On the city’s eastern edge, there lies a dynamic little neighborhood in the middle of a whole lotta change. Switch up your usual Hayes Valley stomp or Noe Valley stroll if you’re looking for a change of scenery and venture to the Dogpatch. This ‘hood offers up trendy kid-friendly eateries, a craft museum where your kids can embrace their inner Picasso, a 14,000-square-foot play space, and much more. Read on to uncover the must-sees and dos in this hip microhood.

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Play

Woods Yard Park
For far too long Dogpatch was San Francisco’s only neighborhood without a playground. A group of civic-minded locals worked hard to change that, seeing the need for a meeting place for local parents and kids to get to know each other’s friendly faces. Working with the San Francisco Municipial Transportation Authority, the group raised the money privately to install a colorful play structure at the Woods Yard mini-park. The surrounding areas have been fixed up as well, with benches where lunching workers congregate on weekdays. It’s just up the street from the intersection of 3rd and 22nd Streets, arguably Dogpatch’s hub.

22nd St. between Indiana and Minnesota Sts.
San Francisco, Ca

Dogpatch Boulders
A few steps down 3rd Street is Dogpatch Boulders, an impressive 14,000-square-foot indoor climbing gym, with an area just for kiddie climbers.  With shorter walls and even a castle play structure, your little one will burn off all their energy as they play and climb away. There’s no minimum age for climbers, just make sure your kiddo’s dressed in comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes.  And if your kid really wants to learn about climbing fundamentals and techniques, watch them scale new heights by enrolling in one of Dogpatch Boulders’ after school or summer camp programs. Good to know: Day passes cost $20 with in/out privileges, plus $4 for climbing shoe rental.

2573 3rd St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-800-8121
Online: touchstoneclimbing.com/dogpatch-boulders

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My Gym
Yet another rainy-day option for little tumblers is My Gym, with its mat classes for Tiny Tykes and Gymsters, who enjoy gross motor activities, puppet shows, singing, and much more in a safe and clean environment. Older kids enjoy dance, gymnastics, and martial arts, as well.

901 Minnesota St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-643-5500
Online: mygym.com

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photo credit: The Museum of Craft and Design

Explore

Museum of Craft and Design
Nurture your love of art and expand your little one’s curiosity at MCD. Their MakeArt program consists of supervised workshops for kids six and up. Free for MCD members, and $10 for non-members, workshopers construct animal masks out of cardboard, make donut-shaped pin cushions, or enjoy the popular gingerbread architectural models. Classes are drop-in, but the museum encourages calling ahead to reserve a spot. For the younger set, MCD also offers Family Day events, where you can help your little ones handcraft ukuleles out of cardboard or create paper flowers. And don’t forget to swing by museum store for cool gift ideas with their selection of toys, home decor, and other design-inspired knick knacks.

2569 3rd St.
San Francisco, Ca
Online: sfmcd.org

Pier 70
Soon much of Pier 70 will be closed off for redevelopment, as new homes are being built for over 1,000, and the developers plan to include park space and community gathering spots. Before the dust kicks up, walk down 20th St. with your kids and marvel at the old brick warehouses. The area’s already hosted events such as the Urban Air Market and the Halloween Ghost Ship Family Day party…and now that Dogpatch has joined in the Sunday Streets schedule, expect Pier 70 to be included.

Online: pier70sf.com

El Nino
Got a little Bruce Lee wannabe? El Nino martial arts training facility has expanded to a 7,000 sq. foot facility on Third Street, and now offers youth wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes.

2920 3rd St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-550-6689
Online: elninomma.com

DSC04608Photo: Just for You

Eat

Long Bridge Pizza Company
After running, climbing, creating, and just soaking in the sights, stop those rumbling tummies at Long Bridge Pizza Company. Whole pies in an array of seasonal tempting flavors are the name of the game here. While your kids nosh on cheese, you can order up something with a bit more flavor like their Loading Dock (we’re guessing the name pays respect to the neighborhood’s industrial roots) that comes loaded with mozzarella, tomato sauce, soppressata, sausage, mushroom, garlic and thyme.

2347 3rd St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-829-8999
Online: longbridgepizza.com

Hard Knox Cafe
Not in the mood for pizza? Check out the comfort food at Hard Knox Cafe. Score a booth at this eclectic roadhouse diner and enjoy the down home feel while your kid grubs on mac and cheese and you dig in their signature chicken & waffles.  The straight-out-of-the-oven freshly baked cornbread is reason enough to make an appearance.

2526 3rd Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
Online: hardknoxcafe.com

Just For You
Another down-home familiar favorite in this neighborhood, Just For You is famous for breakfast—particularly their powdered-sugar covered beignets. One bite and your little love will be ready to let les bons temps rouler!

732 22nd St.
San Francisco,  Ca
415-647-3033
Online: justforyoucafe.com

Piccino
There’s not a kid’s menu per se, but if you’ve got a little gourmet on your hands, they’ll find something to love at Piccino. Whether it’s a pizza with an egg on top or Dungeness crab cakes, this lovely addition brings destination dining to Dogpatch.

1001 Minnesota St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-824-4224
Online: piccinocafe.com

The Ramp
This longtime neighborhood staple makes a mean Bloody Mary (for you) and has a kid’s menu (for them). Enjoy standard American lunch or brunch fare and enjoy the Ramp’s utterly unique outdoors waterfront ambiance. Ogle the giant ships docked nearby, or the sailboats being repaired in the yard next door. There’s often a cover charge for live salsa music on Saturday afternoons, but early in the day on weekends it’s free to enter.

855 Terry Francois St. (at Third and Mariposa)
San Francisco, Ca
415-621-2378
Online: theramprestaurant.com

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Photo: J.E. via Yelp

Treat

Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous
For dessert, without question, the go-to spot is Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous, a corner ice cream shoppe where everyone feels like a kid.  Grab a seat at one of the giant tables and enjoy the views of the neighborhood. Must order flavors? A scoop of their chocolate malted crunch for you, and a single scoop of birthday cake ice cream for your little sidekick.

699 22nd Street
San Francisco, Ca
415-970-0750

Have you been to Dogpatch yet? What is your little litter’s favorite spot? 

—Sarah Mueller Bossenbroek