Chasing Davies: Trip to San Francisco with the Kids!

November 4, 2014

Trip to San Francisco with the Kids!

What to do when traveling to San Francisco with kids

Whew! What a crazy, exhausting and wonderful trip we had to San Francisco with the primary purpose of visiting family, especially my great-Grandmother!  Liam has gotten to meet her twice now (see last year's trip here!), but Nora had yet to meet her great-great-Grandma and we wanted to make sure she had that special experience, including a 5-generation photo!  Kind of rare these days and we feel so lucky to have her in our lives.  

She is 100% Italian and used to live in Kansas City when I was younger (originally from Sicily!), so I had the wonderful pleasure of spending some days at her house with my sister and great-grandpa while my parents worked.  She would begin dinner midday (a full, typical Italian meal) while my sister and I would either learn how to play cards from my grandpa, or play in her expansive backyard and garden. I still think of that house and yard every time I get a whiff of a mixture of herbs (it's a scent I can't pin down, but catch it sometimes and am immediately brought back).   

She now lives in CA, where she has the last 20 (ish) year. My grandpa, great-uncle and aunt and uncle and their families also live there, so my family has been visiting San Fran one to two times a year for as longs as I can remember.  It's a great place to visit.  And now, all the more reason, my husband's brother and wife live there!  They also have a darling home in the Belmont area that they let us crash at (and completely take over...) and are always up for an adventure.

Though super exhausting when flying and traveling with two littles (sleep was at an all time minimum), totally off our schedules and routines and in unfamiliar places, we had a great time seeing family and taking the kids to new places!  Liam was also at an age where he got a kick out of seeing different places that we read about in his San Francisco Baby book.  

Here are some photos of our trip and a bit more of what we specifically did, if you're interested...

Where to stay in Fisherman's Wharf with kids
Traveling to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf

^^ The first night we stayed in the city near Fisherman's Wharf with my parents and sister (who all also came to town!).  We stayed at Columbus Motor Inn, which sounds kind of shady, but we've been staying there every year (well, usually we stay with family the majority of the time, but also a night here and my parents/sister stay here the whole time) and you guys, it's amazing.  It's nothing fancy, but it's in prime location (few blocks from Fisherman's Wharf), near tons of great restaurants and the trolly.  This hotel also has FREE parking and the rooms are big. They included a pack and play in the room so we didn't have to lug that along, which was huge.

So, the first day we arrived, after a long and not so great flight, we hit the Wharf to chase birds, see the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz from afar and eat an early dinner.  As we were walking along, we stopped to watch a fisherman cleaning off his boat and were delighted by the friendly guest in the water waiting for scraps.  Liam was amazed by the Sea Lion that kept poking his head up to say hello.  It was a great place to go to get out some energy and see something new. :)

Take your kids to see the Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Fields
Where to see the Golden Gate Bridge
Beaches to play on near the golden gate bridge
San Francisco beach near Golden Gate bridge

^^ My sister-in-law is a great at planning things to do, so we didn't do much in preparation!  We went to Crissy Field, which is an awesome beach and path along the bay with perfect view of the Golden Gate bridge.  Liam loved playing in the sand and running down the path. We played catch, got coffee and walked for a bit - another great place to get out a little one's energy + great views!

What to do in Sausalito, CA
man made rock statues in sausalito, ca
Scoma's in Sausalito, CA
Sausalito Scoma's

^^ We spent an afternoon in Sausalito, just on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge and a fun drive over it!  I loved this sweet town - completely charming.  The town spills into the bay from an enormous hill, which houses stuck into the side similar to what I've seen photos of Greece looking like.  We walked along the their main street, stopping for lunch at Scoma's, a book store for new San Francisco books for the kids and to get ice cream. 

I had been to the Scoma's in Fisherman's Wharf many time before, including last year (a family favorite), but had never tried this location.  It was fantastic.  I could see it being a really romantic dinner for a couple, but they were super nice to us during lunch with two tired kids.

Along our walk in the town, we stopped to watch a man building rock statues with nothing but his hands.  We would meticulously hold rocks on top of one another, gently rocking it around to find each rock's balance.  He spent a few minutes on each rock until it was steady all alone.  Then he'd slap it with some sort of thin stick about two inches wide to test it's balance.  It was magical.  These rocks were balanced upon each other, larger ones on top of small ones, rocks slanted in ways that nothing could possibly stay atop it, built 4-5 up.  I had to be peeled away as he started a new one and my family was ready to move on...

We ended the trip with a big ol' family-reunion styled dinner at my great-grandma's retirement home. It was great, because the kids got to spend even more quality time with her (we visited with her every day we were there in between sight seeing and touristy adventures) and Nora got to meet the rest of her CA family.  Plus, they had toys for Liam to play with and ample space to run around!  It was a great end to a great trip.

We can't wait to go back next year!  Miss you already, CA family! xo

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