Fall in San Francisco is our absolute favorite season for our family! San Francisco just comes alive with things to do in the fall after our chilly summer.
Every fall, Tony and I go crazy finding the most “fall” things to do or repeat our yearly tradition of going to Half Moon Bay and spending the day at the pumpkin capital of the world. Here is our round-up of top 10 things to do this fall in the SF Bay Area!
Table of Contents
- 1 Spend the day in Half Moon Bay
- 2 Take in all the fall colors in the wine country in the San Francisco Bay Area
- 3 Golden Gate Mothers Group Fall Festival
- 4 Apple Picking
- 5 Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace
- 6 Halloween Days at the San Francisco Zoo
- 7 Go trick or treating in the top neighborhoods in San Francisco
- 8 Watch airplanes soar during Fleet Week
- 9 The Color Factory
- 10 Museum of Ice Cream
Spend the day in Half Moon Bay
Going to Half Moon Bay is a must-do if you are in San Francisco in the fall! We love to visit the pumkin patches and either grab lunch at Camerons or picnic at a winery.
We go to Half Moon Bay at least twice during the pumpkin season. They are supposedly the “pumpkin capital of the world” and they don’t disappoint even the biggest of pumpkin patch fans.
We’ve even submitted an application to the Guinness World Records to be considered for the “most pumpkin patches visited in a year” once. (That application was rejected because apparently, “visiting pumpkin patches” wasn’t a category they recognized.)
These are some of our favorite places to go!
Bobs Pumpkin Patch
While most pumpkin patches open mid-September, Bobs never disappoints us when we go the first weekend in September. They are open early! This patch is to the point, and right on highway 1 so you can’t miss it!
This place is Halloween on steroids. A barn with food and drinks, pony rides, petting zoo, haunted house, hay ride, train ride, you name it! It does get a bit crowded but they have a good size parking lot. The train ride here has some “scary” or “creepy” stuff – just a warning and so is the haunted house, even with the lights on. (I’m too chicken to go in it.)
Across the street from Lemos, and we have to admit, if someone made us choose, we like Pastorinos better…. They have the same stuff, and it’s usually less crowded. We love their train ride. Henry is a little sensitive to scary things, and we know he loves the train ride. There is a parking fee in October, so make sure to bring cash. They also have a giant slide that Henry loves to go on all day long.
This pumpkin patch is a little down the way on Highway 1, but it has the biggest hay-maze! Love the corn growing all around too.
Another regular stop for our family. There is a tractor you can ride, a teepee you can go in to and friendly staff. This is one of the first ones you hit if you take Highway 1 from San Francisco (our preferred way to go)!
Not only is this funky place full of decorations that kids can look at all day, they have a nice outdoor patio that they can get wild in. The menu is full of comfort food and drinks. This is a staple when we come down to HMB! Don’t forget to try the Guinness float (Guinness with chocolate ice cream.) Bonus: We can bring Chippy (our dog) to the patio seating too.
We’ve been coming to this winery for years! They have a good deal on tastings, you will get plenty of it! You have to get the last port tasting in a chocolate cup. So so good! There is a bocce ball court in the backyard, as well as picnic tables. They are dog-friendly too!
Take in all the fall colors in the wine country in the San Francisco Bay Area
The colors are just absolutely breathtaking in the wine country in the fall! Check out our tips for going to wineries with kids here before you go so you can be prepared!
Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly wineries in Sonoma, Livermore and beyond!
Retzlaff Winery, Livermore
We stumbled upon this winery after a birthday party we went to on a Sunday afternoon. We missed their live music which they usually provide because we went right around closing time. They were so kind to us, even though I’m sure they wanted to go home after working all day. We were able to sit and enjoy our bottle as they started to pack up for the day, and Henry had a ball helping them pack away their cornhole sack. The workers there were having fun with Henry too!
Hannah Nichole Vineyards, Brentwood
They have a huge backyard with picnic tables! Great wines too.
Scribe Winery, Sonoma
This charming winery on top of a hill has been so accommodating to us and our friends with kids! Nice picnic tables and you can also get a fancy cheese plate that kids love!
Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma
This winery is right next to Scribe, and equally family friendly with lots of picnic tables with a breathtaking view. If you so dare, go to both wineries one after another!
Fults Family Winery, Clear Lake
They have a golfing range and their own kids. Can’t get any more family friendly than that!
Golden Gate Mothers Group Fall Festival
Every year, Golden Gate Mothers Group hosts an awesome fall festival. There usually is music, tons of kids activities, and a pumpkin patch – pumpkins are free for members! The event is free and exclusively for members. It’s a must if you live in San Francisco and are a member! (GGMG was one of groups highlighted for “New Mom’s Guide” by Vogue!)
You can go apple picking in any direction from San Francisco, but our absolute favorite is Apple Hill! Yes, this is little ways away from San Francisco, but it’s so worth it! Apple orchards everywhere sprinkled with pumpkin patches. So much fun! Pro Tip: If you can go in November or during the week – do it. October gets pretty crowded on the weekends!
Some of Henry’s favorites:
Apple Ridge Farms – Hay maze, pumpkin patch, picnic area!
Bill’s Apples – They hand out freshly spiraled apples and have so many animal figures you can look at!
High Hill – huge, but also comes with huge traffic. Avoid on weekends leading up to Halloween.
Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace
Horses, cows, & tractors = toddler heaven. The kids have a blast despite the rodeo starting way past their bedtime (usually around 7:30pm). It is usually held at the end of October. Get tickets ahead of time, so you can get the best seat in the house! Besides watching the actual show, they have a fun kids play area with big tractors they can ride. You can’t miss this during the fall in San Francisco with kids!
Halloween Days at the San Francisco Zoo
Such a cute event, a staple in San Francisco in the fall with kids – with all the kiddos dressed up! The zoo gets decorated with fun Halloween themes too!
Go trick or treating in the top neighborhoods in San Francisco
There are so many cute neighborhoods to go trick or treating but it can be tricky to find the right streets if you live in/stay in any of the neighborhoods or streets that have a lot of apartments buildings or generally not nice to walk around in. Check out this post on best places to trick or treat in San Francisco by TimeOut.
Watch airplanes soar during Fleet Week
There are so many places to watch them (can hear them basically everywhere), but we watched them take off from a pumpkin patch (of course, right?) in Alameda! Don’t forget your headphones for the little ones! We love this guide on where to go watch airplanes on Fleet Week.
As of now, they just extended tickets to stay in San Francisco. So let’s hope they will be around still in the Fall in San Francisco! If you can find tickets, or anyone with tickets that will take you and your kids, go!! It’s so much fun. How to get tickets: Sign up for their Newsletter! You will be the first to know.
Did you get tickets and ready to go with your toddler? Check out City Muchkin’s tips before you go!
One more place where it’s impossible to get to, but again, it’s such a treat (no pun intended). Definitely a kids and Instagrammers’ dream. Museum of Ice Cream also has been extending its stay, so hopefully, it’s still going on in the fall. Tickets are sold out again, but you never know when they will open it up further. Stay tuned!
Stroller Tip: They don’t have stroller parking, unlike the Color Factory. Be sure to plan accordingly! We were able to bring in our super lightweight, perfect for travel stroller, Mountain Buggy Nano, but I heard some people had to bring their stroller back to the car…