The library is the standard location for story time, but sometimes a new local adventure is on the books. From the oldest independent bookstore to one of the most serene surroundings in the city, check out our list of where to drop-in, relax and listen to a great book with the little ones.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

When: Every day at 11 a.m.

For story time that's more than just reading books, bring the little explorers to the Bay Area Discovery Museum where stories are brought to life using puppets and props. With rotating themes including Bug Life, Count it Out!, Big Green Monsters and Childhood Classics, it's all about an interactive experience.

Good to know: Since story time is free with admission, go ahead and explore the rest of the museum! 

557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, CA 94965


Books, Inc.

When: Various days and times dependent on age and location. Check the website for details.

With 11 locations all over the Bay Area from San Francisco to Santa Clara, Books, Inc. is the oldest independent bookstore since opening back in 1851. Story time sessions range in themes and ages from the Pajama Party for the 3-6 year old set to the Tidbits for the under 3 years old.

Good to know: No story times on Mon., Tues. & Fri.

Various Locations


San Francisco Botanical Garden

When: First and third Sun. of every month at 10:30 a.m. followed by a family garden walk that departs at 11 a.m.

Here's one for the nature lovers that want to learn more about plants, animals and natural history. Tucked in the cozy children's book nook, kids aged 4-8 can enjoy fun stories followed by a special garden walk that bring the stories to life.

Good to know: On beautiful SF afternoons, bring a picnic lunch to the gardens and enjoy the picturesque surroundings after story time.

1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94122


The Reading Bug

When: Pre-K, Tues. and Thurs. at 11 a.m; babies & toddlers on Wed. at 11 a.m; newborns on Fri. at 11 a.m; all ages on Sat. at 11 a.m.

This independent family-owned bookstore is so adorable you might not want to leave. Designed to look like an enchanted forest with toadstool and leaf seating, story times take place in the back where your little ones can sing, listen and laugh through books.

Good to know: Sunday storytime is for the 3 & up crowd and includes fun (and free) crafts.

785 Laurel St.
San Carlos, CA 94070


Diesel Bookstore

When: Thurs. at 10:30 a.m.

With a variety of books from the tried and true classics to the fresh-off-the-press new favorites, this bookstore has about every book you could possibly want to read. Story time is fun and casual, and recommended for the 5 & under set.

Good to know: The bookstore is located in a shopping center with a farmers market, café and even a yoga studio. It's a great spot for some afternoon shopping and lunch! 

Marin Country Mart
2419 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA 94939


When: Mon. at 4:15 p.m.

With locations in San Francisco, Mill Valley and Palo Alto, this carefully curated childrens store comes with a side of shopping. The SF location has teamed up with JAMaROO for stories ranging from fables to fairytales with the fun addition of puppets and even dance for the 2-5 set.

Good to know: Drop-in classes are $15/child or $20 for sibilings. Cash preferred as there is a $2 credit card processing fee.

1828 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123


Asian Art Museum

When: Various days and times dependent on age. Check the website for details.

With several story times held throughout the week, kids as young as three can get a dose of culture at this amazing museum. Stories for the 7 & up is themed to the main exhibit while those 5 & up can partake in an extra activity session with an Elements of Art Explorer Pack. Story time is free with museum admission and kids 12 & under are always free.

Good to know: Head to the museum on the first Sunday of the month for their Target First Free Sundays!

200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102


Do you have a favorite spot to sit and read with your kids? Let us know!

—Sandra Lee