San Francisco Highlights, Travel Photography and San Francisco Travel Tips for Young Families

family photo, travel photography san francisco

Having recently visited San Francisco with my family, I thought I’d share some highlights of our trip. As it was my first visit in many years and my husband and son’s first visit altogether, we did a lot of “touristy” things, but also tried to visit some “hidden gems.”

Of course, one of the first things on our list was to see the Golden Gate Bridge and we viewed it from vantage points, drove across it, passed under it by boat . . . we didn’t walk across, but maybe when the little guy is older we’ll cross that off our list, too.

Passing Under the Golden Gate Bridge

You can see more of my photos of the bridge here.

One of my favorite days in San Francisco was the day we went to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. Definitely one of those experiences that makes you question why you’re not living in San Francisco.

san francisco travel photos, farmer's market flowers

flower photography, large white poppy flower

Gorgeous flowers; fresh, delicious fruit like nothing you could buy in your super market; beautiful stores and products inside the ferry building; live music, cooking demonstrations, good people watching . . . basically a combination of many of my favorite things in one place.

fresh farmer's market produce

And to see my child eager to try new things (I think that’s a tangelo below) and squeal with excitement over tasting fresh fruit was priceless.

family travel photos from a trip to san francisco

Of course, we were in San Francisco so it wasn’t all fruit and flowers. . . there was also chocolate!

This way to the chocolate, San Francisco, California

With thanks to not only Ghiradelli but also the TCHO factory along the embarcadero     (‘love their packaging. . . oh, yeah, and the free samples. . . those were good too!)

And there was clam chowder. . . in sourdough bread bowls of course at Boudin Bakery (please don’t show this blog post to my nutritionist!)

Food Photography

Walking around North Beach brought delicious Italian food and stopping to listen to fantastic musicians performing on the corner — another memorable experience for me and I think for our son as well who is a big fan of music just like his mama! These are The Dawn Dwellers:

Musicians in North Beach, San Francisco, The Dawn Dwellers

The living roof at the California Academy of Sciences was also a highlight, as was the entire museum itself. HIGHLY recommend a visit, especially if traveling with kids! While in Golden Gate Park we also visited the Japanese Tea Garden and stopped for lunch in the park.

visiting san francisco with kids

Thanks to some “insider info” we visited and recommend not missing 826 Valencia in the Mission District. . . Love the whole idea of this place and we spent plenty of time exploring. I won’t even try to do it justice with a brief description. You’ll have much more fun visiting the website anyway and should not miss a trip to visit it in person if you’re in the area. While you’re there, buy something! 😉

Inside one of the drawers at 826 Valencia

Of course, if you’re already in the Mission District you HAVE to grab some ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery and sit in Dolores Park . . . maybe try to find the “family” section if you’re with your kids as you may not want this activity to truly be a HIGHlight . . . 😉

A few other memorable scenes from our trip. . .

Can Uncle Jesse come out to play? The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square:

The Palace of Fine Arts:

Sun Flare behind the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California

detail photograph of the palace of fine arts in san francisco, california

QUICK TIP: Before visiting San Francisco seriously consider buying a City Pass which not only allows you to ride pretty much anything that moves (other than the BART) for free —  including the Cable Cars (which in my opinion were a bit overrated unless you get to be one of the people who gets to hang off the side)  — but it also allows you to skip the lines at some major attractions and gives you discounts on the entry fees. We definitely saved money using the City Pass, but it was skipping the lines to enter at the aquarium, exploratorium, boat ride, science center, etc . . . that made it worth it!

San Francisco was a feast for our senses and probably ranks up there as one of in not THE favorite family vacation to date. It’s easy to find a mix of activities to do to keep everyone in the family happy. We had a great time, it’s a fantastic city and we can’t wait to return!

Have you visited San Francisco? What was your favorite part of the trip? Any tips to share?

reflection of the setting sun over the san francisco bay


many of these images can also be found for sale in the [en]frame photography Etsy shop .

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  1. It’s my favorite city for reason! Great wrap up post; next time, you should be sure to check out the Exploratorium and another great ice cream spot is Humphrey Slocumbe!

    • hi lizz! thanks for stopping by and for your comment! we actually did visit the exploratorium and loved it; just felt like this post was already a little long, but you’re right that it’s a great spot! and i will be sure to put that ice cream place on my list for the next time we’re in SF! 🙂

  2. Thanks for your visit to the coast! We did this trip last year, but didn’t explore like you did. My wife would of loved to have explored like you and family did. Now we know of the different places to visit.

    John Nolan
    Great photography!

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