Fun and Free in San Francisco

A Little Yumminess - San Francisco Bay Area
March 11, 2014

Given the high cost of living in San Francisco, it's always good to know where you can have some family fun for free. We always have a running list of things to do for free that are enjoyable for our little ones. Honestly, it is often easy to please the little people without spending a fortune or sometimes any money at all. A great resource for fun free activities is the FuncheapSF website which features suggestions of upwards of fifty fun, free or very cheap events in the Bay Area. It is a genius idea and a wonderful resource for finding free activities and events for everyone.

Aside from visiting some of the permanent spots below, San Francisco offers various events annually that are free and worth getting on your calendar. In October, Fleet Week is a spectacular air and sea show that is not to be missed. There are several street fairs throughout the year in various neighborhoods, which often offer "jumpy houses" and other kid friendly activities. Also, Stern Grove offers a free annual festival that is not to be missed.

SF Public Library Family Pass Program

The San Francisco Public Libraries also have a "Check Out SF Family Pass" program, which allows families to gain admission to 24 participating attractions such the Aquarium of the Bay, the California Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Zoo. Visit your local branch library, show them your library card and request a pass to visit the attraction of your choice.

Randall Museum

The Randall Museum is perched on top of a hill in Corona Heights and aside from being an amazing (and free) kids museum focusing on science, it offers spectacular views of the city. Visit with your children and check out their wildlife exhibit. Little ones can also play at the Tree House Toddler Exploration Zone. The museum also offers classes for children ranging from woodworking to cooking in the garden to science experimentation. The Randall Museum is also a good place to visit on a bad weather day.

Free Museum Days 

Most adult and kid/family friendly museums, offer free days where anyone can visit. Museum entry usually costs a pretty penny, and being able to go for free is a special treat. It is best to go super early, or on the later side (after afternoon nap), to avoid the crowds. Below are some examples of when some popular museums have free days. 

Asian Art Museum - first Sunday of each month

Bay Area Discovery Museum - first Wednesday of each month

De Young Museum - first Tuesday of every month

Legion of Honor - first Tuesday of every Month

Exploratorium - five free days a year posted on their website

Golden Gate Park

The Golden Gate Park is over 1000 acres of trees, wide open meadows, and several playgrounds. Aside from the usual things you can do in a park, ranging from a picnic to tossing a Frisbee, there are often free concerts like the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and even Shakespeare in the Park.

San Francisco City Guides

If your little ones can walk or be pushed in a stroller, these free walking tours of San Francisco are a good way to learn more about our city. Older kids will enjoy the history lesson and little interesting facts that the volunteer tour guides share. You can explore the murals in the Mission, downtown, the mansions of Pacific Heights, Fort Mason, and so on—there are good many options. Even though the tour is free, you should tip the guide.

City Hall 

City Hall is majestic and the rotunda is a worthwhile destination for families. You are free to walk around and explore the building and there are often public art exhibits to enjoy in the basement. City Hall also offers three daily tours from Monday to Friday which run about 45 minutes. 

Urban Hikes

Due to its hilly and coastal topography, San Francisco offers the opportunity for hiking without leaving the city. Hike to the top of Twin Peaks or Bernal Hill for dramatic views of the city and possibly a picnic at the "top of San Francisco." Land's End also offers an easy but beautiful coastal hike. 

Stacie Dong and Simran Singh are the moms behind A Little Yumminess, a family food blog where they share spiced-up recipes, hands-on food-related activities and kid-friendly food adventures. You can also find them on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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