Inside: Numerous issues to do in San Francisco with teenagers, plus our full Spring Break itinerary (together with a visit to Monterey).
We not too long ago took a Spring Break journey to San Francisco with our 14-year-old son, and it was improbable! We made probably the most of our time and packed rather a lot into just some days, experiencing each the power of town and the surprise of the shoreline. In case you’re planning a visit to San Francisco with teenagers, I hope our itinerary and journey ideas will assist.
San Francisco With Teenagers Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in San Francisco
We arrived in San Francisco at midnight. I don’t suggest this in case you’re coming from the Jap time zone–we had been exhausted! We took an costly taxi trip to our lodge (about $75). If we’d arrived earlier within the day, we undoubtedly would’ve taken public transportation.
We checked into Resort Caza. It’s situated in Fisherman’s Wharf, however across the block from the busiest vacationer space, so it was fairly quiet. They don’t supply free breakfast however do present espresso and tea service within the mornings till 10am, plus gadgets you should buy for gentle meals and snacks like yogurt parfaits, salads, and packaged snacks.
This lodge was filled with households. It has a heated outside pool, and the foyer options an space with pool desk, arcade video games (the entrance desk provides the quarters without charge!), foosball, and board video games. Our room was comfy, but it surely didn’t have a fridge–FYI, in case that’s essential to you.
Day 2: Chinatown Strolling Tour & Marrakech Magic Theater
We ate breakfast throughout the road from the lodge at a tiny place referred to as 8 A.M. Cafe that has a pleasant breakfast menu. We had the crepes, frittatas, and the “Napa Bagel” with brie, prosciutto, arugula, and fig glaze. There appeared to be a line out the door after about 9:30am, so go early. It opens at, after all, 8am!
A visit to San Francisco with teenagers wouldn’t be full with a cable automotive trip. So we walked a couple of blocks to catch the cable automotive on the Powell/Hyde line. Purchase day passes on the Muni Cellular app, which saves you a couple of dollars versus paying every means.
We had been amazed by the crazy-steep streets of town, and experiencing them by way of cable automotive was a (literal!) journey. We rode to the Bush Road cease then walked a pair blocks to the doorway of Chinatown, referred to as Dragon Gate.
We opted to do a self-guided strolling tour of Chinatown by way of Free Excursions By Foot, stopping in memento retailers, the Fortune Cookie Manufacturing unit for a pattern, and the Tin How Temple. This was a shock hit of the journey. Understanding the historical past and significance of the assorted stops made a giant distinction.
Then we caught the Powell/Mason line again and hopped off at Lombard Road to gawk on the well-known zig-zag highway and snap some images. We had been in a position to stroll again to the lodge from there.
IF YOU GO: Obtain the Chinatown strolling tour PDF or learn it in your cellphone, it added a lot to our stroll. Additionally, analysis a spot to eat in Chinatown—we had been too full from breakfast, however a good friend beneficial R & G Lounge.
After a pair hours of downtime on the lodge (we had been nonetheless recovering from our journey the night time earlier than), we took an Uber to Marrakech Magic Theater in Union Sq.. It’s key to reach an hour earlier than to see the magician do further methods and to order meals and drinks. We had the hummus plate and rooster kebabs, each of which had been yummy.
To my preliminary disappointment, the same old magician, Jay Alexander, was out for the night time. However his substitute (Brad Barton, “Actuality Thief”) was terrific. This can be a tiny theater, and there’s plenty of viewers participation. We’re STILL speaking in regards to the methods and may’t determine them out!
We took an Uber again to the lodge and went to mattress early.
Day 3: Driving Tour & Alcatraz
We purchased a yogurt within the foyer for our son, then had been picked up in entrance of our lodge by Armando from Painted Women Tour in a enjoyable, painted VW bus. Armando was pleasant and full of data and tales in regards to the metropolis. He drove us across the metropolis, and we hopped out for images on the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Women, and Palace of Wonderful Arts. This tour lasted two hours, which felt like simply the correct quantity of time to get a lay of the land.
Afterward, we walked to lunch at San Francisco Brewing Firm in Ghirardelli Sq. as a result of my husband is a giant fan of craft beers. We had a superb lunch of burgers and fish tacos.
Then we walked over to Musee Mecanique on the water. Admission is free however deliver plenty of payments to get quarters for the outdated time mechanical machines. We had been there on a Saturday, so it was fairly packed. Normally, I’d suggest avoiding the Fisherman’s Wharf space on the weekend in case you don’t like crowds.
We walked again over to Ghirardelli Sq. for his or her well-known sizzling fudge sundaes and waited in a protracted line. If I might do it over once more, I’d purchase only one sundae and all have a pair bites–they’re very costly and really giant.
After a pit cease on the lodge, we walked to Pier 33 to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. It’s essential to purchase these tickets prematurely as a result of it recurrently sells outs. The ferry trip is about quarter-hour every means.
This jail as soon as housed inmates like Al Capone, and the audio tour, which incorporates narration and interviews from former guards and inmates, was terrific. In case you’re going to San Francisco with teenagers, they’ll love this! Ask if the rangers are giving excursions as effectively. Ours was not, however I’ve heard that’s attention-grabbing as effectively.
IF YOU GO: Give your self no less than 1.5 hours on the island. You may decide which ferry you catch again, so verify the occasions to plan your journey. I’d heard combined issues in regards to the day tour versus the night time tour. We opted to do a late-afternoon tour and agreed that we loved seeing it within the daylight. There’s one thing very haunting about Alcatraz, so I believe a nighttime tour can be tremendous spooky.
We walked again to our lodge alongside the assorted piers and grabbed dinner at In-N-Out Burger. It was our first time having it–and don’t come at me, however we had been underwhelmed. In actual fact, I ended up shopping for some cheese and crackers within the foyer and calling it dinner for me! I’m not huge on quick meals, however was glad that my teenager bought to lastly attempt the well-known burger chain.
Day 4: Drive To Huge Basin Redwoods State Park & Monterey
This was Easter Sunday and issues had been closed right here and there, so we bought breakfast once more at 8 A.M. Cafe and took an Uber to Thrifty automotive rental (there have been different automotive rental locations inside strolling distance to the lodge which I didn’t notice after I booked it).
We did the 1.5 hour drive to Huge Basin Redwoods State Park (we had to purchase a parking cross prematurely). It’s a fairly tough, windy drive at occasions, which made me and my son a bit carsick.
Sadly, I made the error of not rigorously studying the park’s web site. After we arrived, we discovered that just about all the park is closed proper now resulting from fires and rainstorms. Just one small path was open, which we walked twice. We had been nonetheless in a position to see redwoods, however I’d’ve most well-liked a extra in depth expertise.
IF YOU GO: Till the park is reopened absolutely (which they mentioned will take a couple of years), take a day journey from San Francisco to Muir Woods as a substitute.
From Huge Basin, we bought on Freeway 1 for our drive to Monterey. We stopped in Santa Cruz and parked in a storage downtown so we might poke across the cute, funky downtown (there’s a boardwalk in Santa Cruz too however we didn’t go). We additionally additionally stopped for roadside strawberries and shave ice alongside the way in which.
Then we checked in to Victorian Inn. The foyer appears like a Victorian home, however the remaining is only a common lodge. It’s not fancy, however our room was completely advantageous. My favourite characteristic was the fuel hearth, which made our room really feel cozy.
I additionally like that that they had a free breakfast plus a free “wine and cheese” hour at 5pm with fruit, cheese, crackers, wine, and lemonade.
The draw back to the lodge: It was on a busy road and was a bit loud. However we preferred that we might park our automotive within the lodge storage and stroll to every part.
Drained and hungry, we walked all the way down to Cannery Row for dinner. The place we meant to go (Lalla Grill) was closed for Easter, so we ended up an overpriced Italian restaurant which was simply okay.
Day 5: Kayak Tour & Monterey Bay Aquarium
After a (free!) breakfast on the lodge, we walked all the way down to Adventures By The Sea on Cannery Row for a guided, two-hour kayak tour. As a result of it was breezy that morning, the water was uneven, and it was strenuous at occasions. We noticed otters, sea lions, and harbor seals, which was an enormous spotlight. My husband and I actually loved this tour, however my son was so-so on it (and he bought a blister–pack bandages in case you go!).
IF YOU GO: You’ll get moist! Develop into their rain pants and coats and go barefoot. Put on sunscreen and a hat.
We walked again to the lodge for showers then headed about 10 minutes away on foot to Blissful Lady Kitchen Co., the place I ordered the quinoa and millet salad, a lemon power ball, and house-made Chai. (I discovered this place by studying an article about “Huge Little Lies” places in Monterey.)
My guys wished one thing meatier, so walked a few block away to Cafe Guarani, for empanadas and Yuca fries and sat of their cute little “secret backyard” out again.
Then we walked to Monterey Bay Aquarium (it’s a must to purchase tickets on-line earlier than coming into). It was fairly crowded however effectively price it. The aquarium solely homes species you could find within the Bay, which is rather a lot! We had been in a position to see the entire museum in about two hours.
IF YOU GO: Purchase tickets for the aquarium on-line earlier than coming into. I learn that it’s much less crowded within the late afternoon, but it surely was nonetheless fairly packed. You may go away and are available again in case you get a hand stamp.
Subsequent we headed again to the lodge to get the automotive and take a drive alongside Freeway 1 to Huge Sur. My teen was drained and didn’t need to do that, but it surely ended up being considered one of his favourite components of the journey.
Alongside Freeway 1, we made stops at completely different vistas to marvel on the magnificence. We additionally stopped on the Bixby Bridge, one other of the places from “Huge Little Lites” and a well-liked vista cease. We drove to Huge Sur, then circled and drove again.
IF YOU GO: Freeway 1 a twisty-turny drive in locations. Fog all of the sudden moved in as we had been driving again, which made visibility just a little iffy. So ensure you’re ready for that. I used to be glad we did the entire drive within the daylight.
We couldn’t discover a dinner choice alongside Freeway 1 in Huge Sur (we put our names in at one place with an incredible view however hopped again within the automotive after seeing the costs!).
We ended up in downtown Monterey at Medici for wood-fired oven pizzas, wings, and salads. I want we had found this cute downtown space earlier. It’s lined with cafes, eating places, and retailers and strung with white lights.
Day 6: Breakfast & Depart to San Jose airport
We awakened, ate the lodge’s free breakfast, then hopped within the automotive for the drive to San Jose Airport (it was nearer to Monterey than driving again to San Francisco and our flights value the identical). Alongside the way in which, we did a cease to see UC Santa Cruz only for enjoyable.
Abstract: Enjoyable Issues We Did in San Francisco With Our Teen
10 Extra Issues To Do in San Francisco With Teenagers
- Lease bikes: Resort Caza really had free bikes to make use of, however we didn’t have time. A good friend rented from Limitless Biking and rode from their location over the Golden Gate Bridge and again. I used to be nervous my worry of heights would make that trek disagreeable.
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum: Sure, kinda tacky. However I’m guessing my teen would’ve gotten a giant kick out of this place, which is correct there on Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Cartoon Artwork Museum: This was across the nook from our lodge and can be good for teenagers excited about artwork or who like to learn comics and graphic novels.
- Huge Bus Tour: Our mates did this tour, and you may hop on and off alongside the route. Remember the fact that the highest deck can get chilly, relying on the climate.
- Boudin Bakery: That is proper alongside the water at Fisherman’s Wharf, however we ran out of time to pop in for some well-known sourdough bread.
- Umbrella Alley: That is additionally across the nook from Resort Caza and options interactive murals and road artwork. There’s a charge for coming into.
- The Exploratorium: Situated at Pier 15, this science museum affords a reduction for youths 17 and beneath.
- Angel Island State Park: If we’d had an additional day, we might’ve taken the ferry to this island for my history-buff child. Over time, this island has served as an immigration station, detention facility for German POWs, and missile base. It now affords mountaineering trails and self-guided excursions.
- Day journey to Muir Woods: You may ebook a day journey from town to see the majestic redwoods.
- Ghost Tour: I want we’d had time to do considered one of these ghost excursions. Haunted San Francisco is effectively rated (not appropriate for kids beneath 13).
Questions About San Francisco With Teenagers
Did we really feel protected?
Sure. The information is stuffed proper now with unhealthy information about cities on the whole, however we’re metropolis folks–having lived in and visited cities our whole grownup lives. So we had been comfy in San Francisco, particularly within the tourist-populated space of Fisherman’s Wharf.
We had been suggested in opposition to parking a rental automotive within the metropolis, since “smash-and-grabs” are frequent. So we walked, took the cable automobiles, or bought an Uber to get round.
Is it costly?
Sure. Meals and lodging had been each dear. We tried to save cash by consuming simply two huge meals a day. We had been additionally in a position to make use of Southwest frequent flier miles to get a serious low cost on our airfare. Bu with our itinerary, it undoubtedly wasn’t a finances trip.
Are any schools close by for excursions?
Sure. In case you’re visiting San Francisco with teenagers who’re fascinated with school, locations like San Francisco State College, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and Stanford College are inside driving distance.
Objects to Pack for San Francisco
- Packable rain coat: I’ve this packable raincoat from LLBean that is available in common, petite, and plus sizes. One morning throughout our journey, there was a gradual moist mist within the air, which I don’t assume is uncommon for San Francisco. We additionally used our raincoats for our kayak tour in Monterey.
- Heat coats: We’d been advised by a number of folks to pack a lot hotter garments than we predict we’d want, and that was nice recommendation. San Francisco might be chilly, even in the summertime. I wore a pullover fleece (this Columbia fleece, that is available in petite!) and splurged on this packable down coat from LLBean.
- Snug footwear: We walked a ton, no less than 15,000 steps a day. I alternated between trainers and Dansko clogs.
- Money: For tipping tour guides and getting quarters at Musee Mecanique.
- Snacks: Meals is without doubt one of the most costly components of any household journey. I packed a small bag with some protein bars, clementines, and path combine (and since it was Easter. Cadbury Mini Eggs too!).
- Sunscreen: You’ll particularly want this in case you do the kayak tour.
- Sun shades and hat
- Chargers for telephones, iPads, and laptops.
Extra Of Our Journey Itineraries