July 24, 2014 By Ashley 24 Comments It’s hard to believe that Dave and I have lived in San Francisco for nearly two years.
Whenever visitors come, I make very detailed itineraries ahead of time for each day that we’ll have together.
In my hometown, we have a fully restored lovely Victorian home that is one of my favorite things to see. Hi I’m RandySFO (Randy Schroeder) a long time resident of San Francisco and Monterey and I know the city well.
Looking to stretch your vacation budget a little further?  San Francisco is not only a diverse and colorful destination loaded with history, it is also filled with family-friendly free or cheap things to do. Musee Mecanique houses an enchanting collection of arcade games that span childhoods from the 1900s on.
Owned and operated by San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department, the admission-free Randall Museum focuses on the arts, crafts, sciences, and natural history. If you find yourself in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, you aren’t imagining that magnificent smell of fresh sourdough bread just out of the oven.
Visitors can ask questions and watch the entire sourdough bread baking process from this 30-foot observation window.
Dedicated to firefighters who have given their lives on the job, the San Francisco Fire Department Museum is a collection of vintage equipment. The first Tuesday of each month is “pay what you wish day,” at the Cartoon Art Museum featuring art from comic books, animated movies, magazines, sculpture and more.
Free family bookmaking days as well as exhibits celebrating the art of books are offered at the San Francisco Center for the Book.
Located in San Francisco’s Financial District, the admission-free Wells Fargo History Museum takes visitors back to the Gold Rush era with its displays of gold nuggets, rare artifacts, interactive exhibits as well as a stagecoach which visitors are allowed to hop aboard.
Venture to the site where San Francisco’s famous cable car system has operated since 1907, the historic Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse. Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. Kristine lives in Mountain View, California, where she is the mother of a gifted girl athlete and a special needs charmer. Beautiful Mission Trails offers a few flat, family friendly trails to explore and a state of the art visitor’s center with gorgeous views.
The Torrey Pines State Reserve offers great hiking trails for adults and kiddos, complete with gorgeous views of the ocean. Located in Scripps Ranch, the Lake Miramar Reservoir is a popular spot for bicycling, jogging, walking, rollerblading and picnicking. Santee Lakes is a lovely east county destination ideal for biking, fishing, or lounging and feeding the ducks. Kiddos can become young oceanographers when they visit the Cabrillo National Monument Park tide pools.
Located in the heart of Poway, Old Poway Park has everything for a perfect weekend: trains, good food and a place to run around.
If your kids are aching to see seals and sea lions (but you’re not keen on breaking the bank at Sea World), head to the Children’s Pool in La Jolla.
While Seaport Village is known for its many shops, bookstores and eateries, your family can plan a day at this bayside hot-spot without spending a dime. San Diego is home to more than 50 farmer’s markets throughout the county taking place every day of the week. In case you’re new to A Lady Goes West, we moved here from Orlando, Florida in the fall of 2012, just a few months after getting married. And although I miss my family and friends in the Sunshine State (and my wonderful Mom misses me), I love so many things about living in this amazing city.
I have been to San Fran a few times, but I would love to go back with Scott and check some more things off of my list.
I’m thinking of moving to SF in the fall (no job, no friends- just need a big life change) and will definitely have to tackle this list!


It’s filled with color photos and gives you access to over 450 additional photos of this great city that you can download and use for FREE (non-commercial use only).
Finding the quirky things isn't, but by being a local, I can keep my eye out for quirky things just for you. Dedicated special topic days at the museum include, bugs, mushrooms, as well as water and sun. The Coca-Cola Fan Lot is open to the public — free of charge — when the baseball team is on the road.
Don’t fight it, the scent will eventually pull you toward the demonstration window at the Boudin Bakery.
Hoses and steamers, along with photos and memorabilia from dozens of volunteer fire companies, are among the items visitors enjoy without having to pay an admission fee. Works date from the 1730s to the present and they include a children’s gallery, caricatures, editorial cartoons and even underground comics.
Kids also get to learn the intricacies of pop-ups, accordion folds and discover the literary inclinations of a CD case.
In this free museum, visitors get a look at cable winding machinery as it reels 11 miles of steel at a steady pace of nine-and-a-half miles per hour. For $5 visitors can board the ships and explore how crews lived, strolling the park though is free of charge. At the Visitor’s Center, you and the little ones can make some track rubbings, look at animal specimens, and explore the history of the Kumeyaay Indians with hands on exhibits that feature Native American toys, tools and living quarters. There’s a great tracking trail for young hikers where kids can check out actual animal track patterns on the ground. A paved, 5-mile walkway encircles the lake, which means you don’t have to worry about traffic and cars on your hikes. The museums that offer free admission vary by week, so make sure you check the website listing to plan your trip.
What is unique about this 32,000-square meter park is the display of colorful and lively murals throughout the area. This stop is a great place to take the family for hiking and discovering crabs, anemones and other sea life in tide pools. The Hamburger Factory Restaurant features Old West decor and down-home delicious pancakes, biscuits and hamburgers.
Every day hundreds of harbor seals and sea lions hang out at Seal Rock, which is located just north of the beach. Take the kiddos to shop for local, seasonal produce, and see the variety of crops produced in the county. Sign up for our picks for the best things to see, do, eat and explore with your kids in SoCal. I had always wanted to have a true city experience, and San Francisco has certainly fulfilled that for me. And even within California there are many diverse areas, people think of Northern and Southern California as separate worlds! That way, I can spend more on other, more important things, like a nice hotel or great cocktails at a hip bar somewhere. I'm a young senior gay guy who loves San Francisco, especially things I consider quirky.
Drop your silver to see scenes like Santa’s Workshop, a carnival, and a hoedown come to life. So take the kids out there to enjoy the Coke bottle shaped super slide, the 26-foot high replica of a vintage 1927 four-fingered baseball glove, and the Little Giants Park, a shrunken version of AT&T Park intended to give smaller children a big league experience.
If you decide to take on this adventure, be sure to check out the Reserve’s website for tracking tips and sample paw prints. The lake is also full of entertaining ducks and geese. For even more fun, there’s a quiet pond filled with ducks located adjacent to the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library (located just down the road from Lake Miramar).
The park is a beautiful spot with cliffs and ocean views, so be sure to have a camera with you.


After breakfast or lunch, you can hop aboard the train that runs on weekends alongside the park. You can catch the seals bathing, basking in the sun, and sometimes giving birth to a seal pup. Additionally, nearly every market has different food vendors, balloon artists and face painters to entertain the kiddos. The Seeley Stables with its many old stagecoaches, and real Iive donkeys in the back as well as the blacksmith are always a hit with little ones. My goal is to help you find things things like that - things only a local will know about, so your visit is amazing and memorable.
Should you have a train lover in the family, longtime museum tenant, the Golden Gate Model Railroad Club, will be a delight to them.
Keep in mind that the Torrey Pines State Reserve does not allow food or drink (except for water) on the hikes, and dogs need to stay home.
Kids especially love the Children’s Mural, which represents drawings and paintings from kids that attended two local elementary schools. Currently, olympians in archery, track & field, and rugby are training at the facility. Plan to spend an hour walking through one of the markets and bring a few dollars for a treat. You’ll always find free live entertainment such as mariachis, dancers, and hosts dressed in period attire ready to give tours. Thanks for reading and commenting, and I’ll be sure to keep posting pictures of your favorite city.
Children run HO-scale trains during Junior Engineer Days on the third Saturday of every odd month.
We loved these attractions and know that you will too.We spent 5 days in San Antonio, Texas a few weeks back and had a blast. For only $5 per person, your family can experience a live show at that’s short and sweet. There are so many ways to travel on a budget while enjoying FUN things to do in San Antonio Texas. Beyond story time, there’s everything from a creative writing class to a rainbow loom club.
From the comfort of your own vehicle, travel through hundreds of acres of Texas ranch land that are a safe home away from home to species from all over the world. Each person has a laser gun, and as you ride through the course you shoot at dots and earn points. Located on Alamo Plaza in downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Alamo houses exhibits on the Texas Revolution and Texas History. Ride the elevator up and see the entire town. Located in downtown San Antonio, the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas provides guests the most spectacular view of the Alamo City.
Enjoy the gorgeous panorama from the Tower’s revolving Chart House Restaurant, take in the scenery from the Observation Deck or experience the thrilling 4D Theater Ride. For a taste of the best dining and fun that San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants have to offer, come take a flight with the Tower of the Americas.
Consider staying on the San Antontio Riverwalk and enjoy it the entire stay! Are you ready to SAVE big?When visiting San Antonio with kids, you’ll want to use all the saving that you can. Here you will find recipes, crafts, fun ideas for the kids, how to work at home, how to live on less, great deals, and the latest news in and around Houston.



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