Things to Do in San Francisco with Teens – 13 Top Activities

The next time you bring your family to California, check out these 13 entertaining things to do in San Francisco with teenagers.

Everyone knows traveling with teens is tough! Between prying them off their phones and trying to figure out what to do in San Francisco with teens, parents have their work cut out for them. Follow along as we help you discover fun things to do in San Francisco for young adults. 

But fear not, parents! This high-spirited city has a plethora of exciting experiences that will surely captivate even the most phone-attached teens. Whether your young adults are thrill-seekers, nature lovers, art enthusiasts, or foodies, there are many things to do in San Francisco with teens. 

The challenge of traveling with teenagers is now over! San Francisco is a city that understands the desires of most teens, making it the perfect vacation spot to keep them engaged, entertained, and enthralled.

close up of Fisherman's Wharf sign with crowds of people walking through the streets in San Francisco, California, USA

1. Fisherman’s Wharf

Naturally, Fisherman’s Wharf is on the list! This top family friendly tourist attraction is bursting at the seams with things to do with a teenager. No matter if you’re looking for things to do in san francisco for 18 year olds or things to do in San Francisco with kids, you can find a range of activities here that are ideal for all ages.

While here, check out other things to do with teens like:

Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to a myriad of maritime history museums if your teens are interested in that, as well. Keep an eye out for delicious food stands, street performers, and more throughout the wharf.

2. Pier 39

While at Fisherman’s Wharf, you have to visit Pier 39. It’s a Bay Area tourist’s rite of passage. Plus, it houses some of the best things to do in San Francisco at night.

Aside from the legendary nightlife, live music, and  barking California Sea Lions, Pier 39 is home to:

  • Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze
  • Pier 39’s Musical Stairs
  • The San Francisco Carousel
  • The Sea Lion Center

If you get hungry (like every teenager will), Pier 39 is also home to a multitude of restaurants. You’ll find everything from sit-down seafood restaurants to quick service counters here.

sea lions laying on pier 39 at sunset in san francisco california3. Palace of Fine Arts

What’s a better way than pleasing your art-enthusiast teen?  A visit to art museums! Capture the attention of your young ones and young adults with the timeless charm of Palace of Fine Arts. 

Bring your teens on a journey where art and nature meet. The Palace of Fine Arts creates an unforgettable experience for families as you wander through grand colonnades, marvel at the exquisite architecture, and explore the tranquil lagoon providing a perfect backdrop for IG-worthy pictures!

Related Post: Alcatraz Cruises – Coupons and Reviews

Looking for more immersive museums? You can also visit the California Academy of Sciences located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It is a well-known science museum and educational institution that you should add to your things to do near me for teenagers list. 

4. Alcatraz Cruises

Every teen needs to experience a trip to Alcatraz Islandand not because they forgot to do their homework.

Alcatraz Cruises depart from Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf. If you want to visit the historic prison, you’ll need to book a spot on this cruise. Other cruises simply sail around the island but do not allow you to debark and visit the penitentiary.

If you can, book a night cruise to The Rock! Your teen will love the spooky nature of the tour as they roam the deserted halls of the once-notorious prison. Along the way, they’ll learn about famous prisoners, the history of the island, and the daily lives of the guards and their families.

Plus, if you have time, various tours and experiences are available throughout the night, led by docents and security members. You can see how the prison doors operate or learn about how the prisoners allegedly escaped from Alcatraz.

Although they were never found again. So, did they really escape? We may never know…

Pro Tip:

5. The Golden Gate Bridge

What teenager doesn’t want to see the Golden Gate Bridge?

Of course, it’s not enough to just drive or bike along the bridge. There are so many great places to see the Golden Gate Bridge throughout San Francisco. Among the favorite spots for epic views include:

  • Chrissy Field
  • Baker Beach
  • Lands End
  • Kirby Cove

And, as one of the more outdoorsy things to do in the Bay Area, there are so many trails and beaches to discover within the Golden Gate Recreational Area. Combine the great outdoors with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and you’ve got one entertained teenager on your hands.

6. Muir Woods

If you want to capitalize on the wild outdoors of the Bay Area, head to Muir Woods with your family. You can either venture in on your own or take advantage of the many tours which visit this area.

In Muir Woods, you’ll find towering Redwood trees lining the winding pathways and trails throughout the forest. It really feels like something out of a fairytale!

Teenagers will love marveling at the massive trees and simply exploring the wild side of San Francisco.

7. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Do you have a thrill seeker on your hands? Then, a trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is a must. After all, it’s one of the top things to do in San Francisco with teenagers.

Related Post: San Francisco Tour – Guide to Discounts & Reviews

This amusement park has it all: roller coasters, thrill rides, kiddie rides, and so much more. With 40+ rides to choose from, your teenager is guaranteed to find a few they love.

To spice things up,  Six Flags Discovery Kingdom also has animal attractions and encounters that will make your teenager enjoy it!  You can easily spend a full day exploring all that the amusement park has to offer.

The Joker Roller Coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

8. Oracle Park Tour

Does your teenager love baseball or sports in general? If so, sign up for the Oracle Park tour.

You’ll go behind-the-scenes and learn more about the park’s history, the famous athletes, and more. Guests also have the opportunity to visit the clubhouse, dugout, batting cages, and other areas of the park off-limits to regular guests.

If you’re lucky, you may even run into a San Francisco Giants player or two!

9. Sports, Sports, Sports

Speaking of sports…

Did you know San Francisco is home to multiple professional sports teams in addition to the Giants? If your teenager is an avid sports enthusiast, you have to get tickets to a game! The Bay Area is home to several pro sports teams including:

  • San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
  • Golden State Warriors (NBA)
  • Oakland Athletics (MLB)
  • San Jose Sharks (NHL)

Due to the popularity of a few of San Francisco’s teams, you may want to purchase game tickets prior to your visit. Box office prices can be a bit steep on the day of a game!

10. Exploratorium

The Exploratorium is a place where the mind can run wild. In fact, the museum defines itself as “an ongoing exploration of science, art and human perception—a vast collection of online experiences that feed your curiosity.” Interesting, right?

Teens will find themselves captivated as they move from one exhibit to the next. With 650+ exhibits to explore, plan to spend quite some time discovering more about our world at the Exploratorium.

As with most of San Francisco’s attractions, purchasing tickets in advance is advantageous at the Exploratorium, too.

Take a break from your exploration and grab a bite of delectable snacks and historical food traditions in the Ferry Building Marketplace, located minutes from the museum.


11. GoCar San Francisco

Want to make the most of your time in San Francisco with your teenager? Rent a GoCar for the two of you!

GoCars are one of the most convenient ways to hit the streets of San Francisco. The car guides you through various neighborhoods and highlights, like the Financial District, North Beach, and Ocean Beach, while telling you more about the area. Or, choose your own path! You’ll also discover San Francisco’s hidden treasures and prominent landmarks along the way.

While your teenager may want to drive, you must be 21 and up to rent and drive a GoCar.

12. Sail Around San Francisco

Does your family love the ocean? Embark on a sightseeing sailing cruise around the bay!

Related Post: San Francisco Bucket List: 13 Things to Do in the City by the Bay

You’ll sail by all of San Francisco’s top sights while breathing in the salty ocean air and feeling the wind in your hair. And, if you keep an eye out, you might get a glimpse of sea lions, dolphins, or a whale if the season is right!

13. Museum of Ice Cream

It’s no wonder why the Museum of Ice Cream is a must-visit in San Francisco for teenagers.

The Museum of Ice Cream is such a popular destination with tourists of all ages, so get your tickets far in advance to guarantee entry.

While at the museum, you’ll indulge in ice cream tastings, experience larger than life immersive exhibits, and participate in interactive games and activities. It’s something you have to see (and taste) to believe!

Remember to charge your phone before entering the museum. It’s filled with photo opportunities around every corner!

Family looking over San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge

Book the Best Things to Do in San Francisco with Teenagers Today

We were all teenagers once. What’s the one thing we absolutely hated doing while traveling?

Waiting in line.

While that feeling never truly goes away, you can eliminate your teen’s need to wait in a ticket line by booking attraction and activity tickets online before your vacation. Instead of cramming into a line with other tourists, you’ll walk right into the attraction of choice!

And while your teen may not appreciate saving money just yet, we know you do. We recommend bundling your tickets with a hotel room for even greater savings.

Book your tickets now and go enjoy San Francisco with your teens!

What Did We Miss?

Have anything to add to our teen-friendly San Francisco list? Share with us below!

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Written by Sara Berden

Sara is a Content Writer from the Philippines experienced in writing for websites and social media in different industries. She is an introvert...

1 comment about “Things to Do in San Francisco with Teens – 13 Top Activities”


October 23, 2023 at 2:32 pm

What about Chinatown?? I just brought two teenage girls to SF. We took them to Chinatown and we couldn’t get them out. In fact they loved it so much we had to do a quick trip back the next day for a second time. They spent most of their allowance $$ on every kind of trinket and bobble you can think of — and Chinatown has ALOT of that stuff. The only regret is that we weren’t able to get into the fortune cookie factory. The line for that was out the door and down the street. Apparently no reservations available — you just go and get in line.

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