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Top 10 Free Things To Do While Visiting San Francisco

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San Francisco is the epicenter of northern California culture. This lovely city is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States, with an average of 25 million visitors annually. The City by the Bay has so much to offer the visitor- top notch cuisine, cultural activities and events, as well as many recreational options. Although San Francisco is an expensive place to visit, the city does have some things to see and do that are free. Read on to discover the best ten free things to do in San Francisco. 

San Francisco

Best Free Things To Do In San Francisco

Watch the Sea Lions at Pier 39

The ‘Sea Lebrities’, as they are known locally, are one of the top attractions in San Francisco. Tourists from all the world come here to watch the sea lions swim, play and hear them make their distinctive barks, growls and grunts. These delightful creatures have been calling Pier 39 home since 1990. The sea lions began coming to the pier shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and over the years, the population has grown significantly. During your time in the city, be sure to take some time to see these wonderful animals on Pier 39. 

Pier 39

Hike Coit Tower

For an outstanding view of San Francisco and the bay area, go to the top of Coit Tower. From this viewpoint, visitors will get remarkable views (and great photo opportunities) of some of the city’s most well known landmarks. At this vantage point, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island and the downtown area. 

Coit Tower

Explore The Twists of Lombard Street

The unusualness of Lombard Street adds to its appeal. While you walk or drive along this famous street, you will notice its spectacular beauty at every unique turn. Lombard Street is paved with red brick, and the landscape is full of plants and flowers. 

Lombard Street.

Get Some Knowledge At A Free Museum

There are a great deal of museums in the Bay area that are free of charge. Some of the San Francisco museums that are always free or have free admission times are The Cable Car Museum, The Japanese Tea Garden, Musee Mecanique, The Wells Fargo History Museum, plus many more. Check the website for each museum you plan to visit to check on hours of free admission.


Recreate at Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is a delightful place to spend a day in the Bay Area. On any day, you will witness many happy people walking, jogging and biking their way through the park. While exploring the park, you will see the nature at Strawberry Hill, and you can even see herds of buffalo! You will be amazed at the floral beauty at the Conservatory of Flowers and the San Francisco Botanical GardenGolden Gate Park also has many events and activities planned on site throughout the year. 

Golden Gate Park

Explore San Francisco By Foot

San Francisco is one of the best cities to explore by foot. There are many walking tours of the city available year round that explore different niches and neighborhoods. Free Tours By Foot has several tours to offer Bay Area visitors. These include Lombard Street, Little Italy, and Fisherman’s WharfChinatown, The Castro and the Fight for Equal Rights and San Francisco In One Day, plus more. 

SF cable car.

Get Free Chocolate Samples at Ghirardelli Square

The famous Ghirardelli Square, formerly a chocolate factory, is now the home of a shopping center. The square is also a great place to relax and unwind between visiting the San Francisco sites. While here, be sure to stop and collect your free Ghirardelli chocolate sample during your visit to the retail store. 

Ghirardelli Square.

Tour A Fortune Cookie Factory

Chinese food lovers are in a for a treat in San Francisco. The Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, located in Chinatown, has free tours daily. On this your you can see how the famous cookies are made by hand. At the conclusion of the tour, guests are provided a free sample of the cookies made at the factory. 

Watch 3 Innings of Giants Baseball

Imagine attending part of a Giants game for free! There is a special viewing section of Oracle Park, where walk ins can see a few innings for free at the Giant’s home stadium. The free viewing areas are located along McCovey Cove. The viewing areas are monitored by the park security. They make sure everyone that comes into the free viewing area gets to see a portion of the game, usually about three innings. 

Oracle Park.

Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge

No trip to this gorgeous city is complete without taking in the views you will see from the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Many agree, as the bridge has about 10 million visitors every year. The viewpoint from the Golden Gate will give you a splendid view of the San Francisco skyline. Both ends of the bridge are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, so there are many beautiful vista points and picturesque trails to explore before and after your bridge walk.  If you wish to learn about the bridge while you walk it,  San Francisco City Guides offers free walking tours across the bridge on Thursdays and Sundays. 

travelers at Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco


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