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30+ FREE Things to do in San Francisco in 2024 (inc. Map!)

Discover 33 Free Things to do in San Francisco in 2024! From parks to museums to viewpoints, wildlife (and more!) – explore the city without breaking the bank.

San Francisco. Home of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Silicon Valley, and a major Pacific Coast seaport, San Francisco is a city that epitomizes diversity. An urban and multicultural metropolis, this vast city, the thirteenth largest in the United States also packs a real punch in terms of outdoor activities.

Surrounded by incredible landscapes, woodlands, sprawling national parks and sea life, this natural peninsular splits San Francisco Bay from the vast Pacific Ocean, making it the ideal location for those wanting to explore both land and sea.

Attracting around 26m visitors each year (making it one of the best places to visit in the USA!), this city’s plethora of cultural heritage, beguiling histories, spectacular iconic landmarks, and outdoor spaces make it the ideal city to enjoy without too much of a strain on the wallet and to help you out we’ve put together a list of some of the best things to do for free in the spectacular city of San Francisco.

Free Things to do in San Francisco California cover photo of the Golden Gate bridge Disclaimer: Almost all posts on this site contain Affiliate links, and this one about all the Free things to do in San Francisco is no different. This means that if you click on any of the links in this post (and make a purchase) I may receive a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Each post is carefully crafted to (hopefully!) answer all your questions and recommendations are made where we believe they will improve your trip and help with your planning. As such we thank you in advance should you decide to click & buy. Read my full Disclosure here.

Map of Free Things to Do in San Francisco

Interactive Map of Free Things to do in San Francisco Click on the map itself or this link to open the map in a new tab and start planning how to tick all the Free Things to do in San Francisco off your bucket list!


Free Parks & Open Spaces in San Francisco

San Francisco offers up so much to explore, from uncovering intriguing architecture with multiple cultural influences to seaside beauty spots, and beautiful green open spaces, be sure to check out some of the city’s stunning parks and gardens which are free to explore.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park One park to make a beeline for is the sprawling and diverse green wonderland of Golden Gate Park. Encompassing several different sections and gardens, its vast 1,017 acres of public parkland houses so much to discover, from the popular Botanical Gardens and the Conservatory of Flowers to Strawberry Hill and the Japanese Tea Gardens (more on these below)

Japanese Tea Gardens

Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco The Japanese Tea Garden is a peaceful and serene oasis located in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The garden was originally created for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition and has since become one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The Japanese Tea Garden features a variety of traditional Japanese elements, including pagodas, stone lanterns, and a koi pond. The garden’s main tea house serves a variety of teas and snacks, including traditional Japanese green tea and sweet mochi.

Visitors can stroll through the winding paths of the garden, admiring the vibrant colors of the various plant species, including cherry blossoms, azaleas, and Japanese maples. Along the way, visitors can also take in the sound of running water from the garden’s many streams and waterfalls.

One of the highlights of visiting the Japanese Tea Garden is experiencing a traditional tea ceremony, which is offered daily. During the ceremony, guests are served tea and small sweets in a traditional Japanese setting, complete with tatami mats and low tables.

For those who want to learn more about the history and culture of the Japanese Tea Garden, there are also guided tours available, led by knowledgeable docents who provide insights into the garden’s design, history, and cultural significance.

Botanical Gardens

San Francisco Botanical Garden The San Francisco Botanical Garden is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates the natural world. Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, this 55-acre garden is home to over 8,000 different species of plants from around the world, including rare and endangered species.

The garden is divided into several distinct areas, including the Mediterranean Garden, the Redwood Grove, and the Garden of Fragrance.

Visitors can take free guided tours of the garden, which are led by knowledgeable volunteers and provide insight into the plants and their histories. Alternatively, visitors can explore the garden on their own and take in the beauty of the flora at their own pace.

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Lands End

Lands End Labyrinth with Golden Gate Bridge in the distance Lands End is a beautiful natural park that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands. The park has a variety of trails, including the Lands End Coastal Trail, which takes visitors along the coastline and offers breathtaking views of the ocean and rocky cliffs.

The park is also home to several historic sites, including the Sutro Baths ruins and the Point Lobos Shipwreck, which can be explored by visitors.

Mission Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park Mission Dolores Park is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco. With over 16 acres of open green space, it offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy.

The park features a playground, tennis courts, and a soccer field, making it a popular spot for families and sports enthusiasts. It also boasts stunning views of the city skyline and the Bay, making it a great spot for picnics and relaxing in the sun.

The park is surrounded by a diverse neighborhood, providing visitors with access to local restaurants, cafes, and shops, should you need to grab something to eat or a few souveniers while exploring the area.

Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks San Francisco For unrivaled views over San Francisco’s Bay Area, head out to the Twin Peaks.

Standing 922 feet in elevation, Twin Peaks 64-acre parkland is a popular tourist spot, and with some of the best hikes in San Francisco, Twin Peaks offers visitors provide visitors different perspectives of the city’s skyline, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge.

As you hike up to the top of Twin Peaks, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful natural scenery that includes rolling hills, lush greenery, and vibrant wildflowers. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Bay Area.

On clear days, you can see for miles in every direction, and the views are especially stunning at sunset or at night when the city lights come alive.

The Twin Peaks is also an excellent location for nature enthusiasts and bird watchers. The park is home to several species of birds, including hawks, eagles, and owls, as well as other wildlife such as deer, coyotes, and raccoons.

Walk through the Presidio

View of Golden Gate Bridge from Presidio Walking through the Presidio area of San Francisco is one of the best free things to do in the city. This historic military post-turned-national park offers a beautiful natural setting with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay, and the city skyline.

Visitors can explore the hiking trails, visit the Presidio Officers’ Club to learn about the history of the area or enjoy a picnic in one of the many scenic spots throughout the park.

There are several Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints located within the Presidio. Some of the most popular viewpoints include the Battery East Vista, Crissy Field Overlook, and the Golden Gate Overlook. Each viewpoint offers a unique perspective of the iconic bridge and the surrounding natural beauty of the area. Visitors can choose to drive, bike, or hike to these viewpoints for a memorable experience.

With its abundance of recreational opportunities, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty, the Presidio is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of San Francisco. Best of all, it’s completely free to visit and explore the Presidio, making it a perfect option for budget-conscious travelers or families.


Free Spectacular Views in San Francisco

With many landmarks and classic picture-postcard views which make San Francisco so distinguishable, there are a number of places to get that perfect photo for ‘the gram’, or simply soak up the different cultures which have formed the city’s history.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Baker Beach San Francisco Of course, undeniably the most iconic landmark of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. The art-deco style suspension bridge connects the northern tip of the peninsular with the Marin County of Northern California.

With several vantage points from which to observe the striking feat of engineering dotted along the coastline you could spend a day seeing it from every possible angle (and we did! – some of our favorite spots were Baker Beach, Marshall’s Beach and Golden Gate Overlook).

Also, one of the best ways is to take a leisurely walk across it, even if you only go half of the way, it’s a great way to enjoy views over the city, the bay and the ocean beyond.

Lombard Street

Woman wearing blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a black leather jacket with mirrored sunglesses standing on Lombard Street in San Francisco Lombard Street is a world-renowned street located in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The street is famous for its steep incline and eight hairpin turns, which make it a popular destination for tourists and drivers with nerves of steel alike.

The street was originally designed to make the steep hill more accessible for cars, and the hairpin turns were added to make it easier for drivers to navigate the steep incline. Today, Lombard Street is one of the most photographed and visited streets in San Francisco and has become a symbol of the city’s unique and quirky charm.

Visitors can drive down Lombard Street, but be warned that it can be a challenging and nerve-wracking experience due to the tight turns and steep incline. Many visitors choose to walk up or down the street instead, taking in the stunning views of the city and admiring the beautiful flowers and greenery that adorn the street.

Go See The Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies San Francisco Known for being home to some of the most beautiful houses in the city, Steiner Street and Hayes Street are worth a visit if nothing else but to get some snaps of the famous ‘Painted Ladies’ (also known as the Seven Sisters).

These rows of painted Victorian and Elizabethan-style houses have become the colorful emblem of the city’s eclectic architecture and have been featured in many movies and TV shows.

The Painted Ladies consist of seven homes, each painted in a different color and adorned with intricate details and ornate decorations. They are located across from Alamo Square Park, which offers a stunning view of the homes with the city skyline in the background.

The area is popular with tourists and locals alike and is a great spot for taking photos and admiring the stunning architecture.

Coit Tower

View from Coit Tower over San Francisco city, the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Coit Tower is a historic tower located atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Bay Area. The tower itself also features beautiful murals depicting life in San Francisco during the Great Depression.

On the way back down, be sure to go via the Filbert Street Steps Garden for a very pretty descent back toward the Embercado!

Corona Heights

View of San Francisco from Corona Heights Park Located in central San Francisco, the Corona Heights neighborhood offers stunning panoramic views of the city and the bay. This scenic area is situated on a hill and is perfect for a leisurely walk or a hike.

Corona Heights Park is a popular spot for nature lovers and hikers with its many trails and lookout points. Visitors can relax and take in the spectacular views from the park while enjoying a picnic or just admiring the cityscape.

Free Cultural and Educational Attractions in San Francisco

With around 44 museums throughout the city, a vibrant music scene and art galleries galore, San Francisco packs a punch in terms of culture. Taking a day or two to explore some of the free galleries and museums in San Francisco can give visitors a true insight into the rich cultural diversity of the city.

Fishermans Wharf

Fishermans Wharf San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is a bustling neighborhood located on San Francisco’s waterfront, and it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. The area is home to a variety of attractions and activities that offer visitors a taste of San Francisco’s unique culture and history.

One of the highlights of Fisherman’s Wharf is the abundance of seafood restaurants, serving up some of the freshest seafood in the city. Visitors can enjoy a meal of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl or sample some Dungeness crab while taking in the picturesque views of the bay.

In addition to the dining options, Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to a variety of souvenir shops, offering everything from postcards and t-shirts to handcrafted jewelry and local art. Visitors can also explore the historic ships docked at Hyde Street Pier, including the Balclutha, a 19th-century sailing ship that has been restored to its former glory.

Fisherman’s Wharf is also a great place to catch street performers, from musicians and acrobats to magicians and jugglers. These performers add to the vibrant and lively atmosphere of the neighborhood, making it a fun and entertaining place to spend an afternoon.

The Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum in San Francisco The Cable Car Museum is a hidden gem in San Francisco and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the city’s history and engineering marvels. The museum is located in the Nob Hill neighborhood, and it’s easily accessible by cable car, public transportation or by walking (if you’re not sick of the city’s hills!)

The museum explores the fascinating history of San Francisco’s cable cars, which were first introduced in the late 19th century as a solution to the city’s hilly terrain. Visitors can see the massive engines and winding wheels that power the cables, as well as the intricate mechanisms that control the cars.

One of the highlights of this SF museum is the observation deck, which offers a breathtaking view of the underground machinery that powers the cable cars. Visitors can watch the cables in action, see the cars moving up and down the hills, and learn about the different routes and destinations of the cable car system.

In addition to the machinery and technology, the museum also features a collection of historic cable cars, including the oldest surviving cable car from the 1870s, as well as several examples of early electric streetcars.

Visitors to the Cable Car Museum can also learn about the challenges and triumphs of maintaining and operating the cable car system, which is still in use today and is a beloved symbol of San Francisco’s identity.

Overall, the Cable Car Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into one of San Francisco’s most iconic and beloved attractions, and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the city’s history, engineering marvels, or public transportation systems.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Tall Mast Ship on Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located in the heart of San Francisco’s waterfront district and is one of the best free things to do in the city. The park is dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich maritime history of San Francisco and the West Coast, and is home to a fascinating collection of historic ships, buildings, and artifacts.

Visitors to the San Francisco Maritime Park park can explore several historic vessels, including the Balclutha, a 19th-century sailing ship, and the Eureka, a historic ferryboat that used to transport commuters and automobiles across the bay. These ships have been beautifully restored and provide an immersive experience for visitors to step back in time and imagine what life was like for sailors and passengers in the early days of San Francisco.

In addition to the ships, the park also features a museum with interactive exhibits that explore the history of San Francisco’s waterfront and maritime industry. Visitors can learn about the different types of ships that used to sail the bay, and the people who worked and lived on them.

The park also offers free ranger-led tours, which provide a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the park’s collection. Visitors can learn about the role that San Francisco played in the California Gold Rush, the history of the fishing industry, and the importance of the city’s port to trade and commerce.

Take a Free Walking Tour

San Francisco is a city full of history, culture, and unique neighborhoods, and one of the best ways to explore it all is by taking a free walking tour. There are several tour companies and organizations that offer free walking tours in different parts of the city, providing visitors with a chance to see the sights, learn about the history and culture, and get some exercise all at the same time.

One popular option is the San Francisco City Guides, a group of volunteer guides who offer a wide range of free walking tours in various neighborhoods, including the famous Haight-Ashbury, the Victorian homes of Pacific Heights, and the historic Mission District. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about their neighborhoods and love sharing their insights and stories with visitors.

Another popular option is the SF Public Library’s “On the Same Page” program, which offers free walking tours focused on different themes and topics, such as street art, literary landmarks, and LGBTQ history. These tours are led by librarians and community partners who are experts in their respective fields and offer a unique perspective on the city’s history and culture.

For foodies, there are several free food tours available, such as the SF Public Library’s “Bites off the Beaten Path” and “Culinary History of San Francisco” tours, which explore the city’s diverse culinary scene and the history behind some of its most famous dishes.

The de Young Museum

de Young Museum facade in San Francisco The de Young Museum is one of the most visited attractions within Golden Gate Park and offers free entry on the first Tuesday of every month.

The museum’s collection of American paintings includes works from artists such as Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Hopper, among others. The de Young also features a range of decorative art and artifacts from various cultures, as well as a vast selection of art of the Oceanic peoples.

One of the most popular attractions at the de Young Museum is its observation deck, which offers panoramic views of San Francisco and the surrounding area. Visitors can take in breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, and the city skyline from this vantage point.

The de Young Museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by contemporary artists and exploring various themes and movements in art history. The museum’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity is reflected in its exhibitions and programs, which strive to represent a range of cultures, perspectives, and voices.

Explore Chinatown

San Francisco Chinatown San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the city’s most iconic and popular destinations and for good reason. This historic neighborhood is the oldest and largest Chinatown in North America and is home to a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant community of residents and businesses.

Visitors to Chinatown can explore the streets and alleys lined with colorful storefronts selling everything from traditional Chinese medicines and herbs to intricate artwork and souvenirs. There are also plenty of restaurants serving up delicious Chinese cuisine, from dim sum to hot pot to Peking duck, making it a food lover’s paradise.

One of the highlights of Chinatown is its many temples and cultural landmarks. Visitors can explore the ornate and historic Tin How Temple, which dates back to the 1850s, or the stunning Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, where visitors can watch fortune cookies being made by hand.

Another must-see attraction in Chinatown is the Dragon Gate, a towering red and gold archway that marks the entrance to the neighborhood and serves as a symbol of the community’s pride and heritage.

Visitors can also take a guided tour of Chinatown, learning about its fascinating history and culture, and gaining a deeper understanding of the contributions that Chinese immigrants have made to San Francisco and the United States as a whole.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Museum offers free entry on the first Friday of the month.

Located in the Yerba Buena neighborhood of San Francisco, the Contemporary Jewish Museum is a unique museum that explores the rich and diverse history of Jewish culture and experiences in the city and beyond. The museum features a variety of contemporary artworks, multimedia exhibits, and interactive displays that provide visitors with an engaging and immersive experience.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is known for its thought-provoking exhibitions that showcase the diversity and vibrancy of Jewish culture. Visitors can explore a range of topics related to Jewish history, art, and identity through rotating exhibits and collections. The museum also hosts a variety of events and programs, including lectures, films, and performances, that offer further insights into Jewish culture and traditions.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Yud Gallery, which features a unique design inspired by the Hebrew letter “Yud.” The gallery showcases contemporary Jewish art and features rotating exhibitions of emerging and established artists.

Wander the Grounds of the Palace of Fine Arts

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco Located in the Marina District of San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is a magnificent structure that was originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. The building was designed by architect Bernard Maybeck and was intended to showcase the city’s resilience following the 1906 earthquake and fire.

Today, the Palace of Fine Arts is a popular attraction in San Francisco, and visitors can enjoy wandering the grounds and admiring the beautiful architecture. The building’s grandeur and elegance are sure to leave visitors in awe, with its massive rotunda, towering columns, and intricate details.

The Palace of Fine Arts is surrounded by a tranquil lagoon, which makes for a perfect spot to relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings. Visitors can stroll along the walkways that meander around the lagoon, taking in the peaceful atmosphere and enjoying the view of the swans and ducks that call the area home.

Visit the Wave Organ

Wave Organ in San Francisco Located at the edge of San Francisco Bay, the Wave Organ is a unique sculpture that produces music through the movement of the waves. Visitors can explore the interactive artwork and listen to the natural sounds of the bay. It’s a peaceful and meditative experience that is not to be missed.

It is open all day and free to visit, but the best time to visit is during high tide.

Museo Italo Americano

The Museo Italo Americano is a small but fascinating museum that explores the Italian American experience in San Francisco. This free museum is located in the Fort Mason area, which was once a military base and is now a popular cultural center. The Museo Italo Americano was the first museum in the United States to focus specifically on Italian American art and culture.

Visitors to the museum can explore a variety of exhibitions that showcase the contributions of Italian Americans to San Francisco’s history and culture. The museum has a collection of Italian and Italian American art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Exhibitions often explore the themes of immigration, family, and identity.

The Museo Italo Americano also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, lectures, and film screenings. These events often highlight the work of Italian American artists and performers and offer visitors a chance to engage with the vibrant Italian American community in San Francisco.

Go Mural Spotting in the Mission District

Murals In Mission Delores District in San Francisco The Mission District is a vibrant neighborhood in San Francisco that is known for its rich cultural history and stunning street art. The district is home to many murals that feature a range of styles and themes, from political messages to abstract designs.

One of the best ways to explore the Mission murals is to take a self-guided tour. Visitors can start at the corner of 24th Street and Balmy Alley, where they will find a collection of public art murals that depict social and political issues, such as immigration, workers’ rights, and gentrification.

Another must-see mural is the Women’s Building mural on 18th Street, which celebrates the achievements of women and features portraits of famous women from around the world. Other notable murals in the Mission District include the “MaestraPeace” mural on the Women’s Building, the “Carnaval” mural on 24th Street, and the “We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For” mural on Valencia Street.

Visit The Ferry Building

Ferry Building Marketplace San Francisco The Ferry Building is a San Francisco landmark that was originally built in 1898 as the primary transportation hub for commuters arriving in the city by ferry. Today, it has been transformed into a vibrant marketplace where visitors can enjoy some of the best food and drink in the city.

The marketplace is home to a variety of vendors selling everything from fresh seafood and artisanal cheeses to handmade chocolates and gourmet coffee. Visitors can sample local wines, pick up souvenirs, or simply browse the colorful stalls.

In addition to the food hall, the Ferry Building is also home to a number of shops and restaurants. Visitors can dine on fresh seafood, gourmet sandwiches, or farm-to-table cuisine while taking in views of the Bay Bridge and the Bay.

Outside the building, visitors can stroll along the Embarcadero and enjoy views of the Bay and the city skyline.

Explore a Farmers Market

Woman holding a small pumpkin in outstreched hands in focus San Francisco has a number of farmers’ markets throughout the city, offering fresh and locally sourced produce.

These markets are held on different days of the week in various neighborhoods and often feature vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to baked goods, flowers, and artisanal cheeses. Visitors can sample the goods, talk to the farmers and vendors, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of these community events.

Our favorites include the North Beach Farmers Market (open Saturday), Heart of the City Farmers Market (open Sunday & Wednesday), and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday).

Enjoy Ghirardelli Square

Ghiardelli Square San Francisco Ghirardelli Square is a must-visit destination in SF city for chocolate lovers and anyone seeking a charming, historic atmosphere.

Ghirardelli Square is a landmark that was once the site of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, one of America’s oldest chocolate makers. Today, the square has been transformed into a vibrant shopping and dining destination that still celebrates the history and legacy of Ghirardelli chocolate.

Take Photos at Umbrella Alley

California Dreaming Mural in Umbrella Alley San Francisco If you’re seeking fun and interactive murals to spice up your Instagram feed, Umbrella Alley in Fisherman’s Wharf should not be missed.

Not far from Ghirardelli Square and tucked away between two buildings on Beach Street, Umbrella Alley is one of the coolest alleys in San Francisco, featuring murals like California Dreaming, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, and Greetings from San Francisco, as well as playful installations and brightly colored balloons and umbrellas, suspended throughout the entire enclosure.

This vibrant alley is a constant work in progress, with new murals regularly painted, such as the Summer of Love Monarch Wall showcasing a majestic 3D butterfly. Every inch of Umbrella Alley is bursting with dazzling colors, even the ground is covered in paint!

Entry is free, but the artists appreciate any donations that you can make which help with the maintenance and upkeep of the gallery.

Visit the San Francisco Public Library

San Francisco Public Library The San Francisco Public Library is a must-visit destination for book lovers and anyone looking for free educational opportunities. The library’s main branch is located in the Civic Center neighborhood and is easily accessible by public transportation. Visitors can browse through an extensive collection of books, magazines, and other media, including digital resources. The library also offers free access to computers and Wi-Fi, making it a great spot for remote workers and students.

Aside from the library’s vast collection, it also hosts free events and classes throughout the year, catering to people of all ages and interests. Visitors can attend book readings, author talks, and workshops on topics such as writing, meditation, and yoga. The library also offers language classes in Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese, as well as computer classes covering topics such as coding, web design, and digital marketing.

The San Francisco Public Library is not only a great resource for free entertainment and education, but it is also a beautiful building to explore. The Beaux-Arts building features a grand marble staircase, high ceilings, and ornate moldings. Visitors can admire the architecture and artwork throughout the building, including murals and sculptures by renowned artists.

Free Festivals in San Francisco

Band member with a guitar introducing a song at a festival San Francisco hosts a variety of free events and festivals each year.

For example, The Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Japanese culture with food, music, and dance performances. The Stern Grove Festival showcases a diverse range of music in a scenic outdoor setting. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a popular three-day music festival that features over 100 acts performing bluegrass and other genres of music.

These events offer a great opportunity to experience the culture, art, and music of San Francisco without spending a dime. Be sure to check if there are any free festivals during your stay in SF City.

Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Asian art and culture and is free on the first Sunday of every month.

The museum’s collection is incredibly diverse and includes artifacts from China, Japan, India, Korea, and Southeast Asia. One of the museum’s most famous pieces is a 2,000-year-old jade burial suit from China, which is intricately detailed and stunning to see in person. The museum also features rotating exhibits that showcase the diversity and richness of Asian art and culture.

Free Nature and Wildlife Attractions in San Francisco

While the city itself is a metropolis of multicultural architecture and urban lifestyle, there are a number of things to do for free in the city and its surrounding areas to help you feel closer to nature.

Visit a popular Whale-Watching Spot

Whale mouth breaching the surface of the water While sightings can be rare so close to the bay, it’s certainly not unheard of to catch a glimpse of some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures if you choose the right vantage point. From May until November, humpback whales can be spotted while Spring and Summer months offer up a chance to catch a glimpse of killer whales and blue whales.

If you don’t mind escaping the city, or have your own vehicle and want to take a road trip, Point Montara Lighthouse and Pigeon Point Lighthouse are popular locations for whale spotting on a clear day.

Walk amongst the Giant Redwoods

Califonian Redwood trees From the giants of the ocean to the titans of California’s woodland, San Francisco’s surrounding natural parklands and forests are renowned for exceptional walks amongst the magnificent Coastal Redwoods. Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Muir Woods, and Redwoods Regional Park are popular locations for a Redwood spotting adventure but there are also some in the city itself, mostly dotted around the Bay area.

See the Sea Lions at Pier 39

Pier 39 Sealions San Francisco Another of the ocean’s best-loved creatures, the sea lion, can be seen in the somewhat urban habitat of Pier 39. One of the key reasons Pier 39 is such a popular spot for tourists and locals alike is that you can really get up close and personal with these charismatic creatures. On a typical day, you can spot hundreds of sea lions lounging around in the sunshine or swimming in the marina.


Summary of the Best Free Things to Do in San Francisco California

So with an abundance of culture, some of the worlds most iconic landmarks, incredible historic institutions, museums and parkland, its no wonder the city of San Francisco is such a popular US gem. And with so much all on offer in the relatively compact surrounds of the peninsular, this city is truly a bucket list destination for anyone wanting to explore and uncover the charms of California without too much of a strain on the wallet.


And that’s a wrap on our complete list of the best free things to do in San Francisco, which is full of things you need to know in making sure you get the most from your San Francisco vacation! We hope they were helpful in planning your SF City trip but if we have missed anything, please let us know in the comments.

And if you loved this San Francisco travel guide, please pin, tweet, flip, or share. I’d really appreciate it!

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