Not every mom wants to spend Mother’s Day kid-wrangling at a pricey brunch buffet. Peruse the list below and find the activity that the mom in your life will enjoy. Moms out there—feel free to post this list on your fridge with your fave highlighted if you think your people might need a little push in the right direction.

GoldenGateBridgeMomBaby-cc-Jason Morrison via Flickr

photo: Jason Morrison via flickr

1. Pretend you are tourists and spend the weekend in San Francisco. Enjoy sundaes at Ghirardelli Square, spot the sea lions at Pier 39 and ride the cable cars to Lombard Street. Check out the CA Road Trip package offered by the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 if you are looking to stay overnight. The package includes discounts to area attractions like the Exploratorium and even some free ice cream from Bi-Rite!

2. Smell the roses at a nearby botanical garden. The flowers are blooming, the butterflies are out and it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy all the sights and sounds.

3. Got a book-loving mom in your family? Gift her some dough to spend at one of these local independent bookstores and let her spend the afternoon enjoying the quiet among the shelves.

photo: © Exploratorium

4. Spend the day at the Exploratorium. Mother’s Day is a Community Day here which means that you can pay what you wish. Spend some time tinkering together or work as a team to keep a video game snake alive. Then grab lunch at the on-site cafe with views of the Bay.

5. Hit the road! Pack a bag and head north to Calistoga or Mendocino or south to Morro Bay or Monterey. We’ve got loads of road trip ideas waiting for you here.

6. Celebrate your mother and our Mother Earth in the great outdoors. The Saturday before Mother’s Day is a free day at nearby Redwoods State Parks. Reserve your spot and enjoy the fresh air.

7. San Francisco’s Chinatown always has a celebratory feel. Pick local dim sum spot and toast mom with some soup dumplings.

8. Make it a museum day and don’t spend a cent (mom doesn’t have to know). This list of totally-free museums includes spots to learn about trains, space and even sake!

9. Explore a new neighborhood. From San Mateo to the Outer Sunset to the farming towns in Contra Costa County, there’s a wide variety of fun to be had just a short drive away.

photo: Robin Eagan

10. Put her favorite cheese, crackers and beverage in the cooler and pack up the blanket for an afternoon picnic. There are loads of gorgeous spots nearby to enjoy the day flying kites.

11. If mom’s favorite spot is by the campfire, book one of these nearby cabins and set her up with some hot cocoa under the stars.

12. Spend some time in Golden Gate Park. There’s over 1,000 acres to explore with loads of free activities that mom would enjoy. Get to the Japanese Tea Garden before 10 a.m. to get free admission or scout out the park’s two waterfalls to snap some family selfies.

photo: Ray Bouknight via flickr

13. Hook mom up with some island time at Angel Island. Hop aboard the ferry in Tiburon or SF and you’ll be there in no time. Mom will especially love enjoying drinks and live music at the cafe and the tram tour of the island. Or, bring the bikes and see the island on two wheels.

14. Get your hike on—from the Marin Headlands to Gilroy’s Coyote Lake, there are tons of options to hit the trail with mom.

15. If your mom does want to do brunch, check out this list of brunch spots that open early, perfect for family soirees.


What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Share your scoop below!

—Kate Loweth