Historical Attractions in SAN FRANCISCO with kids

You’ve heard the saying “History can be fun”…well, we think history IS fun (especially in San Francisco, California!)

San Francisco is filled with history, and what better way to learn about it with children than to experience the many places to visit in this The Golden State city that can actually take you back in time!

Historical attractions come in all shapes and sizes. There are landmarks where iconic events happened. There are homes of historic figures filled with treasures and artifacts from their amazing lives. There are historic buildings whose walls are filled with stories from San Francisco’s past. 

The best way for kids to learn about history, is to actually visit the places where history happened. It makes sense! Kids can use their imagination as they read and hear all about events, people and places, and feel like they have gone back in time.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in San Francisco when it comes to history, so what are we waiting for - let’s GO! 

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  • Musee Mecanique

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    A stunning collection of coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines, all in working order.

  • SS Jeremiah OBrien

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    Explore this historic vessel in it's entirety, book a cruise trip if you can or visit on a Steaming Weekend to see the engines at work.

  • USS Pampanito Submarine

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    A fun, educational and historic look into a real life WWII submarine!

  • The Purple Crayon

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    Purple Crayon is an arts and crafts studio for children and adults. We give parents an easy way to help their children express creativity. Everyone will enjoy coming to our warm, inviting space ...

  • Exploratorium

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    (3 miles) San Francisco

    The Exploratorium is an experimental, hands-on museum designed to spark curiosity, regardless of your age or familiarity with science. There are hundreds of exhibits to touch, pick up, and tinker ...

  • Alcatraz Island

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    (4 miles) San Francisco

    Explore the first lighthouse built on the West Coast, and that iconic federal penitentiary known as "The Rock".

  • The Golden Gate Bridge

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    (6 miles) San Francisco

    An iconic San Francisco landmark and internationally recognised symbol, now offering Bridge Tours, exhibits and walking tours!

  • Crab Cove Visitor Center

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    (8 miles) Alameda

    Crab Cove Visitor Center at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda features all new exhibits opened in April 2004. You can see bay creatures in the 800-gallon aquarium system, use interactive stations ...

  • Chabot Space and Science Center

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    (13 miles) Oakland

    Chabot Space & Science Center inspires and educates students of all ages about our Planet Earth and the Universe. Its observatory, planetarium, exhibits, and natural park setting are a place where ...

  • Deer Hollow Farm

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    (35 miles) Los Altos

    An educational center and working homestead located in the Rancho San Antonio Preserve, with self-guided tours around a real farm!

  • The Discovery Museum History Center

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    (75 miles) Sacramento

    The Discovery Museum History Center in Old Sacramento features exhibits that showcase Sacramento's vibrant history. One of the many fun family places to visit if you're looking for things to do in ...

  • National Steinbeck Center

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    (87 miles) Salinas

    In the John Steinbeck Exhibition Hall, literature jumps off the printed page and into your imagination. Discover Steinbeck\'s world through interactive, multisensory exhibits for all ages, rare ...

  • Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park

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    (94 miles) Folsom

    The Folsom Powerhouse is part of a colorful chapter of Sacramento history and is also an example of the tremendous advance in the commercial application of electricity.

  • Check out other fun things to do below...

  • Childrens Creativity Museum

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    (1 miles) San Francisco

    San Francisco's arts and technology museum for kids of all ages with hands on fun learning exhibits.

  • The Randall Museum

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    (1 miles) San Francisco

    The Randall Museum offers a unique haven where children and adults can explore the creative aspects of art and science and make discoveries about nature and the environment by direct participation in ...

  • The Cartoon Museum

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    (1 miles) San Francisco

    .The Cartoon Art Museum is the only museum in the western United States dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of cartoon art in all its forms. This unique institution houses approximately ...

  • San Francisco Cable Car Museum

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    (1 miles) San Francisco

    Overlooking the cable car workings themselves, the museum features three 1870s cars plus a wealth of memorabilia.

  • San Francisco Railway Museum

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    The San Francisco Railway Museum celebrates the history of rail transit in San Francisco and explores its significant impact on the quality of urban life in this great city throughout its storied ...

  • Maritime National Historical Park

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    Historic boats by the pier, tours, events and activities, plus visitor centre with maritime heritage showcase and Junior Ranger Program activities.

  • Ripley's Believe It or not Museum

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    The weird and the wonderful comes together over 10,000 sq ft filled with the strange, the unusual, and the unbelievable!

  • Madame Tussauds San Francisco

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    (2 miles) San Francisco

    Spend the day with all your favorite stars in the new San Francisco wax museum!

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum

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    (5 miles) Sausalito

    Kids can have fun with hands-on art, science and environmental exhibitions for 6 months to 10 years, plus live performances, and special events - all in San Francisco!

  • Oakland Museum of California

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    (9 miles) Oakland

    A fascinating Californian cultural experience where families can explore various art exhibitions, as well as delve into Californian history and natural sciences.

  • Habitot Childrens Discovery Museum

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    (10 miles) Berkeley

    Series of engaging physical, role-play, imagination and learning settings ideal for families of kids 1 to 5 years.

  • Oakland Aviation Museum

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    (12 miles) Oakland

    West Coast aviation history comes to life at this fascinating museum in Oakland with actual aircraft on display, as well as simulators and and interactive play area!

  • Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia

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    (14 miles) Burlingame

    See the World's Largest Pez Dispensing Machine, an example of every Pez dispenser made, unique exhibits of other classic toys and more at this museum of memorabillia! Plus Toy and Banned Toy Museums.

  • Dublin Heritage Park and Museums

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    (27 miles) Dublin

    Step back in time into Dublin's fascinating history, with original 1800's structures and a 10-acre park.

  • Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

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    (27 miles) Palo Alto

    A great little museum and zoo, with over 200 lives animals, and fascinating hands-on exhibits so kids up to 9 years can learn, create and explore - all in Palo Alto!

  • The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

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    (41 miles) San Jose

    Explore and experience the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on show in western North America! A fascinating and historic family day out in San Jose!

  • Western Railway Museum

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    (42 miles) Suisun City

    Enjoy a historic trip though the Montezuma Hills in this living history museum, where kids can learn about the heritage of the railroad AND ride the train!

  • The Tech Museum of Innovation

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    (42 miles) San Jose

    Find the innovator in you at this Tech museum in San Jose, where challenges, hands-on exhibits and themed galleries offer a fascinating learning experience for kids - that's fun!

  • Children's Discovery Museum

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    (42 miles) San Jose

    Learn through fun and exploration at this creative and exciting Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose. It's a great way to understand the world!

  • Sonoma County Museum

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    (49 miles) Santa Rosa

    See art come alive. Explore in the tours the history and art.

  • Pacific Coast Air Museum

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    (55 miles) Santa Rosa

    Founded in 1989, the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the acquisition, restoration, safe operation and display of historical aircraft and provides ...

  • Sharpsteen Museum Association

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    (56 miles) Calistoga

    The Sharpsteen Museum's permanent exhibits are designed to present the history of the upper Napa Valley from its pre-history to post World War I with an emphasis on people and changes brought by the ...