Destinations

5 free things to do in San Francisco

February 26, 2017 / San Francisco

With its multicultural neighborhoods, innovative restaurants, and rich history, San Francisco is a dream to explore. Best of all, you won’t need to empty your wallet to enjoy what the Golden City has to offer. The city’s streetcars may be the most famous way to get around town, but Uber San Francisco is convenient, reliable, and offers door-to-door service. To keep both your fare and your impact on the environment as low as possible, consider grabbing a group ride with uberPOOL If you’re cruising around with your friends, split the fare cost.

 

Free things to do in SF

Free museums in San Francisco

Several dozen museums dot San Francisco and the Bay Area, covering everything from local African diaspora to LGBTQ history. One could easily spend weeks and a small fortune exploring them all. Fortunately, frugal travelers can avoid shelling out a bundle by carefully picking and choosing their destinations. Many museums, including the International Art Museum of America, are always free, while others, such as the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive have occasional free entrance days.

 

San Francisco street art

The walls around this town have witnessed some remarkable history, much of which is reflected in the form of vibrant graffiti works. From a Banksy original tucked away in Chinatown to a Diego Rivera to the Precita Eyes Murals, San Francisco’s outdoor art collection is available to everyone. Don’t miss the MaestraPeace and Sirron Norris’s murals. While you’re likely to stumble upon a masterwork or two just by meandering through the Mission, a little guidance goes a long way. Check out one of the many online self-guided tours and get ready to go on a visual scavenger hunt.

 

Free festivals in San Francisco

In case it wasn’t already obvious, this is one town that likes to party. Though it may be best-known for raucous, confetti-spattered fun like the annual San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration, there are events catering to every taste, many of which are free of charge. Culture-hounds are spoiled for choice with options ranging from the Fillmore Jazz Festival, which claims to be the largest free jazz fest on the West Coast, to the eclectic Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, to the massive Stern Grove Festival.

 

San Francisco outdoor movies

On a shoestring budget, but still want to impress a special someone? Romance shouldn’t cost you next month’s rent. In the summer, the Film Night in the Park series offers free showings at three different locations across town. More than 15,000 gather in the evenings to watch both recent releases and classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The best part? Unlike an ordinary cinema, where popcorn and a soda will set you back $10, these screenings are BYOB, and picnicking is both allowed and encouraged. Spend the cash you saved on a crusty baguette, some fancy fromage from Mission Cheese, and a bottle of wine. Consider date night solved.

 

Live performances in SF

The works of the Bard were written to be enjoyed by everyday folk, not just the ultra-rich, which is part of the reason performers bring them to life each year at Shakespeare in the Park—all without charging a thing. Alternatively, if you’ve got a long lunch break, People in Plazas organizes 170 free outdoor concerts starting at noon at public parks downtown. Most are between July and September, but occasional events pop up at other times throughout the year. Finally, Union Square Live has everything from concerts to circus performances.