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 lots into just some days, experiencing each the vitality of the town and the marvel of the shoreline. In case you’re planning a visit to San Francisco with teenagers, I hope our itinerary and journey suggestions 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 if you happen to’re coming from the Jap time zone–we had been exhausted! We took an costly taxi experience to our lodge (about $75). If we’d arrived earlier within the day, we positively would’ve taken public transportation.
We checked into Lodge 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 provide free breakfast however do present espresso and tea service within the mornings till 10am, plus gadgets you should purchase for mild meals and snacks like yogurt parfaits, salads, and packaged snacks.
This lodge was stuffed with households. It has a heated out of doors pool, and the foyer options an space with pool desk, arcade video games (the entrance desk provides the quarters for free of charge!), foosball, and board video games. Our room was snug, but it surely didn’t have a fridge–FYI, in case that’s necessary to you.
Day 2: Chinatown Strolling Tour & Marrakech Magic Theater
We ate breakfast throughout the road from the lodge at a tiny place known 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, in fact, 8am!
A visit to San Francisco with teenagers wouldn’t be full with a cable automobile experience. So we walked just a few blocks to catch the cable automobile on the Powell/Hyde line. Purchase day passes on the Muni Cell app, which saves you a couple of dollars versus paying every method.
We had been amazed by the crazy-steep streets of the town, and experiencing them through cable automobile was a (literal!) journey. We rode to the Bush Avenue cease then walked a pair blocks to the doorway of Chinatown, known as Dragon Gate.
We opted to do a self-guided strolling tour of Chinatown through Free Excursions By Foot, stopping in memento retailers, the Fortune Cookie Manufacturing facility 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 Avenue to gawk on the well-known zig-zag street and snap some images. We had been capable of stroll again to the lodge from there.
IF YOU GO: Obtain the Chinatown strolling tour PDF or learn it in your telephone, it added a lot to our stroll. Additionally, analysis a spot to eat in Chinatown—we had been too full from breakfast, however a buddy beneficial R & G Lounge.
After a pair hours of downtime on the lodge (we had been nonetheless recovering from our journey the evening 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 tips 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 evening. However his alternative (Brad Barton, “Actuality Thief”) was terrific. It is a tiny theater, and there’s a lot of viewers participation. We’re STILL speaking concerning the tips and might’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 Girls Tour in a enjoyable, painted VW bus. Armando was pleasant and full of information and tales concerning the metropolis. He drove us across the metropolis, and we hopped out for images on the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Girls, and Palace of Advantageous Arts. This tour lasted two hours, which felt like simply the correct amount 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 convey a lot of payments to get quarters for the outdated time mechanical machines. We had been there on a Saturday, so it was fairly packed. Usually, I’d suggest avoiding the Fisherman’s Wharf space on the weekend if you happen to don’t like crowds.
We walked again over to Ghirardelli Sq. for his or her well-known sizzling fudge sundaes and waited in an extended line. If I may do it over once more, I’d purchase only one sundae and all have a pair bites–they’re very costly and really massive.
After a pit cease on the lodge, we walked to Pier 33 to catch the ferry to Alcatraz. It’s necessary to purchase these tickets prematurely as a result of it frequently sells outs. The ferry experience is about quarter-hour every method.
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 properly. Ours was not, however I’ve heard that’s attention-grabbing as properly.
IF YOU GO: Give your self not less than 1.5 hours on the island. You possibly can choose which ferry you catch again, so examine the occasions to plan your journey. I’d heard combined issues concerning the day tour versus the evening 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 feel a nighttime tour could 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 massive on quick meals, however was glad that my teenager obtained to lastly attempt the well-known burger chain.
Day 4: Drive To Large Basin Redwoods State Park & Monterey
This was Easter Sunday and issues had been closed right here and there, so we obtained breakfast once more at 8 A.M. Cafe and took an Uber to Thrifty automobile rental (there have been different automobile rental locations inside strolling distance to the lodge which I didn’t notice once I booked it).
We did the 1.5 hour drive to Large Basin Redwoods State Park (we had to purchase a parking cross prematurely). It’s a reasonably 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 the entire park is closed proper now as a result of fires and rainstorms. Just one small path was open, which we walked twice. We had been nonetheless capable of see redwoods, however I’d’ve most well-liked a extra in depth expertise.
IF YOU GO: Till the park is reopened totally (which they stated will take just a few years), take a day journey from San Francisco to Muir Woods as a substitute.
From Large Basin, we obtained on Freeway 1 for our drive to Monterey. We stopped in Santa Cruz and parked in a storage downtown so we may 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 shaved ice alongside the way in which.
Then we checked in to Victorian Inn. The foyer appears to be like like a Victorian home, however the remaining is only a common lodge. It’s not fancy, however our room was completely effective. My favourite characteristic was the gasoline fire, which made our room really feel cozy.
I additionally like that they’d 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 appreciated that we may park our automobile within the lodge storage and stroll to every little thing.
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 at 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 obtained a blister–pack bandages if you happen to go!).
IF YOU GO: You’ll get moist! Turn 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 Glad Lady Kitchen Co., the place I ordered the quinoa and millet salad, a lemon vitality ball, and house-made Chai. (I discovered this place by studying an article about “Large 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 (you need to purchase tickets on-line earlier than getting into). It was fairly crowded however properly price it. The aquarium solely homes species you could find within the Bay, which is lots! We had been capable of see the entire museum in about two hours.
IF YOU GO: Purchase tickets for the aquarium on-line earlier than getting into. I learn that it’s much less crowded within the late afternoon, but it surely was nonetheless fairly packed. You possibly can depart and are available again if you happen to get a hand stamp.
Subsequent we headed again to the lodge to get the automobile and take a drive alongside Freeway 1 to Large Sur. My teen was drained and didn’t need to do that, but it surely ended up being considered one of his favourite elements 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 location from “Large Little Lies” and a preferred vista cease. We drove to Large Sur, then rotated and drove again.
IF YOU GO: Freeway 1 is a twisty-turny drive in locations. Fog instantly moved in as we had been driving again, which made visibility iffy. So ensure you’re ready for that. I used to be glad we did a lot of the drive in daylight.
We couldn’t discover a dinner choice alongside Freeway 1 in Large Sur (we put our names in at one place with an incredible view however hopped again within the automobile 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 awoke, ate the lodge’s free breakfast, then hopped within the automobile for the drive to San Jose Airport (it was nearer to Monterey than driving again to San Francisco and our flights price the identical). Alongside the way in which, we did a cease to see UC Santa Cruz only for enjoyable. Elements of the drive alongside CA-17 had been additionally twisty-turny, FYI.
Abstract: Enjoyable Issues We Did in San Francisco With Our Teen
10 Extra Issues To Do in San Francisco With Teenagers
- Lease bikes: Lodge Caza truly had free bikes to make use of, however we didn’t have time. A buddy rented from Limitless Biking and rode from their location over the Golden Gate Bridge and again. I used to be apprehensive my concern of heights would make that trek disagreeable.
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum: Yeah, kinda tacky. However I’m guessing my teen would’ve gotten a giant kick out of this place, which is true there on Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Cartoon Artwork Museum: This was across the nook from our lodge and could be good for teenagers eager about artwork or who like to learn comics and graphic novels.
- Large Bus Tour: Our associates did this tour, and you may hop on and off alongside the route. Understand 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 Lodge Caza and options interactive murals and road artwork. There’s a price for getting into.
- The Exploratorium: Positioned at Pier 15, this science museum presents a reduction for youths 17 and underneath.
- Angel Island State Park: If we’d had an additional day, we’d’ve taken the ferry to this island for my history-buff child. Through the years, this island has served as an immigration station, detention facility for German POWs, and missile base. It now presents mountain climbing trails and self-guided excursions.
- Day journey to Muir Woods: You possibly can guide a day journey from the 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 properly rated (not appropriate for youngsters underneath 13).
Questions About San Francisco With Teenagers
Did we really feel secure?
Sure. The information is stuffed proper now with dangerous information about cities on the whole, however we’re metropolis folks–having lived in and visited cities our complete grownup lives. So we had been snug in San Francisco, particularly within the tourist-populated space of Fisherman’s Wharf.
We had been suggested towards parking a rental automobile within the metropolis, since “smash-and-grabs” are frequent. So we walked, took the cable vehicles, or obtained an Uber to get round.
Is it costly?
Sure. Meals and lodging had been each expensive. We tried to economize by consuming simply two massive meals a day. We had been additionally in a position to make use of Southwest frequent flier miles to get a significant low cost on our airfare. Bu with our itinerary, it positively wasn’t a finances trip.
Are any faculties close by for excursions?
Sure. In case you’re visiting San Francisco with teenagers who’re interested by faculty, locations like San Francisco State College, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, and Stanford College are inside driving distance.
Gadgets 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 suppose 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.
- Comfy footwear: We walked a ton, not 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 among the costliest elements 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 if you happen to do the kayak tour.
- Sun shades and hat
- Chargers for telephones, iPads, and laptops.
Extra Of Our Journey Itineraries