kids!

Toby would love the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park (part museum/part aquarium - and he can touch star fish!), and the Children's Discovery Museum in Sausalito (right under the bridge on the Marin side). You could take the ferry to Sausalito and get off and have lunch at Sam's (a Bay Area favorite and sit on the deck and see the city/whole Bay and walk around the cute town of Tiburon).

Walking through Chinatown is pretty cool and you could have lunch there.

We went to the opening night gala for the new Exploratorium and I'd say he's a little young for it. Check out the cool Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building (great places to walk/eat around there).

Have a great time!

Eva said...

growing up in the bay area the discovery museum in Sausalito was my favorite place to go as a child --- it is a lot of fun for kids and has beautiful views!

Eva said...

growing up in the bay area the discovery museum in Sausalito was my favorite place to go as a child --- it is a lot of fun for kids and has beautiful views!

E. Hartman said...

I think a babymoon trip for the first child is such a sweet idea. Like you, we have a toddler (two-year-old daughter) and we're expecting a son at the beginning of September. I'm super excited about baby number two, but I'm also starting to get really emotional about how much my daughter's life is going to change :( I think a little vacation would be so special. We might even do San Francisco since we live in Portland and it's such a short flight. I also really admire all the traveling you're doing while pregnant. Isn't it exhausting?! Enjoy your trip!!! XO

Margot said...

Academy of Science is a must and there is great food there too for lunch. Or head over to Clement St and eat at Burma Superstar. Then have ice cream at Toy Boat. In the Mission there is a park on Valencia beeteen 19th & 20th that has a water feature in front and great slides and tire swing, etc in the back. It's more protected from the wind then Dolores Park. Ride the cable cars and eat a Super Duper hamburger - it seems Toby likes burgers and fries :) Enjoy!!

sarawr said...

I'm an SF native and Smitten is my absolute favorite ice cream place! It's in Hayes Valley. Super Duper burger is also delicious and one of the best burgers I've had. The best mexican food is in the Mission at El Farolito Taqueria. Delicious!!!

Muir Woods will be a cool place to admire the super tall trees. I think Toby would enjoy that :) You can also buy kites and fly them at Marina Green or watch other people fly kites.

Enjoy your visit!

Ladies in Navy said...

fun! i hope you enjoy!
kw Ladies in Navy
Target giveaway!

jane said...

Don't know if someone's already mentioned it, but Adventure Playground in the Berkeley marina has to be one of the coolest places on earth for little boys and girls. It looks like an old junkyard but my kids had the best time there. There are tons of things to climb on plus they have wood that you can build things with. It's just amazing.

Marie said...

The exploratorium has a new and improved location by the wharf, that should be fun! :)

momandsons said...

My husband grew up riding the trains in Tilden Park and now our kids ask to go there every time we come to the Bay area. We also love Bette's Ocean View Diner in Berkley.

Shawnee said...

Aw! This is so sweet! I love all of your special vacations :) Hope you are feeling well! xo

Kristen said...

Golden Gate Park is amazing...Muir Woods has a tremendous "hike" with a hidden treasure at the end...Mill Valley playground and cute town for coffee and treats.

Amelia said...

I suggest the De Young museum, in the Botanic Gardens. You take the lift to the viewing tower, and the 360 view of San Fran from there is unforgettable. Following that, drive to Outerlands in Outer Sunset, for the best, most beautiful casual lunch in SF. Then walk down the hill to the beach to watch the surfers. Perfect day.

amanda said...

There's a museum at Fisherman's Wharf - the Musee Mechanique - that has a variety of antique, vintage, retro, and contemporary arcade games. My boyfriend and I spent the morning there on our summer vacation, and not only are the games super fun and delightful, there's an old-timey photobooth!

thecreamline said...

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a fantastic children's museum just over the GG bridge. While over there, visit the Marin headlands and the Marine Mammal Center (rehab center for injured sea lions.) And, of course, visit the Heath Ceramics factory store in Sausalito for yourselves.

Meg said...

No joke we are doing the same thing this weekend except we're going on Saturday and only staying 5 days (we have a 2 yr old girl and I'm due June 8th). The SF Zoo is a MUST. We are also going to the Academy of the Sciences Museum, its great for all ages and we haven't been in over a yr so we should see some new exhibits. For Cinco de Mayo we're going to the free festival in Dolores Park (lots of good food in that area too). We're also going to a Giants game (bday gift for the man). And we ALWAYS stop by the playground at Laguna and Chestnut (Marina District), part of the Moscone Rec Center. It can be a bit crowded but my daughter loves watching all the kids. It also has pretty nice bathrooms (pregnant ladies have to think about this). Other than that eat whatever food you want (and can) and enjoy the city. Maybe we'll cross paths somewhere along the way! Happy Baby Moon!

Liza Czech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liza C said...

I live in the Inner Richmond with my husband, 2-year-old son, and newborn daughter, and we love the Academy of Sciences and Golden Gate Park. There's an app (from the city's park dept) that shows you where all the playgrounds in SF are...we love the playground in the middle of GG Park (near Hippie Hill). I also recommend Toy Boat ice cream shop (a crazy collection of toys in addition to ice cream) and The Ark toy store. My train-obsessed son's favorite thing to do, though, is ride Muni or Caltrain.

Unknown said...

Toby is in for a treat! I grew up in the East Bay, so my parents always referred to the city as "our backyard." I remember we spent a lot of time at the Exploratorium. It's no longer in the palace of fine arts, but I've heard it's just as fun. Dolores Park is a must, and I have always loved Golden Gate Park. You can take some lovely walks and see some great views of the bridge. There are also some concrete slides that are fun. Toby would probably love a cable car ride, and the Ferry Building is a must see. So many good treats there!! The street performers down at the pier are fun to watch sometimes, and you can see the sea lions at Pier 31. Have a great time!!

Unknown said...

Toby is in for a treat! I grew up in the East Bay, so my parents always referred to the city as "our backyard." I remember we spent a lot of time at the Exploratorium. It's no longer in the palace of fine arts, but I've heard it's just as fun. Dolores Park is a must, and I have always loved Golden Gate Park. You can take some lovely walks and see some great views of the bridge. There are also some concrete slides that are fun. Toby would probably love a cable car ride, and the Ferry Building is a must see. So many good treats there!! The street performers down at the pier are fun to watch sometimes, and you can see the sea lions at Pier 31. Have a great time!!

Megan M-R said...

Definitely:

Alta Plaza Park's playground (one of the best views of the city) in Pacific Heights
Crissy Field on the weekend (tons of sailboats, kids, puppies, joggers, kitesurfing, etc)
Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley

Have fun!

Abigail Marguerite said...

Hey Joanna,

You should ask my amazingly talented cousin, Lena Corwin! She grew up in San Fran and has a toddler of her own - and I think you guys talk from time to time? She'd have great advice!
Have fun on the baby-moon :)

KBieda said...

Just got back from SF!!! Lovely weather right now.

A must-see is the DeYoung Art Museum's exhibit of Vermeer's A Girl with a Pearl Earring. I found it breathtaking, and it is rarely in the U.S..

KBieda said...

Just got back from SF!!! Lovely weather right now.

A must-see is the DeYoung Art Museum's exhibit of Vermeer's A Girl with a Pearl Earring. I found it breathtaking, and it is rarely in the U.S..

Katie T said...

I second this! Tilden would make a wonderful day trip. Trains, Little Farm, a walk around the nature area. You could really spend a whole day there!

Nikki said...

Boogaloos (in the Mission) for breakfast- you won't be sorry!!
Xo

Darcy Rogers said...

Golden Gate Park is amazing! I grew up in SF and love directing people to the Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park. Its a very random, slightly under the radar tip about GGP. The best way to see them is if you enter the park at 36th and Fulton (a good spot b/c typically on wknds people are operating their remote control boats on Spreckles Lake, right at the entrance) and hang a right on JFK drive (towards the Beach). It's a five minute walk to the Bison Paddock. From there you can walk further along to see the windmill and then its a few more steps to Ocean Beach. At the Beach you can eat at the Beach Chalet or at the Park Chalet, both in the same building, but the Park Chalet has a bit more of a laidback vibe. Hope this helps!!

A Textbook Case said...

Since Toby loves trains you should definitely venture across the bay to Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley Hills. There is a miniature steam train (5" scale) that takes you for a lovely little ride on the hillside. Kids love it! Tilden also has a farm and a carousel. The Little Farm has lovable animals to pet and feed (pick up some celery on the way - the animals love it). There's even a baby cow there at the moment. And don't miss the merry-go-round, which was built in 1911 and recently restored. There are also plenty of little walks and hikes to take, and a beautiful botanical garden. Tilden would make a great half day trip from the city, and you could always visit The Cheeseboard another wonderful Berkeley restaurant while you are in the area. I hope you'll give it a try!

Michelle {lovely little things} said...

Have a picnic at Crissy Field on a sunny day (if there is one), beautiful views of the bay and bridge. There are also some trails around the GG Bridge you can hike around - bring Toby in the Ergo.

A Textbook Case said...

Ha! I just read Audrey's comment. I second her idea completely!

CCL said...

Definitely go to the playground at Delores Park!!! It's Amaaazing. Get an early dinner of Gourmet pizza at Starbelly.

Bethanne said...

The Bi Rite creamery is amazing, but I prefer the market! It is a dreamy place to buy fresh fruit, crusty croissants, and cheese for a picnic in Dolores Park. A classic ride on the trolley and a trip to visit the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf is a sure win to any young gentleman's heart! Enjoy.

Annie said...

Mission Pie! Delicious sweet and savory pies from a company that supports local farms and community development. And say hi to my friend Dana who works there!

Karen Twelves said...

Go to 826 Valencia, the original pirate supply store. Then poke into Paxton Gate next door, and its kids store a few more doors down. By now you will be feeling hungry. Go to Rhea's Deli (I recommend the Korean steak sandwich), still on Valencia Ave. Time for dessert at Bi-Rite Creamery on 18th. Sit in Dolores Park and think about what an awesome day that was.

Slightly Smiling said...

The San Francisco International Film Festival is going onright now too if you and the hubby want to sneak away for a date! :] Hope you have a lovely weekend.

aD said...

Never underestimate the simple glory of Cliff's Variety on Castro. All of my siblings, my own sons, and I will all agree that going there and picking out a small toy make solid and awesome childhood memories. It's not even a toy store, but trust. It feels much more natural than standing in line at some touristy sandwich shop. Also, the slides at Koret are super, super awesome.

Megan Kennedy Shanley said...

Creativity Explored! It's an amazing art gallery / studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Located in the Mission district. You will LOVE it.

More info here: http://www.creativityexplored.org/

Wendy said...

Didn't see anyone else mention it, but my kids used to love watching the hang-gliders at Fort Funston. It's a dog park now, but the views are amazing.

Alyssa N. said...

I second (third? fifteenth?) the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose -- it's not too far away from the city and having grown up going there, then volunteered there, then worked there, I can attest to its timeless awesomeness. Fun for children of absolutely all ages. (And the entire outside of the building is bright purple!!) I live in SF now and consider it well worth the driving distance.

Most of my other suggestions have been made already, I think -- but if this gorgeous weather holds, you guys should visit Baker Beach! It's one of the best places to see the Golden Gate Bridge in its entirety and makes a perfect picnic spot. The water is a bit chilly but it's an amazing place to be when the sun is out.

Also, go to Toy Boat! A dessert/cafe chock full of toys. My childhood dreams come true :)

Enjoy your trip to SF!

Alyssa said...

Musée Mécanique, Play all of the musical arcades at the same time. A cacophony of sound. Then check out the seals and eat some seafood.

http://museemecaniquesf.com/

champlittle said...

If you go to the Mission District: the Pirate Supply Store at 826 Valencia is a must! Dave Eggers' original after-school tutoring center fronted by a store at which you can find pirate bootie galore, eye patches, and dig for hidden treasure. Oh, and Tartine is just down the street where you can stop for a bowlful of latte and amazing pastries.

http://826valencia.org/get-involved/shop-at-the-pirate-store/

shawn said...

Potrero Hill and Mission will have awesome shops and eateries. If he's a taco fan, I'd suggest Papito, a tiny little spot in Potrero Hill. I go for the fried chicken and chorizo tacos with a watermelon mimosa :)

shawn said...

Potrero Hill and Mission will have awesome shops and eateries. If he's a taco fan, I'd suggest Papito, a tiny little spot in Potrero Hill. I go for the fried chicken and chorizo tacos with a watermelon mimosa :)

Peggy said...

Don't miss the Ark Toy store in Presidio Heights (you could stop there on your way to or from a picnic in Chrissy Field). Echo the sentiments on GG park and Toy Boat cafe!

Have a great time - so cool to have you in our city!

Lucy said...

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is the most fun for kids Toby's age: http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/

It's just over the bridge in Fort Baker (Sausalito area).

Dress warm!

minmae4 said...

Hi Joanna! I'd recommend the Bay Area Discovery Museum too. A beautiful view of the golden gate and yummy restaurants in Sausalito. Being a Filipina, I grew up eating Mitchell's ice cream. Ube and mango flavours are my all-time favorites. =)

sunny m. said...

the aquarium on peer 39! and then you could walk around the peer afterwards and visit the candy shops and merry-go-round. Boat tours in that area are also really fun.

sunny m. said...

also, Baker beach is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen!

Leslie Santarina said...

Here's a visual peek into many of the great spots in SF: www.spottedsf.com. I created this site as so many folks ask for recos. Lots of kid-friendly options:) Have a great time with your family in SF. You will love it! - Leslie

Courtney said...

Dolores park, right next to Bi-Rite ice cream. The discovery museum, exploratorium and I bet Toby would love a ride on a Cable Car!

freewheelin' said...

Breakfast w/ Enzo! Song and dance at the Sports Basement (Presidio) across from Crissy Field Beach.
Thursdays and Fridays 10-12
So dang cute. He lets kids play with shaker eggs, dancing scarves and jingle bells. He plays guitar, Accordion, the saw, and "Enzotar", Less heezy than most kids music.

ilana freddye said...

bi-rite creamery for ice cream and tartine for sandwiches or sweet treats. I think Toby will approve

lifejacquet said...

the discovery museum is just over in sausalito. you could maybe take a ferry there? or just drive. super fun for kiddo

c & b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
c & b said...

Ice Cream: Bi-Rite, Mitchell's, Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous, Humphry Slocombe, Toy Boat, Smitten
Tacos: Tacolicious, Pepito, Taco trucks at Off the Grid, Mijita
Discovery Activities: BADM (Bay Area Discovery Museum), Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, SF or Oakland Zoo (Oakland is a drive but a better zoo for activities), Children's Creativity Museum
Walks: Crissy Field/Ft. Point, Ft. Funston (watch hang gliders if weather permitting), Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach/Sutro Baths, Embarcadero/Ferry Building
Rides: Cable Car, BART, Ferry
Lots of playgrounds all over
Misc: 826 Valencia, Paxton Gate for Kids, Yerba Buena Center (ice skating, bowling, carousel, playground)

jmoet said...

Check out Mighty Girl's comprehensive list of things to do in SF: http://gomighty.com/goal/21995/

claudia said...

The Exploratorium just opened up, Toby will love it!

Jennifer Latch said...

This place is magical. It would be a bit of a walk for you depending on how you are feeling.

MAGICAL.

http://oururbanplayground.com/?p=667

alexanewman said...

Exploratorium is definitely an agreed upon consensus, and it's along the Pier front so you can check out the Saturday Farms Market and sample all the great summer fruits arriving. Make sure to get in line early for the Porchetta Sandwich from Roli Roti before the line becomes 1 hour wait.

Checking out Golden Gate is fun, and the park near the Academy of Sciences. Then headed to the Inner Sunset 9th Ave for Nopalito Mexican Fare, or Arizmendi for pastries. Or head to the beach and go to Outerlands for an amazing lunch and enjoy their parklet, or the fun parklet of the neighboring coffee shop, Trouble Coffee (Its an enormous fallen tree branch that the kids love to climb while parents drink a cappuccino or fresh opened young coconut)

Divisadero is the new corridor that is starting to boom. Wake up for neighborhood farmers market on Sunday, then get toast at The Mill, which has SF's newest favorite bread and great coffee (with almond milk offered)!! At night check out Ragazza for delicious pizza, or head to Hayes Valley (slightly east of the Divisadero area) and scope the small boutiques and get SMITTEN ice cream (frozen before your eyes = most creamy ice cream possible).

Tartine is great, but the lines are much too long on the weekends.. skip.
Dolores Park has a really great newly installed Playground that kids are obsessed with! And its a beautiful late night view of all the city lights.

Greens in the Marina is also a really great spot for a view of the bridge, and vegetarian fare (whilst in SF...) Marina is also a very kid friendly area!

We are having our "heat wave" so weather should be perfect for you!

ginger said...

Head up to Sonoma to Train Town! Train themed little park for little kids! And you can do a bit of wine tasting before or after!

ginger said...

Head up to Sonoma to Train Town! Train themed little park for little kids! And you can do a bit of wine tasting before or after!

Megan said...

The Randall Museum has a cute model train room open on Saturdays that is worth checking out for your train enthusiast.
Also it is super touristy, but my kids love going on a Duck boat tour. It is a truck that drives straight into the water and becomes a boat! Crazy town for the under 10 crowd! Since you're going to be down in Fisherman's Wharf, be sure to stop in at Musee Mecanique. It is an old time arcade and we have a 12+ year family tradition of getting a picture strip from the old photo booths.
Bi-rite Creamery, Dolores Park, Academy of Sciences, Smitten Ice Cream, and the Ferry Building Farmer's Market are all favorites too. Stella's Pastry in North Beach has the BEST tiramisu and cannoli!

Jenna said...

The zoo is awesome, we are having a heat wave so it should be amazing weather. The academy of sciences is a major fail! DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY, the original WAS amazing but post remodel, its an overpriced Ikea with a large stuffed anmimal museum.

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macidc said...

I agree with many above suggestions! Especially the Seward Street Slides. My recommendations are food related: 1) Nick's Crispy Tacos in Russian Hill - if you've never been, you will love it and so will Toby if he likes tacos. They have my favorite fish tacos there. 2) Right around the corner from this is The Candy Store - OMG, please take Toby there. So, so much fun! There are lots of cool shops in this neighborhood too.

emily parrish said...

For a laid-back, less crazy San Francisco experience, stick to the inner Sunset and Golden Gate Park. Nice small-town feel, but a quick bus ride from pretty much everywhere. Arizmendi bakery, Beanery for coffee, restaurants like San Tun, Loving Hut, and Nopalito. And you're just around the corner from the Academy of Sciences, and a quick walk from the carousel. There's also a teensy farmer's market on Sundays at 9th between Irving and Judah.

Outside of that area there are the much-lauded Dolores Park, Tartine, Bi-Rite, and Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids; the Mission has many treasures!

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Nancy said...

Have a great time! I have never been to SF so hopefully you will get a lot of recommendations from other readers.

XOXO
Nancy

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Griggs said...

For a relaxing day I have to recommend you take the 30 minutes drive south of the city to Half Moon Bay. It has great beaches and the best little Main Street with amazing shops and food. Grab a picnic from The San Benito House and take your family to the ocean or go tour some of the farms in the area.
Also, the trolleys for your train loving son are a no brainer. So many good ideas on here already. Just had to make sure you heard about HMB.

M Woodall said...

I was just reading an article about this playground over in Berkeley...maybe Toby is on the younger side for it, but thought I would pass it along in case you guys were interested :)
Have a great trip!

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/adventureplayground/

emily said...

There is an entire other set of cities on the other side of the bay with wonderful kids activities!

- If Toby likes dogs, taking a walk at the Point Isabel Park will be an absolute dream.

- Children's Fairyland in Oakland, right by Lake Merritt, is a hit with the toddler crowd.

- There is a real (but mini) steam train in Tilden Park that my preschool students raved on and on about.

- Hiking in Joaquin Miller Park among the redwoods is quite serene and beautiful (with spectacular bay views!!)

- Hawker Fare has amaaaaaazing rice bowls adored by kids and adults alike.

- Doughnut Dolly fills delicious yeasty doughnuts to order in the Temescal Alley (and there are many other cute little shops and businesses in there, as well!)


Would be happy to share more East Bay gems if you consider a voyage over here!

(also, note from a previous reader... Fenton's is in Oakland, too!)

ABBY LOW said...

Have fun! Here are a few things we did over this past winter while we were in the SF Bay Area with our two kids:

1. SAUSALITO / MARIN HEADLANDS
Bay Area Discovery Museum (amazing/not to be missed!)
http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/
+
eat nearby at FISH (at the marina in Sausalito near Heath Ceramics Outlet):
http://www.331fish.com/

2. ALAMEDA (East Bay)
U.S.S. Hornet Museum (aircraft carrier) in Alameda, CA
http://www.uss-hornet.org/
+
could time with the Alameda Flea Market
http://www.alamedapointantiquesfaire.com/
(held on the first Sunday of every month)
+
Eat at Pappo
http://www.papporestaurant.com/

3. BERKELEY (East Bay)
Codornices Park w/playground and awesome rock slide!
http://www.yelp.com/biz/codornices-park-berkeley
(across the street from Berkeley Rose Garden)
+
Gordo Taqueria
http://www.yelp.com/biz/gordo-taqueria-berkeley
+
Ici Ice Cream
http://www.ici-icecream.com/
+
Shop at Tail of the Yak
http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/tail-of-the-yak

4. OAKLAND
Ride from S.F. to Oakland on BART train (train adventure)
+
Shop in Temescal Alley (Book/Shop http://book---shop.com/)
+
eat lunch at Bake Sale Betty
http://www.bakesalebetty.com/locations.php
+
grab a sweet treat at Doughnut Dolly
http://www.doughnutdolly.com/site/page/home
+
stay for Dinner (or lunch) at Pizzaiolo
http://www.pizzaiolooakland.com/

OR

Museum of Children's Art
http://mocha.org/
+
Walk around PopUpHood in old Oakland and visit shops
http://www.popuphood.com/oakland.html
(Umamimart!)

4. SAN FRANCISCO
California Academy of Sciences (Natural History Museum / Aquarium)
http://www.calacademy.org/
+
Pack a picnic in Golden Gate Park just outside of museum

OR

Eat at the Ferry Building
http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/
+
Walk down piers to Pier 39 to see the sea lions who live on the K-dock
http://www.pier39.com/home/the-sea-lion-story/sea-lion-webcam/
+
Take a Ferry to Angel Island (rent bikes to bike around island)
+
Pack a picnic lunch to eat on island

CcOnway said...

I strongly suggest going to the FREE cable car museum. Its fascinating for kids and adults since its the hub for all cable car lines in the city. Even better take the cable car to and from.

If the weather inside the city doesn't cooperate consider driving down South about 20 min to a historic home and garden called http://www.filoli.org/ (Filoli stands for "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”) Kids can run through the mazes of incredible gardens and orchids set beneath the mountains. Its stunning there and many SF people have never heard of it.

For free walking tours by SF local enthusiasts try http://www.sfcityguides.org/. Pick a neighborhood you want to learn about (the Haight, Victorian architecture, mansions in Pac Heights, the beat era in North Beach) and just meet the guide at the designated time and corner. They usually last about an hour. Always interesting.
~CarOline (SF resident)

Bri said...

we took a trip to sf for easter weekend! it was so lovely. although my little man didn't really sleep... we had a lot of fun finding parks to play in. and we love the cable car museum!

Unknown said...

Bay Area Discovery Museum
cable car ride
ferry to from sausalito with lunch at ferry building
exploratorium is great but I would recommend the Discovery museum for his age.
"Hike" in muir woods

Unknown said...

For the adults at trip to Alcatraz is amazing.

phoebessenioritis.blogspot.com said...

house of prime ribs is excellent for steak! tommy's joynt has the most delicious sandwiches in san francisco! and i'm sure toby will looooove the academy of sciences! have a great trip!

Vino Satchi said...

Children's fairy land in Oakland

Gather restaurant in Berkeley

Comal in Berkeley

Ferry building for yummy things

Tartine bakery SF

The general store

Moma is a must they have a play room kind of space for kids

Gracious madre SF for vegan food



Nina said...

If the weather is still amazing, which is obviously wont be, then stick to parks and beaches. I'm a North SF girl so I love Chrissy Field, Ocean Beach, Lands End... Then you can eat at Pizzetta 211, a tiny tiny pizza place that is so good and always has at least a few little kids with their parents. But Golden Gate park never fails to amaze me. Have you seen the bison? Your little boy would love it!

Kelly said...

We love SF over at ThingsThatAreAwesome.com!

While not specifically kid friendly (although we did eat A LOT of ice cream), we put together a summary of some of our favourite spots and highlights following our last visit: http://thingsthatareawesome.com/2012/07/11/go-visit-san-francisco/

Lindsay Himmer said...

I am kind of surprised no one has mentioned this yet, In Oakland there is a park called the Dennis the Menace Park. Its really cool! And it has a train you can climb on!

Rachel said...

Giants games at AT&T Park are always a must! Even if you don't watch the actual game, there's plenty for young kids to do. A lot of the park is designed for young kids, about Toby's age. Also, the new Exploratorium just opened up!

If you're in the Mission, you HAVE to go to "The Pirate Store," aka 826 Valencia: http://826valencia.org/store/, as well as Paxton Gate Kids: http://www.paxtongate.com/kids.aspx. You also need to try Tacolicious: http://tacolicious.com/ and Salumeria: http://www.salumeriasf.com/, if you haven't already.

Have fun, you guys!

TANYA said...

If you need a chill place for brunch with incredible food & drinks (and very kid-friendly), my friends took me to Slow Club while I was visiting SF recently and it was just perfect! http://www.slowclub.com/

Vale Cervarich said...

Jenna - interesting... I haven't heard anybody say that re: the academy. I don't feel quite that strongly, but now you've got me thinking. I always tell people to go when it's empty, so you can get thru quickly, to the best stuff: (butterflies, octopus, giant wall aquarium) but that really isn't very much, is it? :) Good of you to be honest!

Vale Cervarich said...

The natives cringe to hear "San Fran" - best to say all of San Francisco, or shorten to "S.F.".. :)

Rachel Newman said...

My nephew loves the Academy of Sciences. It's so fun for toddlers.

Nicole said...

Go to Frjtz restaurant on Valencia in the mission. Get the singapore burger and thank me later lol. They have amazing fries and like 20 different dipping sauces to choose from. There is a window seat available that toby might get a kick out of, it is up in the display window with pillows and you have to kinda climb up, its hard to explain but you would be sitting kind of asian style as though you are on the floor but you are up above the rest of the restaurant (only a few feet up) not dangerous or anything lol if that is not your thing though there are normal tables and chairs too :) Bi-Rite creamery is around the corner as well as dolores park

Nadya Sagner said...

We rented a houseboat in Sausalito, and my kids loved exploring the docks, which you can totally do as a visitor; map Liberty Dock" and you'll find it. Plus it's right near the beautiful Heath Ceramics factory and shop. Also, the Ferry Building for great food.

Hannah Cho said...

Totally agree! The Dolores Park playground has a GIANT slide that even I enjoy sliding down. Lots of friendly people and dogs as well, if the weather's bright and sunny. I find it a little more intimate and less overwhelmingly huge than the one at Golden Gate Park. And of course, all of the goodies mentioned above in the Mission make it a great all-around place to be (plus tasty tacos, amazing guacamole at Regalito Rosticeria and Four Barrel Coffee!). BUT there's an old-school carousel right next to the playground in Golden Gate Park.

Chez Denise et Laudalino said...

I am a fan of the Oakland Zoo - amazing animals and exhibits (the Bats are way cool). I use to hit the San Francisco zoo but then discovered the Oakland one. The animals are actually awake!! Check out the new Exploratorium on Pier 15 - amazing!!! Also, The California Academy of Sciences is fantastic. My god-daughter is now 7 but I have been taking her to all three since she was a baby - she never outgrows them. Just be sure to go early.

If it is warm, hit Bi-Rite market, grab a picnic and head to Dolores Park. Great fun for little ones (has been Maggie's fave park for years), and amazing people watching for the big kids. Afterwards, hit Bi-Rite creamery for the best ice cream!!

Have fun in our city!!

Denise

Maura said...

If you have a car and want a little side trip I bet Toby is at just the right age for Train Town in Sonoma.

http://www.traintown.com/#!

I grew up in San Francisco and we really LOVED this place when we were kids.

Mountain Lake park in the city is also great. We used to call it the Rolly Slide Park because it has some cool and different slides.

little shin said...

ooO i just visited SF somewhat recently, like most big cities, a ton of places to eat, here were a few of my favs. hope Toby has a fan.tastic babymoon :)
Chili Pie for pie and ice cream, worth the stop, it's near Alamo park
Mama's for brunch - the wait is ridiculous get there early!
Sweet Maple for brunch - they have "millionaire's bacon" that was yum.
Hog Island Oysters :)

Becky said...

I LOVE reading everyone's recommendations since I'm a SF native! Everyone is spot on with Bi-rite, Delphina, Dolores Park, and Chrissy Field. Loved the recommendations to head over to the conservatory, and p.s. there are small hills of grass in front of it that my sister and I LOVED rolling down (like logs) when we were little. Hours of free fun for Toby, and the perfect spot for a picnic. The tulips are probably still in bloom too!

If you guys have a car (or rent a zip car), I'd also head over to Sausalito. HIGHLY recommend Rodeo Beach - beautiful beach and mild hiking around there, and after a bit of beach fun, you can head into town for some Bocce and Pizza. Bar Bocce in Sausalito has great food, and fun outdoor patio which is completely kid friendly, and blue skies (when the city is foggy).

Have a FABULOUS trip!
Becky

http://cuphalffull-sf.blogspot.com/

bedpeace said...

Visit the Seward Street slides!
http://www.yelp.com/biz/seward-street-slides-san-francisco

Blair said...

A great little bike adventure, start at the Exploritorium (fun, kid oriented, hands on science!) then head to Marina Greens on Marina Ave. It's only a couple blocks away and you can have a picnic and watch kites and people all day. Bring sunblock there are no trees. Then head out into the bay along the pier that Van Ness Ave dead ends into. It curls around the Aquatic Park and gives amazing views of the whole north side of the bay all the way to the Golden Gate. The benefit is that it is huge so you are not elbowing other people trying to see the views. Then head to either Ghiradelli Square or to North Beach for some ice cream or gellato before dinner. Have a great trip.

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