LiLing Pang's Passport


Member since:
27 June 2008

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14, '16 Icon_founder_title

Icon_pictureBeen to 634 Attractions
Icon_star423 Reviews
Icon_star1271 First to Review
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Icon_thumbsup238 Helpful Votes

San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States

About Me & My Family
I'm a mother
3 Kids 5-13 years old boys and girls

When we travel, good food and adventure always abound. Our family loves to push the limit of what we can do with children. Our mantra has always been - have kids, will travel. However, this doesn't mean I'm unlike most frantic moms before a trip. Wanting adventure and being a control freak can sometimes be a lethal combination.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, independent, spontaneous
We Just Got Back From
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Hawaii, Montana, Lake Tahoe
A Place We'd Love To Visit
New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Italy
Favorite Vacation Memory
Climbing Machu Picchu with a 4 month old infant in a slight and having all the locals stop us to ask what happened to his feet which were all bundled up. They just couldn't believe it wouldn't be bow legged.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Getting to the airport on our way to Scotland with my 15 month old and discovering that my husband's passport had expired. Instead of rebooking all of our flights, we decided that I would do the first leg of our journey on my own with baby. Unfortunately, we had not packed for me to be flying by myself. I could bearly walk to the runway with all my bags and a 15 month old who would get distracted by everything along the way. He then proceeded to sleep only 1 hour of the entire 11 hour journey (red-eye). It was pretty miserable.
Websites I Like:

14 Must See Attractions with Baby/Toddler in San Francisco

San Francisco is a city not lacking in world class attractions, once in a life time experience and breathtaking scenes.  However, with it's hilly streets and challenges with parking, parents with babies or toddlers visiting San Francisco will undoubtedly experience some difficulties getting around.

Here are some of my favorite places to take friends who are visiting with a baby or toddler.  Some spots are simply must see attractions that you can navigate easily with a stroller or baby in a carrier.  Other spots are delightful for a toddler.

In the past 5 years, the city of San Francisco has also updated many of the city's playgrounds.  Some of them are truly unique works for art.


Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California

Of course no visit to San Francisco is complete without at least a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  One of the best view points with a young child is from Crissy field, where your toddler can run to his heart's delight or play in the sand at the beach while mom and dad snap photo after photo of this picture perfect bridge that San Francisco is so famous for.   On a nice sunny and mildly day, enjoy a walk across the bridge, but remember to bring a stroller or a child carrier for your baby or toddler.  The walk across the bridge is way too long for a little one.  It can be very windy and cold on the bridge, so if it's a foggy day, you might want to skip a walk across the bridge if you have a little one with you.


Downtown San Francisco
San Francisco, California

A visit to San Francisco just wouldn't be complete without a cable car ride. But it can be tricky with a baby or toddler if the cable car is crowded. You are best off wearing your baby.  You will not be be able to keep the child on the back unfortunately.  So either have your child in a front carrier or an umbrella stroller that is easy enough to fold up. There will be no space on the cable car for a large stroller.   You'll also have to forgo hanging off the side of the cable car because you will be asked to sit inside, but it's still a fun experience. Just know what to expect.


1 Ferry Building
Embarcadero and Market Street San Francisco, California

At the Ferry Building on Tuesdays (10am-2pm) and Saturdays (8am-2pm), there is a farmer's market with the most exquisite produce that California has to offer.  Mom and Dad can marvel at all the gourmet varieties of fruits and vegetables for sale, while junior can enjoy a sampling of some of California's choice produce and tasty treats.  There are also many baby friendly restaurants at the ferry building.  A walk up and down the Embacadero offers wonderful views of the bay bridge and boats on the bay.  This is also where you'd catch a ferry ride across the bay to Sausalito, Tiburon, and Larkspur.


1 Ferry Building
(Multiple locations) San Francisco, California

If you're looking for some of the most stunning views of San Francisco from the bay at an affordable fare, take the Golden Gate ferry from the Ferry Building Terminal to Sausalito, Tiburon or Larkspur.  The views are simply priceless on a beautiful day.   On a cold and foggy day, I'd avoid the ride because you'll feel compelled to huddle inside.  Bring a stroller for baby because once you are on the other side, you might have to walk to the nearest shops and restaurants.  


320 Bowling Green Drive
San Francisco, California

Koret's Children's Quarter is on the site for the country's first playground (formerly known as Children's Playground).  The playground was completely re-designed about 10 years ago and t's a wonderland for young kids.  Bring a change of clothes for your toddler who might be drawn to the sandy play area that has a water feature in it that the kids just love, but they'll get messy in it.  It's very crowded on weekends, so if possible, visit on a weekday.  There is so much else to enjoy in golden gate park, but a visit with a young child to this playground will make their day.  This is no ordinary playground.

reviewed on: July 29 2008

"Must visit for any family with young kids"
The Koret Children's Quarter is truly one of the most wonderful  free playgrounds.  Our 5 and 2.5 year old simply love this playground.  Many of the playground structures were custom designed.  This is no ordinary playground.  A large wave creates a climbing wall.  A tall concrete slide is a delight for kids and parents who are young at heart (like myself).  The rope pyramid is challenging, but perfect for a 5 year old who loves to climb.  Young children will enjoy the fantastic climbing structures and the little water play area in the sand "box"

Although this playground is almost always crowded, that adds to the energy of the playground.   Parking is often very difficult on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am onwards.

The plentiful but old school bathrooms are clean, but no changing tables were available.  Nearby is a large meadow for running and the famous carousel for children is such a steal at $.50 for kids and $1.50 for adults.
Bring a picnic and enjoy the large trees that surround the playground.


JFK Drive, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California

The Conservatory of Flowers is housed in a magnificent old green house building.  Walk inside and you'll be transported into a tropical garden of beautiful flowers. It's a feast for your sense and young ones can get up close to some exquisite plants from around the world.   Unfortunately, the Butterfly zone is not closed.


1090 Point Lobos
San Francisco, California

The land's end trail takes you around the tip of the peninsula that San Francisco is sitting on.  There are no better views of the mouth of the bay.  The hike with baby requires a child carrier but isn't too strenuous.  A stroller would have a hard time going up and down the steps and the hike is long enough that a toddler would not be able to make it the whole way on foot.  If you start off near sutro baths, take a walk down to the cave at sutro baths and watch the waves crash into the cave.  


Hyde Street on Jefferson Street
San Francisco, California

This floating national park has the world’s largest collection of historic ships. Dozens of antique vessels are open to explore and clamber on, from tiny fishing boats to steam tugs, a houseboat, an 1895 lumber schooner—with 100-foot beams in its hold—and an ornate 1886 square-rigger.  Your little one will love seeing all the different types of boats while mom and dad will enjoy the informative presentations.  While you are here, walk around Fishermen's Wharf, pick up some crab and take a peek at the sea lions behind Pier 39.  Enjoy some lunch or dinner a Boudin's Bakery where you can get some famous San Francisco sourdough bread.

reviewed on: January 31 2010

"First Sundays are Free!"
On a whim one Sunday, we decided to visit the Hyde Street Pier and Maritime National Historical Park.  We had read about it here on Trekaroo. (Thanks you guys!)  To our delight, we happened to be there on a first Sunday and all the ships were free to board.  

The highlight on board the Eureka was visiting the model ship building room.  The person working there was so welcoming and took the time to share about the ship he was building with our two boys (3 and 6).  My two Lego fans were totally captivated by what he was doing.  The engine attached to the big turning wheel was pretty amazing as well.  The sure size of it stunned the kids.

What we enjoyed most was the trading vessel - Balclutha. The ship has quite a history as a trading vessel.  Below deck, multimedia exhibits tells the story of Balclutha's history transporting good and grain between San Francisco and Europe and Asia, transporting timber to Australia, and transporting Salmon from Alaska.  The exhibits were so well done that our 6 year old and myself were spellbound by the stories.  Guided tours are offered most days where kids will be fascinated by the raising of the sail and learning first hand some skills sailors needed at sea or at port.  We missed this.

I also found out from the park ranger that school groups and scout troops can actually organize overnight visits on board Balclutha.  The kids are invited on to be sailors for a night. They have to learn a few skills and then are asked to perform certain tasks as teams.  Their initiative is tested through these tasks.  Kids also get to sleep on board like real sailors.  It sounds like a ton of fun!  Can't wait till my boys are old enough so i can organize a trip.


1 Zoo Road
Sloat Boulevard at Forty-fifth Avenue San Francisco, California

The San Francisco Zoo is the perfect size for a young child.  It's not the largest or best zoo in the country, but the children's zoo is lots of fun with a farm yard where your child can feed ducks, sheep and goats.  Careful some can be fiesty.  Try to catch some animal feedings especially the Grizzly bear feeding where you get to see a bear chase down a live fish.   Families love the new addition of the Elinor Friend Playground at the zoo that features a huge climbable Banyan Tree, a slidable iceberg, and very sweet River Play area. It's one of our favorite playgrounds in San Francisco. There is also a carousel and a steam train that kids simply love at the zoo.

reviewed on: November 30 2008

"Seagulls everywhere."
2008 - E (5 year old) says: "My brother went to the zoo and his chicken got stolen by a seagull.  I didn't like that.  But, I do like that there is a big playground at the zoo and there is a place (Koret Resource Center) where you can watch the zoo keepers feeding the owls mice.  I really like the little steam train that goes around the zoo and my favorite animals are the tigers, the lions, and penguins. Don't miss the polar bear feeding.  The zoo keepers feed them live fish and the polar bears swim and eat it.  At the Koret Resource Center, you can also see a baby alligator and the unusual Eurasian Eagle Owl that looks so cool. My little brother likes the giraffes and I like the seals"

2013 - My 5 year old is now 10 and we've been going to the San Francisco for over 10 years now.  In recent years, the San Francisco Zoo has undergone some significant improvements that include the addition of a wonderful African Safari enclosure.  But most recently (Nov 2013) the zoo just got a brand new playground that's fabulous!  The playgrounds is really a work of art with three different eco zones that kids can explore.  The three different areas cater to different age groups and each has been thoughtfully designed using a variety of natural and recycled materials to create a truly wonderful playground.  

Our favorite things to do at the San Francisco Zoo:
- Watching the grizzly bear feeding.  Who knew bears could be so agile when motivated by food
- Watching the giraffes and zebras in the beautiful African Safari enclosure
- Visiting the koala bears because the are so cute
- Gawk at the mandrills because they are just the strangest looking creatures
- Visit the children's zoo and visit the beautiful owls that have been rescued the Koret Resource Center.  The owls are usually sitting just a few feet away from you.
- Playing at the Elinor Friend Playground
- My boys might also add, getting dipping' dots the Leaping Lemur Cafe.

By the way, the food at the Leaping Lemur Cafe is surprisingly decent.


557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, California

The Bay Area Discovery Museum is simply one of the best and most unique children's museums in the country.  Instead of being a one big building the museum is spread across several small buildings with a large outdoor play area and wonderful views that mom and dad will love.  It is definitely worth a special trip over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for.  It's a little difficult to get to without a car, but if you don't plan on renting a car, you could hire a taxi either from San Francisco or from the ferry terminal in Sausalito.  Your baby will love the water beds, and your toddler will have hours of fun in the tot spot gathering fish in the concerete river, playing with trains on their massive set of brio train tracks, and digging in the gravel pit with Tonka trucks.  Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours here.  


16th and Dolores
San Francisco, California

Another wonderful playground for kids of all ages is located in the Mission District at Dolores Park.  The Helen Diller Playground has two huge slides that you'll want to ride down yourself. The only downside is that this playground is not fenced in, so you'll have to follow your little one around and get in on all the fun as well. The mission district is sunny, so make sure to bring lots of water and if you need to cool off, stop in at the Bi-rite Creamery and pick up some of San Francisco's best ice-cream. If you love french pastries, Tartine Barkery is also a walking distance from this playground. We like picking up treats and having a picnic at Dolores Park. Little feet might appreciate a stroller.


California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr. - Golden Gate Park San Francisco, California

The Steinhart Aquarium is located inside of the California Academy of Sciences. You'll have to pay admission to the Academy to get in. When my daughter was a baby and toddler, we got membership primarily because she adored the huge coral reef tank at the Steinhart Aquarium. We would literally spend an hour just gazing at the fish. The aquarium is meticulous with keeping their tanks sparkling. Several times each day, a diver goes into the tank and does a live show talking to the audience from inside the tank.

reviewed on: June 04 2016

"Young children won't want to leave the gorgeous coral reef tank!"
The Steinhart Aquarium is actually a part of the California Academy of Sciences, but for our family, it's the reason that we return again and again. The tanks are always sparkling and the variety of sea life in a relatively small area is truly remarkable.  


750 Mission Street
San Francisco, California

If you are staying in the union square area and looking for a great playground, head over the Yerba Buena Center just south of Market Street. There is a also a Carousel that little ones would enjoy. And older kids might want to stop in to visit the Children's Creativity Museum or go ice-skating.

reviewed on: May 18 2009

"Nice playground, but keep an eye on kids"
Yerba Beuna Gardens has lots of fun activities for kids of all ages from ice-skating, bowling, the Zeum, a great playground, and a carousel. The playground has really tall metal slides that the kids love.  There are some cool climbing structures and bridges as well as a water play area.  The only thing I would caution is that the playground is not fenced in and there are lots of non parent people lurking around.  The water play area also didn't look very sanitary.  Not that one expects it to be sanitary.  But considering that it's in the middle of the city, you have no idea who and what has been in the water.  I would come to the playground mostly with older kids - 4 and up, but plan on having your eyes glued on them.


186 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, California

San Francisco stores are full of character and charm.  If you live in a town where the only toy stores are Target and ToysRus, then you must spend an hour at one of San Francisco's boutique toy stores.  Ambassador Toys is located down town in the financial district, but if you are willing to venture further, you might want to visit some of these other stores as well. I love that they always have a selection of designer toys that you might not find elsewhere.