San Francisco, California (Jenny Mayfield)

Always bring layers when visiting San Fransisco. And, despite the fact that we are in sunny California, San Francisco summers are COLD.
— Jenny Mayfield
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, City
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: 5 DAYS


Definitely grab a suite at Cow Hollow Inn and Suites. It is an old school motor inn in the heart of San Francisco’s Marina District. The suites are spacious, affordable, and in a location that can’t be beat — the heart of Chestnut Street. All of the Marina’s best shops and restaurants at your finger tips — and a short walk to Crissy Field Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge.

eat and drink

I think the Marina is the best place for kid food options.

  • Ace Wasabi Sushi -- Don't miss their daily kid-friendly happy hour. Good food that kids and adults can enjoy, 1/2 priced Rombauer (smiley face for mom) and bingo for all.
  • Delarosa -- Great pizza and pasta with outdoor seating on Chestnut Street.
  • Tacolicious -- Excellent Mexican food with outdoor seating on Chestnut.
  • Balboa Cafe -- I always enjoy at least one nice adult dinner with kids. Check out San Francisco's iconic Balboa Cafe for an EARLY dinner. If you get lucky and end up there on a WED, you must try the Chicken Pallaird. It is divine!


  • California Academy of Sciences -- indoor rainforest and awesome aquarium. Good rainy day activity.
  • Fisherman's Wharf -- Nothing better than seeing the infamous seals of San Francisco. Ride on the carousel -- and take a pedi cab to the Ferry Building for lunch at Gott's after.
  • Ride the Powell-Hyde Trolley -- great photo op and goes by many iconic SF sites, like the crooked street.
  • Take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge (fun in itself!) and visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum-- an amazing hands-on children's museum set on the water under the Golden Gate. Concessions available, so grab a coffee and let the kids RUN.
  • Day trip to Sonoma -- a family favorite. Hit up Train Town (an old school amusement park), lunch on Sonoma's Plaza (Maya, El Dorado Kitchen or Girl and the Fig) and, if you love wine, book a wine tasting at a kid friendly winery (Saintsbury, Larsen or Scribe) to hit on the way back into the city
  • Ferry to Tiburon -- take the Ferry over to Tiburon for lunch at Sam's -- Great way to see the city and get out on the water!
  • If in town for the weekend, a must do for SF families are the food trucks -- Fort Mason (Fridays at 5 to 8pm) and Presidio Parade Grounds (Thursdays 5 to 8pm or Sundays 5 to 8pm)
  • On a nice SF day, do not miss an opportunity to check out Chrissy Field Beach -- perfect place for a family photo op with Golden Gate in the background.

inside scoop

  • Always bring layers when visiting San Fransisco. And, despite the fact that we are in sunny California, San Francisco summers are COLD.
  • Ubering around the city is probably best way to go -- although would recommend a rental car for day trips.

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