10 free attractions in San Francisco

Is San Francisco a non-low cost city? In my opinion you are wrong. Here are 10 completely free attractions to visit the beautiful American city of San Francisco on your own.

Golden Gate Bridge

There are many free attractions in San Francisco, starting with what is the symbol of the city, the Golden Gate Bridge. The most famous bridge in California is free for pedestrians and bicycles, the latter recommended if you come from the port or downtown as the distance to reach it is considerable. In the city, especially in the Embarcadero area, there are many companies of Bike rent, which with a variable price from $ 23,00 to $ 32,00 will allow you to have a bicycle complete with helmet, map and lock for the whole day. The bridge is approximately 2,7 kilometers long, and whether you walk it or on two wheels, emotions are guaranteed! Make sure you get to the other end and stop at the Vista Point North to admire the skyline of the city. Tip: comfortable shoes and dress in layers, when you reach the middle of the bridge you will understand why.

Lombard Street

Another must-see symbol of the city is the crookedest road in the world. Point a Russian hill, created to reduce the slope of the hill that reaches as much as 20%, has since become one of the best known points in San Francisco and despite it consists of a small road section consisting of 8 hairpin bends, in my opinion it is really worth a visit, if only to enjoy the view of the city at your feet.


The Port of San Francisco is a mix of functionality and entertainment. Start from the Ferry Building where inside there are shops and restaurants for all tastes and where you can enjoy a splendid view of the bay from its “waterfront” side. Then continue to Pier 39, the pier transformed into a tourist attraction, teeming with interesting shops and restaurants. Absolutely not to be missed is its best spot: the wharf home to San Francisco's sea lions, loved by tourists as much as by locals. Strolling through the docks, stop and enjoy the spectacle of local street artists, from musicians to modern spray painters, you will be enchanted for hours watching their performances.

Fisherman's Wharf

Not far from Pier 39 is the historic fishermen's district, now home to excellent fish restaurants that also offer street-front stalls for excellent take-away dishes: from fried squid, to fish & chips, to the unmissable crab, a specialty of the area, to try in the soup version, served inside a hollowed out loaf of bread (Crab chowder in bread bowl). Also take a look at the Boudin Bakery, a huge excellent bakery with a window on the street where you can admire the bakers at work.

Rodney Lough Jr Gallery

Discovered by chance, it is worth stopping 10 minutes and entering this exhibition of the works of landscape architect Rodney Lough Jr. Photography lovers will get lost in this exhibition of masterpieces with the subject of the natural landscapes that the artist has immortalized in his numerous do you travel. Each photograph is accompanied by technical details and a short anecdote about it written in first person by the artist. The exhibition is a feast for the eyes, and is equipped with sofas to be able to stop longer to admire the works and, why not, take a moment to rest. The photographs are also purchasable, in the desired shape and size.

Pier 45

Here are the USS Pampanito submarine and the Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O'Brien, both active during the Second World War and still perfectly preserved. Both boats can be visited, for a fee, with a price of $ 12,00 each, or admired externally without spending a cent. Each year there are several cruises with SS Jeremiah O'Brien in the bay, check the calendar with the program, after all it is not every day that you can sail the waters aboard an original WWII ship still in working order.

Also at Pier 35 is the Musee Mecanique: one of the largest collections of mechanical musical instruments and ancient arcade games. From music boxes to the famous reproduction of the circus world "Carnival", from fortune tellers to automatic pianos, from the most modern pinball machines and slot machines, the visit is one of the most surprising experiences you can have. All the machines are original, the oldest dates back to 1889, and still in working order. Admission is free, but to get the machines to work you will have to spend a few cents (a quarter of a dollar or 50 cents, depending on the attraction) but it is really worth it to see these wonders still at work after so many years.

Maritime National Historical Park

This marine park offers visitors a splendid collection of original antique boats which includes among others the 1890 Eureka steamship, the 1906 Hercules steamship tug and what I believe is the park's highlight, the Balclutha del 1886. As for Pier 45, some of the boats can be visited internally by paying the entrance, otherwise you can walk quietly and for free on the pier and admire them externally.


Almost every major American city has its own Chinese quarter, but this one in particular deserves a look as it is the largest and oldest Asian community in North America. Do not miss the front door of the neighborhood, the Dragon Gate, on Bush St. E Grant Ave. and its buildings with typical Chinese architecture. The area is recommended for the purchase of souvenirs, given the absolutely competitive price compared to other tourist areas of the city.

Painted Ladies at Alamo Square

This cute name (the Painted Ladies) was originally used to describe groups of Victorian and Edwardian townhouses in San Francisco and has since spread to represent groups of similar homes colored in three or more different colors. The most famous of the city are located in Alamo Square, in a place also called "Postcard Row". These houses, built between 1892 and 1896, have become one of the most photographed spots in the city, and have appeared in around 70 films, TV shows and commercials.

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