San Francisco is rightfully regarded as one of America’s if not the world’s most exciting cities. It’s a compact city that boasts a wealth of sightseeing and activities making it the ideal choice for family vacations.
The City by the Bay attracts nearly 17 million visitors per year and here are a few of the best attractions that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
An amazing day out
The San Francisco Aquarium of the Bay is one of the city’s most popular attractions and is located within the vibrant Pier 39 area. Children will love exploring 300 feet of tunnels as well as the huge satellite tanks that contain sharks, bat rays and pricklebacks; the aquarium actually holds over 1000 aquatic animals within eight exhibits. Films are also shown in the 3D theatre and you can take a behind the scenes tour to see how the animals are cared for. Book online for special discounts or look out for promotional codes for additional savings.
Golden Gate Park
Head east from the aquarium and you’ll come to the 1,017 acre Golden Gate Park, home to numerous attractions including the botanical gardens and the stunning de Young Museum. The state of the art California Academy of Sciences is well worth a visit for the immense indoor rainforest and planetarium as well as the aquarium and earthquake exhibit. The park is also home to the famous Japanese Tea Gardens and Stowe Lake where you can hire paddle boats to visit the man-made island with its own waterfalls. Don’t forget the Koret Children’s Quarter, which features a restored carousel, tree houses, a tide pool and a canal.
Out into the bay
Whale watching in Monterey is an unforgettable excursion and boat trips from the Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center will allow you to get up close to these magnificent animals. You can also spot dolphins and sea lions on these marine biologist guided tours. Eight hour day trips are available as well as shorter excursions throughout the day.
Families can save money on attractions by purchasing a San Francisco Explorer Pass that provides discounts on four city attractions including whale watching trips. This pass lasts for 30 days and allows you to explore the city and see the sights at your own pace.