Combine a San Francisco City Tour and guided visit to Alcatraz for the ultimate introduction to San Francisco! You'll enjoy the beauty and attractions of everyone's favorite city, in addition to a scenic ferry ride to Alcatraz Island for an audio walking tour.
Free things to do in San Francisco
Your next vacation in San Fran shouldn’t cost you the world. Luckily, there’s enough free things to do in San Francisco and plenty more great budget-friendly attractions. Here’s a few tips and ideas that will help you save money and still enjoy this amazing city…
Our first tip is not to rent a car. The traffic in the city could be a nightmare, and worse than that its hard to find parking places next to the main attractions of the city. It’s best to get your hotel room in the areas of Fisherman’s Wharf or Union Square, and travel by public transport. Get the clipper card, which will grant you entry to all sorts of transportation including the world famous cable cars. The best ways to tour the must see attractions could be by booking a guided SF tour, but you can also catch some free walking tours in the city!
Top Free things to do in San Francisco
Next let’s talk about attractions, cruises and sight seeing. There are several cards available in San Fran, which will offer you the chance to go on tours, cruises, and enter main attractions such as the Aquarium, Science Museum or the Wax Museum and save you a lot of money and time. Check the passes page on our website as well as offers on SF tours for more information. Remember, the best things about the several city passes might not even be that they save you the money (which they do!), it’s actually because they encourage you to do more and explore more in your vacation. Usually public transportation and skip-the-line entrance to busy attractions are included in the passes as well.
Not everything costs money in the city. A visit to the Golden Gate Park is one of the best free things to do in San Francisco and highly recommended! Did you know that next to the world famous Golden Gate Bridge you could find the third most visited park in the US? This is Golden Gate Park, which is packed with attractions, including free concerts on Sunday noon between April and October. At the park you can spend a full day with very little spending. The park offers lots of great things to do and see, so if you are interested in visiting one of the museums in SF, or just want to chill on the grass, this is the place for you.
Convenience stores and groceries are pricey in the city, and since you are on vacation anyways, try to eat out at the small family restaurants as much as possible. They are reasonably priced and serve amazing food! Need more tips on San Fran tourism and budget-friendly traveling?
Watch the many guides on SF tourist attractions and enjoy plenty of tips on how to see more and do more but spend less.
Stroll into San Francisco’s amazing California Academy of Sciences with this early-access admission ticket. For one low price — a Viator Exclusive available nowhere else — skip the lines and enjoy entry one hour earlier than the general public, a privilege normally reserved for annual members of the Academy. Then wander about the aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and 4-story rainforest, all under one roof. With so much to explore, you’ll appreciate the crowd-free hour of checking out all there is to see at your own pace.
Take time out for a day trip into the wild beauty of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. You'll spend 5-6 hours inside the park with a combination of guided hikes, breathtaking vistas and free-time to explore on your own. Enjoy the beautiful countryside and discover the raw beauty of California's most famous national park.
Contrast the brutal austerity of Alcatraz with the sheer beauty of Muir Woods and Sausalito on this enthralling day trip from San Francisco. It's a whole day of contrasts: from catching the ferry to Alcatraz Island and driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, to walking through a forest of giant redwoods and relaxing in the picturesque village of Sausalito.
Wine taste your way through Napa and Sonoma on this day trip from San Francisco. Enjoy a comfortable, picturesque drive by luxury coach to wine country to visit several wineries for guided tours and tastings. Walk through beautiful vineyards, explore the winemaking facilities, and learn about the history of winemaking from your guide as you sip fine wine. Stop in Yountville to enjoy lunch and browse specialty shops at your leisure and expense. This comprehensive wine tour is the most relaxing way to experience California wine country, and all tastings are included!