Published: December, 2017
Book this trip

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

Where to Stay

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.

Where to 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!

What to Do

  • 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.

What to Pack

Click to shop!


For a sophisticated guide that hits all the right places to eat and drink in the City by the Bay check out Sabrina’s guide here

Looking for more…. check out SF natives Jen Lane and Dennis Herrera’s guide that will make you feel like you are a local!

San Francisco, California (Jenny Mayfield) - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Meredyth Haas Says

    This is honestly a pretty touristy guide. I would definitely skip Fisherman’s Wharf (most people who live in the city have never even been there!). All of the restaurant reccomendations are in the Marina as well, which is NOT known for great food. This guide doesn’t mention anything south of Market Street, where all the great things to do and great cuisine is. I would check out another guide for an authentic and great SF experience.

To add a suggestion login or join