It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: SF's Union Street

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Our new series A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will showcase fun itineraries for parents and kid’s adventures in different Bay Area neighborhoods. Read up on where to go at the Red Tri website, then look for our window clings to locate Red Tri-approved businesses when you’re on the ground in the neighborhood! All itineraries are meant to keep kids and adults entertained for about four hours.

Everyone knows that Union Street is really about the shopping. It has a great selection on kids clothing and toy stores, so it can be fun to bring little rascals along if they’re old enough to want to plan their own outfits. Even if they aren’t, an afternoon on Union Street can still be fun. Alternate shopping with a stop in one of the delicious restaurants in this area, or spend some time in Allyne Park having a picnic or playing tag.

Shop: It’s hard to choose the best baby boutique on Union, (and you should feel free to check out our list of Union Street businesses below,) but if you’re looking for adorable kids clothes we definitely recommend you start your day by ambling up Fillmore one block to stop in Bubble. Formerly known as Crafty Kids, Bubble has a reputation for carrying hip and fun kids clothes, especially trendy tees. They have an equal selection of boys’ and girls’ items as well, which is a welcome relief for boys’ parents who sometimes feel like they’re left out in the cold at baby stores like these. With silly slogan tee shirts saying things like “iPood” and AC/DC onesies, the vibe here might seem a little punk rock for the Marina district, but parents and kids seem to love it anyway. Some of the designer items can get a bit pricey, but they also have a variety of cute things in the under $30 range. Check it out, and you may realize fashion is a young person’s game after all!

Do: After a couple hours rummage in the trendy boutiques for moms and kids on Union, get ready for something completely different (as the Pythons would say.) While it definitely doesn’t cultivate the bleeding-edge-of-hip atmosphere that so many of the Union Street stores do, The Collector’s Cave has something just as great going for it: the gooey heart of nostalgia. Whether you want to find a replica of the special toy that made your own childhood exciting or just take a trip down memory lane with little ones in tow, this is the place! The small shop is filled with Legos and Lincoln Logs, comics and collectibles, vintage games and baseball cards. Take a short break from the present day and spend some time browsing with your kids and pointing out the toys and games that were cool back in your day. Or pick up a vintage game of Monopoly to play when you get home!

Eat: Once you’ve had your fill of the Union Street shops, fill up your tummy in Roam Artisan Burgers. Roam may have some of the best burgers in the city, and their prices are dirt cheap for this part of town (most of their meals are under $8.) Kids can choose between the burger combination and the grilled cheese combination, while adults have eight burger styles to pick from, or the option to build their own. All ingredients are natural and sustainable, and patties are made from either 100% grass-fed beef, free range turkey, all natural bison, or organic veggies. The best part is that everyone can finish up with one of their homemade shakes, preferably with bruléed marshmallow on top.

Play: When you’ve made your purchases for the day, walk a block over to Green Street and head for the corner with Gough. This area is home to Allyne Park, one of the loveliest and most unexpected park spaces in the city. Kick back here before heading home or enjoy a game of hide and seek in the greenery or tag on the lawn. While it isn’t a playground, Allyne Park is a wonderful green space that’s perfect for playing and picnics. If you decide to skip eating on Union, try picking up sandwiches to go from La Boulange and relaxing on the grass here while you eat.

We hope you have as much fun exploring Union Street as we always do! Check out our list of approved businesses in the area for more fun ideas, and let us know about your own Union Street adventures in the comments section!

Mini’s Kids and Maternity

La Boulange
Cultivé Frozen Yogurt
Roam Artisan Burgers
Rose’s Café
Swenson’s Ice Cream

Allyne Park
Marina Playground at Moscone Rec. Center

Collector’s Cave

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