Let’s face it—even when it is raining, winter is a pretty awesome time in the Bay Area. You can still go to the beach, the ski slopes are just a few hours away and there are some amazing waterfall hikes nearby. Scroll through to find some of our favorite family activities for when the temps top out at an oh-so-frigid 60 degrees.

photo: Big Blue Swim School

1. Get your goggles on and dive in to one of these indoor pools that are open year round.

2. All aboard! This list for little train lovers gives you the inside scoop of where to ride the rails around the Bay Area.

3. Batter up! Spring training is right around the corner and these local batting cages will let your tune up your swing in no time.

4. Dining with views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Yes, please! This list has all the best outdoor dining spots for when the sun is out. 

5. Visit the totally-free deYoungsters Studio in Golden Gate Park, fun for any day of the week.

photo: Kate Loweth

6. Winter is the perfect time to for a visit to The Exploratorium where you can see the Curious Contraptions through Jan. 26. 

7. These stroller hikes are perfect when you want to get the kids out for some fresh air.

8. It's always the perfect day for pizza and we have a list of the perfect pies here.

9. Pint-sized Picassos and mini Monets will love these art centers where you can drop in for a day of inspiration.

10. Don't let the weather get you down. These indoor playspaces are the place to be when the rain falls.

photo: Soda Springs Mountain Resort

11. Plan a long weekend at Tahoe and hit the slopes! We also love these more low-key spots to see the snow and try out tubing. 

12. Winter is the perfect time to visit one of these glamping spots that offer campfires without having to pitch your own tent.

13. The best things in life are free especially when you get a free day at your local museum. Or visit one of these museums that are ALWAYS free!

14. Check out The Detour's new family game night hours and other spots to fuel your family's competitive side

photo: California Academy of Sciences

15. Get in some after hours time at your favorite aquarium or museum where you can spend the night. The next Penguins + Pajamas sleeepover at the Cal Academy is on Feb. 21. 

16. San Francisco has some of the most epic playgrounds around. Pick a sunny day and start checking off our list of 30 favorites like the recently-updated Panhandle Playground.

17. Lunar New Year in on Jan. 25 so that means it's the perfect time to dine on dim sum. We've got all the hot spots where dumplings are king.

18. Where's the only place you can visit an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, all under one “living” roof? Our California Academy of Sciences guide is all you need to make the most of your visit. We love visiting in winter to check out 'Tis the Season for Science

19. Save your pennies and spend the day at the Marine Mammal Center, Bay Model and other local (and free!) hot spots.

20. Hop on a cable car and explore all that Market Street has to offer. Get the insider's scoop here and save some time for a slice at Delarosa.

21. Make your next meal out a memorable one (in a good way!) at one of these themed restaurants where there's more than just burgers and fries.

22. Head to Corona Heights and check out the Randall Museum. Bonus, admission is always free!

23. Visit the shore at low tide and explore the sea urchins, sea stars and crabs that live in our coastal tide pools.

24. Visit CuriOdyssey, climb the dragon-themed playground at Coyote Point and enjoy the uniquely-delicious waffles at Eggettes when you visit San Mateo.

25. We love the Illuminate SF Festival of Lights that goes on all over SF through New Year's Day as well as Pleasanton's LumiNight Lantern Festival through Feb. 2. 

26. You don't have to wait for camping season to enjoy s'mores for dessert any day of the week.

27. Grab a gift at one of these independent toy stores.

photo: Kate Loweth

28. Hop aboard these ships that offer a history lesson on the water.

29. Settle in with a good book at one of our favorite independent bookstores.

30. Go for some foodie family time at these Bib Gourmand spots that are also kid-friendly.

31. Road trip time! Spend some time exploring these 10 California road trips.

32. There's never a bad time to eat donuts. Grab the giant one from Bob's Donuts or one from another of our favorite donut spots.

33. Grab your kids some free grub at these restaurants where the shorties eat free.

34. Chase some waterfalls and let the kids explore on these amazing waterfall hikes (that are at their peak after springtime rains arrive).

35. Every day is taco Tuesday at these spots that know how to do the taco just right.

36. Everyone knows that brunch is the best meal of the day. Bonus, these spots open super early so you don't have to wait until mid-day to get your brunch fix.

37. Have the kids tried all of these iconic San Francisco desserts? What are you waiting for?

—Kate Loweth


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