Resource Center / Health and Lifestyle / 25 Fun Things to Do with the Grandkids in the Bay Area (in 2022)

25 Fun Things to Do with the Grandkids in the Bay Area (in 2022)

Explore 25 things you can do with your grandchildren in the Bay Area. Seniorly has put together a list of places to go and activities to do in the Bay Area.

By Lydia Bruno · Updated Apr 15, 2022
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If you're looking for some fun things to do with your grandchildren in the Bay Area, look no further! It is not always easy to find things that grandkids will enjoy, so we've put together a list of the best 25 activities that will keep everyone entertained. From exploring nature at Golden Gate Park to going on a shopping spree at Union Square, there's something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready for some unforgettable memories!

Golden Gate Bridge

Must See: The Iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a sight for any age. You can not visit San Francisco and not see this iconic landmark with your grandchildren.

Must Do: Whether you see it from afar or drive over it, the Golden Gate Bridge is a great place to visit. There is even an outdoor museum that explains how the suspension bridge actually works. At Fisherman’s Wharf, you can rent a bike and bike over the bridge or take the 1.7-mile walk over it. 

Recommended For: All ages

Fisherman’s Wharf

Must See: This historic district is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. From here, you can take a ferry to Alcatraz Island or go on a whale watching tour. There are also plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in Fisherman's Wharf. Your grandkids will have a blast with all the things there are to do. 

Must Do: You can hop on a cable car and see the sights of San Francisco or go to Pier 39 for more attractions like shopping, dining, and a 7D experience. There is also a Cartoon Art Museum, Hyde Street Pier, and the S.S. Jeremiah O’ Brian. 

Recommended For: All ages

Pier 39

Must See: Pier 39 is the ultimate family-friendly destination. It is also home to San Francisco’s famous sea lions located at the Aquarium of the Bay.  

Must Do:  After you have seen the sea lions there is so much more to do. Visit the San Francisco Carousel for a ride or the tot-friendly Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze. 

Recommended For: Kids of all ages

Union Square

Photo Credit: visitunionsquaresf.com

Must See: Are you looking for the best shopping in the Bay Area? Look no further than Union Square. From great stores to great food, Union Square has it all. This iconic San Francisco destination is a shopper's paradise. Whether you're looking for designer clothes or souvenirs, you'll find it all here. Union Square is also home to many restaurants and cafes, so you can rest your feet in between all the shopping with your kids.

Must Do: There is a wide variety of dining options in Union Square as well as shopping experiences. Shop at a gift shop, a local boutique, or an upscale flagship store to find the best in fashion, furniture, gadgets, and homeware all in one central location. 

Recommended For: All ages

San Francisco Zoo

Must See: The animals are what make the San Francisco Zoo the best zoo in the Bay Area. There is so much to see in the 100-acre wildlife conservation preserve with your grandchildren.

Must Do: Be prepared as there are so many animals to see and so many things to do. Make sure to map out your day so you can make the most of it. Since the zoo is close to the ocean it keeps the temperatures on the cooler side. Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and don’t forget the sunscreen. Bring your stroller or wagon for the kids, or rent one there. 

Recommended For: Kids of all ages
 

Ride a Cable Car in San Francisco

Must See: If you are looking for a fun way to get around San Francisco taking a cable car is the best way to go visit the city. 

Must Do: The cable cars run seven days a week. This public transportation is the most popular way to get around San Francisco for tourists as well as the locals. There is also a free cable car museum to learn more about the history of the cable cars. The Powell-Hyde line is one of two cable cars that run from Union Square to Pier 39 to Fisherman’s Wharf.This would be a great activity for grandchildren that are obsessed with trains. 

Recommended For: All ages

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo Credit: Viator

Must See: There are over 200 exhibits and 80,000 plants and animals that make up the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can see African penguins, jellies, sea otters, sharks, and various other animals from A to Z. There is something for everyone to see!

Must Do: This is the first museum to have a living kelp forest and the array of exhibits will amaze you and your children. From watching marine mammals swim about in enormous tanks that imitate their natural habitats or being fed by divers at sea-level windows with an underwater camera for perspective; this place has it all!

Recommended For: All ages

Japanese Tea Garden

Photo Credit: Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco

Must See: Experience the natural beauty, tranquility, and harmony of a Japanese-style garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park with an opportunity for visitors from around the world.

Must Do: The Japanese Tea Garden is a hidden gem in the heart of San Francisco. The garden features classic elements such as an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stone lanterns, zen gardens, and serene koi ponds to help you feel at peace in these gardens. 

Recommended For: All ages

California’s Great America in Santa Clara

Photo Credit: California’s Great America

Must See: Looking for amusement parks in the Bay Area? Come to one of the most fun places in all of southern California for a day with its amazing roller coasters, great shows, and delicious food. There's always something new at this 112-acre theme park, with its fun rides and shows. You'll find all of your favorite things here from great food options in the picnic area to exciting roller coasters that will leave you wanting more.

Must Do: The park not only has roller coasters, but it also hosts special events including musical performances and themed parties. If you're looking for something more intense then go take a water ride out in South Bay Shores Waterpark with your grandchildren. 

Recommended For: All ages

 California Academy of Sciences

Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Must See: This natural history museum is one of the largest in the world housing over 46 million specimens. It is a must visit for any child that is a science lover. It is located at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. 

Must Do: This amazing museum is the world’s only aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and living museum all under one roof. Whether you explore with penguins and parrots or watch sharks and stingrays underneath your feet, you are sure to find something of interest for toddlers, children, and adults alike. You can fly to Mars from a seat in the planetarium or take a virtual safari in African Hall. Whatever you decide to see, it's all inside the California Academy of Sciences. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop before you leave!

Recommended For: All ages
 

 Muir Woods National Monument

Photo Credit: AARP

Must See: One of the best Bay Area regional parks in the California area is Muir Woods. Federally protected as a national monument this park has been around since 1908. Known for its old redwood trees, this day trip is one to see with the kids.

Must Do: Take a walk under the towering old-growth redwood trees with family. Maybe stop and have a picnic and just enjoy the day together. 

Recommended For: All ages 

 San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Photo Credit: San Francisco Botanical Garden

 

Must See: Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, this botanical garden showcases 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. If your grandchildren are into nature this is the place to go.

Must Do: Join in a workshop, a meditation class, a flower drawing class, a painting class, yoga and so much more. While walking around the gardens you can see a different collection of flowers for each month you visit. Visitors to San Francisco's Botanical Garden are captivated by the extraordinary diversity of rare and unusual plants that can be grown in coastal California.

Recommended For: All ages

 Alcatraz Island

Photo Credit: Alcatraz Island Tickets

Must See: Alcatraz Island is a historically significant site that provides visitors an up-close and personal look into the lives of those who once called it home when it was a maximum-security federal prison. Visitors of all ages can explore gardens, views over the water, or take part in interactive activities like bird watching while enjoying their stay on this historic island.

Must Do: After taking a ferry you will arrive on the island. After your boat ride, you can then start your tour through the bird sanctuary and gardens of the island while bird watching. Then you can tour the 84-foot lighthouse, which was the first-ever west coast lighthouse. 

Recommended For: Older kids. Teens and up.

Walt Disney Family Museum

Photo Credit: San Francisco Travel

Must See: Located in historic Presidio, The Walt Disney Family Museum is a magical place for kids and adults alike. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of Walt Disney.  

Must Do: The museum features interactive galleries and state-of-the-art exhibits of early drawings, cartoons, movies, and a layout of Disneyland. While visiting you can enjoy daily screenings of Disney classics with your grandkids.

Recommended For: All ages

 Children’s Discovery Museum/Bay Area Discovery Museum

Photo Credit: SF Travel

Must See: The Bay Area Discovery Museum is an interactive children's museum that provides hands-on experiences for kids of all ages inside the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Located at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, this national park that includes 7.5 acres in Sausalito runs daily exhibits and programs for children. 

Must Do: The Bay Area Discovery Museum allows children’s imaginations to run wild. Children can navigate winding tunnels or explore their creativity when they feel the cold water tide pools. The museum helps children develop early learning experiences that help to build creative problem-solving skills and help them to inspire their imagination.

Recommended For: Ages 6 months to 10 years

Children’s Creativity Museum

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Must See:  The Children’s Creativity Museum is a great place to bring younger children for a hands-on experience. The museum aims to give kids an interactive experience and to actively encourage their own creative process.

Must Do: The Children's Creativity Museum is more than just an Animation Studio, it’s a whole museum with hands-on family activities for kids of all ages. There are also other departments like the Imagination Lab where children 3+ can play and create in one place. If you're musically inclined there'll be some instruments waiting to be played too.

Recommended For: Ages 2-12

 Local Sports Teams

Must See:  Kids of all ages can enjoy heading to a game in the Bay Area. The Bay Area is home to more than half-a-dozen professional teams including baseball, football, soccer, and hockey.

Must Do: You can catch a sporting event year-round in the Bay area. From the San Francisco Giants in the winter to the Golden State Warriors in the summer, there is always sports action to be found in the Bay area. 

Recommended For: All ages
 

 Kimball Natural History Museum

Photo Credit: Expedia

Must See:  The Kimball Natural History Museum is a place where you can learn about the fascinating role color plays in nature, compare fossils from our early human relatives while marveling at one of those specimens that have been preserved for 160 years. 

Must Do:  Step into a world where you can explore African landscapes and animals. Get up close with exhibits that examine the evolution or future of life on Earth. A perfect place to take your grandchildren to learn about fossils and evolution of man. 

Recommended For: All ages

 Steinhart Aquarium

Photo Credit: California Academy of Sciences

Must See: The Steinhart Aquarium is home to the world’s deepest living indoor coral reef, a colony of African penguins, and almost 40,000 live animals representing over 900 species. Your grandchildren will love exploring all there is to see. 

Must Do: You will find species that you can not find anywhere else in the world in the exhibits at the Steinhart Aquarium.  Steinhart Aquarium is a place of discovery, with species from all over the world and cutting-edge research in little-known ocean ecosystems.

Recommended For: All ages

Ghirardelli Square

Photo Credit: SFGATE

Must See: Ghirardelli Square, named after the Ghirardelli chocolate, is a 3-level landmark that used to be a chocolate factory near Fisherman’s Wharf. All three levels are filled with shops and restaurants.  This is a great place to visit for those with a sweet tooth!

Must Do: Ghirardelli Square is a premier destination in San Francisco. With its award-winning restaurants, amazing chocolates, and beautiful scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, you will want to spend the afternoon enjoying the landscape. 

Recommended For: All ages

 Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Photo Credit: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Must See: Located on the mile-long sandy stretch of Beach Street, Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a fun place for kids. There is plenty to do whether you're thrill-seeking or just want some time away from it all with your whole family in tow.

Must Do: The adrenaline-pumping Big Dipper is the park’s most popular ride. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has been recognized as one of the best seaside parks in the world with plenty of family-friendly activities. Whether you grab a corn dog or an ice cream, you will want to stop for a treat at one of the many local food stands.

Recommended For: All ages

 De Young Museum

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Must See:  The De Young Museum is a great place to see art from around the world with your whole family. 

Must Do: There are hands-on activities, discovery guides, and videos that make art-making fun for children. The activities support close looking, questioning, and reflective thinking. 

Recommended For: All ages

Exploratorium

Photo Credit: Secret San Francisco

Must See:  The Exploratorium is a museum of science, technology, and arts in San Francisco, California. This hands-on, educational museum is perfect for children of all ages. 

Must Do: Visit hundreds of hands-on exhibits and learn about things like how electricity works, what causes earthquakes, weather patterns around the world, and sound and color areas. 

Recommended For: All ages

 Mount Diablo State Park

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Must See:  Mt. Diablo State Park is a great place to explore with your grandchildren. With over 34,000 acres of land, the park offers plenty of hiking and biking trails. There are also picnic areas and a playground, so everyone can have fun.

Must Do: Be sure to check out the Visitor Center before you start your hike. It has maps and ranger-led programs that will help you make the most of your visit.

Recommended For: All ages
 

Randall Museum

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Must See: The Randall Museum is a great place for your grandchildren to learn about science and nature. The museum has exhibits on topics like animals, plants, and astronomy.

Must Do: There are also classes and workshops offered throughout the year, so your grandchildren can explore their interests. And if they get hungry, there's a cafe on-site that offers healthy snacks and drinks.

Recommended For: All ages

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written by:
Lydia Bruno
written by:

Lydia Bruno

Lydia Bruno is a Copywriter for Seniorly based out of Chicago, IL.
View other articles written by Lydia

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