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Katie Sagal

10+ Things to Do in San Francisco with Teens During Your California Vacation

San Francisco is one of the coolest cities to visit at any age, but it's especially fun for teenagers. It's a great city for introducing your kids to the rewards of travel, and there's plenty of excitement around every corner. No matter how uninterested teenagers may seem at first, with the endless list of fun San Francisco attractions and activities, there's sure to be something that your teen will enjoy. If you’re looking for things to do in San Francisco with teens, check out our list of the top attractions and activities, including...

  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • California's Great America
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
  • Explore Fisherman's Wharf
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise
  • San Francisco GoCar Tours
  • AT&T Park Tour
  • and more...

Save on Admission to Attractions Teens Will Love

Many of these teen-friendly San Francisco attractions are included on the Go San Francisco® Card. Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate. See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Engage with the Sciences

Image of Animal, Aquarium, Fish, Sea Life, Water, Aquatic, If your teen is the science-y type, then you're in luck. San Francisco has an excellent collection of scientific attractions, from aquariums to natural history museums. Visit the California Academy of Sciences for an unbelievable experience that combines the best of all scientific institutions, including an all-digital planetarium, a four-story rainforest, a natural history museum, and an aquarium. Especially love sea creatures? Head to the Aquarium of the Bay at Fisherman's Wharf for more aquatic fun. A visit to either of these institutions is an excellent educational opportunity, too, so they'll be engaging their minds as they explore. Getting In: California Academy of Sciences tickets and Aquarium of the Bay tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Get Wild with Thrill Rides

Image of Amusement Park, Fun, Roller Coaster, Person, Everybody loves a good theme park. Bonus points for places with especially awesome roller coasters, like California's Great America, which is probably one of the more popular things to do in San Francisco with teens. Or, if you want the combination of theme park awesomeness and animal encounters, then Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is your must-visit destination. Both theme parks are all-day commitments, making a visit here an easy way to entertain your teens for an entire day. Getting In: California's Great America tickets and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Check out Fisherman's Wharf

Image of Boardwalk, Bridge, Water, Waterfront, Person, City, Handbag, Fisherman's Wharf / Image credit: J. O'Neill
It's one of the most popular places in San Francisco for tourists to explore, and we promise that teens will enjoy the many delightful experiences available at Fisherman's Wharf. There are several great attractions for all ages, whether you're into the super weird and wacky (Ripley's Believe it or Not!), the scary and campy (the San Francisco Dungeon) or the celebrity-centric (Madame Tussauds). Want some more ideas? Check out our post on things to do at Fisherman's Wharf during your vacation. Getting In: Ripley's Believe it or Not! San Francisco tickets, The San Francisco Dungeon tickets, and Madame Tussauds tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge

Image of Helmet, Boy, Male, Person, Teen, Adult, Female, Woman, Nature, Outdoors, Sea, Water, Bicycle, Vehicle, Shoe, Waterfront, Biking across the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most rewarding activities to do in San Francisco. Leave from North Beach or Fisherman's Wharf area and you'll pass through the beautiful Ghirardelli Square (an excellent place to pick up some chocolate, as a souvenir, of course) and Crissy Field (where you can stop for great photos of the bridge) before crossing bridge on bike. Grab a bite to eat in Sausalito and explore the beautiful oceanside town. From there you can turn around and bike back to downtown San Francisco or, if you're up for it, continue on to Tiburon and poke around the shops or grab an ice cream before hopping on the ferry for a ride back with your bike. Getting In: San Francisco bike rentals by Blazing Saddles are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

See the most notorious prison in the country

Image of Boat, Ferry, Vehicle, Person, Take your teen on the Escape from the Rock boat cruise and learn all about one of the most infamous prisons to ever operate in the United States. The Blue & Gold Fleet’s Escape from the Rock Cruise is a 90-minute trip that takes passengers under the Golden Gate Bridge and circles the correctional facility. The cruise is filled with sound effects and intriguing stories about Al Capone, Billy Cook the Killer, and Clyde Johnson’s escape attempt. Keep in mind that this cruise does not actually land at Alcatraz. However, it's chock full of eerie excitement and interesting facts, so you'll still get a thorough overview of the prison and its history. Getting In: Escape From The Rock Cruise tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card. If you'd like to include a visit to Alcatraz Island itself, purchase your Go San Francisco Card directly through them.

Enjoy Other Cruises

Image of Boat, Vehicle, Bridge, If Alcatraz is a bit too spooky for your teen, or if they love the water so much that they're up for another water adventure, then consider taking the whole family on a sightseeing cruise. You have several options that explore the Bay, like the Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise or the Golden Gate Bay Cruise. These cruises showcase the best and biggest highlights of the city, the shoreline, and the natural world around you. Their informative narration will keep teens from getting bored, and it's always fun to enjoy the open waters! Plus, depending on the time of year, it's a great way to soak up the sun and get some fresh air. Getting In: Golden Gate Bay Cruise tickets and Bridge 2 Bridge Cruise tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Check out the Exploratorium

Taking a trip to the Exploratorium is a great activity for a rainy day in San Francisco for your teens. Located on Pier 15, this museum combines science, art, and human perception into a unique experience that is distinctly San Francisco. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions and have fun while interacting with the hands-on exhibits and workshops. This attraction is also good for younger kids, which is perfect for big families or those with a big age range. It's also super exciting for any fans of science - where else do you get to literally step inside a tornado?? Getting In: Exploratorium tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Go for a Drive in a Talking Car

Image of Helmet, People, Person, Traffic Light, Boy, Child, Male, Glasses, Adult, Man, Female, Woman, Once named "One of the Most Amazing Inventions of the Year” by Time magazine, you can drive yourself in the first-ever GPS-guided Storytelling Car® that narrates what you're seeing via GPS coordinates as you drive around the city. GoCar San Francisco lets you explore at your own pace and get around to some of the spots tour buses can’t. One thing to keep in mind that while your teens can't pilot these GoCars (you must be 21+ to be the driver), they can still enjoy directing you where to turn, and which attractions to seek out. Getting In: San Francisco GoCar Tour tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Take a Tour of AT&T Park

Image of People, Person, Adult, Male, Man, Photography, T-Shirt, Female, Woman, Hat, Shoe, Child, Girl, Grass, Handbag, Boy, Flag, Field, Head, There are probably few things many teenage boys (and girls!) like more than sports. San Francisco is fortunately possessed of one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums in all of Major League Baseball. Perched right on the edge of the harbor, AT&T Park is a marvel. Enjoy a tour of this fabulous ballpark. It's a great place to tour, and an even better place to take in a game, whether or not you're a Giants fan. Getting In: AT&T Park Tour tickets are included on the Go San Francisco Card.

Remember to Save on Admission

There you have it. Our list of some of the top things to do in San Francisco with teens during your upcoming trip. Remember, many of these great activities are included on the Go San Francisco Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate. Consider adding a few of these teen friendly options to your vacation itinerary. Enjoy!

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