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San Francisco with a seven-year-old

My other half and I have always loved city breaks and were desperately trying to indoctrinate our son to love them too. The previous year we had tested his stamina extensively with a trip to Hong Kong and Australia and now wanted to do a break to the states over May half term. We encountered a few problems with the constraints of dates so ended up doing six nights so we could be back in time for school.


Before we went I did my research and decided on some of the key things we wanted to do which

included a trip to Alcatraz, a visit to the California Academy of Science, the Exploratorium science

museum, an excursion to see Giant Redwoods, riding the trams and of course Fisherman’s Wharf,

Lombard Street and walking on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Having decided on these attractions, we found it was best to book a city pass in advance which gave us three days on the trams and buses and entry to some of the above included – it seemed good value for money based on the door costs of the attractions.


We decided to stay a bit further away from the main centre but with amenities still nearby and opted for a Marriott hotel near Union Square. This turned out to be a great base to jump on the trams and explore.


Our son absolutely loved everything there and was thrilled to recognise so many familiar sights from

films – he loved Lombard Street, the tourist tat of Fisherman’s Wharf and its Seals and just the awe

of seeing the Bridge. Particular highlights had to be the Academy of Science, located in the park and with an amazing indoor rainforest, natural history section and roof garden.

The science museum - the Exploratorium - was the best science museum I have ever been to and is still talked about at home all the time.

The sail out to Alcatraz gave us fantastic views of the bridge and city (we were lucky to have not fog) and the visit itself was fascinating – although my son got bored by the audio guide about 2/3


We booked a trip, through our hotel, to nearby Muir Woods (Yosemite was a bit far in a short trip), to see some stunning redwood trees which was another highlight!

We managed to see so much of the city in our six days and I couldn’t recommend it enough for a great city break for kids. The only negative was our flight time home meaning we landed at midnight and went to school at 8 the same day...


Rachael works in the public sector and lives in Cheshire. She is married to Rob and they have one son aged nine.

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