Top 5 Free Things to do in San Francisco

  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

With water on three sides, San Francisco lives up to its nickname of the ‘City by the Bay’. If your tour starts or ends in this wonderful city, you simply have to extend your stay to make the most of such an iconic metropolis.

Despite its tiny size at the end of a California peninsula, there are so many wonders packed into the busy streets that you’ll want to come back again and again and again. And many of them won’t cost you a single dollar.

TrekAmerica expert Chris Sharman shares his top five free things to tick off your San Francisco bucket list while you’re there...

Golden Gate Park, San Francisxo

1. Golden Gate Park

It’s even bigger than New York’s Central Park and crammed full of hidden gems. Start your tour from the city’s hip Haight-Ashbury. You’ll pass the Kew-inspired Conservatory of Flowers, the culture-sharing Japanese Tea Gardens, you’ll even find an island on a lake at the park’s centre. As the Polo Field, former home of the San Francisco 49’ers, comes into view you’ll still have a third of the park to go! 30 minutes later and the towering Dutch and Murphy Windmills will welcome you to Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

2. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

Everybody knows the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Watch out for cyclists as you make your way north via the rumbling sidewalk to the amazing Vista Point. Aptly named, Vista Point provides epic views back towards the modern-day wonder of the world that is the Golden Gate Bridge. The best side to walk is on the east so you can take in the views of Alcatraz, the city skyline, and the beautiful bay… when there isn’t sea fog rolling of course!

Golden Gate Bridge from Land's End Trail

3. Land’s End Trail

Don’t let San Francisco’s famous hills trick you, walking is one of the best things to do in this city. The Land’s End Trail takes you along the city’s north-westernmost corner. Here you’ll pass through clifftop woodland that offers spectacular views of San Francisco’s famous bridge, the bay and the boats coming in from the Pacific Ocean. We recommend walking at sunset for amazing colours on the beautiful water.

Sea Lions on Pier 39, San Francisco

4. Fisherman’s Wharf

There’s a reason this spot is so famous. It’s a mecca for food lovers. Whether it’s ice cream, chocolate or seafood you’re after, you’ll find it all here. Follow the smell of sea lions (ok, that part’s not so delicious) and you’ll find yourself at Pier 39, a haven for the best tacky souvenirs money can buy! A walk further down the Embarcadero will take you to the city’s amazing Ferry Building. This stunning building was once where immigrants disembarked after long journeys across oceans; now it’s home to a brilliant farmers market.

Alamo Square, San Francisco

5. Alamo Square

Right in the middle of the city, Alamo Square is raised above the streets surrounding it and offers amazing views of the city skyline. You’ll be able to pick out City Hall, the Transamerica Pyramid and many more iconic buildings from this quiet spot. Right across the street you’ll also spot the Painted Ladies, famous old Victorian houses painted in the brightest of colours. Take a short walk north up Steiner Street and you’ll come face to face with another famous house, the one from Mrs Doubtfire!

Want to explore San Francisco for yourself? Discover our awesome collection of adventures starting and ending in this incredible city

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