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Top Five Free or Almost-Free Things to Do in San Francisco

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Top Five Free or Almost-Free Things to Do in San Francisco

story by: Mike Williams

San Francisco is a fantastic stopover option because there’s plenty to do on a budget, allowing you to save your money for your end destination, and after 12 hours on a plane it’ll work your legs like few other cities on earth—just pack your sneakers and do some stretches first!

Here’s a list of five free or almost-free things to do in San Francisco: 

Golden Gate Bridge
With its beautifully dramatic backdrop and unique colour and design, it is easy to see why the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world. A visit to the bridge is a must on any visit to San Francisco, regardless of your budget. The good news is that it’s free to walk on, although at 1.7 miles many people opt to walk only to the first tower and back again. If you’re still trying to work off those 12 hours on the plane, then walk the whole bridge and check out Hendrik Point on the other side, with views back over the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline.

Pier 39
Pier 39 is a magical place that both adults and kids will love. Grab a chowder bread bowl and enjoy this carnival-like pier, with shops, restaurants, music, rides and views of Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Don’t miss the ever-present colony of California sea lions, relaxing and enjoying the Pier 39 atmosphere. <

Coit Tower
The Coit Tower is the place to go for incredible panoramic views of this beautiful seaside city and its iconic landmarks. It was constructed in 1933 and named after its eccentric cigar smoking, gambling, trouser-wearing and volunteer fire-fighting benefactor Lillie Hitchcock Coit. You can enjoy much of the building for free, including some great murals, but it’s $7 for adults, $5 for seniors or $2 for children to take the elevator up to the top and see the best views.

The Stairs of Telegraph Hill
For the masochistic, the stairs of Telegraph Hill can be taken on your way up to Coit Tower; for the rest of us, they are the perfect way to depart it. If the exercise and sense of achievement wasn’t enough, the 400 steps will take you past striking views of the city, iconic San Francisco houses, beautiful gardens and, depending on the season, lots of parrots!

Balmy Street Murals
For a fascinating collection of murals, check out Balmy Alley in the Mission District. Track history through these artistic political statements, many of which focus on human rights and political abuses in Central America as well as issues in the United States.

There are so many other great free attractions in San Francisco, so if you have more time, be sure to check out the Golden Gate Park, Market Street, Pier 7, the Castro district and the crooked Lombard Street.

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