Family fun

Great SF Summer Activities with Kids!

summer activities with kids
Make a marshmallow shooter


A while back, the Chronicle ran a wonderful article listing ideas for activities parents to do with their kids during the summer. Ideas ranged from nature based outdoor activities like building bug habitats to projects you can make with older kids such as creating this marshmallow shooter above.

This got me thinking that there are lots of great things to do in San Francisco this summer that are low or no cost. Below is are some of my favorite summer activities with kids:

 Great SF Summer Activities with Kids!:


Learn about wild city animals

When my girls were little they simply LOVED going to summer camp at the Randall Museum. This mini-museum/park is actually a part of SF Recreation and Parks Department and is free. If you have a little one and haven’t checked it out, it will make for the perfect outing. Highlights include a petting zoo with bunnies and ducks, and kids can also look at native California wild animals like owls, ravens, bugs and bees. And don’t forget to bring a blanket and picnic lunch to have snack time with an amazing view of the city. (Click here to download a Scavenger Hunt worksheet to make your visit to the Live Animal Exhibit even more fun!)


summer activities with kids
American Bison

You may already be familiar with the Children’s Playground and Carousel (awesome! but crowded, so it is best to plan a morning visit.) But did you know you can visit the buffalo in Golden Gate Park? Learn more about the American Bison and how to see them here. While you’re at it, you can also stop by Strawberry Hill or the Japanese Tea Garden.

Crabbing in Chrissy Field


Take a mini nature walk in Chrissy Field. Even little one’s can walk by the beach or through the tidal marsh and explore sand, seaweed and view costal birds. Bring a picnic lunch or better yet, grab a bite and a cup of hot chocolate at the Warming Hut Cafe. (My girls love browsing the books and toys.) And did you know you can even go crabbing on Fort Point Pier? It’s not as hard as you think. Learn more here or read this blog containing more info about Chrissy Field activities.


Get a family museum pass!

Museums are also a great place to go (though they can be expensive.) Get a family pass at the local library, though and you can go for FREE! The Exploratorium, the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the SF Zoo are just a few of the 15 participating attractions. Find out more here.



summer activities with kids
Sign up for summer reading

Speaking of the library, there are many great events going on the SF Public Library. Check out the children’s events online to see all the events by category or branch, or visit a local branch to ask for their children’s events calendar.

And don’t forget to sign up for the Summer Reading Program! The online sign up is a bit clunky but well worth it. All ages can participate (even you mom and dad!) and if you log your reading time, your kids can even win prizes!!! (My girls have won books and even tickets to the California Academy of Science!)

City Hikes

summer activities with kids
The 16th Avenue steps in San Francisco (Courtesy Anna Majkowska/Flickr)

We live in the hills and love to wander up and down the beautiful and mysterious stairways in our neighborhood. Check out this blog for five great stairway walks.

Related Reads: Hidden Gems of Northeastern SF

What are some of your favorite summer activities with kids? Please post your favorites below…

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