Situated in the heart of the city of San Francisco, the community of Noe Valley is home to many young families. With Victorian-style homes, sidewalk shopping and many playgrounds, Noe Valley is an ideal place to do fun activities with kids. Often described as the suburbs in the middle of the city, families residing in Noe Valley can have the best of both worlds.
Noe Valley is home to the Randall Museum (randallmuseum.org), a hands-on learning experience that kids and adults can share. Exhibits include "Riding the Rails," a full-scale caboose on which kids can climb and explore, "Wild in the City," which features the wildlife that occupy our urban environments, and an earthquake center with seismographs and shake tables. Family classes and workshops are also available. Another option is to take the kids to the library. The San Francisco Public Library (sfpl.org) has a branch in Noe Valley complete with children's reading rooms and various story times for the little ones.
Noe Valley boasts several kid-friendly restaurants. Haystack Pizza (haystackpizza.com) offers casual family dining in a lively atmosphere with quality pizza and sandwiches. For an after-dinner treat or a midday snack, Mitchell's Ice Cream (mitchellsicecream.com) offers handmade premium ice cream, as well as cakes, pies and sorbet. A fun outing for young tea lovers is Lovejoy's Tea Room (lovejoystearoom.com), which has a playful, quirky setting with mismatched antique china and furniture. Here, the menu features a bottomless cup of tea, a variety of tea sandwiches and warm scones. The menu also offers "Wee Tea," for kids under age 10 that can include tea or hot chocolate, a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, a scone, a petit four and fresh fruit.
Parks and Recreation
The Upper Noe Valley Recreation Center (noevalleyreccenter.com) provides the community with a full-sized indoor basketball court, outdoor basketball courts, a playground for kids under age 5, tennis courts and a playing field. Douglass Park (no website; 26th & Douglass St; 415-717-2872) features a playground, basketball courts and tennis courts. Walter Haas Park (no website; Addison & Farnum; 415-717-2872) has a playground, tennis and basketball courts, as well as Billy Goat Hill, a natural hiking area, adjacent to the park.
Peekabootique (peekabootiquesf.com) is a children's store specializing in clothes for newborns to size 6x -- and also has educational toys. Kids will likely have fun shopping in this interesting store, which buys, sells -- and trades -- items directly with its customers. Small Frys (smallfrys.com) provides shoppers with children's clothing and accessories, as well as fun toys with which kids can play while visiting. Many of the products are organic and eco-friendly. The Ark (thearktoys.com) features high-quality wooden, educational, imaginative toys and games, as well as classic and all-around fun toys from around the world. The large variety of toys that are likely to intrigue kids includes elves, gnomes and fairy dolls, as well as unique ride-on toys.