Visiting San Francisco With Kids: What To Know Before You Go
San Francisco is a great place with kids! Here’s some things to know before your trip:
Public Transit: There are a few options for public transit in San Francisco. Muni, Bart, cable cars, and the bus system will all get you where you want to go. If you choose to go the public transit route, get a Clipper Card. They come in 1 ($12), 3 ($29), and 7 ($39) day increments. The Clipper Cards work on MUNI, cable cars, busses, and BART (only within the city).
Renting a Car: Unlike some other cities, having a car in San Francisco is completely doable. Check out ZipCar for daily rentals. Just make sure that wherever you're staying has parking, because parking tickets are $70 a pop. Curb your wheels when parked on a hill because they'll ticket you if you don't. Just look at the other cars if you're not sure.
Other Modes of Transit: Uber's HQ are in SF and is a great way to get around, provided you don't have a carseat to carry with you. We also loved riding Vespas and bikes here! If you do choose a bike, be ready for some hills. The city is only 7x7 mi square so biking is a fun way to get around!
Stroller or Baby Backpack?: Stroller all the way, unless you live and die by baby backpacks. I've found that I can fit my strollers on public transit if I don't go at peak times. Most SF moms use them for everything from grocery shopping to carrying all their supplies for the day. Just accept that at some point you will be straight-arming your stroller up some hills!
SFO: This airport is slightly South of San Francisco. BART runs directly into the airport, so take BART and then Muni to where you're staying. You can also price out UBER. It ranges from $20-$30/ride to get into the city but may be worth it if you have a fair amount of luggage.
OAK: Oakland airport is just across the Bay. It's smaller and sometimes has better flight deals. They recently built a pretty glass tram that will take you to BART for $5. Once you're to BART, use BART to get into the city and connect with MUNI if needed. An UberPool to the city is about $25-$35.
San Jose: If you can, stick to the other two. This airport is far from the city. But, if it's the only deal you can find, ready yourself for a 2+ hour journey using Cal Train to get to San Francisco Caltrain Station and then MUNI to get to where you're staying. An UBERPool would cost about $111 to get you to the city (yikes!).
Where to Stay
San Francisco is notoriously expensive. If you can, see if you can work out a home exchange. If not, here are some good Airbnbs that hopefully won’t break the bank!
See our Itinerary posts to work out your perfect itinerary for your visit.