40+ Free Things To Do & See In San Francisco

San Francisco © Pexels
San Francisco © Pexels
Photo of Courtney Holcomb
9 February 2017

Looking to explore San Francisco on a budget? From free concerts and museums to gorgeous parks and art installations, we’ve got you covered with the best free things to do in San Francisco for locals and visitors alike.

Visit the Famous Monuments

You can walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, completely free.

Climb the Filbert Steps to reach the iconic peak of Coit Tower.

Drive down through the angles of the famously crooked Lombard Street.

Visit Alamo Square Park to see the famous row of Painted Ladies, Victorian houses featured in the opening credits of Full House.

The Painted Ladies | © Jiahui Huang/Flickr

Attend Free Concerts

Every fall, attend the 100% free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park.

Stern Grove Festival hosts free outdoor concerts every Sunday of the summer in Sigmund Stern Grove.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival hosts a series of free concerts downtown from May to October.

Union Square Live offers free live music every Wednesday at 6PM and Sunday at 2PM from April to October.

Attend free concerts at Amoeba Records in the Haight district all year round.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass | © David Berry/Flickr

Explore the Museums

Enjoy Free Museum Day on the first Tuesday of every month, when the de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Museum of Craft and Design open their doors for free.

The Asian Art Museum offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month.

San Francisco Camerawork is a photography museum open for free every day.

The Cable Car Museum operates for free in the Nob Hill neighborhood.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts | © Chris Clogg/Flickr

Peruse the Murals

Visit the Clarion Alley Mural Project, featuring a constantly changing selection of murals between Mission and Valencia Streets.

Farther south in the Mission district, Balmy Alley has the most concentrated collection of murals in the city.

The Women’s Building is adorned with the iconic MaestraPeace Mural, filled with scenes of women’s empowerment.

The Precita Eyes Muralists have have painted more than 50 colorful murals around the Mission.

Diego Rivera left his mark on the city with three murals.

Clarion Alley displays colorful street art | © Sean Davis / Flickr

Explore the Art Installations

Language of the Birds features books flying overhead like birds on the literary Columbus Avenue in North Beach.

Cupid’s Span is a giant bow and arrow sculpture in Rincon Park.

A tangle of square concrete pipes, Vaillancourt Fountain enlivens Justin Herman Plaza.

Just off the Marina Green, the Wave Organ sculpture captures the ocean waves to make music.

The Ingleside Terraces Sundial is a hidden gem in the midst of the suburbs.

Climb the 16th Avenue Steps in the Sunset district, adorned with a mosaic of handmade tiles.

Language of the Birds by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn - A flock of books take off to spread the words

Visit the Parks

Golden Gate Park is filled with gorgeous nature and tons of things to do.

Mission Dolores Park is one of the most popular outdoor spots for locals to gather.

Have a blast on the secret slides at Seward Mini Park.

In North Beach, enjoy the view of Saints Peter and Paul Church at Washington Square Park.

Forage among the unique folk sculptures at Cayuga Park in the Outer Mission.

Wander under the shade of the historic Buena Vista Park, a hippie haven during the Summer of Love.

Dolores Park | © Matt Chan/Flickr

Relax in the Gardens

The Japanese Tea Garden is free to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays if you enter before 10AM.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden offers free admission every day between 7:30 and 9AM, as well as on the second Tuesday of every month.

The Conservatory of Flowers is free to explore on the first Tuesday of the month.

Shakespeare’s Garden in Golden Gate Park features 200 flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s works.

Japanese Tea Garden | © Jeff Gunn/Flickr

Take a Hike

Lands End is one of the most popular hikes in San Francisco, finishing with a labyrinth overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

The highest point in San Francisco, Mount Davidson stands tall at 927 feet.

Hike to the top of Twin Peaks to reach incredible views of the city.

Bernal Hill is another prime hiking spot to find amazing views.

Hiking through the forestry of the Mt. Sutro Open Space Reserve will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Lands End Labyrinth | © Aaron Harmon/Flickr

Go to the Beach

Visit Ocean Beach, lining the west coast of San Francisco.

On the west side of the Presidio, Baker Beach offers up close views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Explore China Beach, a smaller beach on the edge of the Seacliff neighborhood.

In the north of the Presidio, visit the beach alongside Crissy Field.

Baker Beach | © gags9999/Flickr

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"