Exploring a new city is always fun and exciting, especially in San Francisco, where there’s something to do for everyone. But if you’re worried about your wallet or bank account, you don’t have to! We’ll provide you with all of the fun things to do in San Francisco through this guide. You can explore museums, experience art, and even go on a maze! In San Francisco, you can make new memories with your friends without putting a hole in your wallet. So, here are some of the best things to do in San Francisco.
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Free Things to do in San Francisco
There are many fun things to do in San Francisco, and you don’t need to go broke just by doing most of it. Remember: you don’t have to spend a lot to have fun! So, here’s a list of the free things to do in San Francisco, best done with a friend (or your roommates) for the full experience!
Bask in San Francisco’s famous street art
One of the hidden gems in the city is its collection of murals along Mission District. In the neighborhood, you can visit these streets full of wall art: Balmy Alley, Clarion Alley, Cypress, and Lilac Street. You’ll find street art with varying themes of cultural heritage to political injustices and even socio-political statements. It’s a must-see and a great topic of conversation with your roommate!
Visit the Musée Mécanique
Musée Mécanique is a free museum with over 300 vintage items, from antique arcade games to musical instruments. Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, the privately owned collection will take you on a trip down memory lane! You can battle with an arm wrestler, play a coin-operated piano, or even try the antique slot machines. Musée Mécanique should definitely be a part of your list of fun things to do in San Francisco!
Have a picnic at Baker Beach
With a majestic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach is part of the best places to visit in San Francisco for many reasons. Set up a blanket, have a picnic, and enjoy the sunset with your roomies. It’s the perfect place for some downtime and relaxation after a stressful day at school or work. Plus, it’s free!
See the Palace of Fine Arts
The iconic Palace of Fine Arts is one of the city’s most visited San Francisco attractions. Whether you visit during the day or at night, Greco-Roman architecture is a sight to see. You can do an informal photoshoot or walk around the palace; it’s totally free.
Try out various free walking tours
San Francisco City Guides hosts free walk tours, supported entirely by donations. They offer free walk tours covering different topics, from architecture to “uniquely San Francisco” places. They even have online tours available! Remember to register in advance on their website to join a free tour.
Watch out for free activities
A few establishments in the city offer free yoga classes. You can check out Yoga To The People and Yoga on the Labyrinth for full and free yoga classes; you just need to register!
Checking out museums in the city is among the many fun things to do in San Francisco. Luckily, lots of San Francisco museums offer free admission to their facilities at least once a month. Most of the time, free admissions are on the first Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of the month. One thing: book your tickets online in advance! You can also look at the museums’ websites to keep track of any announcement on free admission days.
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San Francisco Attractions
If you wanna take your mind off of things or relax after a hard week, we’ve got you covered. These are some cheap things to do in San Francisco, from the local food culture to attractions.
Enjoy Golden Gate Park’s many activities
Spending a day exploring Golden Gate Park isn’t enough for some people due to its many attractions. It’s mapped just like Central Park in New York City and has museums, gardens, and various activities within the park. Here are some of the cheap things to do in San Francisco:
- California Academy of Sciences: As the most visited museum in San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences is the gem of the park. It’s like going to a science fair with interactive exhibits, a four-story rainforest, and “Claude” the albino alligator! They have different kinds of tickets which range from $29 to $33 each, and they even offer a student discount.
- Botanical Gardens: With more than 50,000 plants, visiting the Botanical Gardens is like going on a nature trip in the middle of the city. The garden also has meditation sessions and a botanical wreath-making class! Plus, admission is free for San Francisco residents, just bring a document showing your address and ID, of course. The Botanical Gardens is a great place to hang out with your roomies without spending a dime.
- Stow Lake & Strawberry Hill: Head straight to Strawberry Hill and sit by the falls for a more peaceful and quiet retreat. Pro tip: bring a pair of binoculars for some bird watching, a camera, and packed food. Strawberry Hill has a small artificially made waterfall where you can take pictures and just relax. Plus, you can even meditate at the Golden Gate Pavilion or jog to the top of the hill. These are just one of the fun things to do in San Francisco.
Experience the magic at Magowan’s Mirror Maze
For $10, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze offers a one-of-a-kind psychedelic experience (that’s 100% legal!). With black lights and “infinite mirrors,” escaping the maze sure is a challenge! You can spend a day in here and just let loose with your roomies!
Have a feast in Chinatown
One of the best things to do in San Francisco is explore Chinatown, the oldest and largest in North America. You can have a feast of the best Chinese food and walk through culture and history.
- Chinese temples: There are many colorful temples you can visit with your friends while in Chinatown. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of the Chinese religious culture, and some offer rare historical artifacts. You’re free to enter the temples, but remember to keep the sanctity of the place by being respectful during your visit.
- Golden Gate Cookie Factory: If you’re curious about the process of making fortune cookies, visit the Golden Gate Cookie Factory for a free tour. You can even get a free sample of a freshly made fortune cookie!
Shop at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is open to everyone. You can buy local produce, freshly baked pastries, and fruits! (Pro tip: make sure to bring your roommate along so you can shop for the week together.)
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What to do first?!
After looking at all the fun things to do in San Francisco, the question now is: what to do first? It’s totally up to you! Going to and from these attractions is easy with the city’s efficient public transport system. Also, just walking around the Bay Area with your friends is already fun and inexpensive!
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