Mother's Day in San Francisco 2018

Top Things to Do + Brunch & Lunch Recommendations

Are you planning on spending Mother's Day in San Francisco this year? Here you will discover some top places for brunch, theater performances, cruises, where to take your mom shopping and other ideas to make the day extra special.

This year, Mother's Day falls on Sunday, May 13, 2018.

Mother's Day Cruise on the Hornblower

Disclaimer: I recieve a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Top Brunch Spots

You will find dozens of great places to take your mom to brunch on Mother's Day in San Francisco. Some of my favorites include Mama's in North Beach, Dottie's True Blue Cafe near Union Square and Brenda's French Soul Food near the Civic Center District.

You can also find more elegant options such as the Cliff House or the Palace Hotel.

Find a list of my top recommendations and book your table today!

Mother's Day Cruises

Treat your mom on her special day with one of these Mother's Day cruises.

Mother's Day Sunset Dinner Cruise With Top Shelf Classics

  • 3 hour cruise on the San Francisco Spirit Yacht
  • Buffet dinner with a variety of options
  • Wine and cocktails for purchase on board
  • Live music and dancing on board
  • Leaves from Pier 3 at 5pm
  • Full price $150, Goldstar price $87 (plus fees)
  • Check ticket availability on Goldstar

2-Hour Champagne Brunch Cruise

  • 2-hour cruise
  • Live entertainment
  • Brunch includes classic brunch items, lunch items and some tasty desserts
  • Unlimited Champagne, Mimosas, orange juice, soda, coffee and tea
  • Spectacular views around the SF Bay
  • Upscale brunch, business casual attire recommended
  • Leaves at 12pm from Pier 3
  • Starts at $115 per person for adults
  • Buy tickets for this cruise on GetYourGuide

Bay Sunset Cruise on a Luxury Catamaran

Other Events & Activities

Here are some other ideas for Mothers Day in San Francisco.

The Color Purple

Head over to the Orpheum Theater on Mother's Day to see this classic story on stage. The Color Purple starts in the early 1900s and follows the story of a young, African American woman. It shows her lifelong struggles in the American South through the mid-1900s. There is one performance on Mother's Day at 2pm.

Learn More: Find additional theater productions on Mother's Day

SF Bay Cruise

Hop aboard a Red & White Fleet ferry for a 60-minute ride around the SF Bay. This cruise offers wonderful view of the San Francisco skyline, Alcatraz Island, and the Palace of Fine Arts. You also ride under the Golden Gate Bridge, twice! It's a fun way to spoil your mom this Mother's Day Weekend. Cruises run all day between 10am and 5pm.

Tickets: On sale now at up to 50% off on Goldstar

More: Additional fun cruises on the SF Bay

Segway Tour in Golden Gate Park

Are you looking for something a little different? How about celebrating Mother's Day as you cruise through Golden Gate Park on a Segway. This 2.5 hour tour takes you past many of the key attractions on the eastern side of the park. You'll learn about the park's history, interesting gardens and beautiful museums. You'll also start with a great training session to make sure you are comfortable with your Segway before you get started.

Learn More: Discover what to expect from this tour from my last cruise around Golden Gate Park

Free Walking Tours

Every Sunday, the SF Public Library offers a number of free walking tours around the city. They range from a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge to a look inside the famous Haight Ashbury District. All last around 2 hours and all are given by local experts.

Learn More: Sunday schedule of walking tours

Comedy: Beach Blanket Babylon

You will also find quite a few comedy shows scheduled for Mother's Day in San Francisco. One of the most popular is Beach Blanket Babylon. Every Sunday, there are two shows. Both shows are now family-friendly where no alcohol is served and the routine is cleaned up for kids. They run at 2pm and 5pm.

Learn More: Show overview & FAQs

More Mother's Day Events

Best Places to Go Shopping

Shopping on Mother's Day is always a hit in my family and the city has several shopping options. You can either head down to Fisherman's Wharf for shopping or find bargains in Chinatown. The picture below shows the boardwalk on Pier 39 (from above) where you will find dozens of fun places to buy goodies.

pier 39

Here are some of my favorite places to go shopping in San Francisco with my mom:

  • Chinatown: I love heading over to Chinatown to go shopping. You can find a number of bargains here from luggage to clothing.

  • Pier 39: This is one of the most popular shopping spots for visitors. The pier is right along the water, making it a beautiful and fun place to hang out. You can do a little shopping, stop for some wine tasting or even grab some lunch.

  • Ghirardelli Square: This is another popular shopping area. It's smaller than Pier 39, but offers at least a dozen specialty shops from gifts to Kara's cupcakes.

  • Union Square: The Union Square area has a number of high end shops including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue. You will also find other shops including a five story Macy's, Victoria's Secret and Nike.

SF Attractions Your Mother Will Enjoy

Mother's Day is a popular day for visitors in San Francisco. Many of the largest attractions, such as the California Academy of Sciences, are busy and crowded.

This image showcases one of the beautiful buildings inside the Japanese Tea Gardens in SF's Golden Gate Park.

japanese tea garden

If you don't want to battle the crowds, here are a few recommendations I think you will enjoy. They are popular, but are more spread out so don't seem to get as crowded as other San Francisco attractions.

Japanese Tea Garden: The Japanese Tea Garden is a gorgeous traditional garden. It's serene and also has a number of beautiful structures.

Botanical Gardens: Spring is my favorite time to visit the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park. You will find thousands of plants from around the world and it's very colorful this time of year.

Mission Murals: Strolling the Mission Murals is another way to spend Mothers Day in San Francisco away from the crowds. All of them are free and you can walk around at your leisure. You can also grab a sack lunch and hang out in Dolores Park either before or after you visit the murals.

Legion of Honor: The Legion of Honor is one of my favorite SF Museums. It's a little further out, so usually doesn't get as crowded as some of the other museums. If you walk toward the water, you can also get some amazing views of the SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Their cafe is expensive, but has amazing food.

Alamo Square & the Painted Ladies: Another idea for Mothers Day in San Francisco is to grab a picnic lunch and head to Alamo Square. It's a gorgeous park with views of "Postcard Row" and downtown San Francisco. After lunch, spend some time walking around the neighborhood enjoying the Painted Ladies - the official name for the colorfully painted Victorians throughout the neighborhood.

Hidden Attractions: If this isn't your first time to San Francisco, you might enjoy exploring some of these fun hidden gems with your mom this Mother's Day in San Francisco. Discover an old church converted into a Buddhist temple, explore our neoclassical Columbarium, or admire some of our mosaic staircases.

Top Places to Stay

Are you looking at spending the weekend in SF with your mom? If so, I recommend staying either in Fisherman's Wharf or the Union Square areas. Both are near the action and the one you select will depend on what you have planned during your stay.

Fisherman's Wharf is perfect for those planning on spending a lot of time down by the water. If you want to shop along Pier 39, visit the great museums in this district or go on an Alcatraz tour, then Fisherman's Wharf is right for you. Click here for details on my favorite hotels in this district.

If your trip is more focused on activities in other parts of the city, the I recommend Union Square. This is perfect for those visiting a variety of districts as it is centrally located and it will take you less time to get from place to place. Click here for my favorite places to stay in Union Square.

Are you looking for the best hotel deals this weekend? If so, then check out all the hotels deals on TripAdvisor. Specials at hotels this weekend include free parking, free WiFi or even a percent off your room for a specific night or your entire stay. Click here for a current list of deals on

How can I help you plan the perfect Mother's Day in San Francisco?

Add your questions or comments below!

Mother's Day in San Francisco: Best Things to Do to Spoil Your Mom

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and please contact me if you have any questions before your trip.

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