A trip to San Francisco with the kids isn't complete without a visit to Chinatown. This is North America's oldest Chinatown, and it's also the largest Chinatown outside of the Asian continent. An ornate gate marks the way into this famous neighborhood where you can experience delicious Chinese food, buy souvenirs, and visit fabulous shops. Book tours, check out Chinese culture, and visit some of Chinatown's most beautiful buildings, including the Sing Chong Building and some Chinese churches.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic piece of San Francisco. On your or your kids' first visit to San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge is worth an afternoon's time. Golden Gate Park offers thousands of acres of water, gardens, and walking paths for your exploration. It's a beautiful place to rest and enjoy the California scenery and wildlife after traversing the bridge by car. Segway tours, sports, and games are available at the park as well. You and your family will find lots to do in this beautiful place.
Get everyone off their smartphones for an afternoon when you visit Musée Méchanique. This penny arcade is a huge collection of antique arcade games. Visit and play classic games that your grandparents used to enjoy, and show your kids what youth used to do for entertainment before Angry Birds and Candy Crush. Admission into the arcade is free. The arcade also features hand-cranked music boxes (and a few modern arcade games, in case anyone can't get by without looking at a screen.)
The initial draw of Ghirardelli Square is, of course, Ghirardelli chocolate. Parts of the square smell deliciously of chocolate, and of course you'll want to visit Ghirardelli while you're there. The square itself is a beautiful walking opportunity within the city when the sun is out and the weather is fine. Delicious food options grace the square, including pizzerias, bakeries, juice shops, and more. The square also has some history; it started as a Ghirardelli chocolate factory, and has become a staple of San Francisco.