Most people think of a touristy place like San Francisco and assume that everything there to do would cost a fortune. Well, believe it or not, the city is not filled with only millionaires. Families here live on budgets just like the rest of the country, so although there may be some attractions that are costly, there is also an abundance of things to do and see that are inexpensive, if not free.
Kids can’t get enough of Randall Museum, and it is absolutely free. Plus, since there are always new exhibits and programs going on, you can bring the family here often and they will never get bored. There are classes, camps, field trips, a theater and even a live animal exhibit with more than 100 species.
Tiden Park’s Little Farm
This place is a definite gem in the city. There is a steam train and a merry-go-round kids can ride on as well as a swimming area at Lake Anza. Of course, the reason most kids want to come here is to get up-close and personal with all the farm animals. Do be sure to bring celery and lettuce for the ducks, sheep, cows and chickens.
Renting bikes in San Francisco is easy and cheap. There are bike paths everywhere as well as rental facilities. Adult bikes at some places have a handlebar bag so you can use it for your cellphone, camera and snacks, and there is a rear rack as well. Take a guided tour or explore on your own. You can always find plenty of places to eat along your path, or pack a picnic and go on a mission to find the perfect location to enjoy it.
Berkeley’s Adventure Playground
Not only is this playground the coolest place for kids to play, you can actually drop them off here for up to 3 hours for only $10! There is a ton of employees and volunteers here, and if you visit often enough, you will find that a lot of parents meet at certain times and rotate between them who will stay and watch the kids while others get to go run errands. Kids can climb on the forts, towers and boats, and ride a zip line! There are also activity areas where they can paint, hammer, saw and develop their building and creative skills.
Cable Car Barn Museum
This free museum houses a collection of photographs and historic cable cars that children are always awe-struck over. Bring a camera and take some really cool pictures with three antique cars that date back to the 1870s.
National Maritime Museum
You will find this free museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. Bring the family to explore the many sailing artifacts, which includes a side wheel ferry and a real tug boat.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
Every day at 1:30 pm you can enjoy a free guided tour through one of the prettiest gardens in the state. You will appreciate the flowers while your kids will likely fall in love with the butterflies and birds. If you need to visit at an alternate time, you can always take a self-guided tour through Redwood Trail.
Fort Point National Historic Site
Nearly every child marvels over the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, this location offers fantastic views, but it also gives you the opportunity to educate them a little on the area. During the Civil War, San Francisco harbor was protected from attack right here at Fort Point.
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