10 Free Things to do in San Francisco

January 6, 2023

10 Free Things to do in San Francisco

We all know San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country, but did you know there are still budget-friendly events every week? Leave your wallet at home, and explore the city without spending a dime!

Guided City Tour

When: Multiple Times a Day

Where: Throughout the City

San Francisco City Guides has been offering tours of this glorious city since 1978. They have 80 unique tours ran by volunteers who have fallen in love with San Francisco. Whether you're curious about Japantown or the windmills at golden Gate Park, they have it all! MORE INFO

 

Randall Museum

When: Always Free (Tues - Sat 10am-5pm)

Where: 199 Museum Way

The Randall Museum has a little bit for everyone in the family. From a Toddler Tree House to a Sculpture exhibit. It is a Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Arts Center wrapped into one. Their admission is always free, and they also have special events for as little as $5-$10 a person. MORE INFO

 

San Francisco Botanical Garden

When: Always Free for SF Residents (with proof of residency), veterans, and school groups

Non-Reisdents: 7:30am-9am Daily and Every Second Tuesday of the Month

Holiday Free Days: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day

Where: Golden Gate Park, near the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way. 

Escape from the city life without the drive. The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a magical green space in the heart of the Golden Gate Park. With over 20 different themed gardens, you will be blown away by the beauty that is mother nature. In addition to free admission, they offer paid events like Yoga in the Garden for $15 per person. MORE INFO

 

Asian Art Museum

When: First Sunday of the Month

Where: 200 Larkin Street

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco celebrates Asian artists with art from all the major cultures of Asia. They have a seemingly-never-ending collection of rare and exquisite pieces. They currently have the Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk exhibit on display. Their website describes it as an "immersive animated futurist fantasy — part comic book, part motion picture-" MORE INFO

 

Tour City Hall

When: Fridays at 11am and 1pm

Where: 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco's City Hall is exceptionally stunning. Opened in 1912 during the City Beautiful Movement, it is the definition of American Renaissance architecture. Enjoy a guided tour for free on Fridays. MORE INFO

 

Musée Mécanique

When: Free Everyday 10am - 8pm 

Where: Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf 

Take a trip back in time at Musee Mecanique. Check out the late Edward Galland Zelinsky's personal collection of antique slot machines, orchestrions, coin operated pianos, and animations, down to small bird boxes. This display includes the rare steam powered motorcycle made in 1912. If you have some extra quarters laying around, the arcade games and animated scenes are $0.25-$0.75 per play! MORE INFO

 

Visit the Famous Pier 39

When: 10am - 9pm

Where: Beach St and The Embarcadero

The iconic Pier 39 features sweeping views of the bay, lazy sea lions sunbathing, and plenty of window shopping. Dont miss the daily street performers and musicians! MORE INFO 

 

Visit the "Crookedest Street in the World"

When: Anytime

Where: Lombard St

Today, San Francisco has numerous steep streets throughout the city. In 1922, the homeowners on Lombard St decided their street was just too steep. They came up with the idea to add eight sharp turns to make it more manageable. Now over a million cars drive through it every single year. Driving down Lombard street offers hydrangeas that bloom year round and a view of downtown. MORE INFO 

 

Watch the Sunset

When: 30 minutes before sunset (5pm)

Where: Ocean Beach, Lands End Lookout, Twin Peaks, Bernal Heights Park

The east coast is the best for sunrises and the west coast is the best for sunsets. Watch the city come alive just before sunset. The various hills throughout San Francisco each offer a unique view. Whether you go to Ocean Beach to watch the sun disappear beneath the horizon, or if you're in Potrero Hill looking out at the skyline, you will not be disappointed. Unless it is a foggy day, then you will be disappointed, so be sure to check the weather!

 

Sail the Bay

When: Once a Month from June to November

Where: 124 University Avenue at the Berkeley Marina

Set sail with Cal Sailing Club. Cal Sailing Club offers paid memberships at great rates, but they also offer free Open House sailing sessions once a month from June to November. MORE INFO


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