ARTICLE-California-San Francisco Bay Area-Best Free Attractions

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Free San Francisco
Free East Bay
Free Peninsula
Free Marin

Best Free Attractions
in the
San Francisco Bay Area

article and images by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

crookest street Lombard Street in San Francisco, California; image c Raul Flores
crookest street Lombard Street in San Francisco, California; image c Raul Flores

Many San Francisco attractions that charge admission allow non-paying visitors into their lobbies, including Coit Tower with its WPA mural, the de Young Museum with its 9th floor tower featuring panoramic views, and the SFMOMA with a changing special art exhibit in its lobby.  Also, many spectacular annual events are free. 

Note that free admission policies sometimes change, as do free days and times.  Do call the attraction or check at its website to confirm. 

And do consider becoming a member of your favorite museums, as that often allows you and your family free or discounted admission and to participate in free days and events especially for members.

these San Francisco attractions are always free

Baker Beach
Cable Car Museum
City Guides walking tours
Crookedest Street in the World
Fort Funston
Fort Point National Historic Site 
49-Mile Drive
Golden Gate Park
     Koret Children’s Quarter playground
Grace Cathedral
Musée Mécanique
Museo ItaloAmericano
Presidio of San Francisco
Randall Museum
San Francisco Railway Museum
Sea Lions at Pier 39
S.F.F.D. Fire Museum
Wave Organ
Wells Fargo History Museum

free days/times at San Francisco museums and attractions

Asian Art Museum 
California Academy of Sciences 
Chinese Historical Society of America 
Conservatory of Flowers 
Contemporary Jewish Museum 
de Young Museum 
Exploratorium 
Japanese Tea Garden 
Legion of Honor 
Museum of the African Diaspora 
Museum of Craft and Design 
San Francisco Botanical Garden 
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park  
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) 
San Francisco Zoo 
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 

these East Bay attractions are always free

ALAMEDA
Crab Cove Visitor Center
BERKELEY
Adventure Playground
     Shorebird Nature Center
LACIS Museum of Lace and Textiles
Sake Museum
Tilden Regional Park
RICHMOND
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park
WALNUT CREEK
Lindsay Wildlife Experience

free days/times at East Bay museums and attractions

BERKELEY
BAMPFA
 
University of California Botanical Garden 
OAKLAND
Chabot Space & Science Center 
Oakland Museum 

these Peninsula attractions are always free

MILLBRAE
SFO Museum
MOSS BEACH

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
MOUNTAIN VIEW
NASA’s Ames Research Center Visitor Center
PALO ALTO
Cantor Arts Center
Museum of American Heritage
Palo Alto Duck Pond and Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Interpretive Center 
SAN JOSE
San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art
SAN MATEO
Central Park and Japanese Garden

free days/times at Peninsula museums and attractions

Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia 
SAN JOSE
San Jose Museum of Art 
The Tech Museum 
SAN MATEO
CuriOdyssey
 
San Mateo County History Museum 

these Marin attractions are always free

OLEMA
Point Reyes National Seashore

SAUSALITO
Marin Headlands
     The Marine Mammal Center
STINSON BEACH
Stinson Beach

free days/times at Marin museums and attractions

SAUSALITO
Bay Area Discovery Museum 
Bay Model Visitor Center

(www.berkeleyandbeyond2.com; copyright Carole Terwilliger Meyers)