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Top 30 FREE Things To Do in San Francisco with Kids
October 19, 2021

Helping your kids deal with boredom can be tricky, especially when you’re out of budget. Give your piggy bank a break and opt for these awesome free things to do with kids in San Francisco!

San Francisco is known for its spectacular views and classy attractions. But it can be pretty expensive — one of the priciest in the country so if you’re trying to save money while sightseeing, don’t worry! San Francisco has plenty of amusing places and kid-friendly activities wherein you can entertain your kids for free. From interactive museums and child-friendly art exhibitions to hiking on coastal trails and making sandcastles in its beautiful beaches. Not to mention its fun-filled recreational parks and fascinating landmarks, there are so many things to do with kids in San Francisco for free!

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The Bay City is full of exciting and fun things to do, places to go, and sights to see that come at no charge. Instead of spending a hundred bucks for a family outing, why not consider touring around the beautiful sceneries such as the Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field Hyde Street Pier, and lively Chinatown? Aside from being free, it also gives your kids a memorable experience. So, if you’re planning for a family break without breaking your wallet, consider our list of things to do with kids in San Francisco below and make your family bonding unforgettable and free of charge!

Free Tourist Attractions and Sites

Free things to do with kids in San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Toll Plaza Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 921-5858

The Golden Gate Bridge is undoubtedly San Francisco’s iconic symbol and is a sight to behold (with or without the fog). It is one of the most beautiful bridges in the world with its distinctive color and design. With its massive towers, sweeping cables, and great span, the Bridge is a sensory beauty and engineering wonder featuring color, sound, and light. The walk, spanning the bridge, is about 1.7 miles one way. It’s one of the free things to do with kids in San Francisco that won’t cost you a dime! 

Many visitors walk about halfway across the bridge, take a few pictures, and then return to the city – unless, of course, if you’re keen on the exercise. Take your children to walk along the Golden Gate Bridge on the pedestrian path for an authentic San Francisco experience. Remember to pack several layers because it can get freezing and windy at those heights over the open water. For more information, please visit their website

 

Free kid-friendly activities in for kids - Chinatown San Francisco
Chinatown San Francisco

Chinatown San Francisco

843 Grant Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (888) 212-3203

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America as well as the largest outside of Asia. It is a significant cultural immersion and a wonderful experience for the whole family to visit. There are also plenty of stores selling those trinkets and toys only kids will love. It’s colorful and so much to see walking around. You can spot so many different animals (ceramic ones usually) through the windows of the shops.

A stroll through Chinatown awakens one’s senses. Chinatown is a bustling neighborhood with shops, boba spots, and restaurants galore from the Dragon Gate to China Live. Not to mention, it’s also one of the most walkable neighborhoods in a city filled with hills. For more information, please visit their website.

Lombard Street
Lombard Street

Lombard Street

1070 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Driving through many of San Francisco’s streets is such a roller coaster ride that can be exciting for the kids and nerve-wracking for some adults. The steep hills, deep dips, and one-way streets have made me sworn off driving in this city. But, there is one famous street worth the drive or a quick detour. Lombard Street is known as a highly crooked street. Either walking up and down it or driving down the road, it’s all free and fun things to do with kids in San Francisco!

Consisting of eight hairpin turns on a 40-degree slope can make for a long drive down on a busy day. But the scenic view, pretty flowers, and rowhouses along the street make for some good distraction. It’s more fun watching the cars slowly navigate the one-way street. There is also a stairway on the side to watch the action. If your family is keen on making the drive, come early in the morning.

Coit Tower
Coit Tower

Coit Tower

1 Telegraph Hill Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 831-2700

For some of the best views in San Francisco, you might want to think about hiking up Telegraph Hill to historic Coit Tower. The simple fluted tower is named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy eccentric and patron of the city’s firefighters. The 210 foot Coit Tower was built solely to beautify the city. Everything else at the top of the hill is free except the elevators (kids four years old and under can enter for free) to the top of the tower. 

A series of historic fresco murals adorn the ground floor. They depict life in 1930s San Francisco, providing an insightful look back at The Great Depression. Back outside, you can’t miss the statue in the parking lot. It’s a 12-foot likeness of Christopher Columbus, and he looks out over spectacular sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. For more information, please visit their website.

Fort Point National Historic Site
Fort Point National Historic Site

Fort Point National Historic Site

Building 201, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone Number: (415) 561-4959

While you go walking on the bridge, check out this place under the bridge. Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War by the United States Army to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships. The fort is now protected as Fort Point National Historic Site, a United States National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service as a Golden Gate National Recreation Area unit.

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Here at Fort Point, you have an opportunity to participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Rangers with the National Park Service leads free tours at Fort Point, a four-tiered brick and granite fortress built between 1853 and 1861. There are museum exhibits on the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fort Point Lighthouses, Buffalo Soldiers, and the construction of and life at Fort Point. In the theater, you can watch two movies on the construction of the Golden gate and life at Fort Point. And, you have access to all three floors of the fort and the roof to explore. For more information, please visit their website.

Free kid-friendly activities in San Francisco for kids - Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf 

2801 Leavenworth St. 2nd Floor B-16, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 673-3530

Fisherman’s Wharf is the most family-oriented place in San Francisco and contains the highest concentration of kid-friendly activities for families. You can spend an entire day filled with free things to do and fun activities in San Francisco with kids. They will be in awe at the Musee Mechanique, a free attraction and the world’s most extensive privately-owned collection of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines.

Beat the crowds and spend the morning in Fisherman’s Wharf. Street performers, arcade games, and crab for breakfast – all before your kid’s nap time. Located on the northern waterfront area of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf is both a neighborhood and a popular tourist attraction. This super touristy spot is touristy for a reason – it’s fantastic and so entertaining for kids. For more information, please visit their website.  

Pier 39
Pier 39

Pier 39

Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 705-5500

Pier 39 is the epicenter of tourist action in San Francisco. Its location and layout make for a fun hangout spot on the water, close to the many small museums, restaurants, and shops of Fisherman’s Wharf. Plus, it’s easily one of the free things to do in San Francisco, and you can enjoy kid-friendly activities if you fancy a little stroll. One of the most popular attractions is the Sea Lions that tend to show up at the pier. No zoo admission is required to see animals here – just camp out on the pier and watch them in action. 

Besides the sea lions, there are plenty of free, kid-friendly activities at PIER 39 in San Francisco kids will enjoy. The entire family can also enjoy free daily shows by local street performers, jugglers, and acrobats at the SmartWater Stage, as well as musicians in the PIER 39 Entrance Plaza. Seasonal events, including fireworks shows and outdoor film screenings, are also free to the public. For more information, please visit their website.

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Free Beautiful Beaches

Aquatic Park Cove
Aquatic Park Cove

Aquatic Park Cove

900 Beach St., San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone Number: (415) 298-8826

This spot is excellent if you don’t think your gang can hang for too long at the beach. The sandy beach and calm water are perfect for the toddler set. Fisherman’s Wharf is a short walk away, and you can tour historic boats at the Hyde Street Pier. The park is also home to the famous Dolphin Club and its rivals, the South Bay Rowing Club. Parking can get a little tricky after mid-morning, but there are some large garages a short walk away.

For fabulous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, tourists can take a walk along Aquatic Park’s municipal pier. The narrow sandy stretch is sheltered from waves, so it is safe to swim here. The cove is so calm that it almost has the feel of a swimming pool. Visitors can make use of benches to sit and soak up the views. For more information, please visit their website.  

Free things to do with kids in San Francisco - Baker Beach
Baker Beach

Baker Beach

Bowley St. and Gibson Rd., San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

Yet another fabulous beach in San Francisco to hang out with your family and kids on the weekend or the weekday with many free things to do and kid-friendly activities. Baker Beach is an excellent spot for sunbathing and picnicking. Surprisingly for the Bay area, this beach around the peninsula seems incredibly family-oriented with ample parking, BBQ spots. There are plenty of fine clean sand perfect medium for sandcastles. 

Absolutely gorgeous seascape from east to west with a refreshing sea breeze – probably anyone’s idea of paradise. The quarter view of the bridge makes it an ideal place for photoshoots or just a lovely place to hang out during the week or the weekend. Bring a frisbee, a couple of friends, and your weekend is set. For more information, please visit their website.

Free kid-friendly activities in San Francisco for kids - China Beach
China Beach

China Beach

490 Sea Cliff Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone Number: (415) 561-4323

China Beach faces north toward the Marin Headlands and has a nearly perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The China Beach Cove is protected by rock walls on both sides, creating a protected area ideal for kid-friendly activities and things to do in San Francisco with kids for free! From the parking area below the intersection of El Camino Del Mar and Sea Cliff Avenue, you’ll walk down a long ramp or take a more direct stairway that drops down to a building with restrooms and a rooftop deck.

Back in the Gold Rush days, it was the campsite of Chinese fishermen and their boats. There’s a monument commemorating this bit of history at the beach’s entrance, where there’s also parking. You’ll need to go down a few steps to hit the sand. Take in the views of the Marin Headlands and build a sandcastle, but be careful of the surf, which can be unpredictable. For more information, please visit their website.  

Free things to do with kids in San Francisco - Crissy Field East Beach
Crissy Field East Beach

Crissy Field East Beach

1199 E Beach, San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 561-7690

East Beach in Crissy Field is full of families building sandcastles, digging, and running in and out of the waves when the sun’s out. For those wanting to avoid the surf, a lagoon makes an ideal splash spot for little ones. The nearby Beach Hut Café serves snacks and coffee, and there’s ample parking. You’ll find plenty of four-legged friends here, too, as the beach is popular with the city’s dog owners. 

East Beach provides a safe space for all kinds of free kid-friendly activities in the bay waters of San Francisco for people-watching. It’s gated, so the kids won’t be able to just runoff. Kids play tag and turn cartwheels on grassy lawns or tug on colorful kites flying in the Golden Gate winds. Bring food from home for a picnic or something to throw on the grill and enjoy a meal outdoors overlooking the Bay. For more information, please visit their website.  

Free kid-friendly activities in San Francisco for kids - Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

Sloat Blvd. and Great Hwy., San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone Number: (415) 561-3000

Ocean Beach is the most expansive sand on San Francisco’s shores, extending from the Cliff House to Fort Funston. It is famous for seaside drives, brisk jogs, kite flying, and sunset walks. Usually, a few people fish and others picnicking on the beach while kids and dogs play in the sand. Except for a few hot days, the beach is surprisingly uncrowded for being in an urban area.

Like all the beaches along the coast in San Francisco, Ocean Beach is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. There is a large parking lot with an entrance at Sloat Boulevard, and there are street spots all along the west edge of Sunset neighborhood near the Great Highway with crosswalks to the Esplanade and stairs to the beach. For more information, please visit their website.

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Free Museums

Free things to do with kids in San Francisco - Cable Car Museum
Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

1201 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone Number: (415) 474-1887

Everyone wants to ride a cable car once. Or twice. But you have to pay for that. Did you know that the Cable Car Museum is free? The museum in Nob Hill is open daily. You can see historic cable cars, photographs, and mechanical displays. Perfect for kids who love “choo-choos”! This museum will appeal to two types of families: those who are very interested in the city’s history and those who love things that move. 

The main attraction is the cable winding machinery powering the cars still on city streets. Visitors can watch from overlook galleries as it reels 11 miles of steel at a steady pace of nine-and-a-half miles per hour. You’ll get an up-close view from both above and below of the mechanism that keeps the city’s three cable car lines running. For more information, please visit their website.

DeYoung Museum Observation Tower
DeYoung Museum Observation Tower

DeYoung Museum – Studio and Observation Tower

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone Number: (415) 750-3600

When you find yourself in Golden Gate Park – as you almost certainly will – don’t be afraid to pop into the DeYoung Museum for a quick trip up to the observation tower overlooking the park. It’s completely free (unlike the main museum) and offers incredible views of the whole city. First Tuesday of every month and Friday Nights at the main museum, specific exhibits are open to the public with live music. The Cafe has lovely outdoor area kids can run around.

Kids break dancing against a laser-light backdrop, toddlers finger painting without making any mess at all, and tiny artists admiring their sculptures displayed among blue-chip masterpieces — all this and more happens inside the brand new de Youngsters Studio, an interactive play space and gallery at the de Young Museum. Admission to the deYoungsters Studio is also free of charge. For more information, please visit their website.

Free things to do with kids in San Francisco - Musee Mecanique
Musee Mecanique

Musee Mecanique

Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: (415) 346-2000

The Musée Mécanique is a free-admission museum that showcases more than 300 fun and unique penny arcade games and arcade artifacts from the 20th century. It is held as part of the private collections of the original museum owner Ed Zelinsky. The museum, located at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, opened as an exhibit at the city’s Playland beachside amusement park throughout the mid-20th century and was incorporated into the Gold Gate National Recreation Area in the 1970s. 

Today, it attracts more than 100,000 annual visitors, with all games available for play for an additional coin fee. Amusement artifacts are also showcased, including a Laffing Sal automaton and the world’s only steam-powered motorcycle. It is a must-stop for people with kids or who just love arcade games. It is a chance to show your children or grandchildren what you did for fun when you were their age. For more information, please visit their website.

Randall Museum
Randall Museum

Randall Museum

199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone Number: (415) 554-9600

Spending a morning or afternoon at the Randall Museum is one of the most fun and educational free things to do in San Francisco with kids. This museum is full of free kid-friendly activities dedicated to inspiring curiosity, creativity, and appreciation for the world around us, especially the cultures and environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. Here, you’ll find live animals, a science lab, arts and ceramics studios, a theater, and a greenhouse and gardens.

There’s a separate playroom for babies and toddlers just behind the welcome desk for those visiting with the youngest kids. The upper level focuses on regional wildlife, while the lower level has a mix of interactive activities ranging from a guessing game about minerals to a shake table with blocks to simulate an earthquake. There’s also a model train room and a wooden train layout. Don’t miss the incredible city view from the back terrace. For more information, please visit their website.

Free things to do with kids - San Francisco Fire Museum
San Francisco Fire Museum

San Francisco Fire Museum

655 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone Number: (415) 558-3546

This free museum tells the story of the San Francisco firefighters through exhibits, artifacts, and photos. Several fire engines are on display: Engine 22 (pulled by horses), Engine 26 (a steam engine), Volunteer Engine 7 that was pushed and pulled by hand. Hop on a fire truck from 1929 and ring its bell! A pegboard tracking system showing where firefighters were dispatched on display. Learn about the fire alarm call box, still in use in the streets. 

A visit to the San Francisco Fire Museum is perfect for those that want to learn more about SF’s fire department over the years, including the tragic 1906 Earthquake and Fire. This hidden gem is in the city’s Pacific Heights neighborhood. It’s easy to find as it sits in a room next to one of the city’s working firehouses. While you visit, you will see one of the first fire trucks purchased for SF and learn more about Lillie Hitchcock Coit (the person that donated money to build Coit Tower). For more information, please visit their website.

Free kid-friendly activities for kids - San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

151 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone Number: (415) 357-4000

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) offers free public access to nearly 45,000 square feet of ground-floor galleries with a lot of kid-friendly activities and fun things to do with kids, as well as free admission for visitors 18 and younger. SFMOMA offers educational experiences for the entire family, with the looming curves of Richard Serra’s Sequence sculpture (Floor 1, Atrium), the Alexander Calder Motion Lab (Floor 3), the largest living wall in the United States (Floor 3), and the Photography Interpretive Gallery (Floor 3). 

The Museum Store offers an amazing selection of kid-friendly items from modern and contemporary art books, innovative design objects, children’s books, toys, posters, stationery, and more. With art-filled public spaces, numerous outdoor areas, two museum stores, and multiple dining options, the museum is open to San Francisco and visitors as never before. For more information, please visit their website.

Wells Fargo History Museum - San Francisco
Wells Fargo History Museum – San Francisco

Wells Fargo History Museum – San Francisco

420 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone Number: (415) 396-2619

Located in the exact spot where Henry Wells and William G. Fargo opened for business in 1852, the Wells Fargo History Museum takes visitors on an interactive exploration of local history spanning from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley. Kids love to check the stagecoaches. Parents often enjoy trying to figure out how to operate a Morse code transmitter. Everybody is just plain puzzled over the workings of the old-fashioned phone. 

Kids learn about different types of currency used in the US during the gold rush and then get to print their own with their faces on it. They understand why the stagecoach was so important and then take a ride in one. Test your communication skills upstairs with a working telegraph machine and an early telephone. For more information, please visit their website.

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Free Recreational Parks and Playgrounds

Alamo Square Park
Alamo Square Park

Alamo Square Park

Steiner St & Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone Number: (415) 218-0259

A hilltop park with views of the Bay City (including the famous “Postcard Row”), Alamo Square features many free things to do in San Francisco. There is a full tennis court, plenty of walking trails and benches, flower beds, and a dual-level kids’ lot with six swings, three slides, and a pair of climbing structures. The upper level is for older kids (age 5-12), while the lower level is for, the younger ones (age 2-5). 

You can sit facing the Seven Sisters and enjoy a great view of downtown San Francisco. It’s easily one of the most photographed spots with the San Francisco skyline in the distance. After walking around the neighborhood, the park is the perfect place for a picnic lunch. For more information, please visit their website.

Alice Chalmers Playground
Alice Chalmers Playground

Alice Chalmers Playground

670 Brunswick St., San Francisco, CA 94112
Phone Number: (415) 337-4711

Alice Chalmers is one of the newly renovated playgrounds through the “Let’sPlaySF! Initiative” in late 2020. Packaged into the design for this urban park are play experiences that mimic the rocky and rugged California coast. It gives kids a tactile and active play experience through traditional elements and a thoughtful and efficient layout. It is so unique and fun, with a towering structure filled with nets and platforms. 

A beautiful place to relax on a bench while your kids play in the clubhouse or AC’s safe, gated, clean playground with “natural equipment” made of older wood and metal. There are a huge baseball/soccer field, basketball, and tennis courts beyond the gates for you and your older ones. It is an all-time favorite playground in San Francisco, with lots of kid-friendly activities and free things to do with kids. For more information, please visit their website.  

George Christopher Playground
George Christopher Playground

George Christopher Playground

5290 Diamond Heights Blvd San Francisco, CA 94131
Phone Number: (415) 695-5000

The George Christopher Playground in Diamond Heights underwent a renovation and opened its doors at the end of April 2021. The new play area is designed with both younger and older kids in mind, including swings, a whirl, and several exploration areas. Kids can play in a garden meant to spark their imaginations, complete with stepping stones, a bridge, a playhouse, and a dry riverbed. The nature-inspired park landscape includes natural elements such as logs, tree stumps, and stones to encourage imaginative play.

This playground has a play structure with a sandpit. There is also a softball field, tennis court, and basketball court. It is an excellent area to take dogs for walks. However, it is not an official “off-leash” area. In addition, there are a clubhouse and restrooms on-site. It’s genuinely one of the best playgrounds in San Francisco where kids can have fun, free things to do with so many kid-friendly activities to enjoy. For more information, please visit their website.

Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

501 Stanyan St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone Number: (415) 831-2700

Just a few blocks south of the bridge, Golden Gate Park is an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts. One full day is barely enough to explore its 1,017 acres of free-to-the-public meadows, lakes, rose gardens, an arboretum, a rhododendron dell, music concourse, a children’s playground, a buffalo paddock, and the tallest artificial waterfall in the West. Walking around the park is free, and there are endless beautiful sights to see.

For free fun, stroll along the park paths, picnic by one of the park’s two lakes, explore the artificial waterfall, or simply let your kids run wild at the enormous Koret’s Children’s Playground. Museums and cultural attractions abound, including the acclaimed De Young Fine Arts Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Botanical Garden, and the United States’ oldest Japanese Tea Garden. For more information, please visit their website.

Lafayette Park Playground
Lafayette Park Playground

Lafayette Park Playground

Gough St. & Washington St., San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone Number: (415) 292-2012

With over 11 acres of land in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, Lafayette Park is a popular hangout accommodating local children, families, and visitors with its charm, grassy spaces, friendly vibe, and dog oasis. Enjoying views of the city and San Francisco Bay is another reason Lafayette Park attracts visitors. The playground features areas for all ages, including an awesome water table where children can control the water pump coming out.

There is plenty of open space to play with your child and many trees to provide shade on a hot day—also, it is a great place for a picnic. There is a small, fenced-in playground for kids, designed by Miller Company Landscape Architects. It is in good condition with two tennis courts. Whether you come to the park for relaxation or active fun, Lafayette Park doesn’t disappoint! For more information, please visit their website.  

Mission Dolores Park
Mission Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park

19th and Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone Number: (415) 554-9521

It would be a shame to take your kids to San Francisco and not hit up one of the most popular parks — Mission Dolores Park, where there are many kid-friendly activities and free things to do with kids. The Helen Diller Playground on the southern slope offers a sunny sanctuary for visitors, especially toddlers with boundless energy. Key features include a 45-foot ‘super slide,’ age-specific play areas, climbing structures, boats, sandboxes, spring toys and spinners, crawl tubes, a raised play mound, “Sound Garden,” elevated bridge, and swing sets. 

During a visit, you may notice for the most part that Dolores Park is comprised of two distinct areas – the upper slope where you’ll find most families and children congregating at the playground, and the lower slope, where a more laid-back scene usually unfolds. The vast stretches of grass welcome picnic luncheons, games of Frisbee, book readers sprawled across blankets, and sunbathers are taking a snooze. For more information, please visit their website.

The Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco

The Presidio of San Francisco

103 Montgomery St San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 561-5418

The ​​Presidio is the perfect destination for families seeking fun, adventure, free things to do with kids, and an escape from busy city life in San Francisco. There are 1,500-acres to explore in this former military base transformed for a wealth of kid-friendly activities in San Francisco! The national park is filled with nature, history, and family experiences – playing at the beach, bouncing in a trampoline park, making crafts, and more.

There’s never a dull moment at the Presidio and, best of all, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. The Presidio offers year-round free activities such as art hikes, trails for family-friendly bike rides, beach access, and more! There is a free shuttle around the park and a free shuttle from downtown to the park. For more information, please visit their website.

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Free Urban Art Experiences

Art Trail SF
Art Trail SF

Art Trail SF

150 Post St., Suite 740 San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone Number: (415) 788-1000 Ext 206

Hike the city’s central neighborhoods searching for fantastic street art, historic architecture, and unique small businesses by following Art Trail SF. From Hayes Valley to Alamo Square, through the Lower Haight and along the Divisadero Corridor, notable stops on the trail include the Painted Gentlemen, a rotating gallery of murals adjacent to the iconic row of Victorian homes known as the Painted Ladies.

Due to the efforts of some of its group members, 18 new murals have been brought to the neighborhood over the past year. At Divisadero Touchless Car Wash, there are two new murals that you can’t miss, whether on foot, on your bike, a scooter, or Muni – Michael “Spike” Krouse’s “No More Mean People” and the collaborative “Divisadero” mural by Orlie Kapitulnik, Amanda Durbin and Michelle Nguyen. For more information, please visit their website.

Balmy Alley
Balmy Alley

Balmy Alley

100 Balmy St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Email: info@precitaeyes.org

Balmy Street is the first of two streets with a large concentration of Mission District murals. This place is also where it all started. The first artist painted one on the back of a building on this street in the early 1970s. The Balmy Alley murals have a wide range of subject matter, from a memorial for El Salvador activist Archbishop Óscar Romero to a homage to great female artists including Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Now, the street has one on almost every back fence or garage door. 

A quick and easy 15-minute walk from Inn San Francisco, visiting Balmy Alley makes a great way to start your day exploring the Mission District with your kids and the whole family. The alley is best viewed on foot- either by yourself or on a guided tour from Precita Eyes Mural Arts. Visitors can even find a mural of the Inn San Francisco with Marty (the owner/innkeeper) and his dog Marshmellow. For more information, please visit their website

Clarion Alley
Clarion Alley

Clarion Alley

90 Clarion Alley, San Francisco, CA 94110
Email: info@clarionalleymuralproject.org

The project began in 1992 at the impetus of the Clarion Alley Mural Project artist collective, which is led by six volunteer residents within the city’s North Mission District. Clarion Alley is a unique open-air showcase of graffiti and street art, stretching between 17th, 18th, Mission, and Valencia Streets. It is housed within the former Cedar Lane alleyway, in a district with noted arts and community activism, home to Promotoras Latinas Comunitarias de Salud and the American Indian Center. 

The beautifully curated alleyway is changing with new and eclectic art pieces, though some outstanding works remain, including Tax the Rich by Megan Wilson. Others are constantly added to the alley, making for a new art experience every time one visits the district. In a city known for its rising rents and gentrification, especially in the Mission neighborhood at its epicenter, Clarion Alley is worth visiting. For more information, please visit their website.

The Wave Organ
The Wave Organ

The Wave Organ

83 Marina Green Dr., San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone Number: (415) 528-4444

Sitting out on a jetty in San Francisco Bay, the Wave Organ is a unique sculpture that blends art, music, and nature. The installation was built with 25 organ pipes – made of PVC and concrete – at various elevations, which become activated and make incredible sounds when the ocean waves come crashing in. As waves roll in, the sound amplifies a liquid symphony of gurgles, rumbling, whooshing, and swishing. 

Head to this jetty near the Golden Gate Yacht Club in the Marina district and listen. There’s no fee to visit since it’s a public art installation. It’s a safe place to visit and is family-friendly. Getting to the facility is wheelchair-friendly, but the structure itself includes some uneven ground and stairs. For more information, please visit their website.

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We all just love it when we get something for free, don’t we? Not only that it’s free, but it also gives your kids the same fun and thrilling experience they get from expensive amusement parks and playgrounds. More so, San Francisco has a bunch of free kid-friendly activities to help your kids stay active while dusting off that boredom fever. Luckily for you, we have laid out 30 free activities and attractions for kids in San Francisco to help you decide what to do and where to go. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in to our list of free things to do with kids in San Francisco and add them to your itinerary for your next family outing!

San Francisco offers so many opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources, or browse through our things to do in San Francisco with kids. Still looking for more activities for kids in San Francisco? No problem! Check out our comprehensive listing of places to go in the region and our highly recommended things to do blog posts.

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