Family Tour

The Map of this San Francisco Tour will be here soon!

All right kids, let’s go out and have an adventure; mom and dad, you too! This tour includes many hidden treasures that have more familiar counterparts in other areas of the city. Take China Town in the Sunset – you can find much better deals on everything from souvenirs, clothes, and food compared to what you will find at the downtown China Town.

The tour begins at 9th and Irving. From downtown, take the N-Line. This streetcar will take you out to the “avenues”, which looks more like the suburbs, but is very much a part of the city. Once you arrive at your destination, there are a number of interesting boutiques, restaurant, and shops. Tutti Frutti is popular amongst the kids as well as the comic store Amazing Fantasy down at the corner of 7th and Irving.

In close proximity to 9th and Irving is the Arboretum. Simply head north on 9th Street and pass Park Chow, an amazing restaurant with outdoor eating on the second floor, and the Misdirection Magic Shop, again popular with the kiddies. If you keep heading north, you will come upon Lincoln Avenue. Cross Lincoln and enter Martin Luther King Drive. This takes you directly to the Arboretum where you will encounter flora from other regions of the world with a Mediterranean climate such as South Africa and South East Australia. One of my favorite trees is the Metrosideros Excelsior or the Pohutukawa tree or New Zealand Christmas tree. Pohutukawa is a Maori word meaning drenched with mist and has characteristic roots that descend from the branches and shoot downward to the ground, generating new trunks. Close by this tree is a small pond that on a sunny day beckons turtles, Mallard Ducks, and other critters.

When you are done here, head back to 9th and Irving and jump back on the N-Line and head up Judah than west to 19th and Judah. At 19th and Judah, head down one block to 19th and Irving. This is the beginning of China Town in the sunset. You will encounter many Chinese restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops with deals you won’t find anywhere else. This might not appeal much to the kids, but walk down a few blocks and get ready to head to the beach by returning south to Judah. Board the N-Line again and this will take you right to Ocean Beach.

Disembark at the end of the line at La Playa and Judah. There is a nice café right at the corner where you can get water or some stimulation, but if you keep heading west, you’ll encounter dunes and the beach just beyond them. Surely you must dip your feet in the water to say you’ve been in the Pacific Ocean.

When you are done having fun in the water, which should be fairly quick considering how cold the water is, head to the Great Highway and walk north. You will see the Windmill donated by Queen Wilhelmina and the Beach Chalet, which is another great place for families to have lunch, as there is a large dining area in the back where kids can run around and play amongst the brush and garden.

If you continue north on the great highway you will encounter the spectacular cliff house which is a high end restaurant and the beautiful Sutro Baths; get your cameras ready folks as this area is simply picturesque. At this point, we are ready to head back to civilization by walking east on Point Lobos to 48th Avenue. Turn right, down to Geary and board the 38. This takes you directly to the Richmond district. It is best to get off at 22nd Street and head east, taking you past more cheap and good restaurants, one of which is a 24hr video café where you can catch a meal and a movie. This area is very diverse as it brings together Asian, Russian, and Israeli influences, truly a salad bowl and cultural centre. Further east on Geary is a cool comic store, Cards and Comic Central, with lots for the kids to see, but in general take in the culture and get something to eat if you are hungry; this place is just interesting, fun, and unique.

When finished with the Richmond, you can hop back on the 38 and continue your trek east, to Webster where you can take a stroll through Japan Town, or continue east to O’Farrell and Powell. Exit the bus and you are directly in front of Union Square, offering many sights and sounds. The Cheese Cake Factory is accessible through Macy’s and there are a number of stores to keep the kids satisfied, like the Disney store at Powell and Post.
On the weekend, if you have time or are interested, another amazing treasure, which is perfectly suited for families, is the Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio. The Presidio can be somewhat inaccessible by foot, but on the weekend the 43 and GO shuttle provide easy access to the Museum. At Masonic and Geary board the 43 heading north. This takes you directly to the GO shuttle stop at the intersection of Presidio and Lincoln Boulevards and Letterman Drive. This museum is extensive and you may want to spend the rest of your time here or simply board the 43 and head to the Fillmore. The 43 will take you to Chestnut and Fillmore. The Fillmore is another unique neighbourhood in the city and definitely worth a stroll.

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