Travel with a toddler isn’t easy. They may have bursts of energy at one time, but then demand to be carried unable to walk a single step another time. I’ve traveled with the little not to San Francisco 3 or 4 times now (wow, seriously!) We usually spend about a week there and stay around Union Square/FiDi. It’s way too difficult to drag a stroller on non-BART public transport. So I’ve walked a lot around Central San Francisco pushing our stroller along the hilly streets. I already listed 3 places to visit in San Francisco. Those are still great places to take your family as well. But I wanted to add a few more places that are easier for little ones. These activities are both kid and adult friendly and free.
Best Free Places in San Francisco with a toddler
1. Cable car museum
Cable cars are an iconic part of San Francisco’s essence. The little one already knows them well and loves the sound of the bell as we walk around town. I went to the Cable car museum for the first time our last visit. I enjoyed walking through Chinatown to Nob Hill (watch the hilly streets on California and Sacramento though!) The museum itself is small with everything displayed on the upper level. But it has great memorabilia and showed the inner workings of cable cars as well.
1201 Mason Street (Washington Mason Powerhouse)
2. Yerba Buena playground
We always make it out to Yerba Buena because I always go to the Metreon (aka Target!) when I’m in San Francisco. I also try to take her to the Yerba Buena playground which is behind the Metron on Fourth Avenue. Some of these slides are very steep and I don’t let the little one go on them. But, she still like climbing up and down the smaller slide and hills.
3. Ferry Building and Farmer’s Market
I’ve already spoken about my love for the San Francisco Ferry Building here. I come back time and time again for the beautiful bay views and the food. We will usually go on a Tuesday to check out the Farmer’s Market and return again on Saturday when there are more prepared food vendors. I purposely waited until about 10 am but would go even earlier next time. The Saturday crowds are no joke!
4. Union Square
Union Square is always a beautiful place to stop and rest. It is centrally located among some great shops (everything from Neiman Marcus to Chanel is nearby). The little one loves the hearts around Union Square and climbing up and down the steps. We usually stop by the basement food court at Macy’s at least once as well.
5. See the cable car turn at Powell Street
Cable cars criss cross central San Francisco. So you won’t miss if if you’re walking around California or Powell Street. But it is great to ride it at least one (it is $7 cash only) or at least see the cable cars in action. The Powell Street turn is a famous one. It is the first stop on the cable car and the operators have to manually turn it around on the rotating track to go in the opposite direction. The little one marveled at the operators in action. It gets crowded so if you want to ride the cable car, I would suggest hopping in a little further down.