Searching for a new part of town to enjoy the long summer days with your kids? Well, you’d never guess, but tucked away in San Francisco’s newly developed Mission Bay are two recently opened outdoor spots perfect for a kid-filled afternoon, including on seriously awesome playground and a little slice of foodie heaven. Whether you and the kids are in the mood to romp and play, or eat and drink (or both!)—look past Mission Bay’s modern complexes and the occasional bulldozer—and veer off the beaten path for some summertime urban bliss.FullSizeRender (8)

Mission Bay Children’s Park
Trekking through Mission Bay can feel a bit like a maze, with it’s many converging streets and intersections, whether by car, stroller, or even skuutin’ along. At one particular crossing, however, Mission Bay seems to open up into a beautiful landscape, where sits the recently opened Mission Bay Children’s Park. At the corner of Longbridge and China Basin Streets, you and your kiddos’ eyes will widen at the vast and grand scale of this urban playground.

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Under the shadows of the towering condos and neighboring buildings, this is perfect for kids of all ages. There’s the kiddie section for crawlers and toddlers, with small swing set, shorter slides, and even small sandpit area for little hands and feet to dig. On the opposite end is the larger play area for school-aged kids, with roped jungle gym, longer slides, and monkey bars—perfect for older kiddos who want to climb, jump, and even get in a game of tag (or two). Best part of Mission Bay Children’s Park? The whimsical structures incorporated throughout—from the earth mounds and boulders, to the willow huts and arches.

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Good to Know: Tables and benches scattered along the perimeter of the park are available for rent to celebrate your little one’s special day – birthday, school get-to-gether, or just because! Contact Mission Bay Park for details.

Mission Bay Children’s Park
Corner of Longbridge & China Basin St
Open Daily from 8 am-9 pm
Online: missionbayparks.com/childrens-park

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SPARK Social SF
Down the block you and your kiddies will find SPARK Social SF, a new outdoor mecca complete with rotating food trucks, fire pits, and benches and tables ideal for dining alfresco. In partnership with Parklab—a project that’s transforming vacant SF spaces into community hubs—SPARK Social SF has created the ultimate urban oasis for city slickers. Enjoy the fresh air and music playing as you dig into your favorite food truck eats.

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For the best seat in the house, head to the front of the park to the SPARK Social SF double-decker bus—the ultimate two-story jungle gym. Please do stay close to your kids as you explore and walk through as the top floor, as awesome as the view is, can be precariously high for little ones. So long as you’re holding onto your mini me, snag a counter seat at the top, giving you and your kiddo the best view in the house.

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If all that’s not enough, there’s Mission Bay Field, hosted by SFF Soccer, which offers a fun-filled, SF kids soccer program for children ages 18 months to 5 years old. And if you’re not able to sign up your little one, you can still enjoy this neighboring mini soccer field as a spectator and watch soccer games in play. You and the kids may even witness folks playing the ridiculously fun game of bubble soccer, where folks are clad in large colorful bubbles, running and falling topsy-turvy as they chase the soccer ball down the field.

And remember, if you have a four-legged friend, bring them along as SPARK Social SF is not only kid-friendly, but dog-friendly as well!

601 Mission Bay Boulevard North
San Francisco, 94158
M-F 11 am–3 pm, 5 pm–9 pm
Saturday 11 am–9 pm
Sunday 11 am–5 pm
Online: sparksocialsf.com

Have you visited the new spots in San Francisco’s Mission Bay?

–Yannina Pacis

All images courtesy of the author