56 things to do in San Francisco with teenagers

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San Francisco is a city filled with history and surprises. Founded in 1776 by Spanish settlers, San Francisco is one of America’s most beautiful and intriguing cities.

San Francisco, California, has become so popular with travellers that it is now one of the most visited cities in the United States.

From Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge, there are sights to behold and things to do for everyone, especially if you travel to San Francisco with teenagers.

Table Of Contents
  1. Know before you go! Our top San Francisco travel tips
  2. Where to stay in San Francisco, California, with teenagers
  3. Let's explore some things to do in San Francisco with teenagers
  4. Free things to do in San Francisco with teens
  5. Fun things to do in San Francisco this weekend
  6. Annual events in San Francisco that teens will love
  7. Day trips from San Francisco with teens
  8. Things to do in San Francisco for young adults
  9. Fun restaurants in San Francisco for teenagers
  10. Travel accessories for teenagers
  11. Frequently asked questions about San Francisco
  12. Where to stay in San Francisco with teenagers
  13. Author bio:

Travelers visiting San Francisco will find it a hip, excellent destination with something for the whole family. San Francisco is often overlooked in favour of Los Angeles, but you will find plenty of things to do in San Francisco with teenagers.

Know before you go! Our top San Francisco travel tips

Travelling to San Francisco can be such an enriching experience for the whole family. There are so many things to do in San Francisco, and having the best place to stay and wander is extremely important.

Here, we’ve got some information to get you planning your family vacation to San Francisco to make it completely hassle-free.

Vibrant atmosphere at San Francisco Pier with a teenager walking on the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, capturing the essence of San Francisco's lively waterfront
Fun things to do in the Bay Area.

Where to stay in San Francisco, California, with teenagers

You’ll never be short of options for family accommodation in San Francisco. You find a range of hotels, apartments and hostels in San Francisco. You will be sure to be able to find something to fit singles, couples, families and groups on every budget.

If you’re not keen on any of our picks below or have specific needs, we recommend using Hotellook and Trivago to find the best prices in San Francisco.

Budget: HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel features rooms for 4 with a private ensuite. The accommodation features fast, free Wi-Fi, a fully equipped guest kitchen, and many free or cheap activities and tours.

Mid-priced: Nob Hill Motor Inn offers spacious guest rooms with a satellite TV, a refrigerator and a microwave. Located in the popular Nob Hill neighbourhood, this hotel places guests within walking distance of Fisherman’s Wharf, Lombard Street and several restaurants and shops.

Luxury: A full-service gym and spa with three unique dining experiences and the only hotel in the city where all three cable car lines meet. The Fairmont San Francisco is a 5-minute cab ride to the Ferry Building and is 6 km from the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco International Airport is a 20-minute drive away.

San Francisco apartment alternative for your stay

If you prefer a home away from home-style accommodation on your USA trip with teenagers in SF, an apartment is the best choice for your family vacation.

San Francisco has many options for singles, families and budget-friendly options. You can search VRBO for apartments in San Francisco.

A nice apartment that looks homely offered by PlumGuide in San Francisco
One of the stunning Plum Guide Apartments in San Francisco

If you’re looking for something fancier, discover Plum Guide’s exceptional luxury apartments, handpicked for their stunning views, prime locations, and indulgent amenities.

With meticulous quality checks and a focus on unique experiences, they offer the perfect blend of luxury and comfort. Experience the extraordinary and create unforgettable memories in these exceptional accommodations.

How to get to San Francisco

  • San Francisco Airport is located 21 kilometres south of the downtown area. In 2017, it was the seventh busiest airport in the United States and the 24th-busiest in the world by passenger count. You can book your flights to San Francisco with Momondo.
    • Book your airport transfers with Kiwi taxi.
      • If your flights have a long stopover or you want to relax before your trip, you should consider getting a lounge pass with a Priority Pass. Priority Pass has access to airport lounges all over the world. Search now for your lounge pass.
  • You can travel to San Francisco by train. The busiest train stations in San Francisco are 425 Mission St, Beach St and The Embarcadero Pier 39 – Fisherman’s Wharf. You can book your train tickets to San Francisco with Omio.
  • Buses arrive in San Francisco every few minutes of the day. The Townsend bus station is located in downtown San Francisco. Flixbus has 14 direct buses daily arriving in San Francisco. Book your bus tickets today.
  • You can reserve a rental car and have it waiting for you at San Francisco Airports if you decide to go on a road trip with teens in San Francisco.

How to get around San Francisco

  • Muni is San Francisco’s bus and metro system. The San Francisco public transit runs throughout the city, operating buses, trains, cable cars and heritage streetcars. You can use taxis and ride-sharing cars to get around San Francisco bays.
  • The San Francisco Hop on hop bus is another excellent option for seeing the city’s sites and surrounding area. Check the current prices HERE.

Weather in San Francisco

The best time to visit San Francisco is from September to November. Autumn, or the fall period, provides San Francisco’s warmest temperatures during the year.

September is the hottest month in San Francisco, with an average temperature of 21, and the coldest is January at 10°C (50°F).

Looking for those long, sunny Californian days? Well, July is your month. The most daily sunshine hours are 14 in July.

San Francisco for international visitors

International travel to the USA requires a bit more thought. You will need travel insurance in San Francisco. Medical care is not cheap; if you want good quality care, it will cost you a fortune if you don’t have travel insurance.

The official currency of the USA is the United States Dollar. If you use your bank account from home, you will be stung with high transaction fees, while your mobile phone calls will all be charged at an international rate.

These are just some of the things you must consider when travelling to the USA.

  • For International travellers, travel insurance is a must. Get a quote through Insurance Masters, and don’t go home with a huge bill for medical expenses.
  • Do you need a visa to visit San Francisco? The United States may require you to have a visa or an ETA (Electronic travel authorisation) to enter the country. You can check and buy these documents at iVisa.
  • Load a Revolut Travel Money card with US dollars for your visit and save on transaction fees.
  • Make phone calls with an international sim card that you can buy before leaving home or buy a voucher for a virtual e-sim for your mobile phone.
  • A 4G pocket Wi-Fi modem is essential for accessing the internet. You can rent a pocket modem that you can pick up at the airport or your hotel or buy a pocket modem that you can use on all future trips with your phone, tablet, or computer.

Get the Go San Francisco Pass

Get digital delivery of the Go San Francisco Pass to your device for easy use when you visit San Francisco with teens. The Go San Francisco Pass offers the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility, which is brilliant when you vacation with teens.

There are so many things to do in San Francisco for families, and you can save up to 60% off retail prices on admission to 28 top San Francisco attractions and tours, including Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus San Francisco Tour.

Multi-entry passes such as this are great for families visiting San Francisco. Buy your Go San Francisco Pass today.

Let’s explore some things to do in San Francisco with teenagers

A great destination for travelling with teenagers is somewhere that has a great mix of culture, history, fun and adventure for the whole family. There are numerous things to do with teens in San Francisco.

Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is the city’s most iconic San Francisco attraction and one of the most recognisable in the USA. 

Renting a bike and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the best outings when visiting San Francisco with teenagers. Tweens and teens are a great age to participate in such outdoor activities.

Kids at the Golden Gate Bridge
Teenagers in San Francisco must go Golden Gate Bridge biking.

There are great views across the bridge, including the harbour and the bay area. It’s an opportunity to see one of the world’s most iconic landmarks up close, bolts and all!

Rent a bike at the Fishermen’s Wharf and cruise across the bridge. You can catch the ferry from Sausalito to the Fisherman’s Wharf to return your bike.

The Walt Disney Museum SF

Step into the magical world of Walt Disney at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, where the enchanting legacy of the man behind the empire comes to life!

Walt Disney at his museum in SF
Teens and tweens in San Francisco will love the Walt Disney family museum

Set in a sprawling 40,000-square-foot space across three buildings, this museum is not just a place—it’s a journey through 248 awards, interactive galleries, and the captivating story of Disney’s early days to his legendary creations.

It is a must-visit for families seeking entertainment, inspiration, and a touch of Disney magic right in the heart of The Presidio.

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Fun things to do in San Francisco with teenagers – Kayak the Bay area   

San Francisco’s Bay is a beautiful sight from afar, but it gets even better if you hop in and explore from the water.

On a tour with San Francisco Kayak and Adventures, you can see the city from the water and even paddle to McCovey Cove, where home runs from the Giants Oracle Park are known to splash down in the water!

Things to do in California with teenagers – learn to surf

San Francisco is a city known for its surf culture and the surfers that inhabit it. It’s not easy getting started in surfing, but with an experienced surf instructor, the process can be made much more accessible.

Surfers catching waves on a beautiful sunny day, with the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in the background
Learning to surf in California

A 3 hours lesson will have you reading the ocean, paddling out, popping up, balancing and riding the waves. This will be one of the most fun things for teens to do in San Francisco. Book your surfing lesson today; it’s one of the things to do this summer for teens.

Teen activities San Francisco – Bay Voyager

Things to do in the Bay Area for teenagers include riding a high-powered RIB (rigid inflatable boat) with San Francisco’s favourite family-friendly adventure tour.

View some of the city’s most iconic sights while listening to engaging stories about the city’s history from the boat’s captain.

Touring in the RIB allows you to travel faster, farther, and closer to the sights than any other Bay tour boat. Consider a twilight tour to see the city lights from the water, or charter your own private family tour for a custom experience you’ll never forget.  

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San Francisco hop-on, hop-off bus

The Hop on hop off bus tour allows you to explore San Francisco’s most iconic attractions comfortably and hassle-free.

The San Francisco hop on hop off bus at Fishermans wharf
San Francisco Tour Bus

Your double-decker coach will inform you with live commentary on passing highlights and city history.

There are 24 stops, including Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Haight-Ashbury and North Beach.

Much more than just a bus tour, there are options for a cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and trips to Alcatraz. Choose from several 1-day or 2-day pass options.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum San Francisco

The Madame Tussaud franchise is a great San Francisco activity with teenagers. There are so many worldwide, and having some pictures taken with celebs, even if they aren’t quite the real deal, is a fun way to spend an afternoon in San Fransisco with tweens.

The entrance to Madame Tussauds San Francisco
Family things to do in San Francisco

Many have a local aspect with people who lived in the area before they became famous. You can save time and book your Madame Tussaud’s wax museum tickets here now!

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Food tours of Chinatown, North Beach or the Mission  District

Sometimes, the best way to get to know a city is through your stomach. San Francisco is a perfect destination for travelling with a family of foodies.

Consider a walking food tour with Local Tastes of the City. Find our top picks for the best food tours in San Francisco below:

San Francisco’s Chinatown

Prepare to embark on a cultural adventure in San Francisco’s legendary Chinatown – the oldest in North America and a teenage dream!

a teenage boy in Chinatown San Francisco exploring
Chinatown is one of the famous landmarks in the city

This vibrant neighbourhood is a treasure trove with over 25 blocks of shops, restaurants, and temples. From souvenirs to traditional Chinese medicine, it’s a shopping haven, and foodies can indulge in everything from dim sum to bubble tea delights.

Explore historic temples like Tin How Temple, unveiling the rich history of those who shaped this unique space. Discover hidden flavours and off-the-map eateries—all while soaking in some fresh air.

The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory has made custom fortune cookies by hand since 1962. Today, they make up to 10,000 cookies daily, baked fresh on a griddle wheel.

See (and smell!) the delicious process in person, and even get the chance to taste their many fortune cookie flavours. This unique San Francisco experience you don’t want to miss!

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Golden Gate ParkPlaces to go for teens in SF

At only 47 square miles, San Francisco is one of the most minor cities in the United States geographically. And yet, it is still home to one of the country’s largest city parks, Golden Gate Park.

walking tracks with the golden gate bridge in the back ground
Things to do with teenagers in San Francisco

The park is home to some of San Francisco’s most popular family-friendly attractions.

Stroll through the Japanese Tea Garden with a stop for tea at the Tea House. Experience what it felt like to live through the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes at the California Academy of Sciences and enjoy a paddleboard ride on Stow Lake.

Make sure to stop at the Buffalo Paddock, where you can glimpse the park’s famous American Bison or laze on the beach in the shadows of the famous bridge.

Visiting Alcatraz Island

A visit to Alcatraz, or the Rock as it is called, is always on the top of many things to do in San Francisco lists. This former prison was once home to many of the worst criminals in the United States Penial System. The most famous being Al Capone, the notorious gangster.

Prison cell doors open at Alcatraz
San Francisco with teens should include a visit to Alcatraz

A visit to Alcatraz these days includes a ferry ride to the island and an audio guide to explore the cell house. The audio tour will guide you through the Alcatraz Prison and tell you all its history.

Once the audio tour ends, you can finish taking pictures and exploring the Island at your own pace. Alcatraz cruises leave from the Alcatraz ferry terminal near Pier 27.

There are plenty of differing tours of Alcatraz, and here we have listed some of the best tours for saving money and time on your trip to San Fransisco:

Buy the ultimate San Francisco combo ticket with entry to Madame Tussauds San Francisco + Fisherman’s Wharf: Walking Tour + Ferry and Admission to Alcatraz and save.

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay

Grab a ferry to Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay Area. The island is full of outdoor excitement and rich history.

A picturesque view of Angel Island, surrounded by sparkling blue waters offering a peaceful retreat and stunning natural beauty in the heart of San Francisco Bay
Learn about the immigration history of SF.

Easily accessible by boat, this island boasts hiking and biking trails with breathtaking views. In the past, as a US immigration station, it welcomed over one million immigrants. Uncover the mysteries of Fort McDowell and Camp Reynolds, all while soaking up the sun and stories of Angel Island!

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Ripleys Believe it or Not

Ripley’s Museum in San Francisco is not just a museum, it’s a wild ride into the bizarre! Picture 10,000 square feet of jaw-dropping exhibits featuring over 400 mind-bending oddities, from shrunken heads to medieval torture machines.

Kids, prepare for laser races that’ll make Mission: Impossible look easy and a Mirror Maze that’ll have you questioning reality. Believe it or not, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.

Are you travelling with a budget? why not buy a combination of Ripleys and Madame Tussauds tickets and save on entry costs

Segway tours in San Francisco

There is nothing more fun than zipping around a city on a segway, and for teens, this has to be one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids.

a segway tour in San Francisco exploring the sites
Downtown San Francisco things to do

A San Francisco Segway tour is an excellent opportunity to enjoy and learn about the city. Segway tours are for the whole family. You will be given instructions and a short amount of practice time before you set off on your adventure.

A segway ride is one of the cool things to do in San Francisco. Book your Segway Tour in San Francisco

Teenager activities bay area – The Aquarium

While visiting Pier 39, the Aquarium of the Bay is a worthwhile stop the whole family will enjoy. The largest and most popular exhibit area is Under the Bay, with 300 feet of tunnels that allow you to view the Bay’s native sharks, rays, and octopuses as they swim all around you.

If you want to save money on attractions in SF, why not buy a combined Aquarium of the Bay + San Francisco Bay Cruise to save?

What to do in San Francisco – Ride the Cable Cars

San Francisco’s iconic cable cars are a tourist spectacle and a daily thrill for locals! From 6 a.m. to midnight, these moving wonders offer breathtaking views of the Bay Area.

ridning a San francisco cable car
Enjoy the only moving national monuments in San Francisco with teenagers

Choose the Powell/Hyde or Powell/Mason lines to ride to Fisherman’s Wharf, or hop on the California/Van Ness line for a scenic journey. Capture unforgettable shots of Alcatraz and discover why cable cars, the USA’s only moving national monuments, top the list of must-dos in San Francisco with kids. It’s not just a ride—it’s a rolling adventure!

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Hike the Lands End Trail 

The Lands End Trail is a spectacular hike that locals and visitors enjoy. Follow the Coastal Trail for a fairly easy 2.8-mile out-and-back trail with about 500 feet of elevation change. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge at almost every turn. 

Photo opportunities are everywhere, with the Sutro Bath Ruins at the start of the trail, the Lands End Labyrinth approximately midway and Eagle Point overlook at the turnaround.

Try to time your hike to return to the Sutro Baths just as the sun goes down. It’s one of the best places in the city to watch the sunset. 

Ghost tour

Ghost story tours are a popular activity with teens in cities worldwide. They are usually conducted by a guide who tells stories about the ghosts and legends of the area.

Teenager exploring San Francisco's vibrant streets
Fun stuff to do in San Francisco at night

The tour guides often dress in period costumes to add to the atmosphere. To make the experience more authentic, the tours usually take place at night, when it is dark and spooky. Some of the best Ghost tours in San Francisco are Ghost Gold and Ghouls, The Haunt SF and the Ghost and Crime tour of San Francisco.

Days out for teenagersRage Rooms

Rage rooms are cool things to do with teens in San Francisco. These unique spaces provide a safe and exciting outlet for teenagers to smash stuff like glassware and electronics.

It’s an empowering and unconventional experience in a controlled and safe environment. Add a rage room to any San Francisco with teens’ itinerary.

Things to do in San Francisco with teenage girls – High Tea

High Tea started out as a quintessentially British thing. This afternoon tea tradition involves savoury sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and tea. For mothers and daughters, it’s often a memorable experience.

a teenage girl enjoying high tea on a vacation

If you want something to do with teenage girls in SF, you should experience high tea firsthand. You will find High Tea offered at some places in the city. 

You will find the best High Tea and afternoon teas in San Francisco at The Fairmont Hotel, Lovejoys Tea Room and Maison Daniel.

Mum and daughter activities in San Francisco – Day Spa

How about a mum-and-daughter bonding day in San Francisco with a day spa experience?

A teenager getting a massage
Getting a treatment at a day spa

Enjoy a relaxing day experiencing saunas, steam rooms, massages, beauty treatments and pool areas. SF has several choices, including the Pure Organic Spa, Spa Vitale, and SenSpa.

Things to do in SF with kids – Scavenger hunt

These activities are sometimes called scavenger, treasure, and mystery hunts. They are games played with an app on your phone where you will discover famous and lesser-known sights of the city as you solve clues and tackle challenges to complete the adventure.

They are a non-traditional sightseeing tour with a purpose: to keep things interesting. Scavenger hunts provide outdoor adventures for teenagers in SF.

Some of the best hunts in San Francisco are Fisherman’s Wharf Scavenger Hunt Adventure, Scavenger and Treasure Hunt Tour for Families and The Gold Rush Exploration Game.

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Natural History Museum of San Francisco

Discover the wonders of natural history at the heart of downtown San Francisco – the Natural History Museum. Perfect for families on vacation, this engaging destination offers a journey through time with captivating exhibitions on plants, minerals, fossils, mammals, and more.

Dive into interactive displays, where knowledgeable staff eagerly share insights, making science and culture come alive.

Whether you’re exploring with friends or family, the museum’s guided tours, discovery labs, and imaginative Kids Corner ensure an educational and entertaining experience for everyone, making it a must-visit destination in San Francisco.

Things to do in SF with teenagers – Salesforce Park

San Francisco’s newest urban park is connected to the cityscape’s newest skyscraper. Located between Union Square and The Embarcadero, this 5.4-acre rooftop park stretches over four city blocks.

Visitors enjoy thousands of trees, plants, and a linear fountain stretching down the middle. Get to the park via a free oneway gondola ride. After the sun goes down, join San Franciscans for special events like silent disco nights and swing dancing. 

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Pier 39

Get ready for a thrilling family day at San Francisco’s Pier 39. Experience iconic views, lively entertainment, and endless fun colliding! Spin into excitement on the classic carousel with handcrafted wooden horses, jam out at the nearby arcade, and take a wild ride on the Bay Plunge for epic Bay Bridge views.

panoramic views of the bay and the famous sea lions basking in the sun at the iconic Pier 39 in San Francisco
The barking sea lions at Pier 39

Dive into escape rooms, musical stairs, and Magowan’s infinite maze. Hear the barks before you spot them at the Sea Lion Centre, and catch a whale-watching tour during migration season. Buy a combo pass for Pier 39 attractions.

Is Pier 39 the ultimate playground for San Francisco teenage activities

San Francisco attractions for teensThe Flyer

The Flyer is Northern California’s ONLY Flying Theater on PIER 39. Experience a thrilling and immersive journey above iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The Flyer offers a fully immersive, family-friendly experience with cutting-edge technologies to have you on the edge of your seat.

Giants Game and Stadium Tour 

San Franciscans love the Giants. Catching a game is a great way to enjoy a day like a local while visiting town.

Oracle Park Baseball stadium in San Francisco
San Francisco activities for teens could be watching Baseball

If you don’t want to spend all day at Oracle Park but are curious to see what it’s all about, consider a budget-friendly standing-room-only ticket or a behind-the-scenes stadium tour.

No San Francisco itinerary is complete for sports lovers without a visit to the Giants stadium.

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Visit the Fisherman’s Wharf area for families

Embark on an unforgettable family adventure at San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf – a vibrant hub teeming with captivating sights and endless attractions.

A giant grab statye at the entry to Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco
Teen attractions in San Francisco include a visit to Fisherman Wharf

Explore historic ships and fascinating museums, and indulge in the bustling seafood scene. Teens can channel their inner thrill-seeker with a cable car ride, discover treasures at The Cannery shopping mall, or set sail on a bay ferry tour.

At Pier 39, catch local street performers, savour snacks from eclectic food stands, and witness sea lions in action.

With sea lion watching, unique shopping, and panoramic views from an observation tower, every moment at Fisherman’s Wharf promises to be an exciting chapter of your unforgettable family vacation!

San Francisco teenagers love Baker Beach

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this popular spot offers wide sandy beaches with one of the city’s best views of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s an excellent place for families to picnic and explore a uniquely California beach. 

teens in San Francisco enjoying the sun
San Francisco with teens

If you want to check out the areas closer to the bridge, be aware that North Baker Beach is clothing optional. As with many Northern California beaches, it’s better for splashing near the shore than swimming due to the cold water and frequent rip currents.  

Teens in San Francisco will love Musée Mécanique

This San Francisco museum might be interesting for teenagers who are into video games. The Musée Mécanique San Francisco is a fantastic museum that showcases antique arcade machines and other mechanical devices.

It’s worth going to if you’re in the San Francisco area or have a free afternoon. The museum has about 200 machines on display at Pier 45 and is one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated machines.

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Fun things to do in San Francisco for teenagers – Boomerang Bay Water Park

Now, do tell me, who doesn’t love a good water park, especially in the summer months? Water parks these days are fun and comfortable.

Yes comfortable! At Boomerang Bay you can hire a cabana and relax while the kids splash, slip and slide their way to happiness. The Boomerang Bay location in California borrows its name from all things Australian.

Having fun on the water slide
San Francisco fun stuff to do includes water parks

Some rides include the Digeridoo Falls, the Down Under Thunder, the Tasmanian Typhoon and the Screaming Wombat. The park includes six water slides 3 pool areas, and a proper family favourite, the lazy river. Boomerang Bay is one of the best things to do with kids in San Francisco.

Everyone enjoys the lazy river as the current helps you drift around the river course. The great thing about Boomerang Bay is that it’s attached to the Great America Theme Ark. Entry ticket includes access to both areas.

A bay cruise with teens in San Francisco

A bay cruise in San Francisco is a popular activity that allows visitors to experience the city’s stunning natural beauty and iconic landmarks from a different perspective.

a boat on the water in San Francisco bay showing tourist around
Sightseers on the Red and White Fleet cruise ship Harbor Queen as it sails across the San Francisco Bay.

The San Francisco Bay is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including seals, sea lions, and a variety of bird species, and a bay cruise is a great way to observe these animals in their natural habitat.

During a bay cruise, you’ll also see some of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the Bay Bridge, up close and in all their glory. A sunset cruise puts a whole different perspective on the bay.

Many bay cruises also offer informative commentary from knowledgeable guides who can provide insight into the history and culture of the city.

Things to do in San Francisco with teens – Muir Woods

Escape the urban buzz with a family day trip to Muir Woods National Monument, where the ancient coastal redwoods reign supreme! Family vacations in San Francisco should always include some outdoor activities.

tall redwoods in a forest near San Francisco
Days out with teenagers in Muir Woods

Grab a timed permit to navigate this enchanted forest, or add a splash of adventure with a ferry ride to Sausalito and a seasonal shuttle to Muir Woods.

Elevate your journey with a guided adventure of Muir Woods with plenty of tour options, a hassle-free dose of nature and fun!

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Catch a Broadway Show 

The Golden Gate and Orpheum Theaters regularly feature the most popular Broadway musicals touring the country. Check Broadway SF to see what is playing during your visit.

For a kind San Francisco musical experience, check out Mountain Play at the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre. For an incredible theatre adventure, Mountain Play brings Broadway musicals to an outdoor theatre in the woods on Mount Tamalpais.

famous neighbourhoods in SF
Activities for teenagers in San Francisco include exploring notable neighbourhoods.

Cartoon Art MuseumSan Francisco activities for teens

Calling all art-loving families! Dive into the colorful world of the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum, captivating visitors since 1984. Teens with an artistic flair will revel in the interactive experience, merging classic cartoons with modern tech.

Unveil permanent collections of iconic characters and discover hidden gems from indie creators. More than just fun, it’s an educational escapade sparking creativity with animation styles.

Conveniently near Hyde Street Pier and the Cable Car turnaround, it’s not just a museum. It’s a laughter-packed, creativity-sparked adventure waiting for your family!

Experience SF from above

There are a couple of different options for seeing the city from above.

the city of sna francisco covered in cloud as seenf rom a helicopter

Soaring over San Francisco and taking in the beautiful view of the coastline, The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Going high in a helicopter or seaplane can be one of the most exciting things to do with teens in SF.

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The most Instagrammable spots in San Francisco

With Instagram and social media playing an essential part in the lives of teenagers, we have some great places for Instagram photos in the great city of San Francisco.

the windy Lombard street in San Franciso is famous
People go down the Lombard Street staircase while cars exit at the bottom of the iconic hill.

We recommend visiting Baker Beach, Fort Point, Bernal Heights Swing, and Lombard Street for the best Instagram shots in San Francisco.

Alternatively, book yourself an Instagram tour with a guide who will take you to all the hotspots in the city. Check prices on the best Instagram tours in San Fran.

San Francisco for teens TikTok inspiration

If you need some inspiration, look no further than TikTok. TikTok is today’s app of choice for teens around the globe. This app is full of creative content and talented people from San Francisco.

From fashion to beauty to DIY, there’s something for everyone on TikTok. Here are a few of our favourite San Francisco TikTok accounts to help inspire you and plan your vacation.

Professional photo shoot in San Francisco

As our kids get older, we spend less and less time with them, making family memories. One excellent way to capture some of these critical family vacation moments is to hire a professional photographer for a few hours to make some lifelong memories for you.

The photographer will supply everything your family needs to provide the smiles for your SF photoshoot. Book your memory-making shoot today.

Street Art in San Francisco

Street art is found worldwide but is especially prevalent in major cities. Cities are home to a wealth of street art, from graffiti on building walls to pieces painted on lanes and bridges.

a building in San Francisco covered in street art

Street art provides a unique aesthetic for these places, with topics including current events, pop culture, portraits and more. Street art is a trendy free thing in San Francisco and attracts tourists and teenagers alike.

Abundant street art in San Francisco can be found at the 24th Street Corridor in the Mission District, Clarion Alley Street Art, and street murals on Cypress Street.

Shopping in San Francisco with teens

Downtown encompasses two shopping hot spots, including San Francisco’s iconic plaza, Union Square and Market Street. Union Square features an electric mix of luxury stores, local boutiques, and major department stores.

Market Street encompasses The Embarcadero District, famous since the gold rush.

No shopping experience in San Fransisco is complete without a visit to Westfield San Francisco Centre. Westfield San Francisco Centre is a place to lose yourself in an epic shopping experience with hundreds of stores.

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Things to do for teens in San Francisco – Go to the gym

Fitness is essential to a lot of teenagers these days. Working out is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Lift weights, use the treadmill, do cardio and muscle workouts. Just because one is travelling does not mean one needs to stop working out.

A mum and teenage daughter working out at the gym.

In San Francisco, you can go to several Gyms that sell passes ranging from a day to a week and a month. Day passes cost from $16 daily, while a week pass costs $45. You can find a list of Gyms in San Francisco on the Trainaway fit website.

Axe Throwing – fun things to do in San Francisco for teenagers

Axe Throwing is a new phenomenon that is sweeping around the world. San Francisco is home to Bad Axe Throwing. Bad Axe Throwing in Daly City serves residents and tourists in the San Francisco and Bay Area.

No experience is required, and participants learn how to throw an axe at a target from expert coaches in a safe environment. Axe throwing might be just the family competition that will last in the memories forever. Axe Throwing is one of the awesome things to do in San Francisco.

World travel with teens: 10 amazing cities for multigenerational travel with teens

Things to do in San Francisco for young adults – Escape rooms

An escape room, also known as an escape game, is a physical adventure game in which players solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives.

Escape rooms may consist of a large, single room or multiple rooms. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot hidden within the rooms. If your teen likes this stuff, it is one of the top things to do in San Francisco with teenagers.

Below is a map with the locations of San Francisco Escape rooms.

San Francisco teenage activities – Cinema

A perennial favourite with teenagers in San Francisco, whether visiting or residents, is the cinema. Like any major city in the USA, San Francisco has a wide range of cinemas for you to attend.

Some of the best-rated cinemas in San Francisco for teenagers are as follows.

  • AMC Metreon 16, Address: 135 4th St Suite 3000, San Francisco, CA 94103, United States. Home of the latest blockbusters in 3D and Imax
  • Grand Lake Theatre, Address 3200 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, United States. Named one of the top ten vintage theatres in the USA
  • Alamo Draft House Cinema, Address 2550 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, United States. Small-sized theatres that have direct-to-seat food and beverage service

Read more: All the very best things to do in Los Angeles

10-pin bowling in San Francisco with kids

Why not get a bit of family competition going with a game of 10-pin bowling? Bowling is a great evening or rainy day activity. Teenagers vs adults is always a fun competition.

The best things to do with family in San Francisco include bowling

You can find some of San Francisco’s best bowling alleys below

  • Lucky Strike Bowling, Address 200 King St, San Francisco, CA 94107, United States. More like a nightclub than a bowling alley with stylish booths, food and drinks.
  • Albany Bowl, address 40 San Pablo Ave, Albany, CA 94706, United States. A very cool modern feel filled with local college students

Travel with teens budget tip: Read why we love staying in hostels with our teens

Bike riding in San Francisco

In San Francisco, things to do with teenagers are everywhere, but Bike tours in San Francisco offer a sense of adventure and exploration. The tours allow teenagers to discover new places and hidden gems. Joining a bike tour allows teenagers to socialize and bond with other participants.

Most cities have bike rental options, so you can explore independently, making it a convenient and affordable way to see the sites. Book all your San Francisco bike tours today

Free things to do in San Francisco with teens

San Francisco offers some of the best free things to do with your teenage family members. These free city activities are perfect for keeping everyone happy and entertained without spending any money.

There are also plenty of affordable restaurants and shops where you can shop for souvenirs without breaking the bank. Our recommendations for free teenage things to do in San Francisco are:

Fun things to do in San Francisco this weekend

There are numerous fun things to do in San Francisco this weekend, such as throwing a frisbee in the park, attending cultural festivals, and shopping at the mall.

On any given weekend in SF, you will see many events such as concerts, markets, festivals and sporting activities. Search the San Francisco Travel website for things to do in SF today.

Annual events in San Francisco that teens will love

San Francisco is a city with a rich culture and history. Many annual events occur in the city and can be enjoyed by families and teens when visiting. Some of these events include:

  • Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival (August): A famous music festival held in Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands features a diverse lineup of artists, food vendors, and art installations. It’s an excellent event for music-loving teenagers.
  • Fan Expo SF: This event caters to comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy enthusiasts. It often includes celebrity guests, panels, and plenty of opportunities for fans to engage with their favourite genres.
  • Fleet Week (October): Fleet Week includes air shows, ship tours, and various military displays. If your teenagers are interested in aviation or maritime activities, this event can be a thrilling experience.

These events help to make San Francisco a vibrant and exciting city to visit on your next family travel vacation.

See more of the world: Visit Montreal with teens for an epic vacation

Day trips from San Francisco with teens

While staying in the city with teenagers may be the most straightforward option on your family vacation to San Francisco, there are some fun trips for teenagers to make out of the city too. The best vacations for teenagers usually include at least one day trip.

Below are a couple of day trip recommendations for families travelling with teenagers. There are also so many more things to do on your vacation with teenagers when you add a day trip from San Francisco.

Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias day trip from San Francisco

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited parks in the United States. The park has a reputation for its wildlife and nature. On the way to Yosemite, you will stop at Sequoia National Park and see the giant trees at Tuolumne Grove.

a teenager at a lookout in Yosemite National Park. Day trips for San Francisco with teenagers include Yosemite
Day trips from San Francisco with teenagers to Yosemite

These neck-stretching trees are some of the oldest and largest in the world, especially the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.

This trip is best done with a tour from San Francisco, where your guide and transport will take you to the best spots in Yosemite National Park. You even have some free time at Yosemite with teenagers to explore and make memories. Book your day trip to Yosemite today.

Santa Cruz California

Most parents of teenagers will likely remember Santa Cruz as the setting for the massive 80s movie Lost Boys. Santa Cruz is one of the most popular destinations on the west coast.

amusement park at Santa Cruz California
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has vintage rides, the 1911 Looff Carousel and the Giant Dipper roller coaster.

And it’s not just because of its beautiful scenery and beaches, it also has a lot of attractions and fun things to do for people of all ages.

The most famous of these would be the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. It’s an amusement park with carnival rides, food stands, and other attractions.

Don’t forget to spend some time on one of Santa Cruz’s many beaches! The fastest way to get there is by car, but it can be reached by train in a little over 2 hours.

Things to do in San Francisco for young adults

San Francisco offers plenty of exciting activities and attractions for young adults to explore. Known for its diverse culture and picturesque landscapes, there are countless things for young adults to do in San Francisco.

One of the must-visit destinations is Golden Gate Park, a sprawling urban oasis that offers an array of recreational opportunities. Here, young adults can enjoy picnicking, cycling, rollerblading, and paddle boating on Stow Lake.

For those seeking a cultural experience, renowned museums like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the de Young Museum showcase an impressive art collection and provide thought-provoking exhibitions.

San Francisco’s vibrant culinary scene allows young adults to savour diverse cuisines worldwide. The city’s neighbourhoods, such as the Mission District and Chinatown, are known for their eclectic mix of restaurants and street food vendors.

Young adults can indulge in retail therapy at Union Square, a bustling shopping district that houses an array of upscale boutiques and department stores. To cap off their visit, they can immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant nightlife scene with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues.

From exploring iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge to indulging in diverse dining options and experiencing the city’s lively nightlife, San Francisco provides a vibrant and enriching experience for young adults. There is no shortage of things to do in San Francisco for 18-year-olds and above.

Want to make your vacations with teens a breeze? This is the best guide to epic vacations with teens and how you can do it too!

Fun restaurants in San Francisco for teenagers

Travelling teens are known to get hungry on a family vacation. Picking a place to eat in San Francisco with teenagers is easy with our top picks below.

The Historic Ferry Building

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a fun gathering of the region’s best farmers and artisan producers; it is kind of like a waterfront farmers’ market.

the famous San Francisco ferry building
Try the food at the Ferry Building.

Wander through, and you’ll find delicious cheesecakes (a uniquely San Francisco cheesecake), Napa’s famous Gott’s Roadside burgers, Hog Island Oysters fresh from the ocean of West Marin, and one of the country’s best Farmers Markets frequented by local chefs.

Everyone in your family will find something they love at this gourmet food hall at the historic ferry building.  

San Francisco’s Burritos 

San Francisco’s Mission District is home to some of the country’s best taquerias. You can’t leave the city without trying one of the neighbourhood’s famous burritos.

La Cumbre and El Faro battle over who invented the first Mission-style super burrito, but El Farolito is known to have perfected this street food.

Grab some burritos to go (with extra napkins) and head over to enjoy them in Dolores Park. Best of all for parents, they will keep hungry teens full for most of the day! 

Mel’s Drive-In 

San Francisco’s three Mel’s Drive-In locations may have opened in the mid-’80s, but their success was built on nostalgia for traditional 1950s diners with bright neon and classic rock. Serving traditional American diner food, many tables have their own jukeboxes so customers can choose what plays next.   

Tonga Room 

A classic San Francisco tradition in an unlikely location, the Fairmont’s Tonga Room was created in 1945 by an MGM set director inspired by the country’s obsession with Tiki culture.

Today, you’ll find a Polynesian-themed restaurant with a lagoon and floating stage used for live entertainment. An indoor tropical rainstorm completes the experience.

Hard Rock Cafe  

Hard Rock Cafe San Francisco, located in Fisherman’s Wharf, offers a rock ‘n’ roll dining experience.

hard rock cafe sign
Guitar at the entrance to Hard Rock Cafe

It is adorned with iconic memorabilia and features classic American fare with a rock twist. The lively atmosphere, live music, and panoramic bay views make it a must-visit for food and music enthusiasts in the heart of San Francisco.

Hard Rock is a cool place for teens to hang out in San Francisco. Pre-book a 2- or 3-course meal at Hard Rock.

Search here: All the best travel products for your family vacation to San Francisco and beyond!

Travel accessories for teenagers

For teenagers, travelling can be a fun and exciting experience. However, there are a few things that they need to take into account to make the trip as comfortable and safe as possible. One of these is ensuring that they have the necessary travel accessories.

Frequently asked questions about San Francisco

When planning your family vacation with teens to San Francisco, there are always some things you love to know before your family holiday. These top travel tips for families on holiday in San Francisco will ensure you are fully prepared.

Can you drink tap water in San Francisco?

Yes, tap water is drinkable. If you are unsure we suggest you buy a drink bottle with a water filter for travelling with family. You can buy your water bottle here before you leave

How do I call the Police in San Francisco?

Call 911 when in the USA

What type of power plug is used in the USA?

For the USA there are two associated plug types, types A and B. Plug type A is the plug that has two flat parallel pins, and plug type B is the plug that has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. The USA operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz. Buy your A-Type adaptor today before you travel

Is tipping required in San Francisco?

A general rule for waiters is to tip 15 to 20 per cent of the pre-tax bill

Where to stay in San Francisco with teenagers

At the top of the article, we suggested accommodations for your family vacation with teenagers. If you are looking for a wider variety of choices, please find below an interactive map from Booking.com to find your perfect stay in San Francisco with your family.


Some of the areas worth considering staying in with teenagers are as follows.

  • Fishermen’s Wharf – A popular tourist area, where you can walk along the beach, see wildlife and have the most fantastic seafood. in town
  • Union Square – Most of the hotels are located in this area. You will find excellent transport options and the best retail shopping in the city.
  • Embarcadero – A great location for those who like to get up early for a walk or a run. Fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge await

Are you looking to book flights, hotels, apartments, tours, airport transfers, travel insurance and more? Are you unsure what companies you can trust to book your travel online? We have a resource page full of companies that we personally use and book through for all trips, from a weekend away to long-term travel around the world. Click here to search our travel resources page.

This article was written with Kristy from the jjandthebug.com website for us here at Wyld Family Travel. We hope this article helps you with San Francisco attractions for you and your teenager.

Travelling with young adults, teens, and tweens has just as many issues as travelling with young children. Choosing the best teenage vacation destinations, working out a budget, deciding what bags and suitcases to take, travelling essentials, and more can be time-consuming. Planning family travel with teenagers and tweens can be stressful, and finding the best travel tips is essential. 

Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family vacation inspiration to make your family vacations with teens epic.

For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in the USA, click our USA Destination Page for more brilliant inspiration.

More family travel inspiration for your family vacation with teens

Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing travel or planning travel, you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

Content Creator

12 thoughts on “56 things to do in San Francisco with teenagers”

  1. I have been to this amazing city 3 times, such a great destination. I have done it all except the waterpark and the Walt Disney museum SF which I am pretty sure did not exist back then lol. I do remember accidentally walking into the tenderloin…insterresting is all I have to say.

    • Hi Evelyne! Wow three times…you must love it there. I love a city you can return to and keep seeing more and experiencing new things. Thanks so much for leaving a comment and we hope you have a brilliant day.

  2. San Fran has been on my family travel list for years! Loving all of these fun things to do with kids in the city. 🙂

    • Hi Carrie! Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Finding things to do in a city that are great for the whole family can be really hard at times. I hope you are able to get some of these done when you visit. Have a great day!

  3. I’ve been to San Francisco several times, even once with teenagers. There really are a lot of fun activities to keep teenagers happy. We also enjoyed the Musee de Mechanique right on the waterfront – lots of vintage arcade games! I loved Sally’s tips that you added; great insights!

    • Hi Tami! Yes, I loved Sally’s insider tips too. I love it when you can get the right advice from a person who has lived there for a little while. Nothing like local knowledge. Mark would go crazy over the arcade games…will take him back to his younger days! Thanks so much for leaving a comment and we hope you have an amazing day!

  4. I visited Walt Disney Museum and it was just mind blowing. Do you know any good events happening in San Francisco in the month of May as i am planning to visit once again.

    • Hi!
      Our friend Sally from little hiccups will have all you will need to know about San Francisco events as she lives there. Try her blog of the same name and I am sure she will have a list of awesome things you can do there.
      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave an awesome comment and we hope you have a fantastic day.
      Bec and family

      • Hey!

        Your Welcome! And thank you for the suggestion, I’ll definitely have a look at it.

  5. Gosh. I haven’t been in years. I was in San Francisco for a conference before my kids were born. Loved Chinatown. And took a wine train. The things you listed look like so much fun for kids and families. Thank you for so much great information. Now I am ready to go again.

  6. I haven’t been to San Fran is a long time but it was such a cool place to visit in my early 20’s. I loved Alcatraz but it was kind of eerie really. I really preferred visiting this area over the LA area.

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