San Francisco Kids
Children’s Creativity Museum
221 4th St., Financial District
Block out a good chunk of hours for a trip here: Depending on your little one's interests, it's likely that they'll fall into a creative vortex. There's an animation studio, where they can build clay characters and create stop-motion videos; a community lab full of physical puzzles that will enlist all of their different creative problem solving skills; an innovation lab where they get a box of materials and have to invent something specific; a music studio where they can make their own music videos in front of a green screen and edit in GarageBand; and then our favorite, which is a tech lab where young coders learn how to build simple video games.
2185 Fillmore St., Pacific Heights
Specializing in gorgeous clothing and gifts for babies as well as beautiful accessories, toys, furniture, and make-believe items for kids, Mudpie makes every present feel special. It's bright space is classic and magical feeling, and they also do gorgeous gift-wrapping.
Lovejoy’s Tea Room
1351 Church St., Noe Valley
Lovejoy's Tea Room is adorable and eclectic, making it the perfect spot to host a small group of children for a tea party. If you're looking to take some of the magic home with you, there are shelves full of antique-looking china sets, teapots, and of course, tea.
Pier 15 at Green St., The Embarcadero
Two years ago, the Exploratorium left from its long-time home next to the Palace of Fine Arts to occupy Pier 15 on the waterfront, a move that more than tripled their exhibition space and also put them in a building with LEED Platinum certification. The science museum features an incredible Tactile Dome, which is a maze of tunnels and slides that you go through completely in the dark using only your sense of touch—needless to say, kids love it.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr., Golden Gate Park
This is an incredibly rich and well-staffed resource for everything science-related, from informative exhibits on the future of our planet, to an incredible planetarium, to a scaled-down rainforest complete with all sorts of live critters. On Thursday nights, they do a really fun adults-only party with numerous bars and amazing guest DJs.
Seward Street Mini Park
Seward St., Eureka Valley
Seward is a short street in The Castro that runs at a rough diagonal between 19th Street and Douglass Street. In addition to a tiny community garden, the park has these slides made of cement that are said to have been designed by a young 14-year-old girl who won a park design contest. When done sliding, walk up the Douglass Hill steps which lead you to Kite Hill—a small open space with grass and views overlooking the city.
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