Why wait for out-of-town friends to visit for an excuse to visit some of San Francisco's best-loved sights? Take a fun twist on playing tourist for the day by letting the kids be the guides. You're guaranteed to get a fresh perspective and a quirky kid's-eye view of some familiar sights. By providing a few tools you can let kids document the day and create their own one-of-a-kind, pint-sized city guide. Just bring along a camera, sketchbook, or an audio or video recorder and let the creativity flow.
Pint-Sized Guide: Legion of Honor
From our kid guide: "I like looking at this thinking man statue at the museum. I think he's thinking about homework or maybe ice cream or he might be thinking about getting a job."
Entrance to the Legion of Honor is free the first Tuesday of every month. Tong Kiang at Geary and 22nd Ave is a great choice for nearby dim sum. From the Legion of Honor it's just a short drive to China or Baker Beaches for getting the wiggles out.
Pint-Sized Guide: Hyde Street Pier, Historic Ships and Pier 39
From our kid guide: "I like visiting the ship called Balclutha because you can see lots of things downstairs and upstairs. There are a lot of bags because it used to carry a lot of things across the ocean. You can go on a tug boat and a ferry boat - but don't worry, they won't sail away when you are on them. You can see old-timey cars on the ferry and a room where they make model ships. If you look in the water you can see people swimming. You can also see the sea lions at Pier 39. Sea lions are cool because they swim, sleep and jump in the water. They are a little bit stinky and not like a real lion, more like a seal."
The Hyde Street Pier is open daily and free to visit (there is a small admission fee for touring the ships). Nearby sights include Aquatic Park, Ghiradelli Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and Pier 39. Don't miss the Musee Mechanique's large collection of antique arcade machines, player pianos and artifacts. Entry is free.
Pint-Sized Guide: Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park
From our kid guide: "I like crossing all the stones. You can try mochi and eat some rice and maybe try the tea after it cools down. Kids can look at the flowers and the fish in the pond and climb over a big bridge."
The Hagiwara Tea Garden is free on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before 10am. Nearby sights includ Stow Lake, the de Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences and the blue playground just inside the 8th Ave and Fulton entrance to the park. Find interesting street food at the trucks parked behind the band shell in the music concourse just outside the Tea Garden gates.
Pint-Sized Guide: Golden Gate Bridge
From our kid guide: "I like the Golden Gate Bridge. It's red-ish orange. You can walk and drive a car across the bridge, you can also ride a bicycle. If there's fog sometimes you can't see the bottom or the lines of the bridge, only the top. I like to see the waves and the people and boats fishing."
Some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge are from the stroller/bicycle/dog friendly paths of Crissy Field. At the far west end is Fort Point which is open Friday through Sunday. Stop at the Warming Hut for a snack or to do a little impromptu shopping for San Francisco-themed books, toys and gifts.
Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are the San Francisco Bay-Area moms behind A Little Yumminess, a family food blog featuring spiced-up recipes and kid-friendly food adventures. Check out more of our pint-sized San Francisco tours including:
Artsy Spring Picnic at the de Young Museum
A Taste of Japan in our Own Backyard
American Grilled Cheese Kitchen and South Park Excursion
Browsing Bernal Heights
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