5 Teenager Approved Things to Do in San Fransisco

Our family of 5 got to visit San Francisco in December and had such a great time exploring the city. It was our kids’ first time visiting and it was fun to show them a new destination. Although it’s hard to narrow things down, here’s a look at our top five favorite things from our visit to San Francisco.

  1. Walt Disney Family Museum


This museum covers Walt Disney’s life and it was so inspirational to learn more about him. He failed many times with different business ventures, but kept work and pursuing his dreams which ultimately lead to great things. After 2 hours, most of our group was finished and we pulled Hannah away. She wanted to read every single bit of information! There were a a lot of photos from Walt’s childhood, a lot of Disney Memorabilia and so much great Disney history.

2. Alcatraz


This has been on my bucket list for years and I was so excited to get to visit Alcatraz. I’ve been to San Francisco several times, but hadn’t made it out to the prison island. By the time we booked our trip, all of the Alcatraz tickets were reserved. We had to buy through a 3rd party which meant we had to buy a combo ticket that included Alcatraz and a bus tour.

Tip: Reserve your tickets as soon as you know your dates. We saw people turned away at the ticket booth who didn’t have tickets for that day. You might get lucky and they will have tickets available, but I wouldn’t plan on it. This is one thing that you need to buy ahead of time.

We loved the boat ride to the island and enjoyed the beautiful city views. Once on the island, we watched a 20 minute video all about Alcatraz history and I highly recommend watching that if you are visiting. Then we went into the actual jail and did the hour long audio tour. The tour was so well done! There are former guards and prisoners who narrate the audio tour through the jail. It was fascinating!

3. Riding a Trolley


Since this was our kids’ first visit, we thought riding a trolley would be something fun to do. We arrived at the Market Street stop and found a long line and then discovered that the wait would be 90 minutes. We decided to stick it out. Although the wait was ridiculously long, we did love the actual ride which we took to the end of the line near Union Square. We had a great spot on the trolley where we were outside and could hang onto the poles. Perfect for a first trolley ride!

4. Renting Bikes & Riding to Sausalito


We rented bikes from Blazing Saddles at Fisherman’s Wharf and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge and down into Sausalito. The ride was just over 12 miles. There were some big hills leading up to the bridge and even more hills to Sausalito, so it was a nice workout.

Tip: I would not plan on having young children (under 10) do this unless they are on in a bike seat or an avid biker. They would probably be okay getting to the bridge and back, but it could still be a big challenge for little ones.

Once we were in Sausalito, we parked our bikes, locked them up and found a great burger place (Napa Valley Burger Co) for lunch. While we waited for a table, we walked around to looked in a few shops.

We had to rush though lunch so we could catch the ferry back to San Francisco. Sadly, once we arrived at the ferry terminal, they said they were already at capacity with bikes and we had to wait another hour to ride the next ferry. It all worked out and we made it back to the city and dropped the bikes off at Fisherman’s Wharf.

It took us two hours from bike pick up to get the the restaurant in Sausalito. (We stopped to take a lot of pictures.) Then 2 hours eating and waiting for the ferry, a 30 minute ferry ride and then we biked back to drop off the bikes. It took around 5 hours total. If you are traveling with teenagers, we highly recommend doing this!

5. Food! This might be cheating a little since it’s not just one place, but I’m going to share all of our favorite food stops.

  1. Ferry Building Farmers Market. So many great options. We loved the bakery with chocolate croissants and brownies.

  2. Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building. Get the grilled cheese!

  3. The House of Nanking. We loved the dumplings, broccoli & garlic and sesame chicken.

  4. Ghiradelli. Yes, this feels a bit like a tourist trap, but we still loved it. The hot fudge brownie sundae was amazing. I’ve heard that you can go upstairs and order and there are not any lines. I’m going to try that next time!

  5. Tartine. We waited about 30 minutes in line to order at this bakery and it was worth it. We loved all of the baked goods we tried. We didn’t get any bread and I’m still regretting it.

  6. Ristorante Parma. This was away from the tourist areas and was a little Italian restaurant my cousin said she loves. The wait can get long, but we timed it right and walked right in. Amazing lasagna and chicken parmesan.

What a great city! I can’t wait to go back.

You can check out our #thistraveltribesf hashtag on our Instagram account to see all of our favorite things we did while visiting!