Top Mother-Daughter Activities in California
While we treasure doing family activities together, sometimes, girls just want to have fun. As Mother’s Day approaches, we wanted to share some special mother-daughter activities across the Golden State. Here are some ideas for girls-only trips, a fun day out or to celebrate Mom when visiting California’s three major cities.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in San Diego
By Mary S.
San Diego is a very family-friendly destination. There are many reasons it’s called “America’s Finest City.” We have many idyllic beaches, fantastic year-round weather and various cultural attractions. Whether you’re celebrating Mother’s Day or spending a nice day out as a local or just visiting, we recommend these activities for moms and their girls.
One of the best ways to see downtown San Diego is a cruise on the bay. While sightseeing cruises are fun and allow for some relaxation and girl bonding time, one of the best ways to celebrate Mother’s Day in San Diego is by going on one of Hornblower’s brunch or dinner cruises.
Our mother-daughter outings always involve shopping. So, head to Seaport Village nearby afterwards for its many unique stores and entertainment. For brunch or lunch in the downtown area, we always love going to Little Italy or the Gaslamp District for a vast selection of restaurants. Without question, go to Extraordinary Desserts afterwards. They have the most delectable and beautifully presented cakes, sweets and pastries living up to its name.
Old Town San Diego
We always enjoy a fun day out at Historic Old Town San Diego, California’s birthplace. There are plenty of shopping opportunities here that range from candles and soap to colorful Mexican pottery and art and crafts. My husband dreads coming here to wait for us.
This is a beautiful area to walk around and learn some history. Do a Mother-Daughter History Hunt with a free ice cream scoop for a prize. Lunch at one of the festive Mexican restaurants never disappoints. Many have Mother’s Day meal and drink specials! Visit Cafe Coyote where you can watch the tortilla ladies make about 1,500 tortillas everyday. Don’t miss some olive oil sampling at Temecula Olive Oil Company afterwards.
A Day at Balboa Park
Balboa Park is the cultural center of the city and the hub of over 15 museums, theaters and gardens. This is a great day out. We recommend the art museum, Natural History Museum and Museum of Man. We’ve spent countless hours walking around the Spanish Village Art center with 37 working studios and over 200 artists using various mediums.
Eat at The Prado in between museum visits. It is a beautiful setting and they hold a special Mother’s Day Brunch every year. Stroll through the promenade among beautiful buildings reminiscent of Spain. Don’t miss the large Botanical Building housing over 2,000 plants or the Japanese Friendship Garden to walk off that meal. End the day by watching a show at Casa del Prado Theater or at the Old Globe Theater.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in Los Angeles
By Nicole S.
I’d be completely lying if I said Mother’s Day wasn’t my favorite holiday ever. No, seriously — it’s the one day I get to veto everything, call the shots, and do what I want to do. After all HOW many diapers did I change in this lifetime? It’s well-deserved and I’m fairly certain I earned at least ONE day a year to call mine-all-mine.
As much as I secretly covet a peaceful day sans make-up in a fluffy bed with blackout curtains (and toss in commercial-free Lifetime television, macarons, and silence for good measure), it would be a sacrilege to stay inside and not embrace the SoCal lifestyle I love so much, well at least for majority of the day.
I know I’m partial, but I absolutely love the Los Angeles area. After almost 20 years, I still get excited for the ever-changing landscape, clear skies, blue water and winding roads. Since Sunday mornings happen to already be my favorite time of the week, Mother’s Day is always the perfect day for an early convertible drive up the coast.
Drive the Coast
Whether you’re going from San Diego to Orange County or driving from Santa Monica to Malibu, down Mulholland Drive, cruising the coast is never a bad idea. There are so many roadside spots to stop at along the way, and a road trip is a great way to disconnect from tech and reconnect with family. Just make sure to call, “Shotgun!” because you are not going to want to miss one minute of the view.
A Day Out in L.A.
Rounding the holiday out with a family visit to The Getty Museum, LACMA or even an afternoon hike to the Hollywood sign is never a bad idea either. There are so many things to do in L.A. and the best part is you can do a little bit of it all in just one day. I mean where else can you start your day in the surf and end it in the snow? Oh, and now we even have Butter Beer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so this just proves the options of what to do for a day in Los Angeles are endless.
Mommy and Me Spa
Those looking for more of a Tinsel Town vibe, this just in: LA’s hottest family-friendly restaurant and community clubhouse Au Fudge is transforming their creative space into an “au-mazing” Mommy & Me spa haven for Mother’s Day. Now we’re talking — this is my kind of celebrating. Au Fudge happens to be owned by none other than Mrs. Timberlake and it’s THE place to go with your family. I mean, c’mon, could you imagine trading parenting tips with JT? The amazing Nite spa will be on hand offering massages, manicures, makeovers, braid bars, face painting and more for moms and their girls.
Celebrating Mother’s Day in San Francisco
By Kristine D.
In San Francisco many celebrations center on the crisp cool waters of the San Francisco Bay. The City by the Bay has it all — charming Victorian houses, a vibrant farm to table restaurant and food truck scene, a love and respect for the environment that is ahead of many urban areas, and a diversity that is woven into everything. So it makes perfect sense that on Mother’s Day, two of our three picks for marking the day would have you celebrating Mom around on or near the San Francisco Bay.
Mother’s Day Marina Green 5K and Kids Run
This is the ultimate pre-Mom’s Day Brunch plan! Lace up and tackle a 5K winding through a route that skims the edge of the beautiful bay waters and features views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the storied Palace of Fine Arts. There’s even a free 15-minute kids run that is guaranteed to drain kids who squirm their way through fancy brunch scenarios. Find more info on the race website.
Enjoy a Kid-Made Mother’s Day Brunch
Gather your little foodies and venture across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael for this activity. Your child and other kid chefs can join the Culinary Dude to prep, create, and serve Mother’s Day Brunch. The kids will prepare and organize the meal for the first two hours of this three-hour event. The last hour will be spent serving the freshly made meal to Mom. Register online before May 10; early bird rates are currently available.
Book a San Francisco Bay Cruise
Hop aboard a Red & White Fleet ferry for a 60-minute spin around the San Francisco Bay. This cruise offers sweeping views of the city skyline, the infamous Alcatraz Island, and the regal Palace of Fine Arts. As a bonus, riders cross under the Golden Gate Bridge, twice! This is definitely a fun way to spoil your mom this Mother’s Day Weekend or any other weekend. Get your tickets.
You may also enjoy:
- San Diego With Kids – Attractions For Varied Interests
- Billionaire’s Beach: Fun Things to Do in Malibu, CA with Kids
- 5 Best Day Trips from San Francisco
- Find Hilton hotels in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco
Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.
Our Hilton Mom Voyage team members live throughout the U.S. and have traveled by air and car all over the world with their families!