Free Things to Do
Golden Gate Bridge
You can’t visit San Francisco without getting an up-close look at the Golden Gate Bridge. Luckily, this attraction fits into any budget, because it’s free. You can walk or ride a bike across the 1.7-mile bridge. You can even participate in a free walking tour on Thursdays and Sundays with San Francisco City Guides so you can hear the history of this landmark as you explore.
Free San Francisco Walking Tours
The Golden Gate Bridge is not the only place you can tour for free during your visit. You can also take part in one of the many free tours offered by the San Francisco City Guides. They offer tours all year, with some of the destinations including popular neighborhoods like Castro, Haight-Ashbury, Chinatown and Potrero Hill. Some of the tours also focus on local ghost stories, murals, past earthquakes, fires and the history of many landmarks.
Spanning nearly 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio of San Francisco offers history, spectacular views, natural habitats, beautiful opens spaces, and the new Tunnel Tops, which include 14 acres of scenic parkland and the Outpost, a two-acre children's playscape. As a national park within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio has many free and affordable ways for visitors to enjoy this public land. Arrive there on a free PresidiGo Shuttle from downtown, get your bearings at the Visitor Center, and then go for a hike, plan a picnic, or explore history at the park's museum. Take a moment to enjoy the stunning views while your kids play for hours at the Outpost play area.
Free San Francisco Festivals
Budget travel in San Francisco is easy for music lovers thanks to the many free festivals. For example, every fall, Golden Gate Park hosts the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which features seven stages and more than 100 musicians over three days. Another option is Stern Grove Festival, a free concert that takes place every Sunday over the summer. North Beach Festival also features live entertainment in the summer, along with more than 100 arts, crafts, and food booths. Union Street Festival in June is similar, though the wine and beer sampling tickets do cost money.
Mission District Murals
If you’re a fan of art, you’ll want to see the many murals of the Mission District. Most have been around for a few decades, and provide creative commentary on everything from politics and human rights issues to natural disasters and varying art styles.
Oracle Park Portwalk
Want an amazing view of the bay and chance to watch a San Francisco Giants baseball game? Then head to Oracle Park to check out the Portwalk. It’s a large walkway right between the ballpark’s outfield wall and the bay, allowing guests to enjoy the ocean breeze and even watch up to three innings of any game going on, all for free. Learn about Oracle Park history by viewing the 25 bronze plaques on display.