San Francisco Free Events

Kevin Casper
Palace of Fine Arts

The cost of living in the Bay Area means that finding San Francisco free events is a necessity for most people. Luckily, it's not too hard to find free things to do year-round in San Francisco.

Finding San Francisco Free Events

The Bay Area's moderate weather makes it possible to enjoy outdoor activities throughout the year. The following are some great San Francisco free events that you and your family and friends can enjoy during any season.

Spring/Summer

Some of the most festive events in the Bay Area occur during the spring and summer months. Check out the following free activities to enjoy:

  • Carnaval: The San Francisco Carnaval Festival takes place annually in late May--typically on the last Saturday of the month. The festival starts in the morning and goes all day and throughout the night, parading in the Mission District along Harrison Street. Dancing, great costumes, spicy food, and wonderful music will keep you enthralled at this fun event.
  • Golden Gate Park Band: Since 1882, the Golden Gate Park Band has performed for free on Sundays in the park. The concerts provide a great backdrop for a picnic.
  • SF Pride: Approaching its 40th year, SF Pride is a rite of passage for all San Franciscans.
  • Fourth of July Waterfront Festival: There is no better place to watch the fireworks than from Pier 39.
  • Stern Grove Festival: This summer festival has been providing Bay Area residents with access to great summer performances in Stern Grove for more than 70 years.

Fall/Winter

Things don't slow down much in the fall and winter months. Here are a just a sampling of free events that take place each year in San Francisco:

  • Shanty Sing: This event is held numerous times throughout the fall and winter at Fisherman's Wharf and gives people an opportunity to learn and sing traditional sea shanties aboard the historic vessel Balcutha.
  • Autumn Moon Festival: One of Chinatown's most popular events, the Moon Festival celebrates a significant date in the Chinese lunar calendar. Music, dancing, and food await you at this great festival.
  • Polk Street Blues Festival: This two-day late September music festival held on Polk Street is a great escape for music lovers who like to enjoy their music in the comfort of a cozy San Francisco neighborhood.
  • Fleet Week: A San Francisco tradition that celebrates the military, this October celebration features amazing aerial displays by fighter jets over Pier 39.

Year-Round

There are also a number of free events that take place year-round, including:

  • Wednesdays at the California Academy of Sciences: On the third Wednesday of each month, visitors can enjoy the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, and Kimball Natural History Museum for free.
  • Randall Museum: Located in the Castro, the Randall is a unique museum where children and adults can interact with various art and science exhibits.
  • Cable Car Museum: Celebrate one of the most famous symbols of San Francisco at the Cable Car Museum where admission is always free.
  • San Francisco Fire Museum: Another great free museum where you can learn a great deal about the history of the city is the San Francisco Fire Museum located in the Presidio.

Explore for Free

The Bay Area might be an expensive place to live, but there is never a shortage of great San Francisco free events to enjoy year-round. Once you start enjoying all that the city has to offer free of charge, you may feel strange about paying for events.

San Francisco Free Events