Family-Friendly San Francisco


San Francisco.....legendary cable cars, beautiful parks and colorful neighborhoods.... everyone loves the City by the Bay! There is something exciting to do and see at every turn. Delicious dim sum in busy Chinatown and steep and crooked streets to explore - there are countless opportunities for urban family travel adventures. The city's a sort of theme park filled with stomach-lurching hills, fascinating characters, and the 1.7-mile-long Golden Gate Bridge that's a blast to drive across.

I recommend staying near Fisherman's Wharf at the foot of the cable car line. You can buy an all-day pass and ride the cars as often as you like. For the steepest cable car rise, take the Powell-Hyde line. And don't miss the Cable Car Museum at Washington and Mason Streets, admission is free. The kids will be amazed to see the cable car underground mechanics and so will you. Another fun free ride is the elevator in the Westin Sir Francis Drake Hotel at Union Square. A ride to the top floor will have the kids begging for more.

The best museum in town for kids, with over 700 interactive exhibits, is the Exploratorium on the Palace of Fine Arts grounds. ""Please touch me"" hollers at you the minute you walk in the door. Don't miss it!

Alcatraz Island, a former federal prison, is run by the National Park Service. An award winning tour operates throughout the day from Pier 41. Advance reservations during peak season are necessary. Also from Pier 41, cruise under ""the bridge"" and you'll know why we all leave our hearts in San Francisco.

And.... oh, yes, don't forget a chocolate sundae at Ghirardelli Chocolate Square - a must!