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Tony from Minneapolis asked

San Francisco - Top things to do with a teenager?

Heading to San Francisco with my teenage daughter for 3 nights.  What are the absolute top "must do" things to do and see there?

San Francisco (California)

5 Answers
answered by
Dee from California

Young teen or older?  If you want to focus on her activities, I'd say the HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) bus first to hit the tourist highlights (e.g., Golden Gate Bridge) and ride the Cable Car. Then concentrate on Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 areas for entertainment.  If you have enough time to get tickets, go to Alcatraz.  If she's at all interested, the Exploratorium at Pier 15.  You can get lost for hours in there.

If she's older and into shopping, Union Square area and the Downtown Center at the end of Powell St.  If she's athletic, you can climb the Filbert Steps from the Embarcadero to Coit Tower then go down the other side, have lunch in North Beach (California) and then wander through San Francisco Chinatown.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  2. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
  3. Pier 39 (attraction)
  4. Alcatraz (attraction)
  5. Exploratorium (attraction)
  6. Union Square (attraction)
  7. Filbert Steps (attraction)
  8. Coit Tower (attraction)
  9. North Beach (California) (neighborhood)
  10. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
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answered first by

Baseball fans will love AT&T Park and surrounding area. Fisherman's Wharf for fishing and sight seeing and the Red and White boats are great on a nice day, and depending on the age they may enjoy Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum and the Rainforest Cafe or the Exploratorium and the Aquarium of the Bay. And it's fun to ride the Duck Boats or tour Alcatraz.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. AT&T Park (attraction)
  2. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
  3. Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum (attraction)
  4. Rainforest Cafe (restaurant)
  5. Exploratorium (attraction)
  6. Aquarium of the Bay (attraction)
  7. Alcatraz (attraction)
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answered by
Matt from Denver

Hi there, Tony!

I see you're a fellow Minnesotan (I'm originally from SW MN and have lived in MPLS before moving to Denver. GO WOLVES!)

If you're in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend (which might be a long shot if you don't have plans already to relax by the lake), my company is putting on a fun run right downtown SF! It's called the FroYo Run and it benefits the American Lung Association. It's a very friendly event with the course going by AT&T Park and around Justin Herman Plaza - right by the water.

Click here for more details!

Comments (1)

Thanks for the info, Matt. We are actually going there this week. ...and you're right we will be on the lake during the long weekend!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Justin Herman Plaza (attraction)
comments (1)
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answered by
Kristal from San Francisco


I'm not sure if this is your first time or not. However, I would suggest skipping the super touristy things like Fisherman's Wharf, instead I would suggest checking out the Ferry Building Marketplace especially in the early afternoon on a Thursday or Saturday when the Farmer's market is going on. There are great local restaurants and vendors from bakeries to oysters - you'll find it all. Some SF gems are Hog Island Oyster Co., IncCowgirl Creamery, and Acme Bread Company.

San Francisco Chinatown is fun, you can walk around and check out the knick knacks they sell at the stores. SF also has one of the largest, so there's plenty to see. For cheap, but good dim sum to go check out Good Mong Kok Bakery, for egg tarts check out Golden Gate Bakery and for a great sit down restaurant check out R & G Lounge - the salt and pepper crab is a MUST!

I would highly suggest the Mission District - you can go to Dolores Park. Grab an ice cream or a sandwich and go sit at the park - all the locals do. For bakeries you must try Tartine bakery and Craftsman and Wolves in the area. For the best burrito go to La Taqueria. There's a bunch of restaurants of all price ranges with a very unique setting. Most tourists miss the Mission and I think it's got a lot of heart. It's worth checking out. 

I love Hayes Valley there's cute bakeries and boutiques. I love Chantal Guillon Macarons for their macarons, 20th Century Cafe for an amazing honey cake and bagels with lox. You can walk around and find a ton of cafes. 

Some places to eat: B. Patisserie shouldn't be missed - their kouign amann is AMAZING! Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is also great! Get there around 8:15 to stand in line for their cruffin - it'll change your world. 

For a fancier dinner and a nice night out check out Kokkari Estiatorio - amazing greek food. Reservations highly recommended.

For sights to see/ things to do:

- Walk the Golden Gate Bridge

- Drive to the north side of the bridge and go to Marin Headlands - one of my favorite views of the bridge and a great place to take pictures

- Go to Lands End for the view and the Sutro Baths for a good view and a piece of history. 

- Walk around Golden Gate Park - it's worth it! There's a ton to do and see both free and paid.

- Want to head to a funkier area of town - check out Haight-Ashbury area - there's thrift shops, costume shops and a whole different vibe. 

- For beaches, head to Baker Beach you'll get a view of the bridge!

I know this is a lot of information but I'm not really sure what you like.

If I had 3 nights I would do Marin headlands (if you're in Marin already and you like nature, Muir Woods Visitor Center could be cool), baker beach, the Mission - Dolores Park, Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, Golden Gate Park, b. patisserie and Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. 

Hope this helps. For full reviews on great restaurants, you can head to my blog, Eat and Escape!



Comments (2)

Really great info here, Kristal! We will absolutely be trying out a number of your suggestions!

Great! I'm glad you found it helpful. Have a great trip :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
  2. Ferry Building Marketplace (attraction)
  3. Hog Island Oyster Co., Inc (restaurant)
  4. Cowgirl Creamery (attraction)
  5. Acme Bread Company (restaurant)
  6. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
  7. Good Mong Kok Bakery (restaurant)
  8. Golden Gate Bakery (restaurant)
  9. R & G Lounge (restaurant)
  10. Mission District (neighborhood)
  11. Dolores Park (attraction)
  12. Tartine bakery (restaurant)
  13. Craftsman and Wolves (restaurant)
  14. La Taqueria (attraction)
  15. Hayes Valley (neighborhood)
  16. Chantal Guillon Macarons (restaurant)
  17. 20th Century Cafe (restaurant)
  18. B. Patisserie (restaurant)
  19. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (restaurant)
  20. Kokkari Estiatorio (restaurant)
  21. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  22. Marin Headlands (attraction)
  23. Lands End (attraction)
  24. Sutro Baths (attraction)
  25. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  26. Haight-Ashbury (attraction)
  27. Baker Beach (attraction)
  28. Muir Woods Visitor Center (attraction)
comments (2)
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answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

My daughter loves nature more than touristy things, so if yours is similar, stick mainly to the scenic edges of San Francisco. There are beautiful beaches like all along the Pacific side. Her favorite is Baker Beach because of the view of the bridge. She loves walking across the Golden Gate Bridge too and exploring the bunkers and hiking along the Marin Headlands.

Yes, Alcatraz is amazing, but it books up months in advance in the summer, so look into it as soon as possible to reserve the ferry over there.

The views from Coit Tower are incredible and you can climb up to the top. Lombard Street is touristy, but cool. We like walking down it.

The downtown shopping district is crazy busy and not my favorite, but if your girl is a shopper, she may love the big stores and iconic cable cars going by. San Francisco Chinatown isn't far either.

If she loves art, she may enjoy the irreverent street art of the Mission district or the modern art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Golden Gate Park has so many things to see/do... it's a good place to check out online and plan ahead at what you might want to do. All depends on what she likes.

My daughter also loves the food around the "Little Italy" area in North Beach (California).

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Francisco (city)
  2. Baker Beach (attraction)
  3. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  4. Marin Headlands (attraction)
  5. Alcatraz (attraction)
  6. Coit Tower (attraction)
  7. Lombard Street (attraction)
  8. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
  9. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (attraction)
  10. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  11. North Beach (California) (neighborhood)
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