Destinations

10 free things to do in San Francisco this summer

August 10, 2017 / San Francisco

While the real reason you’re here is for the music, there’s plenty of things the city has to offer that won’t cost you one extra penny to do either. You’re already here, and we want to make you sure you don’t miss out on all that the San Francisco has to offer. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of the best things to do in San Francisco – all for free.

 

San Francisco’s top parks and free attractions

 

 

1. Daydream at Mission Dolores Park

Ready to spend some time outdoors at one of the most beautiful city parks you’ll ever visit? Dolores Parks sits on 16 acres of sprawling green lands and palm trees. Sit back on one of the park’s many picnic grounds and enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous view of the San Francisco skyline. Dolores Park features a soccer field, numerous sporting facilities, and a playground.

When: 6am – 10pm

Where: 19th & Dolores St


 

 

2. Visit the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge has been in operation for 70 years, since 1937. It’s the quintessential symbol of California architecture and a true testament to the wondrous power of engineering. The best way to spend your time when you visit the Golden Gate Bridge is to walk its length – an impressive 1.7-mile stretch that takes, on average, an hour to cross. You can also make the journey on a bike. Bike rentals are available at nearby establishments.

When: 9am – 6pm

Where: Golden Gate Bridge


 

 

3. Relax at Baker Beach

Located in Presidio, Baker Beach’s mile-long shore is a San Francisco gem you shouldn’t miss. Although the waters and currents make swimming impossible, that’s quickly forgotten when you take in the view of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re a hiker, you can go on the Coastal Trail starting on Baker’s Beach cliffside. There is plenty of space for picnic and sightseeing.

When: Open 24 hours a day

Where: Battery Chamberlin Rd and Gibson Rd


 

 

4. Enjoy the Shops and Restaurants at the Ferry Building Marketplace

There is no better place than the Ferry Building Marketplace to find artisan foods. The famous CUESA farmers market is a San Francisco treasure, featuring all kinds of locally sourced foods. The marketplace is also a popular shopping and dining destination, with a directory filled with specialty eateries and tasteful shops. As the day draws to an end, make sure you don’t miss out on seeing the Ferry Building’s block tower set against the backdrop of the Bay Lights.

When: Mon – Fri, 10am – 6pm | Sat, 9am – 6pm | Sun, 11am – 5pm

Where: 1 Ferry Building


 

 

5. Walk Through Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular, tourist-friendly San Francisco neighborhood. A host of activities, ranging from land, air, and sea attractions. Stroll through Fisherman’s Wharf for prime sightseeing. You’ll see Musée Mécanique, the Maritime Historical Park, and the Ghirardelli Square, a public landmark with many shops.

When: Various Business Hours

Where: Pier 39 – Beach St and The Embarcadero


 

 

6. Union Square

Union Square is a public plaza that brings together a variety of art galleries, theaters, shops, and eateries. Union Square itself is worth a visit if only to take in the bustle of San Francisco’s creative scene. Speaking of art galleries, art lovers will be delighted to explore one of the numerous open for browsing.

When: 7am – 11:30pm

Where: 333 Post St


 

 

7.  Chinatown

The largest Chinatown in the US (and, further, the biggest outside of Asia), San Francisco’s Chinatown is home to a vibrant community featuring shops, restaurants, and historical buildings. We recommend you go on foot to explore and take in the sights. If you’re searching for an educational experience, we suggest going to Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral (located on the corner of California St and Grant Ave), a Chinatown staple.

When: Various Business Hours

Where: Grant Ave and Bush St


 

 

8. Visit the Painted Ladies

Dubbed “postcard row,” the Painted Ladies are a colorful series of Victorian houses that line Steiner and Hayes in Alamo Square. The strip is famous for its distinct aesthetic and ornamental design, which adds a lot of personality to the neighborhood. You can visit a portion of Steiner St to see these storied houses and snap a few pictures to keep.

When: Open 24 hours a day

Where: Steiner St


 

 

9. Walk up the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps is a collaborative community effort to make a “sea to stars” themed mosaic to adorn the famous stairway in Golden Gate Heights. Many of the tiles came out of community workshops led by a group of artists so that everyone could participate in the creation of this iconic work of art.

When: 9am-7pm

Where: Moraga St between 15th Ave and 16th Ave


 

 

10. Hike to the top of Twin Peaks

If you’re looking for a glorious view of San Francisco Bay Area as seen from above, the vantage point at the top of the Twin Peaks is unsurpassed. Take care, because getting to the stunning vistas is not for the faint of heart. The peaks stand at 922 feet in elevation. During your hike, you can also view the enchanting beauty of the local vegetation on your way to the top.

When: 5am – 12am

Where: 501 Twin Peaks Blvd


 

Whether you’re looking for thrilling outdoor adventures or a sightseeing excursion to discover SF’s treasured spots, there is no shortage of free things to do in San Francisco.