We just love Hayward for families and young children and here are some of the BEST places to go. Hayward is a city of hidden treasures, culture, history, and diversity. There is something going on every day of the week. We spend most of our time on the one-way B street downtown. Whether we are laughing it up with the kids at the ice cream shop, playing at one of the many awesome playgrounds, or walking the Farmers Market on the weekend we’re always having fun! Just 30 minutes from the South Bay, North Bay, or the Peninsula it is definitely a must to bring the family to explore.
Dining with the kids in Hayward
- Val’s Burgers: Old school burger joint with 55+ years of business. Val’s has the best burgers, fries, and milkshakes in town, yummy. We can never go there without getting the whole combo and unbuttoning the top pants button. Pro tip: Wear leggings 😉 Website>
- Toto’s Grill: Who doesn’t love meat on a stick? Check out this fun Filipino street food restaurant as a family to try something new, or go for a classic hot dog and corn cob on a stick. Website>
Feeding your sweet tooth in Hayward
- Unique Artisan Ice Cream: The name says it all. More bold and unique flavors. Bring your kids here to widen their flavor palette! Website>
- Yogurtland: Lots of flavors, even plant-based options. Use your imagination and go wild with flavors and toppings. Website>
- Marley’s Treats: Cake pops are a kid favorite here, but there’s so much more. They’re Instagram famous for a reason. Website>
Where to play inside with the kids in Hayward
- Jumpity Bumpity: Indoor play center great for ages 0-12. My kids burn all their energy out here on the obstacle course and I love going down the slides with them. [More to know about Jumpity Bumpity]
- High Scores Arcade: Empty the piggy bank and bring all your spare change here. Described as an interactive arcade museum, High Scores has all the classics to relive your childhood while playing with your child: the best combination! Website>
Parks and Playgrounds in Hayward
- Sulphur Creek: Animal education and drop-in toddler activities are programmed into this Hayward destinations year-round fun. [Love letter to Sulphur Creek]
- Garin Regional Park: We like to fish on the pond’s pier, wander into the Barn’s Visitor Center, or see what creatures we can spot on the park’s many trails. My kids love the little bridges we cross over the creeks and, for me, of course, the best part is the view of the Bay Area once we reach the top. Visit website to learn about kite-flying and the apple festival.
- Greenwood Park: Newly renovated with nice modern play structure, sand pit, rock wall, and a hill you can slide down!
Pro tip: bring cardboard it will be easier to make it down the hill. Also, surrounding the park there are musical structures where you can play a quick tune with the kids! Website>
- Kennedy Park: Freshly renovated in a farm-like theme with so much to excite little kiddos. There are carousel and train rides, a petting zoo, and spinning teacups, all on the weekends only though. We always spend a few hours here and make sure to bring comfy shoes and sunblock. [More we love about Kennedy Park]
- Mia’s Dream Come True: All-Abilities Playground in Hayward: There is so much to do and see at Mia’s Dream Come True, a brand new all-abilities playground in South Hayward. Read about our recent visit here>
Where to get wet in Hayward
- Cannery Park Splash Pad: Free and super fun for water-loving toddlers. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend. To turn on the water feature, press the RED button! Details here>
- Hayward Plunge: A huge indoor pool with drop in family swim on the weekends. The historical building is super cool, and the pool is great for a hot summer Saturday, and it’s cheap ($3). Website>
- Don Castro Swimming Lagoon: We love this swimming lagoon in the summer for a family day at the beach. Affordable, beautiful and so much fun for the kids. Read about our daycation here>
Hayward Locals’ Secret Spot
Hayward Japanese Gardens: I love to disconnect from the world and enjoy a stroll in this beautiful, serene garden right near the busy downtown area. My toddler especially loves the koi pond at the end of the gardens filled with turtles, beautifully colored fish, and a waterfall that pulls it all together. Plenty of Instagram-worthy candids to be had! Website>
And now you know all my favorite hidden gems for families in Bay Area, Hayward, we love you. Have fun exploring, learning and making memories with your family!
Drop any of your Hayward favorites in the comments.