9 Things to Do with Visiting Grandparents

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Whether they know their name as Nana, Grandpa, Grammy, Poppa, Abuelita, or another loving name, grandparents have a special connection with their grandkids. So when they are visiting from afar, thinking of what to do during their stay can have a pretty big range. Luckily, the Bay Area has some awesome activities perfect for the multigenerational crew. From stroller-friendly spots to beautiful gardens and easy hikes, read on for our top picks on what to do when grandparents come to visit.

Mitchell's Ice Cream

Taste the Bay

Go on an Ice Cream Crawl. One thing grandparents and grandkids seem to agree on is dessert. So let them have their cake and eat it too by visiting a few of the coolest ice cream shops in one day. Create a taste test at each stop and compare your findings. (Ice cream not your thing? How about donuts or other sweet treats?)

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Go Outside

Explore the Gardens. Easily spend hours at the bigger gardens like UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley and The San Francisco Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park (not to mention the million other things to do at Golden Gate Park). For something more low-key, check out the Berkeley Rose Garden. A little tunnel connects it to Cordonices Park, which has a playground. The San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is also beautiful. 

Go on an Easy Hike. The Bay Area has so many hikes and trails open year-round, and some of them are perfect for multi-generational families, grandparents included! This list of stroller-friendly trails has a variety of options with varying difficulty, but most offer paved paths and plenty of beautiful sights to take in. Enjoy being out in nature and having quiet conversations while the kids collect sticks and get that energy out.

Take a Ferry. The San Francisco Bay Ferry is a great way to get around and sight-see at the same time. It’s easy to board with strollers and there is plenty of seating. Routes drop you right at some of the best tourist spots (Pier 39, The Ferry Building, Jack London Square) so those with mobility issues won’t have to go far for fun.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Take a Day Trip

Make a Day of it at Fort Baker. Stop at The Bay Area Discovery Museum first and then fan out to explore the rest of what Fort Baker has to offer. There is something for every age and ability. From boat rentals to moderate hikes to fishing (no permit needed) to a history tour you can hear via cell phone. You can recharge with a bite to eat at Cavallo Point Lodge, or picnic on their grounds.

Cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Mason. Double down on your fort fun and spend some time at Fort Mason, too. The former Army post is now a mixture of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, and art spaces. Try to visit on a Friday evening when Off the Grid rolls in with its bevy of food trucks and live music.

San Francisco Symphony

Share New Experiences

Catch a Show. Going to the theater can be a magical experience for families and why not include the grandparents? You’ll find tons of all-ages shows around the Bay Area. The Imaginaries are playing at the Bay Area Children's Theatre now. The San Francisco Symphony has several family concerts on the calendar, including Pixar in Concert. If you’re not sure if your little one is ready for those big venues, check out this list of productions aimed at kids younger than five.

Ride the Rails. Getting there is half the fun when you take the train! You can go big by taking Amtrak to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento or scale it down with a ride on the steam train at Tilden Park (or maybe something in between). Peruse our list of Bay Area train adventures to find one that’s just the right speed for your party.

Visit a Farm. Animal lovers of all ages can see the goats, chickens, sheep, and pigs at one of the Bay Area's family farms. We love Hidden Villa in Los Altos for a private tour of the grounds as well as their sustainable garden. Check out this list of where to see animals around the Bay. 

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