What are the best free San Francisco attractions? You will be amazed to learn how many infamous SF sites are actually free!
SF is an expensive town, but you can save a little on your budget by visiting some of its no cost attractions.
Here are ten of my favorite free San Francisco attractions.
Alamo Square is a beautiful neighborhood with many old Victorian houses. The people that live here take pride in their houses by restoring them to their original, brightly painted colors. These are called 'Painted Ladies'. The most famous are the seven sitting across the street from Alamo Square.
Learn More: Alamo Square
Have you ever wondered how the cable cars work? You can learn that and more at the Cable Car Museum. While the history and historic cable cars are interesting to see, my favorite part is to watch the live cable wheels spin as they pull the cable cars around the city.
Learn More: Cable Car Museum
Many people don't realize that San Fran has thousands of beautifully painted murals throughout the city. Coit Tower is home to some of the most famous ones. The murals cover the entire first floor of the tower. It is $5 to head up to the viewing area, but the cost to visit these historical murals here is free!
Learn More: Coit Tower Murals
This is one of the free San Francisco attractions that is often overlooked. The Fort Point National Historic Site is an old military building along the waterfront. It sits under the Golden Gate Bridge and has a very interesting history. If you want to learn more about the military history in this area, then you need to visit this site.
Learn More: Fort Point National Historic Site
Ah...the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge! This reddish orange bridge is one of the most recognized in the world. It has a walking path on the eastern side of the bridge that is free. From here, you can get some amazing photos of both the bridge and the surrounding gems. It is a must do activity during your visit.
Learn More: Golden Gate Bridge
The Grace Cathedral is another one of the free San Francisco attractions. This cathedral is landmark with an interesting history. You can walk around the church at no cost, visit its prized icons and even get a full walking tour. All of this is free, although they do ask for a small donation.
Learn More: Grace Cathedral
Another one of the busy, but fun free San Francisco attractions is Lombard Street. This flower lined crooked street is worth a stop. Start at the top on Hyde Street and walk all the way down for the best experience.
Learn More: Lombard Street
The Maritime Museum is another one of my favorites. This is one of the free San Francisco attractions in the Fishermans Wharf neighborhood. A trip through the museum provides you with the history of the neighborhood and the fishing community that lived here for decades.
Learn More: Maritime Museum
One of my absolute favorite free San Francisco attractions is the Mission District Murals. This colorful neighborhood has hundreds of brightly painted murals (the picture above is just one example). You will find everything from politically themes to memorials for important people in SF's history.
Learn More: Mission District Murals Pictures & Maps
The Palace of Fine Arts was one of the first free San Francisco attractions I visited. This SF sight was originally built for the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915. Stop by for a walk around the building and it's beautiful gardens.
Learn More: Palace of Fine Arts: History & Pictures
Alcatraz Island is the most visited SF spot. Although it's not free, it is something you have to see during your visit here. They offer both day and night tours almost every day of the year. Discover the differences between the tours and how to get tickets to this infamous prison.
Learn More: Alcatraz Prison Tours
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
In addition to the free sites on this list, there are also several must see paid ones. The great news is that there are several ways to save money on these. There are three San Francisco discount passes with a variety of options. Compare the three passes and learn how you can save even more on your visit to San Francisco.
Compare Passes: Discount Passes
In addition to saving on attractions, you can also save money on certain tours and event tickets through Goldstar Events. Search through hundreds of discounts in San Francisco including tickets for Beach Blanket Babylon, wine tasting tours and more.
Find Discounted Tickets: Goldstar Events
Make sure you always know where you are going with one of these pocket maps of San Francisco. These easy to use maps fit easily in your pocket or purse. You can quickly pull them out to find your next stop along the way.
Ratings & Reviews: San Francisco Maps on Amazon
Day in the Mission
Hi there! I'm Jill Loeffler and welcome to my site. I've been exploring San Francisco for almost two decades and I can't wait to help you find the best things to do here! Thanks for stopping by and please contact me if you have any questions before your trip.