Those who have visited San Francisco will no doubt have visited the Fishermen’s Wharf at Pier 39, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street. Just like everyone else, we visited all the above places too. So when we were in the Bay Area this past Christmas vacation, we decided to explore some of the lesser-known tourist attractions around the Bay Area. These places are great to visit with kids.
1. Lands End Lookout
Located close to the Golden Gate Bridge, this park has lots of easy hiking trails, great ocean views and an awesome view of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also check out the ruins of the Sutra Bath. There is also a new Visitor Center/Gift Shop & bathroom at the beginning of the trails.
2. Moraga Steps
Located at the top of the Moraga Steps, you can check out 360 degree view of San Francisco. You can also get some major exercise! : P
I love the structure of the Palace of Fine Arts. It’s a great place to take wedding photos or just family photos. If you manage to get there to check out the sunset, it is a bonus view.
5. The Painted Ladies
I grew up watching Full House and I remember loving the houses that were shown in the background during the opening credits. Many years later, I found out that they were called the Painted Ladies which is actually a term used to describe Victorian houses painted in 3 or more colors that enhance their architectural details.
6. Twin Peaks Summit
Yes, it’s another hiking trail with a great view. The Twin Peaks are 2 small hills that are the 2nd highest point in the city after Mount Davidson. It is very windy up there. Parking can be issue there but most people are only there to check out the views and not hiking. So if you are patient and wait a little, you can usually get a parking spot.
7. Ferry Building
Located on the Embarcadero, Ferry Building Marketplace is my favorite place for eating! It has all sorts of artisan food shops ranging from cheeses to bakeries. There is a 245 foot clock tower on the building and if you need to catch the San Francisco Bay Area ferry, this is the place. It is also fairly near the Pier 39, so you can either walk or take the public transportation.
8. Mystery Spot
Located in Santa Cruz, this is a fun place to experience a little visual illusion. But be warned that if you get motion sickness, this is probably not the place for you. 😛 Otherwise it is a fun place especially for the kids.
Walking along the wharf, checking out sealions, eating fish and chips, checking out ice-cream and candy shops are some of the fun stuff that we do at the Santa Cruz Wharf.
Technically this is not in the Bay Area but it is only an hour north of San Francisco. It is definitely worth a day trip to check out this little paradise for the little kiddos.