What To Do in Golden Gate Park With Kids
Honestly, you can waste days in Golden Gate Park! It’s beautiful and has so many hidden gems. One of my favorites is the carousel and playground. (198 John F Kennedy Dr).
After the playground, check out the De Young Observation tower. Enter the De Young Museum (do not pay for admission) and ask to see the Observation Tower. It’s free and gives you a good view of the city.
In this area, you will notice the botanical gardens, the Conservatory of Flowers, The Japanese Tea Garden, The Academy of Sciences, and the De Young. These museums carry a hefty price tag and I would rate them as simply OK. The Academy of Sciences is not nearly as cool as the Exploratorium and the Japanese Tea Garden is less beautiful than Stow Lake which is right behind it and free. The Conservatory of Flowers is prettier from the outside. But if you want to go in any of these museums, feel free.
Other fun things in Golden Gate Park:
The Conservatory of Flowers: Save yourself a couple bucks and don't bother going in unless you really love rare plants. The park in front of the greenhouse is the best part. It's featured in the movie The Age of Adeline, except the bench is facing the wrong way and that's always bugged me. Cost: $9/adult $6/kid, free first Tues of the month. Hours: 10-4:30 Tues-Sun, closed Mon.
Koret Playground and Carousel: Concrete slides are just the best. This playground is super fun and if you're lucky you'll hear the drum circles at Hippie Hill as your kids play. Free.
The Skatin' Place: This is an outdoor arena where the best roller skaters come out to show off their stuff. They bring their boom boxes and put on a fantastic show. Free.
Stow Lake: Renting boats here is a bit pricey but fun! We like to hike to the top of Strawberry Hill. $25/hr
Disc Golf Course: This is a gorgeous disc golf course. BYO discs. It's like regular golf but with frisbees. Free.
Spreckel's Lake: Watch the hobbyists drive their little boats. Free.
Bison Paddock: There are bison here. It's a long story. Free
Ocean Beach: This is a fun place for a beach bonfire! Don't let your kids swim here though because the undertow is crazy strong. Free.
One activity that never fails? Find an open grassy place for the kids to run and order UberEats from a restaurant on Judah. Some favorites: Lemonade (1266 9th Ave), Yummy Yummy (1015 Irving St), and Arizmendi Bakery (1331 9th Ave).