Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Top 10 Free Things to Do in San Francisco

San Francisco may be one of the great cities of the world, but that also means it can be one of the most expensive if you don’t know how to plan a vacation on a budget. Luckily we’ve combed the city’s cheapskate offerings and assembled the best things to do in the city for free (well, maybe a few bucks).

Amoeba Music’s Free Concerts
An icon of the famously hippy Haight-Ashbury district, Amoeba Music is an audiophile’s dream. Almost every week, you can find a few in-store concerts for bands playing in town. Always free, it’s wise to get there a little early to claim a good spot and avoid the disappointment of a sell-out show. You can troll Amoeba’s famous $1 vinyl bins while you wait to rock out.

Cable Car Museum

Decidedly touristy? Sure, but that doesn’t mean the museum behind this San Francisco landmark isn’t worth checking out. Unlike most museums, this one is built in the actual hub that operates the miles and miles of cables that crisscross the city. It’s a treat for history buffs and a great way to put some context behind the iconic cars that have become an indelible part of the city.

Musee Mechanique
Located in an unassuming shed just off Fisherman’s Wharf, this museum is a love letter to all things arcade. Operating for more than 100 years, this spot features hundreds of different games to suit any preference. Granted, you’re going to need to spend a few quarters to truly take advantage of this spot, but the entertainment-for-value in this notoriously pricey district can’t be beat.

Seward Street Slides

Buried deep in the Castro district, a small, unassuming park has a series of strange, curving concrete chutes that have become a local favorite for sliding down. Though there are usually a few spare pieces of cardboard available for your use, it always pays to bring your own, just in case.

Ocean Beach Fire Pits
What better way to spend a cool Northern California evening than posted up seaside, enjoying a beautiful campfire? The pits are popular, so it’s wise to arrive early to ensure you get your pick of spots. Also, don’t forget a warm blanket and maybe even some marshmallows for roasting.

San Francisco City Guides

Being a city of neighborhoods, San Fran offers unique tours you could take for years without fully discovering the nuances of each individual locale. Volunteer-run, these tours feature themes ranging from history to architecture to street art. Yes, it is free, but donations are always welcome to keep this wonderful service going.

The de Young Museum
Recently treated to a stunning restoration, this museum located in the heart of Golden Gate Park features a collection of more than 27,000 pieces, with a heavy emphasis on American art. Free the first Tuesday of every month, this is a great way to take in everything a classic American museum has to offer on the cheap.

San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club
Also located in Golden Gate Park, this beautiful club has been a fixture of the city since it was founded in 1901. Though you may not be able to join in on the league play, lessons are free if you request in advance.

Sutro Baths
Located in the Land’s End region of Golden Gate Park, this “ruin” is often mistaken as being ancient by those not in the know. In fact, it’s the remnants of a massive bathing complex built by one-time SF Mayor Adolph Sutro in the late 19th century. Time and the ravages of the ocean have taken their toll, leaving behind a haunting place to explore for hours.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Okay, so this one might be a little on the nose, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s easily the most iconic thing to do in the city, and it is, indeed, free. Walking the full 1.7-mile span of the bridge might be difficult for some, so consider renting a bicycle or simply strolling to the halfway point for the incredible views.

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Hi! I’m Maria, formerly the Social Media & Content Marketing Manager for ForRent.com. I was part of a dream team that is dedicated to running this awesome blog along with ForRent.com's social channels. If I am not busy writing blogs and socially sharing, you can find me working out, drinking cappuccinos, stylizing my apartment and doing DIY projects!

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