Must-See San Francisco Attractions – A Two-Day Itinerary
Traveling to California from Florida was a big trip for my family last year, and we were lucky enough to spend a week in the San Francisco area. However, sometimes families only have a weekend or a few days to visit the area, and it’s hard to know which San Francisco attractions are the best to visit with kids. Here is my recommendation for the best two-day itinerary for kids in San Francisco. Check out this plan and make the most of your trip!
Start by checking in to a convenient hotel that will make it easy to explore the city and has the luxurious amenities that make you feel like you are on vacation. Hilton San Francisco Union Square was the perfect choice for our family.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast as you will be doing a lot of walking! We loved the buffet at Urban Tavern, one of the restaurants at Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Then head out immediately to Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33 to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. You will need to reserve your tickets for a specific time in advance and then bring the tickets with you. The ferry will take you to tour Alcatraz Island for the morning. When you are ready, you choose when you ride the ferry back.
Leaving Pier 33, head to Pier 39 which is only a 5 minute walk away and choose one of the numerous restaurants for lunch. You now have time to explore the movies, shows, and stores at Pier 39. And don’t forget to watch the Sea Lions!
From Pier 39, continue walking and exploring Fisherman’s Wharf until you hit Ghirardelli Square. Now that you have built up an appetite again, it’s the perfect time for an afternoon snack of ice cream at Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop! If your kids are up to it, you can walk back to your Union Square area hotel, which will take a while, but will allow you to really see the city and its special streets including Lombard Street which is the world’s “crookedest” street.
Once you are back at your hotel it’s time to freshen up and eat dinner at one of the Union Square restaurants. We ate at Daily Grill on Geary Street, but there are numerous diners and restaurants nearby.
Riding a cable car is a San Francisco tradition, but there is often a wait to board them. Try going first thing in the morning and catching one near Hilton San Francisco Union Square at Powell St. and Market St. This is a boarding spot which makes it easier than trying to jump on one mid-route.
After that, take a taxi to Golden Gate Park and explore the California Academy of Sciences. There are great exhibits and plentiful and healthy lunch options. But don’t stay all day because outside in the the Golden Gate Park is the Japanese Tea Garden and Golden Gate Park Playground and Carousel.
Once you are done exploring the park you can catch a taxi back at the Academy of Sciences to Chestnut St., a neighborhood street with an eclectic mix of stores and a variety of restaurants including many that are great for kids. We ate at Delarosa which is a small Italian restaurant with some communal tables and delicious food. We also considered Tacolicious, Super Duper Burger and SusieCakes Bakery for dessert.
There are so many great San Francisco attractions that it’s hard to fit them all into a weekend, but if you are traveling there with kids, this should give you a good start!
- See all of our vacation photos from San Francisco.
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
Know Before You Go
- Golden Gate Park has many activities – there are countless trails to walk, lakes, ponds, fields for sports activities, and even a Conservatory for Flowers.
- Check out these spots for great photos: Coit Tower, Telegraph Hill, Dolores Park, and Alamo Square.
- Always dress in layers for the weather. Even in the summer, it can be chilly!