San Francisco is a city in California that has an interesting history. A vacation to San Francisco can be an expensive, but with a little research there are many free sites to visit that will fill your time and teach you history of the area. If you enjoy cultural experiences, San Francisco also has free music options.
Museums and Tours
Many of San Francisco’s museums offer free admission and are a great way to learn the history of the area. The Cable Car Museum is located at Mason Street and Washington and has historic information about cable cars in the San Francisco area. The museum is open daily from 10:00 am through 5:00 pm. The San Francisco Fire Museum is located on Presidio Avenue and open Thursday through Sunday from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The Wells Fargo History Museum on Montgomery Street offers a free audio tour with information on the gold rush and stagecoach robberies. The museum is open weekly Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
San Francisco City Guides offers free walking tours that last 1 ½ to 2 hours. The tours are led by volunteers who share the history of dozens of areas throughout San Francisco. Their website at Sfcityguides.org list the tours and starting locations. Most tours are available year round.
While driving across the Golden Gate Bridge requires a toll, you can walk across it at no charge. The length is 1.7 miles and a picturesque stroll.
Take some time to walk and tour Chinatown. This area is authentic and makes you feel like you left the city.
Street performers are a common in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. Performers are present daily and can occupy your time as you explore their cultural and musical performances.
Free concerts from April through October can be found every Sunday at 1:00 pm at the Golden Gate Park. The concerts have been performed by the Golden Gate Park Band since 1882. The park is 1017 acres in size and filled with museums, gardens, animals, and recreation. Spend the whole day exploring the park.
Free Shakespeare in the Park performances are available through out the summer. Dates, locations and times vary so check out their website at Sfshakes.org prior to visiting San Francisco.
You can easily spend an entire day enjoying free experiences in the Pier 39 Fisherman’s Wharf area. In the year 2000, signs were installed to provide a free, self guided tour of the area. Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the sites and sounds. When finished, head to Pier 39 to people watch and check out the sea lions that bask in the sun. The smell can get strong in the warm sun, but the sight of hundreds of sea lions is fascinating.
From the Pier you are able see Alcatraz Island where notorious villains such as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly resided. It is not free to tour Alcatraz, but on a clear day you can get some pictures from the pier.
Take your own walking tour of the area and view areas such as The Cannery, Ghiradelli Square, and the National Liberty Ship Memorial.