17 Best Winter Activities with Kids

A black family in winter wear sits outside snuggling before going for a hike iStock

From winter lights and stroller hikes to skate parks and epic playgrounds, these are some of the best winter activities and things to do around San Francisco

One of the perks about living in the Bay Area is that winter is a pretty awesome time—you can take the kids hiking one day and play in the snow the next. Plus, there’s always fun to be had in Golden Gate Park. Or explore SF’s best hot chocolate and the best Italian delis in the Bay Area and determine a winner (at least in your family). Of course, you can’t ignore our world-class art exhibits—a great way to get some culture and head indoors when the weather is frightful. Here are some of our favorite family activities for when the temps top out at an oh-so-frigid 60 degrees.


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1. Visit Cal Academy’s outdoor play space, Wander Woods, where hands-on playing is encouraged—crawl through a log, build a den, run through a maze, and more.

2. Last chance to visit SFMOMA's Diego Rivera's America—its 6-month run ends Jan. 3). Here you can see the most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in over two decades, bringing together more than 150 of Rivera’s paintings, frescoes, and drawings. 

3. Check out some of the Bay Area's most famous wildlife—there are tons of great spots for seeing what the sea lions, whales, and elephant seals are up to morning, noon, and night. 

4. We love Entwined, a forest of winter lights, in Peacock Meadow at Golden Gate Park through Mar.

5. Get outdoors for a hike. Whether it's a stroller workout hike, an all-access hike for wheelchairs and strollers, a hike with the littles, or our top winter hikes—we’ve got you covered from Marin to Santa Cruz.

6. San Francisco has some of the most epic playgrounds around. Pick a sunny day and start checking off our list of 30 favorites, like the updated Panhandle Playground.

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7. It's newt season! Also called orange-bellies, these adorable amphibians emerge during the wetter months of winter but just look, don’t touch—these guys are poisonous. Join a guided newt hike in Briones Regional Park or in San Ramon.

8. Burn off some energy by letting little groms warm up and drop in at one of these cool skateparks.

9. Craving some snow? These spots nearby are great for tubing and sledding or check out our Tahoe winter guide for the full snow experience. 

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10. Winter is a great time for birding in the Bay Area. Join a guided walk at the Sunol Regional Wilderness or explore on your own in Bodega Bay or Marin County.

11. See the Bay from the water. There are tons of opportunities to try kayaking with the kids—a sunny winter day is a perfect excuse to try.

12. Explore the Magical Bridge Playground in Redwood City.

13. Pack up the car with blankets and snacks and take the kids out for a drive-in movie.

14. Check out the ladybug migration in Redwood Regional Park. They are there in full force for the next few months.  

15. The next California King Tides (the highest and lowest tides of the year) will be Dec. 23-24, 2022 and Jan. 21-22, 2023. Mark your calendars to explore the coastline and tidepools near San Francisco during the lowest tide of the year—exposing sea life that is normally hidden. 

16. Hike and read a book at the same time at Presidio's Story Walk.

17. Go on a self guided tour of organic fields, the Discovery Garden, and animal pens at Farm Discovery

Additional reporting by Kate Loweth

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