Whether you’re just passing through the bay area or you’ve decided to make it your home, one thing’s for sure: it’s expensive. Having a handy guide to free things to do can go a long way to making sure you have a good time without letting your wallet take a hit. Check out our handy guide of free, fun things to do when in San Francisco.
Love all things plant-based? Take a stroll through the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Free every morning from 7:30am – 9am.
The Japanese Tea Garden is not only located right inside Golden Gate Park, but it’s also one of the oldest public gardens in the United States. Free before 10am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
San Francisco’s most iconic structure, the Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t cost you a dime to see or even walk across. Stop to admire the harbor while you’re there.
Steeped in the city’s history, Fisherman’s Wharf makes an ideal place for a stroll, window shopping and people-watching.
One of the best views of the city can be had at Ghirardelli Square — home to the famous chocolate of the same name. Take in great vistas of the bay, Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.
A visit to Stanford’s campus wouldn’t be complete without taking a look through the Cantor Arts Center. View rotating exhibits and work from up-and-coming artists.
Catch a view of San Francisco you might otherwise miss with a visit to the Harvey Milk Photo Center, focusing on photography from a variety of artists.
Nearly every museum in San Francisco offers free entrance during San Francisco Free Museum Days, and times vary throughout the year. Check out when and save yourself a bundle!
If you love the cable cars, you need to go visit the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. Learn about the history of the cable car and how it’s come to shape San Francisco.
Though still lively, the Haight Ashbury District was the epicenter of hippie culture in the 1960’s. The Grateful Dead lived at 710 Ashbury Street, sharing the neighborhood with Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane just to name a few.
From dinosaurs to one of the most biodiverse aquariums in the world, the California Academy of Science offers free admission by neighborhood and also for the general public several times a year.
Food (with samples!), local artists and live music make the Mission Community Market one of San Fran’s most lively markets. Well worth a stroll through.
The Ferry Building Marketplace a foodie’s paradise, complete with local artisan breads, cheeses, oils, fruits, vegetables and much more.
Have some knick-knacks you want to get rid of? Maybe you’d like to swap them for a haircut. The San Francisco Really Really Free Market allows participants bring unneeded items, as well as skills and talents, for a huge swap-a-thon.
Hop on The Monthly Beer Bus courtesy of the San Francisco Brewers Guild. This totally free hop-on-hop-off shuttle will take you around to local breweries as a companion to the monthly Meet the Brewers nights. Beer costs extra though.
Enjoy free Nepalese food such as vegetable curry, rice and chutneys while listening to drum beats and singing at the weekly Curry Without Worry event. Though free to everyone, donations are always welcome to help with their continued homeless outreach program.
Are you a San Francisco native or just a lover of the Bay Area? What free activities have we missed?