Your tot is enthralled by anything on wheels that moves, shakes, rattles, and turns. Give her the ride of her life by taking a city road trip on MUNI’s 28 bus line. Read on to discover where to play, eat and explore along the 28 route. All aboard!

Before you go
Print out the 28 19th Avenue’s route from this link (you can also pull it up on your phone, but kids love to follow old-school maps). Grab your Clipper card or two one-dollar bills (kids under 5 ride free; kids 5 and up are $0.75), and head out the door. You’ll want to budget about a half day (three to five hours) for this trip depending on how many breaks you take.

Where to start:
Get on the bus on the corner of 19th Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard (or earlier, depending on where you live). If you paid in cash, be sure to take a transfer.

After careening scenically through Golden Gate Park, jump off at Geary Boulevard and grab a bag of fresh-baked deliciousness at House of Bagels, the only bagels in San Francisco that New Yorkers say compare with the Big Apple’s. Then board the next bus. house of bagels

photo credit: Emma S.

Get off at the Golden Gate Bridge and, if you’re up for a hike, walk part-way across and back. Even on foggy days, views don’t come any more spectacular than this. On Sundays and holidays, you can also transfer to the 76 line and cross the bridge by bus on your same fare.

on bridge pointing smaller

photo credit: Emma S.

After all that walking, it’s time for some grub. From the bridge parking lot, look for the ramp and staircase down to Crissy Field (ask for directions if it’s not obvious). Drop down onto the shore of the Bay and into the charming, kid-friendly Warming Hut Café and Bookstore. Take a sandwich and a hot chocolate out onto the pier and watch the pelicans patrol the pier and the fishermen pull in crabs. Finish that chocolate—you’ll need the energy for the trek back up the stairs! Don’t forget to take a potty break in the public restrooms next to the cafe.

watching pelican

photo credit: Emma S.

Re-board the 28 at the bus stop in the parking lot. Pretend you’re on a roller coaster (or the Orient Express) as you speed along newly-completed Doyle Drive. Take in the views of the Bay Bridge, Marina Green, and Palace of Fine Arts. From here, the bus will chug happily along Lombard Street and then enter the chic Marina District at Laguna Street. If little people need to burn off some steam, get off at Chestnut Street and walk two blocks west to the adorable Moscone Rec Center park and playground.

moscone rec

photo credit: San Francisco Parks Alliance

Need a rest—or a clean restroom? Pop next door to the pleasant Marina Branch Library. (Story times are Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.) Snuggle up in the cozy children’s area and read a few picture books—then borrow some more for the ride home.

Homeward bound:
You can re-board the 28 bus heading the opposite direction (west) at the corner of Laguna and Chestnut. Or, for a different scenic ride, catch the 43 Masonic on the corner of Chestnut and Fillmore, which will cross the Presidio and the Richmond District, then rumble along Haight Street, Cole Valley, and the UCSF campus. Stay on until Forest Hill Station (where you can transfer to the MUNI Metro) or Balboa Park (transfer to BART). As a third alternative, jump on the 30 Stockton anywhere along Chestnut heading east. It will cruise past the waterfront, cross North Beach, and traverse the heart of Chinatown before hitting Market Street, with access to all underground trains (MUNI Metro and BART).

Do you have any additional pit stops along the 28 route? Tell us in the comment section below!

— Emma Bland Smith