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Free San Francisco Activities in 2021

Jeff Howard January 12, 2021

The New Year has arrived, and with it comes an abundance of free San Francisco activities in 2021 for all to experience! While many of the most popular venues and gathering spots remain closed, that does not mean there isn’t plenty of fun to be had at the many free and popular locations that have made San Francisco such a beautiful place to call home. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best free activities to try out this year in The City by the Bay without spending a dime!

Beaches

 

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San Francisco may not have a reputation as a beach town like other coastal California cities. Still, there are plenty of phenomenal options in and around SF if you don’t mind the cold water and iconic fog. Bonfires are a huge draw at Ocean Beach on San Francisco’s western edge, while Marshall’s Beach and  Baker Beach are accessible just south of The Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field’s scenic beaches are a short waterfront walk away for the Marina Cove apartments residents. If you choose to make the trek across the bridge, Kirby Cove is an excellent option with tremendous glimpses of the bridge, bay, and beyond!

Dog Parks & Pet Friendly Spaces

 

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Trinity is excited to announce new dog & cat-friendly properties in 1190 Mission and 33 8th with 1177 Market opening this summer! Trinity’s Piazza Angelo, which is closed to the public during the stay-at-home-order, will re-open with new dog-friendly facilities. For now, Turk Street Park, Mountain Lake Park, Allyne Park, Moscone Park, and Lafayette Park, near the dog-friendly Clay Park Tower, offer excellent spaces for your pup.

Parks

The parks aren’t just for pets, as San Francisco possesses some of the most picturesque and vast urban green spaces to be found anywhere. Whether you’re looking to chill with cold drinks by the water at The Marina Green or Fort Mason or settle down with a slice in Washington Square or the newly opening Francisco Park, there is likely a park nearby. Packed with fun, safe outdoor activities, Golden Gate Park is larger than NYC’s Central Park with beautiful weather all year round. San Francisco residents are also offered free admission to the Japanese Tea Garden prior to 10 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It’s never a bad day to visit the park in San Francisco!

Bike, Blade, or Board

 

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No matter what you like to ride, San Francisco is a great place to enjoy the many trails, paths, and roadways suitable for bikes, roller-blades, scooters, skateboards, and more! The recent “Slow Streets” program has made The City a true joy for anyone looking to get out and ride in the fresh air. Multiple formerly car-filled roads within The Presidio and Golden Gate Park are now off-limits to motor vehicles along with multiple other streets within SF city limits. A personal favorite, The Great Highway, can be safely traversed along the coast from Golden Gate Park to The San Francisco Zoo without obstruction from cars.

Viewpoints

In what other cities can you find an Instagrammable lookout point at just about every other street corner? Although you don’t need to climb Twin Peaks or cross the bridge to the Marin Headlands to get an excellent view, the jaw-dropping views sure are worth it. Other fantastic options include Fort MasonBlack PointAquatic Park Pier, The Wave OrganGolden Gate Overlook, Golden Gate Post Card Viewpoint, California St, Lands End, and Crissy Field Overlook.

Surf + Swim

 

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Hop on in, the water is fine… I guess. Believe it or not, San Francisco beaches and coves attract daily swimmers without wetsuits to jump on in. While San Francisco Bay swimming at Aquatic Park Cove or Crissy Field Beach may not be your thing in January (or ever), plenty of swimmers and surfers also flock to Ocean Beach and China Beach to brave the Pacific Ocean’s salty waters. You can also check some of The City’s prettiest wildflowers (shown in the lead photo), by visiting the Balboa Natural Area & La Playa Stairs adjacent to Ocean Beach.

Street Art

 

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Art is all around you when you’re a San Francisco resident. In particular, the Mission District is home to historic street art across the neighborhood, including Clarion Alley Street Art and Sparrow Street Alley Artwork near the 240 Dolores apartments. While street art comes and goes, it is always nice to know The City has designated areas that serve as a haven for creating and viewing unique works of art.

Hiking Trails

You may live in one of the world’s greatest cities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a phenomenal hiking trail in your own backyard! The Presidio boasts multiple wooded trails, including Lovers’ Lane, The Ecology Trail, and Batteries to Bluffs, which each provide unique Golden Gate vistas. You can also venture nearby to the Lands End Trail or Coastal Trail near the Sutro Baths. On the southern side of The City, Mount Sutro features both the Edgewood Trail and Historic Trail. The Mount Davidson Hiking Path and Glen Canyon Trail offer another beautiful yet often unseen side of San Francisco.

Landmarks

There’s no price tag on crossing The Golden Gate and filling your social media story with snaps of the world’s most famous bridge from all angles. If you’re up in Russian Hill around the 1000 Chestnut apartments, the famed crooked section of Lombard Street and Ghirardelli Square are each just a couple of blocks away. North Beach’s Pier 39 can also be found near the 2133 Stockton apartments, and Coit Tower neighbors the 350 Union apartments on Telegraph Hill.

Movie + TV locations


San Francisco has no shortages of appearances on the big screen, and you can easily venture across The City to reenact your favorite scenes. Whether you’re looking to visit the “Full House” house, Mrs. Doubtfire’s residence, or The Painted Ladies, it is important to be respectful of these privately-owned homes. Many well-known movie locations, such as Harvey Milk Plaza, The Palace of Fine Arts, and Chinatown, are open to the public. You can’t go wrong picking any of these awesome and completely free activities!

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