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San Francisco, Carmel By the Sea, Santa Cruz

Weekend with parents ideas needed

I moved to the Bay Area recently and my parents are coming to visit this weekend. Looking for ideas of what to do! Alcatraz tickets are sold out. One day will be driving South on hwy 1. Looking for recommendations on where to visit and things to do.

8 Answers

top answer by
David from San Francisco

In the city:  

Out of the city (north):

Have fun.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Francisco Bay Ferry - San Francisco Ferry Building Terminal (attraction)
  2. Crissy Field (attraction)
  3. Fort Point Lighthouse (attraction)
  4. Palace of Fine Arts (attraction)
  5. AT&T Park (attraction)
  6. Legion of Honor (attraction)
  7. Lands End (attraction)
  8. Golden Gate Park San Francisco (attraction)
  9. Bison Paddock (attraction)
  10. Stow Lake (attraction)
  11. DeYoung Museum Sculpture Garden (attraction)
  12. Japanese Tea Garden (attraction)
  13. Conservatory of Flowers (attraction)
  14. Frascati (restaurant)
  15. Kokkari Estiatorio (restaurant)
  16. Frances (restaurant)
  17. Locanda (restaurant)
  18. Muir Woods (attraction)
  19. Matt Davis Trail (attraction)
  20. Stinson Beach (attraction)
  21. Napa Valley (attraction)
  22. Sonoma County (region)
  23. Angel Island State Park (attraction)
  24. Tomales Bay (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge once day (by car, bike, or walk), then drive over to Muir Woods which is a beautiful old redwood forest. You can spend an hour or several walking/hiking easy paths. If you love great views, drive up to Mt. Tamalpais which is close, then have a leisurely lunch in Sausalito CA. Stop at the Marin Headlands on the way back for amazing views of San Fran and the Golden Gate.

I also love driving through the Presidio and stopping for a walk on Baker Beach. It's a beatiful area and drive. From here, it's easy to do to the old Sutro Baths. My dad actually swam here as a kid (a long time ago). Now, it's just ruins, but it's beautiful, interesting, has a nice beach area, and great walking trails (though a lot of stairs).

You could also spend a day playing at Golden Gate Park. Check out their website. It's HUGE. They have gardens and museums, an aquarium and paddle boats. It's a beautiful place to take a picnic and just enjoy it.

Go to Chinatown, San Francisco or just have really amazing Chinese food. There are a ton of really great places. And if you love pizza, check out our family favorite, Gaspare's Pizza which is another old SF icon.

There's the Coit Tower which is seen and easy to combine with Lombard Street if you want to do the touristy things too. I also love the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project which is off the beaten path, but a nice walk and a beautiful little gem in the city. For more views, also go to Twin Peaks though it's nearly always foggy. You can also easily fit in the Painted Ladies, beautiful victorian era homes painted in bright colors, and another SF icon.

I love nature, so my favorite thing is to just start at the Golden Gate of the Presidio and hug the coast as much as I can all the way down. Do enjoy hwy 1. There are some beautiful places to stop along the way south there as well.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  2. Muir Woods (attraction)
  3. Sausalito CA (attraction)
  4. Marin Headlands (attraction)
  5. Presidio (neighborhood)
  6. Baker Beach (attraction)
  7. Sutro Baths (attraction)
  8. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  9. Chinatown, San Francisco (attraction)
  10. Gaspare's Pizza (restaurant)
  11. Coit Tower (attraction)
  12. Lombard Street (attraction)
  13. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project (attraction)
  14. Twin Peaks (attraction)
  15. Painted Ladies (attraction)
4 thanks

answered first by
Jessica from Washington, DC

During my trips to San Francisco I always enjoyed a walk or run in Crissy Field I also saw a lot of people who rented bikes as well. It has a beautiful view of the Golden Gate bridge and a cafe as well. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Crissy Field (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Merideth from Oakland

My mom & dad aren't super active so when they first started coming to visit I was often looking for stuff that would be fun but not too taxing.

A couple of things that were huge hits with my folks:

  1. People watching in North Beach. Meandering around the few blocks around Washington Square Park was great. It's relatively flat and is very SF feeling. Cafes and coffee shops line the area and it's a great place to sit outside with a glass of wine or cup of espresso and soak up the atmosphere.

    If you like, you can take the MUNI 39 bus from Washington Square up to Coit Tower. It just reopened with all the murals restored. Wonderful.

  2. And I second the idea of wine tasting in one of the regions that isn't Napa. Sonoma / Russian River wine tasting is great. It's much more low-key and with you'll find many fewer jackasses than at the Napa wineries. Also it's gorgeous and the wines are excellent.

If your parents are active I'm sure you'll be able to make use of the great ideas for hikes and outdoor destinations suggested by folks above. If not, or if you need a slow day, perhaps one of these options will suit.

Have a great time with your parents!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. North Beach (neighborhood)
  2. Washington Square Park (attraction)
  3. Coit Tower (attraction)
  4. Sonoma (city)
  5. Russian River (region)
3 thanks

answered by
Emi from San Francisco

So fun! Definitely rent bikes on The Embarcadero and ride out along the wharf / Presidio and across the Golden Gate Bridge! You can even go across to Sausalito and ferry back. Go to the ferry building farmers market and try every sample, and eat at Cheesecake in Union Square on top of Macy's. Get a cone at Twirl & Dip in Golden Gate Park! See some of the fun I had with my parents here!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The Embarcadero (attraction)
  2. Presidio (neighborhood)
  3. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  4. Sausalito (city)
  5. Union Square (attraction)
  6. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Bob from Pine Grove

Just these notes.  If the weather is good a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge is fantastic!  I have also boarded the ferry from San Francisco to Sausalito, spent some time checking out the shops and eating spots and then tanking a ferry back to SF.  You go right by Alcatraz on the ferry!  Walk SF and ride the Cable Cars!  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  2. San Francisco (city)
  3. Sausalito (city)
  4. Alcatraz (attraction)
  5. Cable Cars (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Ian from Foster City

I highly recommend Carmel. Very beautiful beaches and a cute downtown to shop in. There is a neat 17-Mile Drive that takes you along the coast with lots of nice views of the water. Towards the end you arrive at Pebble Beach Golf Course. I recommend having a bite to eat at their outdoor patio if you can fit that in.

Capitola is another great idea.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Carmel (attraction)
  2. 17-Mile Drive (attraction)
  3. Pebble Beach Golf Course (attraction)
  4. Capitola (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Giacomo from Mountain View

Down Highway 1 far enough are great spots for berry picking.

I love tidepooling near Half Moon Bay

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Half Moon Bay (city)

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