Views of the Golden Gate Bridge

FREE Things to do in San Francisco

San Francisco is a small city packed with soooo many amazing FREE things to do.  With so much natural beauty, the city allows you to spend most of your time outside exploring. San Francisco makes you forget that you’re actually in a city.  The city offers an endless supply of outdoor areas, parks and beaches, giving off an outdoor living vibe.  If you love spending your days outside, San Francisco is the place for you.  An added beauty, many of the best things to do in San Francisco are free.  Who doesn’t like doing free things??  You can spend your time in San Francisco getting some fresh air, all while sticking to a budget.

The Following is a list of FREE things you can’t miss while exploring San Francisco!!

Take in the Views from the Twin Peaks

View of San Fransisco from Twin Peaks

If you’re in San Francisco, a trip to the Twin Peaks are a must!  The Twin Peaks give you an absolutely stunning view over San Francisco.  From the top of the Twin Peaks, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the city skyline and great views of the rest of the city.  When at the Twin Peaks, you have the option of climbing to the top of the two peaks or you can admire the city from the viewing area.  If you choose to climb the peaks, both are equipped with steps and are fairly easy to mange.

Walk down Baker Beach

Golden Gate Bridge at Baker's Beach in San Fransisco

Baker Beach is an extremely popular beach in San Francisco.  Located right below the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s no wonder people flock to this beach.  It’s not recommended to swim at this beach due to strong currents, but walking along the beach and taking in the views are satisfying enough on their own.  It must be noted that Baker Beach welcomes nude beach goers.  People rocking their birthday suits tend to stick to the far end of the beach near the bridge, but if nudity makes you uncomfortable, you may want to skip this stop.

Stroll Aroud the Fisherman’s Wharf

Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco

The Fisherman’s Wharf is bustling community by the water, and a popular neighbourhood amongst tourists in San Francisco.  Given the wharf is located waterfront, there are many boats in the water, as well as restaurants and shops along the boardwalk.  The Fisherman’s Wharf is very touristy, but the atmosphere here buzzes with energy.  If you’re not interested in touristy spots, the wharf still provides great views over the water.

Watch the sea lions at Pier 39 

Pier 39 is located in the Fisherman’s Wharf and became popular when the famous sea lions of San Francisco declared this area their territory.  As the story goes, after an earthquake in the 80’s, the sea lions arrived at Pier 39 and have remained ever since.  Here you can watch the sea lions sunbathe, frolic in the water and play with one another.  You can find more information about the sea lions here.

Explore Treasure Island

View of San Fransisco from Treasure Island

Treasure Island is a completely underrated stop when visiting San Francisco.  To reach Treasure Island, you must take the Bay Bridge and exit part way across.  As Treasure Island is small, you can easily drive around the entire island in no time.  The island used to be used as a Naval Base, but now remains a quiet island just off the coast of San Francisco.  The highlight when visiting Treasure Island is the stunning views you get of San Fransisco and the skyline.  Since Treasure Island is only a few minutes over the Bay Bridge, the views are fantastic.

Check out the Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies in San Fransisco

If you grew up watching Full House, there is no doubt that you know exactly what the Painted Ladies are.  The Painted Ladies are a row of colourful houses that are featured in the opening credits of the T.V. show, Full House.  The Painted Ladies are located across the street from Alamo Square and this gives you a great view of the houses.  These homes are beautiful, but if you didn’t grow up watching Full House, this might not be overly exciting for you.  If you’re a Full House fan, have an amazing time soaking up the views!! Oh, Mylanta!!

Climb the 16th Ave Tiled Steps

16th Ave Tiled Steps in San Fransisco

The 16th Ave Tiled Steps started as a community project and ended up as a staircase of beautiful mosaic steps.  The backing of each steps is drenched in bright colours and magnificent pattens.  The colours and patterns alone are stunning, but the staircase is also surrounded by lush gardens from the bottom to the top.

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

Walking Across the Golden Gate Bridge

If you’re in San Francisco, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is like a rite of passage.  It’s something that just needs to happen.  The Golden Gate Bridge is probably longer than you’re expecting, measuring in at just under 3 kms.  If you’re planning to walk across the entire bridge and back, I suggest budgeting 2-3 hours.  With the amazing views over the bay, it’s likely that you’ll want to stop frequently to take pictures and just admire the beauty of San Francisco.  Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was one of my favourite free things to do in San Francisco!

Visit Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is a sweet spot with great views of the bay.  The Square is popular as it’s home to the famous Ghirardelli chocolate.  Here you can visit the chocolate store, have a seat in the diner or order some ice cream to go.  Visiting Ghirardelli is a great place to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Of course, this stop is only free if you’re not purchasing anything.

Wander Lombard Street

Lombard Street

Lombard Street has been made famous for being an absurdly curvy street.  This street is found in a residential area in San Francisco and gets very busy with tourists.  People love to drive down this quirky road as well as walk down it and take pictures.

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