Being on your own means you have a lot more “free” time. Well, honestly, it’s not free, because any time you waste now is your own time. And time is money.
But if you’d like to take a break from business and do something cost-effective (read: free), then here are some suggestions:
Take a nice stroll through one of San Francisco’s wonderful parks. Walk your dog, read a book, go for a run. Or just breath in the fresh air.
- Golden Gate Park
- Presidio of San Francisco
- Crissy Field
- Stern Grove
- Fort Point National Historic Site
- Marin Headlands
- Mount Tamalpais
- Muir Woods National Monument
- San Francisco Parks Trust – for more parks
Museums, Art Galleries, & Zoos
Soak in some culture and brain candy at these great institutions. After all, one of San Francisco’s main charms is its culture! Some are free only on certain days of the month, others are free all the time.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – first Tues each month
- Asian Art Museum of San Francisco – first Tues each month
- Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – first Tues each month
- Legion of Honor – first Tues each month
- de Young Museum – first Tues each month
- Museum of Craft and Folk Art – first Tues each month & all Tues in 2007
- Cartoon Art Museum – first Tues each month is “Pay What You Wish Day”
- San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design – first Thurs evening each month
- SF Open Studios – always free
- San Francisco Art Institute – always free
- California Academy of Sciences – first Wed each month
- The Exploratorium – first Wed each month
- San Francisco Maritime Museum – always free
- Mission Dolores – always free, donations expected
- Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco – always free
- Chinese Historical Society of America – always free
- San Francisco Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse – always free
- San Francisco Fire Department Museum – always free
- San Francisco Botanical Garden – always free
- Wells Fargo History Museum – always free
- San Francsico Zoo – first Wed each month
Tours can be full of fascinating knowledge and surprisingly fun. At the very least, they make for interesting conversation pieces or help jump-start your brain when you’re in a mental standstill.
- San Francisco City Walking Tours
- Anchor Steam Brewery
- KQED Television and Radio Facilities
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – really!
Movies & Concerts
Sometimes it’s fun to just relax and watch a good movie or listen to a good performance. During the summer and fall, San Francisco is full of such fun events.
- San Francisco Neighborhood Theaters
- San Francisco Shakespeare in the Park
- Dolores Park Movie Night
- Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
- Stern Grove Festival
- San Francisco Blues Festival
- San Francisco Jazz Festival
- North Beach Jazz Festival
- KFOG KaBoom!
- Sausalito’s Friday Night Summer Concerts
Book Readings & Story Tellings
Another great way to get your creative juices flowing is to experience the creativity of others. These bookstores and organizations offer book readings and story tellings by established and up-and-coming authors.
- City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
- Stacey’s Bookstore
- Book Passage Bookstore
- Cody’s Books
- Edinburgh Castle Pub
- The Grotto
- Artist Resource
Free Wifi Cafes
And what list of free stuff would be complete without free wifi cafes? These sources all list lots of great free wifi hotspots in San Francisco.
I’m sure there are a ton of other free things you could do in San Francisco. This city is a treasure trove of culture and activities. I haven’t even listed the yearly events that take place. That could be a whole other article in itself.
Do you know of any other great free activities?