Take advantage of later bedtimes and go out as family on the town (bonus: no sitters needed for these family-friendly adventures!). Of course, if you are looking for a kid-free adventure, you can check out our list of parent-only date night ideas around San Francsico as well. But for now, we’re hanging with the kids—from mirror mazes and mini golf, to a nighttime Ferris Wheel ride, we are sure these special outings with entertain the entire squad.
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Skystar Observation Wheel: Climb aboard an enclosed private gondola (seats up to 6 people!) and soak up views from the Pacific Ocean to downtown San Francisco as you travel 150 feet up and around for an entire 12 minutes. And the magic of the wheel’s one million LED lights will entertain your little ones long after the ride is over. America’s largest traveling observation wheel will live in San Francisco until Mar. 2025.
Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse
1 Bowl Dr.
Hit the Lanes: Who doesn’t like a bit of friendly competition—especially when it includes neon lights and your favorite tunes? Whether you’re a family of master bowlers or only in it for the lane-side snacks, a family night out is sure to be all strikes!
Insider Tip: Some of the bowling alleys run family specials—make sure to check their website for more information.
4625 Coast Highway
Country Club Bowl
88 Vivian Way
San Rafael, CA
Classic Bowling Center
900 King Dr.
Daly City, CA
93 Moraga Ave.
Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze: Get lost in Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze of psychedelic colors and glowing mirrors as you and your family navigate your way from start to finish. Full of twists, turns and dead ends, this 2,000 sq. foot maze will excite and challenge your little explorers. Admission is valid all day so why not attempt to escape it more than once? After getting lost between the black lights play tourist for an evening and explore Pier 39’s two levels of restaurants, attractions and views.
Building 0-11, Pier 39 (halfway down Pier 39 on the 2nd Floor)
RELATED: Our Insider’s Guide to Pier 39
Museum to 3D Illusions: Let your imaginations run wild! This one-of-a-kind art museum gives both young and old a chance to experience optical illusions in a unique and fun way. While some exhibits are specific to San Francisco (like a magic carpet ride near the Golden Gate Bridge), other exhibits allow you to live out your dreams, or possibly—your greatest fears. From surfing and balloon rides to zombies and shark attacks, the Museum of 3D illusions’ 40+ exhibits will capture the minds and hearts of the entire family. Don’t forget your cameras! Photography is encouraged.
55-61 Jefferson St.
Catch a Game: Whether you and your family support the Giants or the A’s, a night at the ballpark will not disappoint. Be sure to check the schedule for fun giveaway days and post-game fireworks!
San Francisco Giants
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA
7000 Coliseum Way
And if your family fancies soccer over America’s favorite pastime, check out the San Jose Earthquakes for 90 minutes of teamwork, athleticism and maybe a few goals!
1123 Coleman Ave.
San Jose, CA
Dine Alfresco: Whether you’re digging into a Cobb salad, a crab sandwich or simply a large order of French fries, all ages are sure to enjoy their meal a little better in the fresh air. With the influx of patio seating (and much-needed heat lamps in San Francisco), options in the Bay Area are abundant. Dining alfresco promises waterfront views around the bay, bright lights of the big city and sometimes—family entertainment (bocce ball, anyone?). Here are our favorite Bay Area eateries with outdoor seating
Play a Round of Mini Golf: A surprise at every turn, miniature golf brings family game night to a new level! Whether you’re exploring the Gold Rush era at Stagecoach Greens or aiming for castles and windmills (or even a dragon’s mouth) at Golfland, mini-golf courses are open late and sparkle at night. The kiddos, regardless of age, are sure to love the lights, water features and wackiness of each course.
1379 4th St.
Stargazing at Mt. Tamalpais State Park: Marin’s open spaces and beautiful night sky offer stargazers a unique location away from the lights of San Francisco and Oakland. Currently, the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers group is offering free online lectures. Why not take in a family astronomy lecture before gazing at the stars from the comfort of your own family campsite at Mount Tamalpais State Park?
Stargazing at Redwood Regional Park: Redwood Regional Park in Oakland offers an optimal spot for family stargazing explorations. Park on Skyline Blvd., near the Bay Vista Picnic Area, and hike to one of the many meadows or groves for unobstructed views.
Stargazing at Mount Diablo State Park: For hands-on astronomy learning activities and the chance to see the solar system through a variety of telescopes, check out the events with Mount Diablo Astronomical Society. Or if you and your little stargazers prefer a private family viewing, drive to Mount Diablo State Park’s Upper Summit Parking Lot for the best views. And better yet, stay overnight at one of the family campgrounds! Don’t forget the s’mores!
Go for Ice Cream: Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the most lasting memories. Surprise your kiddos after dinner with a surprise trip to your local ice cream parlor. Already in pajamas? No problem! The sillier the sleepwear, the better the nighttime adventure! Need help finding a local spot or want to try a new one? Read: Get the Scoop: The 37 Best Ice Cream Spots in the Bay