Oh, San Francisco! You’re so chic and stylish in an “ahead of the trends” sort of way. You’ll never go out of fashion and your edgy and oh-so-naughty attitude is envied by your other Californian counterparts. San Francisco is as expensive as you want it to be so why not go free?
It’s always a good idea to join a tour the first time you visit any city to get yourself acquainted with your new surroundings. Luckily in San Francisco this doesn’t come in the form of a Hop On, Hop Off bus. Local volunteer historians from the public library lead five daily walking tours (1-2 hours in length) by neighbourhood and theme, everything from Alfred Hitchcock film locations to Victorian San Francisco. They’re completely free, although donations are greatly appreciated.
For a list of tours and dates, visit sfcityguides.org.
For a tour that really whets your palette, head to the Anchor Brewing Company which offers free 45-minute tours of its historical brewery, tastings included! So you’re thinking, “what’s the catch?” You need to reserve a place on the tour at least a month in advance.
The Golden Gate
World’s most beautiful bridge? You decide as you walk/bike or take the bus across this 1.7 mile piece of iron. The bridge is free to walk or cycle across but both the east-facing and the west-facing sidewalks have specific opening hours. While cyclists can access the bridge 24h, pedestrians are limited to visit between 5:00am and 9:00pm. If you’re not in much of a mood for walking, there are great views of the bridge from Fort Point.
For more specific information visit goldengatebridge.org.
San Francisco’s art scene is overflowing with surprise among the classics. Art shows pop up out of nowhere in unused spaces and then disappear again. The best part is, they’re free. Need some direction? You can never go wrong with 49 Geary, a four-floor gallery in the downtown area. In the Mission try Ratio 3, the Diego Rivera Gallery and the Luggage Store Gallery.
This city’s art scene isn’t confined to interior walls. San Francisco’s street art is famous around the world and you’ll find the best of it in the Mission. Head to Clarion Alley. There’s something new painted here daily and as far as street artists go, everything is fair game to paint over.
- Randall Junior Museum (family-friendly, live-animal exhibits)
- Cable Car Museum
- Exploratorium (free on the first Wednesday of the month)
- San Francisco Center for the Book (workshops and exhibition)