10 ‘not so’ touristy things to do in San Francisco

After living exactly 2 years and 7 months in Mission Bay, San Francisco I feel like I ticked most, if not all tourist attractions off my list. When you are living in a city you want to try and find some of the less touristy places to explore and with this post comes the top 10 ‘not so’ touristy attractions in San Francisco. I can guarantee these Wont be on the big red bus stops 😉

#1: hike up the 16th Ave tiled steps

#2: take in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from baker beach

#3: watch a concert or a baseball game from The Yard

#4: stroll through Balmy Alley and view the graffiti art in the Mission.

#5: go to a concert at Bottom of the Hill

#6: catch the E tram from Mission Rock to Fisherman’s wharf

#7: take the ferry to Angel island and hike. Best views of San Francisco from the water.

#8: eat the poke at Atwater tavern

#9: drink beers in the sun at Reds Java house

#10:head to the ferry building on Saturday between 8-2pm for the farmers market

That Mum on the plane…

I think one of the hardest parts of traveling with kids is getting from A to B with all the ‘stuff’ and keeping your sanity during the flight. Sure, once you are at the hotel lapping up the sun it’s easy to forget the horrid flight but many parents are too anxious to even contemplate traveling with their child let alone two and avoid travel altogether until their kids are older.

I’m not going to sugar coat travel and make out it’s easy, it’s not but here’s a few tips to make the flight more comfortable so you’re not ‘that mum on the plane’ with the kid who’s screaming down the plane.

First thing I’ll recommend is that you have a couple of wines before a long flight, seriously it brings you down a few notches and well it’s always after midday somewhere in the world right? That aside what I’ve found helpful to make a flight more comfortable is having access to a lounge. It’s relaxing and a lot of lounges have kids corners or play areas. My favorite lounge is the AMEX lounge in San Francisco airport; you get free access with your Amex platinum card and it means you can dump your kids in there to be as feral as they like without interrupting other customers (they are basically in big glass box). The upside of this is after 2 hours of going crazy and 2 hours of mum drinking cocktails, the kids are ready to sleep and mum is in a much better frame of mind.

Travel essetials on the flight, by age;

2 years and older: this group is the easiest as by 2 most kids would have mastered the ability of watching a screen for more than 2 minutes and will be entertained by iPads or airline entertainment. One tip is to always bring kids headphones. Generally airline headphones are only made for adults so it’s best to bring your own. On shorter flights make sure you have an iPad handy as some airlines fail to provide screens. Also load up your iPad with videos which can be watched offline, you want to be prepared.

In addition to screen time you want to have lots of snacks on hand; snack bars, fruit, lots of water and a few spare changes of clothes. I don’t know how many times my now 4 year old has vomited on a flight and I’ve been caught out thinking she’s too old. If you are in the awkward toilet training phase also opt for a diaper; you might think it’s regression by putting it on but having your 3 year old pee through the seat onto the passenger behind is NOT FUN. Trust me, don’t even attempt it.

1-2 years: quite possibly the age where your child turns into a travel demon. All they want to do is walk laps around the plane, scream for no reason and cannot be consoled. I understand why parents avoid travel st this age. My only tip is lots of activities (think Pinterest) and Hylands Baby- Calming Tablets. These have worked extremely well for me when flying. If you can afford a seat get one. Makes such s difference having space (especially on long flights) but if you have a chilled child you can definitely get away with a lap infant at this age.

6-12 months: this age can go either way. If you baby isn’t crawling or walking it’s easier but once they’ve mastered walking you’re into the 1-2 year category. Baby carrier when you need to walk laps and If you have an active kid a seat is always helpful. Airlines such as Air NZ have a skycouch which means you can lie down with your child, other airlines have bassinets available for 0-12 months but each airline has different weight and age requirements. We found Finair pretty good with bassinets and British Airways. If you manage to get a bassinet seat bring a muslin blanket or something similar along with some adhesive or blue tak. Put this over the bassinet so when the lights are on the baby isn’t woken up.

0-6 months: if you’re breastfeeding this can be an easy age however my son wasn’t as easy as my daughter at this age so be prepared either way. Breastfeeding as much as possible, especially during take off and 20 mins before landing. If you are bottle feeding having a flask of hot water so you can mix bottles during the flight or ask the air hostess for hot water. Note not all flights, especially short flights have boiling water so take your own just to be safe. (Yes you can take baby formula and hot water on flight) in the US they might just open it and take a swab.

The biggest thing I can suggest is just breath. In the scheme of thing the flight is only a short part of the trip. It might be painful at times but it’s a small price to pay for a great experience!

About Me

My name is Natalie and my passion (obsession) for travel began at 19 years of age. My first trip away without family to Sydney Australia gave me a taste of the world outside of Auckland New Zealand and the endless adventures that could be had.

Fast forward 15 years and I’ve just moved to Washington D.C with my husband Jimmie and our two kids, for yet another adventure in the US.

I am currently taking time off from work to enjoy the summer and set up our new base, however to keep my mind in the game and pass on my handy travel tips I am starting this blog.

Hopefully this blog will inspire other Mums out there to travel more and how to make life easier when traveling with kids, especially toddlers.