Plan a family weekend trip to San Francisco and explore interactive science exhibits, make your own art or record a music album. Take the kids catamaran sailing to enjoy incredible views of the San Francisco skyline, visit an aquarium, stop at the zoo, and have the best ice cream in town. Our list of best things to do with kids in the Bay Area includes ideas for both younger and older children. Most offer indoor and outdoor areas where you can interact with animals, play hide-and-seek, crawl through tunnels, and admire scenic city views. There are many great things to do in San Francisco.
© Image by Amy Snyder, Exploratorium
The Exploratorium at Pier 15 is a 330,000-square-foot interactive science museum with 600 indoor and outdoor exhibits, a public plaza, bayside restaurant and amazing views of the San Francisco waterfront. You can spend your day learning about physics, human behavior, tides, marine animals, art, the environment and other topics. Children will be able to use their five senses to interact with engaging exhibits.
The South Gallery lets you “think with your hands” by constructing a Marble Machine from reusable materials, or turn knobs which animate characters on Tinkerer’s Clock. The West Gallery encourages children to experiment with feelings, social behavior and thoughts. The East Gallery is home to living systems where you can observe plankton, stem cells and fruit flies using research-grade microscopes.
Pier 15, San Francisco, California 94111, Phone: 415-528-4444
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2. Oakland Zoo
Managed by the Conservation Society of California, the Oakland Zoo is the ideal place to spend some time with the children. In addition to seeing a very wide variety of animals from all corners of the globe, your children can enjoy getting up-close to farmyard animals at the Children’s Zoo and have the time of their lives on various amusement-park rides and the zoo train. The zoo is home to more than 850 animals including African elephants and lions, Australian wallabies, brown bears, monkeys and a host of other fascinating wild animals. In addition, there are many reptiles, amphibians, birds and even insects to admire.
Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605, 510 632 9525
3. Children’s Creativity Museum
© Children’s Creativity Museum
Children’s Creativity Museum is a multimedia arts and technology museum where children learn in an interactive environment. The Animation Studio lets kids create their own characters from clay and animate them on screen, guided by professional educators. Design Studio teaches how to use Adobe Photoshop to create a poster, album cover or an advertisement.
The Mystery Box Challenge in the Innovation Lab invites children to invent something using just the materials provided in the box. The Music Studio lets visitors play dress-up, perform in front of a green screen and record the performance on DVD. If you want to paint, draw and create unique art with a diverse selection of materials, head to the Spiral Gallery.
221 Fourth St., San Francisco, California 94103, Phone: 415-820-3320
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4. The Bay Area Discovery Museum
© The Bay Area Discovery Museum
Set on 7.5 scenic acres with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area Discovery Museum offers hands-on activities designed to awaken creative thinking in children. Imagination Playground, designed by architect David Rockwell, lets kids engage in unstructured free play using giant foam blocks, slides and fabric.
Art Studios 5 and 10 encourage visitors to express themselves through art while learning about collaboration. Bay Hall simulates the busy Ports of San Francisco and Oakland. There is an underwater tunnel, a lift to lower containers, and a vintage train set. The 2.5-acre outdoor space features an authentic fishing boat, a scenic trail, the Sea Cave and many other exciting activities.
557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, California 94965, Phone: 415-339-3900, (website link)
Overnight trips with kids: Best Family Vacations in California.
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5. Things to Do with Kids: The Ice Cream Bar
© The Ice Cream Bar
For lunch, head to the Ice Cream Bar and eat delicious sandwiches, organic greens, soup and ice cream. Everything at the Ice Cream Bar is made in house using locally sourced organic ingredients. Kids will love the waffle cones, cookies, brioche, breads and handmade ice cream.
815 Cole St, San Francisco, California 94117, Phone: 415-742-4932
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6. Del Popolo
© Del Popolo
If you fell in love with Del Popolo’s delicious wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas when they were selling them from their glass-faced truck, you will love them even more now that you can sit and enjoy them in their cozy, modern pizzeria on Nob Hill. You can choose to sit at one of the large communal tables, at the small bistro tables with banquettes along the wall, or, if you are lucky, at the counter overlooking the giant fire-burning oven that is baking your pizza to perfection. Since they could not improve on perfection, they still do the pizza as they did in the truck, but added small antipasti as appetizers and a respectable list of wines and craft beers. The place is always packed, but the wait is worth it.
855 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108, Phone: 415-589-7940
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7. Children’s Fairyland
© Children’s Fairyland
Children’s Fairyland in Oakland is the place where your child’s favorite fairy tales come alive. Step into the Crooked House, play on the Jack and Jill Hill, see the live Olde English Baby Doll Sheep, visit the Alice in Wonderland Tunnel, climb on Willie the Whale, and ride the Jolly Trolly which dates back to 1954.
Play in the beautifully landscaped gardens growing Mary’s silver bells and cockleshells as well as organic vegetables used to feed the animals. In addition to the sheep, there is a pony, alpaca, two goats, donkeys, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. Things to Do in Oakland
699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, California 94610, Phone: 510-452-2259
8. Devil's Teeth Baking Company
© Devil's Teeth Baking Company
Devil's Teeth Baking Company is a small neighborhood breakfast place and bakery, located in the Outer Sunset area of San Francisco, that the locals would have liked to keep to themselves. The word is out that they make the best breakfast sandwiches in the world and their Beignets, which they bake only on Sundays, are a good reason to abandon the idea of a lazy Sunday morning at home and head for your share of sweet, powdery deliciousness.
The sandwiches are not complicated, just eggs and cheese in a biscuit - but what a biscuit! Freshly made every morning, flakey and soft, and big enough to keep the whole mess together. Their Beignets are so popular that they published the recipe online and people still keep coming in for their share. Don't look for a dining space, there is none, just a small cute park with a few benches in front of the store, or visitors can walk with their loot to Ocean Beach, which is only a few blocks away.
3876 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122, Phone: 415-683-5533
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9. Things to Do with Kids: Dynamo Donut and Coffee
© Dynamo Donut and Coffee
Dynamo Donut + Coffee is a delightfully creative craft doughnut chain in San Francisco, originally opened in its first location in 2008 within the city's historic mission building. Today, the chain offers two full-service locations throughout the city, along with service at a wide range of pop-up locations, kiosks, and partner businesses. All doughnuts are prepared in house six days a week with the freshest seasonal, organic, and local ingredients, available for takeout or dine-in on the restaurant's quaint back patio space. Specialty flavors include delicacies such as passion fruit milk chocolate, chocolate star anise, and caramel de sel, with gluten-free flavors such as carrot cream cheese and lemon raspberry also available daily. Adventurous seasonal flavors available throughout the year include zucchini oat, hazelnut lavender, jalapeño lime, and hibiscus beet.
2760 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, Phone: 415-920-1978
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10. Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
© rent Hofacker/stock.adobe.com
For more than 60 years the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has been hand-making delicious fortune cookies. The factory produces up to 10,000 cookies a day in a variety of flavors that you will not find anywhere else. Children will love visiting the factory – they can even write their own fortune to be included in a special cookie to take home to a friend or parent. You will also get to sample some of the delicious varieties which include chocolate, strawberry and green tea cookies. These make a perfect gift to take home for friends and they will remain fresh and tasty for up to 3 months.
Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA 94113, 415 781 3956
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11. Batter Bakery
© Batter Bakery
Batter Bakery is one of San Francisco's most delicious boutique bakeries, originally founded in 2008 by Jen Musty. The small-batch bakery utilizes premium ingredients and seasonal flavors in all its high-quality American-style treats, crafted with a personal touch for all customers. Baked goods are crafted with organic whole-grain flours, premium chocolates, local dairy and egg products, and sustainably-sourced spices, utilizing only flavors that are in season throughout the year. Savory and sweet scones, cream biscuits, and hearty quickbreads are served up throughout the morning hours, along with scrumptious breakfast options such as granola, quiche, and breakfast sandwiches served alongside cafe beverages from Equator Coffees and Yerba Buena Tea Company. Sweet treats range from gourmet cookies, brownies, and bars to frosted cakes and cupcakes in a variety of decadent flavors.
1517 Pine Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, Phone: 415-674- 1069
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12. Things to Do with Kids: Flax Art and Design
© Flax Art and Design
For artists, having a well-stocked store with all the supplies they need is a key to being able to create. Flax has been at the heart of the Bay Area arts community since 1938. A family business, it is now operated by the 3rd generation of the Flax family. Flax offers an incredible range of art supplies to encourage and inspire anyone’s creativity. There are two locations - one in Oakland and one in San Francisco. The stores are known for their experienced staff who are always ready to offer expert advice and help customers find everything they need, from paint supplies and high quality art paper to all kinds of drawing supplies and art studio tools. Flax also offers framing options, art and craft supplies for kids, and interesting gifts for artistically inclined friends.
1501 Martin Luther King Jr Way (at 15th St.), Oakland CA, 94612, Phone: 510-867-2324
Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, Bldg D, San Francisco, CA 94123, Phone: 415-530-3510
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13. California Academy of Sciences
© California Academy of Sciences
One of the best California weekend getaways, the California Academy of Sciences is an incredible museum with exhibits for children of all ages. Early Explorers Cove, designed for kids ages 0-5 features a miniature garden, toys, live animals and dress-up costumes. Discovery Tidepool lets children touch sea animals. Earthquake Shake House is meant for children 3 and up while Planetarium shows are suitable for children ages 7 and up.
55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, California 94118, Phone: 415-379-8000, (website link)
14. Bi-Rite Market
© Bi-Rite Market
Bi-Rite Market has been an institution in San Francisco's Mission District for nearly a century, originally opened in 1940 by brothers Bill and Joe Cordano as the 18th Street Market. Though the market was reimagined in 1998 as a farm-direct grocery store and cafe, it retains its historic Art Deco-style facade and decor today, still known as the city's best spot for locally-sourced grocery and pantry items. The market strives to create community through food, selling a variety of unique and environmentally-friendly products stocked by area farmers, ranchers, producers, cheesemongers, and chefs. A delicious market cafe at the city's Civic Center Plaza serves up excellent breakfast and lunch deli sandwiches, health-conscious salads and bowls, and soft-serve ice cream delights.
3639 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, Phone: 415- 241-9760
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15. Bob's Donuts
© Bob's Donuts
Bob's Donuts is a breakfast institution in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood, originally opened in 1960 as a family-owned scratch-made doughnut shop. Today, the shop is one of the final remaining independent doughnut shops in the Bay Area, open to the public 24 hours a day throughout the week and serving up housemade doughnuts and pastries crafted via Old World baking techniques. Delectable doughnut varieties range from traditional glazed, sprinkled, and jelly-filled variants to European-style delicacies such as apple pandowdys, almond ring danishes, and sticky buns. The restaurant is also known for its famed Big Donut challenge, which challenges diners to eat a giant doughnut in three minutes for a full refund, a free beverage, a t-shirt, and a listing on the restaurant's Hall of Fame.
1621 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109, Phone: 415-776-3141
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What started as a taco stand in San Francisco’s farmers market quickly grew into five locations all over the area where long-term fans go for their dose of delicious tacos, and even with five locations, you will still have to wait in line. Their charming Mission District location is colorful and has enough space to allow you to slowly enjoy your tacos, filled with home-made chorizos or braised chicken. You can sit at the large bar or one of the tall tables or on the nice patio, everyone’s favorite place. All tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and sopas are made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients. They are inventive and mouth-watering and you will not have enough of them. Wash it all down with a cool beer or one of 100 specialty tequilas.
741 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, Phone: 415-649-6077
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17. Pier 39 & Adventure Cat Sailing Charters
© Adventure Cat Sailing Charters
Pier 39 is one of the most popular tourist stops in San Francisco, home to amazing attractions such as Aquarium of the Bay, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, San Francisco Carousel, Sea Lion Center, street performers, restaurants and cafes. Adventure Cat Sailing Charters operates two family-friendly catamarans which take you on an exciting adventure with views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, California 94133, Phone: 415-777-1630, (website link)
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18. San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
© San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
Take your children to the San Francisco Zoo where they can see unique animals, ride a miniature steam train, play on the playground, and explore beautiful year-round gardens. There are many exciting exhibits that let kids learn about animals and ecosystems from around the world, such as Australian kangaroos, bears and monkeys. The zoo is home to the largest outdoor lemur habitat in the country, Penguin Island, Lion House, Eagle Island, Insect Zoo, Gorilla Preserve and the Sea Lion Pool. Head to Greenie’s Conservation Corner where children can learn about energy conservation, and other sustainable practices.
Sloat Blvd., San Francisco, California 94132, Phone: 415-753-7080
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19. Aquarium of the Bay
© Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay is home to beautiful exhibits featuring thousands of aquatic animals, including Moray Eels, anchovies and newborn Skates. Under the Bay exhibit was designed to give you a scuba diver’s perspective of the San Francisco Bay, complete with Moon Jellies and Sea Stars. You can watch sharks and rays swim in the crystal clear tunnel exhibit above your head.
Kids love Touch the Bay, an interactive area which houses Leopard Sharks, Big Skates and Juvenile Bat Rays.
Embarcadero & Beach St., San Francisco, California 94133, Phone: 415-623-5300
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20. Musee Mecanique
© Musee Mecanique
The Musee Mecanique is home to the private collection of the late Edwards Zelinsky, who had a fascination for collecting all manner of mechanical items. The collection was started back in 1931 and contains almost 300 items which are sure to fascinate your children. The quirky collection includes many coin-operated musical instruments, antique arcade games and much more. The museum is open daily and is free to visit. Best of all, all the machines are in perfect working order and are free to play. For adults, a visit will be a nostalgic trip down memory lane, while children will be intrigued by these early machines which were the precursors to today’s electronic games.
Musee Mecanique, Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133,
415 346 2000
21. San Francisco Botanical Garden
© Sundry Photography./stock.adobe.com
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is located in the Golden Gate Park where it covers 55 acres of manicured gardens and open spaces. Here visitors can admire an impressive collection of plants from all over the world. The garden is free to visit for all residents of San Francisco, while visitors do have to pay a reasonable entrance fee. The enormous garden is divided into several themed areas, one of which is the Children’s Garden, where your children can enjoy getting back to nature and learning about plants and insects in a fun, interactive way. Activities include story time, crafting, bug hunts and much more. You can find details on the website.
San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, 415 661 1316
22. Cable Car Museum
© Klaus Nowottnick/stock.adobe.com
A visit to the Cable Car Museum is a great way to learn all about San Francisco’s iconic cable cars. Located on Nob Hill, in the historic Washington/Mason cable car barn, the museum is home to a collection of antique cable cars, photos and mechanical displays which tell the story of how the first cable cars appeared on the streets of San Francisco back in 1873. Visitors can learn about how the original cars were built, who invented the ingenious mode of transport and what it takes to keep them moving. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free.
Cable Car Museum, 1201 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108, 415 474 1887
23. Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is a must-visit San Francisco attraction for all families, and an unbeatable venue for your child’s next birthday party. The museum is located in the Presidio, in what was once a barracks for soldiers. Here it offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the life of the man who established the Disney Brand which has brought joy and wonder to generations of children. There are 10 galleries filled with interactive exhibits which trace the rise of the Disney brand; learn about animation, illustration and how a mouse called Mickey changed the face of entertainment for ever.
Walt Disney Family Museum, 104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94129, 415 345 6800
24. Golden Gate Park
© Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
San Francisco’s wonderful Golden Gate Park covers a massive 1017 acres, where it is home to some of the city’s most popular landmarks including the Conservatory of Flowers, the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden. In the southeastern corner of the park you will find the Koret Children’s Corner, a children’s playground believed to be the oldest of its kind in the US. The playground is home to a beautiful antique carousel, a historic concrete slide, a rope-climbing structure and a climbing wall. The playground and adjoining picnic area is fully accessible for all children. The Panhandle area of the park also has a playground and large grassy areas for ball games and kite flying.
Golden Gate Park, 501 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA
The top attractions to visit in San Francisco and Oakland with Kids near me today according to local experts:
Hotel Spotlight: The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco is located in downtown San Francisco, in the middle of the excitement and hustle and bustle of the city. Originally built in the early 1900's, this building was transformed into a modern yet classic hotel that sleeps thousands of visitors every year. The hotel has received many awards and was recently rated in U.S. News and World Report's Best Hotels Rankings, receiving a gold badge award, and Zagat ranked the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco as the best hotel in the city of San Francisco. Well-known and highly recommended, this hotel has it all.
All of the rooms at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco are luxurious. Guests can choose to stay in a suite or guest room while staying at the hotel. The one bedroom, club one bedroom, and San Francisco suites all offer around 800 square feet of living space. The one-bedroom suite includes a king sized bed in a beautifully decorated master bedroom and a crib and rollaway bed upon request. This suite sleeps up to three people. It has a spacious bathroom, with dual sinks, and large tub for a nice bubble bath or shower with a rainforest shower head. This suite also has a separate living room to relax in after a long day of exploring. The suite also includes a powder room with a make-up mirror.
Other amenities include amazing views of both the city and courtyard, a Nespresso gourmet coffee and tea machine for one's caffeine fix, and two high-definition LCD flat-panel TVs with dual speakers. All guests of this suite and all rooms at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco have 24-hour wireless internet access as well. The Junior Suite has the same layout as the one-bedroom suite but is a little smaller at 600 square feet. Another option is the club one-bedroom suite. It has a similar set-up and offers similar amenities to those of the other suites, but also includes exclusive club lounge access. This means guests have access to the club lounge and can nibble on complimentary food and beverage displays throughout the day. Guests of this suite can also sip on unique wine and taste delicious caviar during the themed weekend food and beverage series. Also available to guests who stay in the club suite is a full-service club concierge, just waiting to take care of all guest requests.
The San Francisco Suite is another suite guests can reserve at the Ritz- Carlton, San Francisco. On top of the master bedroom, posh bathroom, living room and amenities, this suite offers an optional connecting King room to become a two-bedroom suite and showcases magnificent views of the city. From this suite, guests can see famous attractions like the Coit Tower, Alcatraz Island, and the Transamerica pyramid. Those guests staying in the San Francisco Suite are also granted exclusive access to the club lounge to enjoy complimentary food and beverage as well as concierge service all day long.
The most extravagant suites include the Ritz-Carlton Suites and the Presidential Suite. Both suites are over 1900 square feet and feature a fully stocked food pantry with large refrigerator and wet bar as well as one and a half marble baths. They also include a foyer with an additional guest bathroom. These suites have a spacious living room and a dining room with a table that seats up to 6 people which are perfect if guests plan on hosting a fun night in with family and friends. Both suites offer an optional adjoining suite as well for additional sleeping space. For guests seeking a balcony, the Presidential Suite should be a top pick. This lavish suite has a 1,200-foot balcony that guests can hang out and sip cocktails on and offers breathtaking city and courtyard views.
For guests on a business trip or guests just looking for a smaller accommodation, the deluxe guest room, superior guest room, and club level guest rooms are great choices. These three are roughly 400 square feet and include a king or two queen sized beds, oversized executive work desks, a lounging area with an oversized armchair, and a spacious bathroom. The club level guest room is the only one that comes with exclusive club lounge access. Other amenities available to guests of the hotel's guest rooms include cozy terry cloth bathrobes and slippers, a coffee and tea machine, high-definition digital television, and twice-daily housekeeping services.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco offers great food and drink options for its guests onsite. The Parallel 37, has a globally inspired menu and classy vibe that visitors love. Chef Michael Rotondo, a reputable chef in the restaurant industry, created a menu full of fresh and unique dishes that are filled with ingredients from local farmer's markets and small businesses that produce the highest quality in-season ingredients in the area. Open for breakfast and dinner, Parallel 37 offers meal choices like the egg white frittata, filled with asparagus, wild mushrooms, and goat cheese, and French toast topped with local strawberries and honey for breakfast. For dinner, guests can indulge and enjoy items like a roasted beet salad and short-rib and crispy potato pancakes for an appetizer, and dishes like the organic roasted chicken or duck confit served with blackberry and sourdough bread for dinner.
The restaurant offers plenty of meat and vegetarian dishes to satisfy every kind of palate. Chef Michael Rotondo also offers five course menu options and wine pairings as well. Also at the Parallel 37, is a beautifully bar that offers an impressive beverage program. Those guests looking to enjoy some tasty and unforgettable cocktails should look no further than the bar and lounge at Parallel 37. With cocktails like the Holy Trinity, made with lime vodka, celery, lemon verbena, and soda, and the Honey Scrub cocktail, made with bar hill gin, grilled lemon, and sage, guests can sit back, watch mixologists at work, and enjoy delicious cocktails. The bar and lounge also offers local beer on tap and canned as well as an extensive wine list. For guests with the munchies, the bar and lounge serves up bar snacks like tuna poke and Bangkok style chicken wings served with picked vegetables. For those looking for some musical entertainment, the lounge features live music Tuesday through Saturday from six to nine at night.
Since the hotel is in the middle of the city, there are hundreds of restaurant options within walking distance. A few worth mentioning include Roxanne Café for a traditional, hearty American breakfast and Burrit Room and Akikos Restaurant and Sushi Bar for yummy rolls like the rainbow and avocado rolls and exotic fish dishes. Guests can find every kind of cuisine imaginable within walking distance of the hotel.
The Ritz- Carlton, San Francisco offers one of the most elegant wedding venues in the city. Guests can choose the terrace courtyard venue which is situated underneath a great white tent in the beautifully landscaped courtyard that overlooks the city skyline, or the grand ballroom that's filled with dazzling chandeliers, fancy carpeting and mirrored walls. The Terrace Courtyard venue accommodates up to 200 guests and features herb and flower gardens, as well as a variety of other plants and an elaborate water fountain. The Ballroom venue is over 9,000 square feet in size and can accommodate up to 500 guests for a wedding ceremony. The wedding reception can also be held in the ballroom or in the terrace room for those who decide to have the ceremony in the terrace courtyard. The terrace room can hold up to 110 guests and includes a dance floor.
When it comes to business meetings, the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco also has its guests covered. It has exclusive conference rooms and board rooms on site and over 24,000 square feet of meeting space for every sized company or group. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco also has complimentary 24-hour computer kiosks on-site for all visitors to use whenever they need too, and projection, sound and lighting services, as well as audio visual services.
The hotel has it all to make any type of meeting or event go off without a hitch. Companies or groups can also choose to put on themed events to make their meeting as memorable as possible. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco offers an Italian Garden Theme and an Awards Night theme, that showcases a red carpet, Hollywood sign, and gold star decorated ballroom. It is also happy to throw an Alcatraz themed event, where a chain link fence is placed at the entrance of the ballroom and an electric chair surrounded by cell bars sits in the middle of the room to present a jail like scene. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco enjoys spicing up a traditional business meeting and event.
For guests looking for a nice massage or facial, the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco offers spa services on -site. The spa is open daily and recommends that guests make reservations. Outside of the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco there are so many activities, sites, and places to see in San Francisco. Within minutes, guests can get to Nob Hill where all of the cable car lines start and stop, and take the cable car to all of the different neighborhoods and districts of the city. Guests will be pleased with their stay at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.
600 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108, Phone: 415-296-7465
Attraction Spotlight: San Francisco Zoo
Situated along the Great Highway between Lake Merced and the Pacific Ocean, the San Francisco Zoo is set on 100 acres of land and is home to more than 2,000 endangered, exotic, and rescued animals representing over 250 species. Famous for being the birthplace of Koko the Gorilla and home to Elly, the oldest black rhinoceros in North America for the past 43 years, the zoo features a variety of animal enclosures and exhibits, beautifully maintained gardens, a sculpture learning plaza, and many conservation and wellness programs.
Founded in 1929 as the Fleishhacker Zoo, after banker Herbert Fleishhacker, the zoo featured several exhibits with animals such as zebras, buffalo, rhesus monkeys, spider monkeys and elephants, a children’s playground, and an original carousel. Over the few decades, the Zoological Society aided the zoo with fundraising and the acquisition of rare animals and was renamed the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. Today, the Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals from over 250 species housed in several different regions.
The San Francisco Zoo features a range of outstanding exhibitions, including the South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary with a realistic rainforest ecosystem teeming with exotic plants and colorful birds, a 15-foot-long green anaconda, a charming two-toed sloth and a significant herpetological collection.
The Gorilla Preserve is home to four females, a silverback male, and Hasani and features a wall of viewing windows that allow visitors to feel as if they are in the wild with the gorillas. The Grizzly Gulch features a 20,000-gallon pool with a waterfall and a sunny meadow which several grizzly bears call home, and the Lemur Forest is a forested enclosure for a variety of species of these active and engaging primates.
The Fisher Family Children's Zoo is a six-acre park-within-a-park that offers an educational experience for children to enjoy with farm animals, an insect zoo, a meerkat and a prairie dog exhibit, nature trails and a Red Panda.
Things to do at the Zoo
Interesting and exciting activities at the zoo include watching the grizzly bears being fed, taking a ride on the Little Puffer train and the Dentzel carousel, interacting with animals along the nature trail, petting goats, sheep, and pigs at the Family Farm, and going behind the scenes on a Wild Walk. Visitors can watch Magellanic penguins being hand fed by animal keepers, and get up close to a giraffe during the Keeper Talks. Children of all ages can burn energy at the Elinor Friend Playground and look for free-flying birds inside the South American Tropical Rainforest & Aviary.
The San Francisco Zoo offers a variety of educational and community outreach programsfor visitors of all ages, including children’s programs for all ages, family and adult programs, zoo camp and volunteer programs. Children’s Programs include Little Learners, Animal Adventures, Young Zoologists, Conservation Club, Scout Groups, and Teens. Adult and family programs include Wild Walks, Scavenger Hunts, Bike About, Overnights at the Zoo, Twilight Tours, Conservation Speaker Series, and Senior Strolls.
Keeper Talks and feedings include Grizzly Bear Feeding, Hatchery Tours, Barnyard Stampedes, sea lion feeding at the Fred Carroll Family Sea Lion Pool, Chimpanzee Talk, and Penguin Feeding at Penguin Island. Other encounters and attractions range from Red Ivory at the Primate Discovery Center, Storytime Station, Animal Encounters at the Animal Resource Center, and Wild Walks departing from the Entry Village every two hours.
The San Francisco Zoo takes part in several conservation and animal protection programs, including Animal Wellness, Leading Local Conservation Efforts, Restoring Native Habitat, Working Green, Conservation Community, and the Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act.
Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132, Phone: 415-753-7080