One of my favorite things to do as a family is take the Oakland Ferry to the San Francisco Ferry Building. Today I’m sharing what we love so much about it with Uber who makes getting to and from the terminal a breeze…
Honestly, it’s hard to find outings that everyone loves to do in our family with the age range from 2 to almost 11. The girls just want playgrounds, but Henry wants nothing to do with them lately. A few months ago I found out from my sister in law Gabby about the ferry from Jack London Square in Oakland, and now it’s our favorite weekend outing. You hop on and take it to the ferry building (everything is THE BEST there), wander around to get food or through the farmer’s market on a Saturday and then head back again on the ferry. Traveling by boat + sampling delicious food is fun for everyone so YAY! One of those rare Oh, right! Family outings can actually be fun moments.
The best way to get to the Jack London Square ferry terminal is with Uber. It makes everything more convenient and accessible. Traveling around a city is stressful enough with kids, let’s face it. By taking an Uber to the ferry terminal, you don’t have to worry about garage parking, driving around looking for a spot, or catching the ferry in time! The Uber can drop you off steps from the terminal. It’s really convenient and it allows us to go places that might otherwise sound too stressful to navigate with young kids.
Here are a few tips about taking the ferry: You can see the schedule online, but there’s usually a ferry that runs every hour or so. It’s spaced out enough that you want to check the schedule beforehand. We’re always sure to plan it out, arriving about 20 minutes before the ferry leaves and having an idea of what ferry we want to take back so we don’t end up waiting too long or not having enough time at the ferry building.
You don’t need to worry about tickets beforehand if you’re in a rush, you can buy them roundtrip right on the ferry or you can use your Clipper Card to pay as you’re getting on. Our favorite time to go is early on a weekend morning for the farmer’s market, or for dinner. It’s also a really romantic date night (we’re headed this weekend!).
The ferry itself works so well for families. You can take strollers and park them right on the ferry in the bike parking area. Because there aren’t assigned seats or seatbelts, the kids can wander around and explore as long as you stay with them. There’s even a snack bar on board, and you can buy a glass of wine for yourself as well!
Usually we avoid crowded times like weekend afternoons or rush hour on the weekdays, so the kids can wander around and enjoy looking at different things on the boat. There are a couple levels on the ferry, and an outdoor seating area in the back to watch the huge container ships as you glide through the bay. Such a highlight of the trip for sure.
My favorite part might be when you pass under the bay bridge. It’s an incredibly special view to be right under it!
Once we arrive at the ferry building we wander through the shops inside to collect items for a picnic lunch. It’s a great opportunity to introduce my kids to all kinds of different foods. We start with staples like Acme bread, fruit, and Cowgirl Creamery cheese. Then, I always try to get them to try something new (not always successfully but we’ll keep trying!). Everything is amazingly delicious so you can’t really go wrong with your selections.
Once we get our picnic supplies we head outside to the benches or tables and start feasting. I love how casual everything is. The kids can run around and play on the pier, and you can sit with your amazing cheese and baguette and glass of wine (or a margarita from Mijita). It’s so easy, guys.
After we eat the kid won’t let us leave without getting a little treat at Miette. The chocolate shortbread cookies and chocolate caramels are my very favorite. There’s also an amazing ice cream place next door to Miette called Humphrey Slocombe that’s outstanding too. I always love peeking inside Heath Ceramics of course while I’m there, and getting a coffee at Blue Bottle.
For a family friendly dinner, we love getting some quick but delicious Mexican food at Mijita, or The Slanted Door for amazing Vietnamese (but too fancy for kids). Boulettes Larder is the best place for Sunday brunch.