- Download our Moving to San Francisco Guide (PDF)
Expats moving to San Francisco can look forward to plenty of activities to partake in and sights to see with children, with many museums and parks designed specifically with kids in mind.
When it comes to getting around as a family, public transport within the city centre is adequate, but having a car will certainly make life easier for expats planning on venturing out into the Bay Area.
Entertainment for kids in San Francisco
There's plenty to see and do with children in the Golden City. For a start, hours of fun can be had at one of the many theme parks surrounding San Francisco such as California’s Great America, Six Flags and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Playgrounds are rarer, but the Yerba Buena Gardens is a great place to visit and has the Children’s Creativity Museum right next door.
Most kids love the boat trip to visit Alcatraz, and the self-guided audio tours are very interesting for older kids as they describe jail life, including stories from real inmates. Visiting the sea lions at Pier 39 is also a lot of fun.
Cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge is a popular activity, and a visit to the Exploratorium is a must for those who like hands-on science activities. The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is home to playgrounds and open spaces as well as exciting attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences.
It only takes a short drive to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to go hiking in the redwood forests at Muir Woods, visit strawberry farms near Half Moon Bay, or explore the tidal pools at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.
Challenges for parents and kids in San Francisco
San Francisco is a very busy city so walking the streets can be tricky with a stroller or young child. There are lots of hills and children can tire easily. Public transport is satisfactory and is being improved, but it can be difficult wrangling kids and strollers onto trams and buses. Cars are the best way to get around.
Due to the popularity of living in San Francisco and the Bay Area, housing is extremely expensive and rental prices are high. Many families need to live an hour away from the city to afford a home, and commuting to work is common.
►For more about schooling in the city, see Education and Schools in San Francisco
Are you an expat living in San Francisco?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to San Francisco. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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