San Francisco Military Discounts: How to Save on Your Stay in the SF Bay Area

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: March 15, 2024

You will find San Francisco military discounts at museums and attractions all around town. Some offer free admission, while others offer a discounted price for your ticket.

San Francisco Military Discounts

In some cases, the discounts will extend to your family too. Just so you know, they all ask for a military ID or proof of your service when you purchase your tickets.

Several museums and attractions are also Blue Star Museums, which offer free admission between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends. You will find a list of all of these museums toward the bottom of the page.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

California Academy of Sciences

You can receive up to $3 off your daytime general admission to the California Academy of Sciences. To take advantage of the discount, just present your current military ID or proof of service (i.e., VA card or DD-214) at the ticket counter.

This is one of the San Francisco military discounts that only applies to members specifically in the military and does not extend out to your family.

Make sure to arrive early to get your tickets. This line gets really long and you don't want to miss all of the amazing things to see and do inside.

You will find it in Golden Gate Park. Here are some other fun things to do around the California Academy of Sciences.

Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum also participates in San Francisco military discounts. This world-class museum features works from all around Asia including China, India, and Japan. They also feature some interesting pieces from smaller countries around Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

They offer free admission to all active duty members throughout the year with a current ID. This will also include free admission for up to 5 family members as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

This tickets are subject to availability on that day and you can only get them onsite at the museum. 

You will find this museum in the Civic Center District.

Walt Disney Museum

The Walt Disney Museum is another great deal if you are looking for other San Francisco military discounts. All military personnel with a valid ID will receive free admission into the museum. This also includes your spouse and dependents.

They are also a part of the Blue Star Families program. This offers you free admission for you (with a valid ID) and up to five family members between Armed Forces Day and Labor Day Weekends.

You will find it in the Presidio.

San Francisco Military Discounts at Pier 39

Pier 39 offers several San Francisco military discounts for those with a current ID. Here are some of the current offerings:

  • Aquarium of the Bay: 20% off with proof of employment for active duty or retired miltiary personnel

You will also find other discounts at shops and restaurants throughout Pier 39.

In order to get your discounts, simply stop by the California Welcome Center on the 2nd level near Fog Harbor Fish House.

It's open from 9 am to 8 pm every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Aquarium of the Bay

Another one of the locations where the San Francisco military discounts is available is at the Aquarium of the Bay on Pier 39. These ones work a little different than the others on this list.

They offer discounted tickets to both active and retired military personnel. You must show your ID at the admission booth for 20% off.

You will find the Aquarium of the Bay in Fisherman's Wharf. Here are just a few other fun things to do nearby.

SS Jeremiah O'Brien

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien is one of only two Liberty ships that was used in World War II.

This one is special as it's the only one of the two that has been unaltered, so is completely historically accurate.

Active military pay only $10 for their ticket price with proof of service or if you are in uniform.

>> More about visiting the SS Jeremiah O'Brien

USS Pampanito

The USS Pampanito is a WWII Balao Class Fleet Submarine.

This floating museum offers you the chance to look inside a real life submarine and learn more about the daily life of its military personnel.

You will only pay $10 for your ticket when you show your military ID.

>> Discover tips to visit the USS Pampanito


The Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD) is another attraction offering San Francisco military discounts. You will find the museum in the South of Market District near several other world class museums.

MOAD offers free admission to active duty military all year long. You will need to provide your military ID at the admission booth when you arrive.

The MOAD is an interactive museum and one of my favorites in the city. It focuses on the African Diaspora throughout the world.

The story is told through hands-on displays, videos, and audio recordings. It's one you do not want to miss.

San Francisco Zoo

The San Francisco Military Discounts at the zoo are offered for both active and retired personnel. Make sure to bring your ID or proof of service, so you will receive the SF resident rate for your admission. 

They also often offer free admission during Fleet Week (with proof of ID).

The SF Zoo is home to a variety of local and exotic animals. You will love Cat Corner, which is home to lions and tigers.

The Leanne B. Roberts African Savanna exhibit is another favorite and is home to several giraffe and zebra. Other fun places to visit include the Australian WalkAbout, Thelma and Henry Doelger Primate Discovery Center, and the Fisher Family Children's Zoo.

The zoo is located on the western end of the city near the Pacific Ocean.

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums offer free admission to their exhibits between Armed Forces Day in May through Labor Day Weekend. This is the current list of those offering these benefits.

This list changes frequently, so make sure to visit the Blue Star Museums page to confirm each museum is still included.

You can use zip code 94115 to get a list of participating museums.

  • Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum
  • San Francisco Fire Department Museum
  • Walt Disney Family Museum

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

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It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

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