Our new series A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will showcase fun itineraries for parents and kid’s adventures in different Bay Area neighborhoods. Read up on where to go at the Red Tri website, then look for our window clings to locate Red Tri-approved businesses when you’re on the ground in the neighborhood! All itineraries are meant to keep kids and adults entertained for about four hours.
Tiburon’s Main Street has been preserved just as it was when the Gold Rush era town was little more than a railroad and a lumberyard. It’s a fun and historic place to explore with kids. Take the ferry in for an extra treat!
Do: If you visit Tiburon with kids you shouldn’t miss the Historical Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum. After your arrival, head west through Shoreline Park until you reach the antique gray building on the waterfront. Formerly the stationmaster’s home and office, it is now a great local museum that houses the last remnants of Tiburon’s history as a railroad town. If you have kids that like trains, they will be especially enthralled by the scale replica of the 60-acre depot compound featured in the first floor of the museum. On the rest of the first floor, photos and documents chart the history of the Northern Pacific Railway in Tiburon and the fleet of ferries and trains they used to connect San Francisco with the rest of Northern California. Upstairs the rooms have been preserved as the living quarters of the stationmaster’s family, and kids can get a glimpse of what their lives might have been like a hundred years ago. The museum is small enough that it can be viewed in an hour or so, with plenty of time to see the rest of Tiburon’s waterfront.
Shop: After seeing the museum, meander back to Main Street, where the quaint and historic shops remind visitors of Tiburon’s past, while tempting them with goodies in the present. Next to the ferry landing, the Ark Row shops are actually original 1890’s houseboats that were only converted to shops when the lagoon they floated in (between the Tiburon peninsula and the island of Belvedere) was drained and filled in. They still retain a turn-of-the century charm, and their unique back-story makes exploring them more intriguing. You can hunt for flea market finds in the Tiburon Thrift Shop, which supports local non-profits with its sales, or look in the windows of the eclectic boutiques and galleries in this area. When you’re done head back up Main Street to The Candy Store—that is if your children haven’t already been drawn in by its siren song. This old-fashioned shop has everything you can think of to satisfy your sweet tooth, from homemade fudge to gummi tacos. Get ice cream cones to slurp while you window-shop along Main Street or a little white bag of goodies to munch on the ferry ride home.
Eat: Don’t spoil your appetite with candy though! Located right on the waterfront, a visit to Sam’s Anchor Café is practically a necessity on your first visit to Tiburon. The café has been open since its days as a speakeasy during the 1920’s, and is a Tiburon institution. If the weather’s nice, there’s no better place to be than their balcony—although watch out for the seagulls, which are skilled in stealing stray food. Kids will enjoy the nautical atmosphere and a chance to watch the boats in San Francisco Bay. The food is upscale American, with the focus being on their seafood options. Try the cioppino if you’re hungry! Kids will like the shrimp cocktails and the fish and chips.
Play: Once you’ve finished exploring Main Street, if you’re still looking for somewhere for kids to burn off some energy, try Belvedere Community Park. Recently remodeled, this park is prized by Tiburon moms for its fun structures and beautiful setting. Kids will love the unique spider climber and classic playhouse. Parents can relax on the grass and soak up the sunshine. The park is about a ten-minute walk from downtown Tiburon.
We hope you have as much fun exploring Tiburon as we always do! Check out our list of approved businesses in the area for more fun ideas, and let us know about your own Union Street adventures in the comments section!