The best things to do in San Francisco with teenagers include biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing a Broadway show on stage, and exploring some of our top family-friendly museums.
In addition, you can also attend one of our famous street festivals, check out the 7D Experience on Pier 39, or cheer on one of our local sports teams.
Read on for a full list of 20 of the best activities for teenagers in San Francisco.
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One of my favorite things to do in San Francisco with teenagers is the Golden Gate Bridge bike tour. Not only will you get to ride along the waterfront and up and over the 1.6 mile-long architectural wonder, you'll get to hang onto the rental bikes for the rest of the day so you and your teens can continue exploring on your own after the guided portion ends.
What a better way to please your teens than letting them play video games in the heart of SF's most popular tourist district! But at this Pier 39 attraction, I bet you'll want to play too. That's because it's not just any video game, it's also a ride in a special theater equipped with 20 moving seats, 3D glasses, and weapons to fend off the bad guys. This activity is fun for the whole family!
Any baseball fans in the family? If so, don't miss the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the SF Giants' AT&T ballpark. This is the famous park where home run balls are fished from the bay by excited kayakers and fans can slide down the inside of a giant Coke bottle!
But the exclusive tour will take you to even cooler places that only the team and staff go, including the dugout, the visitors' batting cage and clubhouse, the press box, and a luxury suite.
If you really want to make your teen's visit to the SF Bay Area a memorable one, take them to a Warriors game, Giants or A's game, or 49ers or Raiders game. We are so lucky to have the hottest team in basketball, and not just one, but two, MLB and NFL teams in our backyard.
In addition, you'll find professional hockey and soccer in the South Bay.
One of the most interesting things to do in San Francisco with teenagers is to attend the city's unique festivals and parades. They occur all throughout the year, for holidays such as St. Patrick's Day and Carnaval, in honor of figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, and for cultural events like Chinese New Year and Gay Pride.
These festivals are not only a great source of entertainment with their variety of costumes, dances, and more, but also a fantastic way to learn about other cultures and customs.
If you're traveling with teens who've got a lot of energy and are looking for adventure, head over to one of SF's three rock climbing gyms. Two of them, Planet Granite and Mission Cliffs, offer an exciting range of top-rope routes, where climbers are strapped in with a harness, as well as free-climb bouldering problems.
The third gym, Dogpatch Boulders, is the largest bouldering gym in the US. Get active and have some indoor fun with the thriving community of local climbing enthusiasts.
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If your teens STILL have energy left to spare, the House of Air will take care of that. This indoor "Adrenaline Park" is a blast for adults and kids, taking the boundless fun of trampolines to the next level. Your family will literally be bouncing off the walls in the matrix of 42 conjoined horizontal and vertical trampolines. You'll find this impressive facility right next to the climbing gym at the Presidio by the Golden Gate Bridge.
Do your teens love to solve puzzles? Then head out on one of two fun urban amazing races with Urban Adventure Quest. Your family works together as a team using clues to solve puzzles that will lead you through different parts of San Francisco. Simply download the app to your phone and you can start the adventure anytime you want. It's a fun way to see the city and spend a couple playing together as a family.
The Pacific waters just off the coast of San Francisco are the premier place to look for whales in the wild. No matter what time of year you decide to visit, you'll have the opportunity to see at least one species of whale--gray, blue, humpback, sperm, or orca--in addition to the porpoises, dolphins, and seals that play out there all year round.
Boarding a boat to cross under the Golden Gate out to the ocean on a whale watching tour is one of the most exhilarating things to do in San Francisco with teenagers.
Did you know that there are over 1,000 murals in San Francisco? You'll find beautiful commissioned works in a number of public SF buildings, as well as gorgeous, colorful street art all over town, covering walls, sidewalks, and even drainage pipes and garbage cans.
You'll find art in every nook and cranny of the city, which makes hunting for it an endlessly rewarding activity for creative teens and their families.
Take your family to one of the most beautiful forests in the country, Muir Woods. This National Park sits nestled in the mountains just north of San Francisco, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the perfect opportunity to have your teens unplug from their devices and enjoy some of nature's best. You'll love hiking with them among some of the oldest and tallest trees in the west, the giant Coastal Redwoods.
One of the most classic things to do in San Francisco with teenagers is spend some time at the bowling alley. You have two options in the city: the Presidio Bowling Center near the Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio, and Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center in SoMa. They are both open every day of the year, including holidays, feature fun lighting on the lanes, and offer tasty food and drink menus.
This popular 75-minute tour offers your whole family a unique vantage point for sightseeing--a seat aboard a vintage red fire engine, suited up in a firefighter jacket. You'll feel ready to take on anything as your driver-guide takes the small tour group from Fisherman's Wharf through the Presidio, across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, and into the charming town of Sausalito.
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Do you want to check off a long list of things to see and do while on vacation with your teens in San Francisco? A great way to see a lot in a short amount of time is the Deluxe Half-Day City Tour, which takes you to all the major attractions, including Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, the Victorian homes, the Palace of Fine Arts, Twin Peaks, and so much more. The best part is, you'll still have the rest of the day to focus on the activities on which your family wants to spend the most time.
Another favorite among things to do in San Francisco with teenagers is taking a tour of Alcatraz Island. This ex-federal prison used to host the worst of the worst criminals in the US, some famous for their crimes and others more famous for their escape attempts, in which they would have to swim a mile through frigid waters to get to shore.
Definitely take your teens here if they like history or have seen movies featuring this unique SF attraction.
The California Academy of Sciences is a fascinating attraction for the whole family, as it houses so many different exhibits. Inside one fun, ecological building that's topped with a unique garden, you'll find a world-class aquarium, a planetarium, a four-story living rainforest, and a natural history museum featuring a towering T-Rex skeleton. There is so much to see and do here, it's no wonder it's the most popular museum in SF. Find it in Golden Gate Park.
If your teenagers have an affinity for the bay and ocean, take them to the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 for an up-close look at all the marine life that surrounds the city. Inside, you'll find dazzling displays of colorful fish, jellyfish, octopi, and more. One of the coolest features are the two walk-through aquariums, where you can watch sharks and stingrays swimming around you.
A trip to Angel Island is a great option for families with teenagers who love history or nature. In the early 20th century, this land was used as a detention center for immigrants on the West Coast, most of whom were Chinese. Now you can learn about its history at the island's museums, in addition to enjoying over 13 miles of hiking and biking trails.
You'll have to ferry past Alcatraz to reach the larger Angel Island in the SF Bay.
For those teenagers who crave yet more action on the water, head over to CityKayak, located in SoMa near AT&T Park. Here, you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards by the hour, or sign up for a guided trip based on your skill level. Trained instructors will make sure you're comfortable and safe before setting off to explore McCovey Cove, where home run balls make a splash, or the waterfront alongside downtown SF.
Advanced kayakers might go all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz Island.
Finally, one of the best things to do in San Francisco with teenagers who are more artistically inclined is to take them to a show. San Francisco offers the best of the arts, from live music and theater, opera and ballet, to musical comedies and even Cirque du Soleil acrobatics. You'll find performances in all of these genres nearly all year long. Check out the calendar below to make your plans and purchase tickets.