By Randy Yagi

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and if brunch plans haven’t already been made, chances are moms and their sons will have to find something else to do. That’s because reservations are no longer available for popular brunch spots such like the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court restaurant and the Top of the Mark at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, among many, many others. Fortunately, in a great city like San Francisco, there are plenty of other fun things to do, even though this very special day will attract larger crowds than normal all over the City. For those whose plans are not already set, here are just five of the best ideas for mothers and their sons to consider in celebrating a delightful Mother’s Day together in San Francisco.

Bike Through Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA  94117
(415) 831-2700
www.goldengatepark.com

Provided the weather cooperates, cycling can be a great way to explore Golden Gate Park and its many wonderful attractions. While having the use of personal bikes is the most affordable way for mothers and sons to cycle through the park that’s larger than New York’s Central Park, there are several bike tours and rentals available for those who need of a bike or two. Among the most popular bike shops and tour operators in or around Golden Gate Park are Golden Gate Tours and Bike Rentals, Bay City Bike Rentals and Tours, Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate, Avenue Cyclery and Parkwide Bike Rentals and Tours. For the locals, the major attractions in Golden Gate Park are fairly obvious, but for visitors unfamiliar with the area, top suggestions include the Conservatory of Flowers, the deYoung Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, California Academy of Sciences, the Dutch Windmill and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. One last suggestion is the new Uber Bike, which allows people to rent an electric bike provided by JUMP Bikes through an upgraded Uber app. Cost for an Uber Bike is $2 per 30 minutes and is currently available only in San Francisco.

Related: Best Places To See Spring Flowers In San Francisco

Exploratorium
Pier 15, The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA  94111
www.exploratorium.edu

Named one of this year’s Top 10 Coolest Museums in the World by the New York Times, the Exploratorium will be one of the most popular spots in San Francisco on Mother’s Day. That’s not just because it’s definitely cool and because it’s also San Francisco’s top rated museum on TripAdvisor. It’s also because Mother’s Day is one of the Exploratorium’s five Community Days, when visitors can pay-what-you-wish, although entry will be subject to capacity due to expected crowds. Located along the busy Embarcadero at Pier 15 with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, the Exploratorium is a completely entertaining museum featuring six main galleries and more than 650 interactive exhibits, as well as additional exhibits in a free public space. Among the leading highlights of the Exploratorium are the Black Box, Giant Mirror, Rickshaw Camera Obscura and the Tactile Dome. Afterwards, mothers and their sons may opt for a nearby meal with advance reservations at places like La Mar or the Waterfront Restaurant or even take Market Street Railway for additional attractions like Pier 39’s Aquarium by the Bay and Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, as well as Madame Tussauds San Francisco and the San Francisco Dungeon in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Hike Lands End
680 Point Lobos Ave.
San Francisco, CA  94121
(415) 426-5240
www.nps.gov/landsend

At no cost at all other than possible transportation expenses to get there, hiking the Coastal Trail at Land’s End is a great way to get some exercise for moms and their sons, in addition to spending valuable time together. Located with the enormous Golden Gate Recreation Area in the northwestern corner of San Francisco, Lands End features the popular Coastal Trail, a popular 3.4-mile loop with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean that begins at the free Lands End Lookout parking lot or from several other entryways. Along the way are historic attractions like the Sutro Baths ruins and the USS San Francisco Memorial, as well as hidden treasures like the Lands End Labyrinth, which requires walking down and back up a slightly challenging, narrow pathway. While the Lands End Lookout parking lot can fill up quickly, especially on a day like Mother’s Day, additional free parking may be found along the Great Highway near the landmark Cliff House, on El Camino del Mar near the San Francisco VA Medical Center and possibly the lot at the Legion of Honor, which certainly is another exceptional attraction to spend the afternoon.

Mother’s Day Marina Green 5K
Little Marina Green
Yacht Harbor Parking Lot
San Francisco, CA  94123
(415) 978-0837
www.dserunners.com/mothersdaymarinagreen5k

A great way to start Mother’s Day is to burn some calories while taking in the sights during the Marina Green 5K. Hosted by the Dolphin South End Runners (DSE), the oldest and largest running club in the City, the event will feature a 5K run, which begins at 9 a.m. and a half-mile Kids Run that follows at 9:45 a.m. The out-and-back 5K course begins at the Yacht Parking Lot adjacent to the Little Marina Green and the yacht harbor, then heads east for a few blocks along Marina Boulevard, then turns around at the western border of the Marina Green, before reaching Crissy Field just before Mile 2, then turning around again at a posted orange cone, before heading back to the starting line. Advance registration is available through the DSE’s website or Active.com, while children ages 10 and under must register the day of the race only, as entry will be free for this age group. 5K runners and walkers can only pick up their race bibs on race day only beginning at 8 a.m. and free parking will be available near the starting line. All participants will receive a finisher ribbon, and place ribbons will be awarded to the Top 5 overall male and female runners. Afterwards, participants can relax at the Little Green Picnic Area or explore other nearby attractions like the Palace of Fine Arts, the Walt Disney Family Museum or Ghirardelli Square.

SFMOMA
151 Third St.
San Francisco, CA  94103
(415) 357-4000
www.sfmoma.org

Located in the vibrant SoMa district and within walking distance from several city attractions, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is certain to be a popular spot on Mother’s Day. This is especially true for its members, who enjoy free admission all year long, as well as all visitors 18 years and under, who will always receive free admission. Established in 1935 as the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to modern and contemporary art, SFOMA recently underwent a major expansion that nearly tripled its gallery space to 170,000 square feet, making the museum one of the largest of its kind in the U.S. SFMOMA has more than 33,000 works of art in its permanent collection and among its impressive highlights to see are the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection on the sixth floor, the John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography, and selected works in the Painting and Sculpture,1900 to Now exhibit from some of the world’s greatest artists, such as Henri Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat”, Diego Rivera’s “The Flower Carrier”, Ruth Asawa’s “Untitled” and Jackson Pollock’s “Guardians of the Secret”. Also not to be missed are the free public art spaces, the Living Wall, the outdoor terraces on the seventh floor, the Museum Store and the phenomenal In Situ restaurant, led by Michelin Three-Star Chef Corey Lee, which is all but certain to be quite busy on Mother’s Day. Current temporary exhibitions at SFMOMA include “The Train-RFK’s Last Journey”through June 10 and “Get with the Action” through June 17.

Related: 5 Must-See Museums In San Francisco

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