Toddler-friendly places to eat and explore in SF?
my husband is going on a business trip from the 25th to the 29th, and we are tagging along, so i am on my own for most of the day (9-5 or 10-5 or whatever), with a highly rambunctious toddler.
i personally have not been to SF since i was 10, so i am not much help.
special interest in
(1) good (doesn't have to be spectacular, i am not driving out of the city) dim sum without long waits available after 5pm.
(2) good seafood and sourdough
no need for mexican, we are in san diego.
also, any things apart from food that are fun to do (keep in mind the rabid 18-month-old)?
The discovery museum in Fort Baker just on the Marin side of the golden gate is better for an 18 month old than the exploratorium. There is a casual kid friendly bar in the neighboring yacht club, only open on the weekends, which has a great view and is welcomed after 4 + hours at the aforementioned museum. If you are ambitious and or a cyclist, you can rent a bike and ride there over the golden gate, that usually keeps my little one happy.
Most places are pretty cool with the young spastic types outside the super hip or financial district restaurants just go early and tip big. A car can be more trouble than it is worth, kids love the street cars even the muni bus can be an adventure I would just avoid commute times.
you guys have been super helpful - i can build some sort of plan for the week and figure out how to get around (will have a car, but i have a feeling parking is a bit of a pain).
also, we might get a babysitter for a night - any recs for good, adult places to go (i.e. no crayons or paper placemats)
will post plans later and see what you guys think!
I love going into SF (I live in the east bay) with my 2 kids, now 3 & 6. I second the Ferry Plaza building - great snacks, ice cream, a book store and ferry boats to watch. Yerba Buena garden is also great. Look on the web -- some Thursdays & Fridays at 11 and 12 they have free kid performances (clowns, etc) and the carousel runs starting at 11. The rest of the playground is mostly for older kids, although it is good running around space. The SF MOMA cafe is kid-friendly (not open Wed); the Metreon (near Yerba Buena) is pretty dead these days -- Firewood Cafe (not sure if it is still there) was always the best option food-wise for us. FYI: I have taken BART to Fairyland -- Fairyland itself is fun, but it's quite a bit of a walk from the BART station, although you do go by Lake Merritt which has geese (and lots of goose poop). Instead, you can take BART to 12th Street in Oakland (or the Ferry to Jack London Square and then the free shuttle) and go to MoCHA -- an art studio for kids with painting and various craft projects. There are some nice cafes nearby (Cafe 817), a nice pub (Pacific Coast Brewery) and maybe someone on CH can tell you if any of the Chinese restaurants down that way serve dim sum late. Have fun!
Jack London Square
70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA
Boudin Bakery at Pier 39 for sourdough, Museum Mechanique penny arcade, and shops.
Humphrey Slocombe, or Mr. & Mrs. Misc. for ice cream.
Little Skillet take out window for Southern, and chicken and waffles.
Gialina for pizza (not open for lunch)
Brenda's Cajun before 3pm (not the greatest neighborhood, so if there's no nearby parking, skip it)
Mission Pies (also has savory pies, and a play area for kids)
Tartine Bakery (beloved for good reason. the croque monsiour is really just an open face on great bread, the bread pudding with fresh fruit, the gougeres, the quiche, and the croissants are all very, very memorable. usually calm in the day, but it can feel stuffy/uptight in there. not that i'm condoning your child having a tantrum in there but.... )
Bi Rite Ice cream is up the block from Tartine.
Outlander (near Ocean Beach, and not far from Golden Gate Park, they also have excellent bread, though it's not sourdough, and the place is very kid friendly. you can also stop at Trouble Coffee for cinnamon toast and juice from a fresh cut coconut)
Molinari Deli in North Beach (get a sandwich and walk to the Washington Square Park. Better yet, if you're there early enough Liquiria Bakery has the best focaccia in the city, and it's frozen in time. Try the raisin, and have them slice it. If there's no line at Mama's across the street, split a Monte Christo sandwich with house made jam)
Ferry Building Thursday (food booths and farmers market outside, more food concessions, shops inside, and you're along the water with boats. Alternative, Saturday at Alemany market, is a lot funkier, with live chickens pumping out eggs, but still snacking options)
Yank Sing for dim sum (there's a take out shop during the day which is fine)
The Exploratorium is a must and you should look into the Maritime Museum and of course the Academy of Science.
2842 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
2901 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105
, San Francisco, CA 94102
The California Academy of Sciences is amazing, and has great food for a museum, very creative.
Toddlers love BART. It'd be really fun to BART to downtown Berkeley and head to the Gourmet Ghetto for the Cheeseboard, Masse's Pastries (lego bin!), and Lush Gelato, or to Fruitvale to try some taco trucks (different feel than San Diego Mexican to me).
The Ferry Building is pretty kid friendly.
1469 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709
Rabid 18-month-old? I wouldn't go there for the food, but the SF Zoo, while not comparable to San Diego's, is still a good place to wonder about with a small child--there's a miniature train. There's also Golden Gate Park. Taking a stroller and walking along the water side of Embarcadero (including stops at the Ferry Building) are a good idea. SF is very much a walking city, so just get ready to push.
Children's Fairyland over in Oakland at Lake Merritt is another trip--you can get there by BART--it caters to children 6 and under.