So you’re looking to get out and enjoy the city, but you’re afraid of spending a lot of money. Great news! There’s a ton of cool, local, and cheap things to do in San Francisco. Here are our expert picks:
The history of California, as told through Russian surrealist murals.
As Drake would say, views.
Capital One Cafe has “Waffle Wednesdays” every week from 9-11am. That’s a sweet way to get over hump day.
A permanent (and free!) installation from the Exploratorium where water is pumped at a high pressure through more than 800 nozzles lining the bridge, creating an immersive environment where you’re shrouded in mist.
People watching + sample eating = several hours well spent.
Find out what’s in season and cook with hella fresh produce? That’s a win-win. There’s one in practically every ‘hood too.
The MoMa and Contemporary Jewish Museum offer one free museum day a month, and their public art spaces are always free year ‘round too.
Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York has the Empire State Building, we’ve got Coit Tower. Take an urban hike up Telegraph Hill (don’t forget to say hi to the parrots) and check out the Diego Rivera mural on the first floor. It’ll cost you to take the elevator to the top, but getting there is its own reward.
While you’re at Coit Tower, take a little detour to the steepest steps in the Western hemisphere!
It costs money to go inside the five historical boats, but it’s totally free to Instagram them from the outside.
The Exploratorium likes to get creative with their reduced rates, so keep an eye out for Pi Day, Mother’s Day, and other Community discount days throughout the year.
It’s like a real life audiobook.
Across a handful of days in the summer, you can enjoy a classic flick in the historic park.
For two days every June, North Beach is decked out with arts and crafts, gourmet food booths, and three stages of live entertainment.
You can’t ride to the top, but you can catch the view from the live feed in the adjacent visitor center. This is also a great spot to kick back in Redwood Park right next door.
Lots of great events every month, from karaoke to drawing to bingo. No cover charge!
Tired? Live shows at Amoeba. Wired? Daily live shows at Amnesia.
It’s a San Francisco institution.
A big-kid concrete slide. Just remember to BYOC (Bring Your Own Cardboard).
Lauryn Hill and Whoopi sighting not guaranteed.
Doust thou like-th free-th Shakespeare in the park-th?
As these started in the ’70s, the probability is high that you’ve seen these eponymous Eyes around the Mission, but the storefront has maps to other locations.
Bundle up, bring a picnic basket, and catch a flick in the park!
On the third Wednesday of each month, San Francisco Brewers Guild shuttles beer lovers around to breweries on a free bus. “Meet the Brewers” night starts at 6pm, and the bus runs on a schedule, hitting four to six bars in a specific area such as Haight/Sunset, Dogpatch/Mission Bay, SoMa/Union Square, or Mission/Dolores/Bernal. You do have to pay for whatever beer you drink, though.
You can reserve a limited number of passes for places ranging from the Asian Art Museum to Coit Tower to the Conservatory of Flowers. All you need is a library card!
Choose a themed tour, from Hitchcock to historical, all over the city, all year long.
One of America’s oldest professional concert bands plays classical music, marches, Broadway show tunes, and more in Golden Gate Park from mid-June through early October.
Like Night at the Museum, but you actually learn something. Or at the very least, snap a pic in front of the selfie wall. Friday nights at the de Young run from end of September through November.
Learn how to juggle, walk the tight wire, and generally clown around at Circus Center’s free open play session every Friday night.
This three-day outdoor concert answers the question: what if Outside Lands were free and not foggy because it’s held in October?
Much like Alcatraz, everyone’s gotta go once, if only to experience the chocolate fortune cookie.
Don’t live in San Francisco yet? Want to? Schedule a tour with Starcity today.