How to entertain younger visiting relatives?
October 17, 2010 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I need activities for the next two weeks for visiting relatives in the Bay Area. A 16-year-old girl (who will turn 17 during the visit) and a 9-year-old boy need to be entertained, either together or separately.

So far we've got things like hiking and picnic-ing, and taking them rock climbing. I'm open to suggestions including events (concerts or exhibitions), outdoor activities, interesting museums, cool restaurants - anything fun you guys can think of.

Bonus points for thinking of an interesting way to celebrate the birthday! This young lady is kind of shy, and fashionable. What do 16-year-old girls want when they celebrate their birthdays away from their close friends?

We have cars and can travel up to an hour out of the Bay Area, and are starting out in Berkeley.

Thanks in advance.
posted by pluot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
It really depends on what their interests are. How well do you know them? When I was 17 (and now) I wouldn't have been the least bit interested in rock climbing. I also wouldn't have been all that interested in shopping, but many teenage girls are, especially those that are fashionable. Can you tell us anything else about the kids?
posted by amro at 10:36 AM on October 17, 2010

I just said this in the other thread, but, House of Air.
posted by juliapangolin at 10:47 AM on October 17, 2010

Response by poster: Hey, thanks for the response. I'm asking for a friend, so I'll check in and come back with more info.

From what I do know of them, they enjoy being outside. They've already been taken rock climbing and enjoyed it. Both good sports. They like live music.

They're pretty good at trying new things, so I was hoping to cast a wide net and see all kinds of suggestions that we could run by them and see if they're interested. If anyone has anything quirky or fun that a minor can participate in, or something special that the Bay Area has to offer, we'd love to hear it.
posted by pluot at 10:53 AM on October 17, 2010

For the 9 year old boy, the Exploratorium is a must. I don't know that it would appeal as much to the 16 year old. Muir Woods, since they like the outdoors.
posted by booksherpa at 11:22 AM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seconding the Exploratorium, at least for the 9-year-old but the 16-going-on-17-year-old might like it too.

I visited Amoeba Records for the first time around 18 or 19, and was so blown away I spent most of the day there; if she's really into music, she might enjoy it too.
posted by scody at 12:24 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

posted by mollymayhem at 12:28 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some earlier threads with good ideas.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:51 PM on October 17, 2010

Maybe it would be fun to take them to try new kinds of food. I don't know where they are from, but the Bay Area abounds in amazing ethnic foods that might be unfamiliar and exciting.

Re: The Exploratorium-- I'm 24 and I still get excited about going there. I'm pretty sure the 17 year old will find something there to interest her. There's also the Tech Museum in San Jose that's pretty fun and interesting. And of course the Academy of Science, too. Of course, it's ok to just stay home and hang out with them, too--watch movies, cook together, play pictionary, whatever.

When I was 17 and shy and fashionable, I would really have loved to get dressed up in something fancy and go to a really nice restaurant. I liked to be recognized as a young woman instead of just a kid, and it meant a lot to me when people thought I was mature enough to appreciate the finer things. I'm not sure if brother would come along or if it would be a birthday treat just for her, but it's an idea. Oooh, and tell the chef! Free fancy dessert is very exciting.

Have fun!
posted by chatongriffes at 1:19 PM on October 17, 2010

-nthing the Exploratorium. (Be sure to check out the Shadow Box and the chicken embryo developing under glass, if they're still there.)
-Taco Trucks near Lake Merritt for lunch or early dinner. Authentic, affordable Mexican food.
-Codornices Park and the Rose Garden in Berkeley. The gigantic slide and swings at Codornices are legendary.
-Lawrence Hall of Science. Although the museum itself leaves much to be desired, the panoramic views of the Bay Area from the front and back of the building are incredible. They even have free telescopes!!!
posted by tamagogirl at 3:39 PM on October 17, 2010

Oh man I love the Exploratorium! I last went when I was maybe 19 with a friend who was a few years oler and we had a blast.

The newly redone Academy of Sciences is INCREDIBLE. Plan to spend all day. Make sure you go see the penguins they are soooo cute. I didn't catch the feedings but they looked fun. Also there was a great presentation with a diver in one of the big fish tanks that was entertaining and informative.
posted by radioamy at 4:46 PM on October 17, 2010

If I was a teenager on a trip, there's two things I'd want at some point:
1) some time to hop on a computer and email my friends/check facebook whatever
2) some time without a 9 year old boy running around me and adults in front of me.

Westfield Mall on Market Street might be a possibility for #2 at least ("Hey, here's some food money, meet back here at 3, ok?")

It just started getting cold and wet, so you may want to look at some indoor activities as well.
posted by yeloson at 4:57 PM on October 17, 2010

The 16-year-old will probably have a fun time shopping in Berkeley and SF. When I was in HS we used to hang out on Telegraph, and in the Haight. You don't say where they're from, but if she's not used to being in a big city, she'll probably love Union Square (helloooo Macy's shoe department!).

Maybe for her bday take her to a play/musical and a fancy restaurant? I don't really know the hot places in SF anymore - we used to go to Stars but its closed now.

The Bay Area gets a ton of great concerts, but that of course all depends on her taste in music and also how "cool" you or other adults are - as a teenager I would have gone to a concert with an older cousin but probably not one of my aunts. Check out
posted by radioamy at 5:11 PM on October 17, 2010

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