If you had 24 hours in San Francisco, what would you do?
San Francisco, I love you. But you can be kind of expensive sometimes with your $400/night hotels. So I put together some of my favorite free or wallet friendly activities you can do with 24 hours in San Francisco. Whether you’re by yourself, with your friends, husband, kids.. your coworkers. Whoever you are with (or not with), here are some of my favorite free (or cheap) sightseeing activities you can do with 24 hours in SFO, that are family friendly.
1. Stroll the beach boardwalk.
Their seawall has some amazing sights, (and cheap food trucks along the pier – hello chowder!). The Golden Gate Bridge is a must see – but don’t forget about the Bay Area Bridge.
The boardwalk has several spots that extend out into the ocean, providing perfect views of the city for photo ops. Plus you can eye your next stops in the distance (like waterfront parks and chocolate making factories).
And yes darlings, don’t forget the Golden Gate Bridge. If you travel across the bridge, there’s a perfect rest stop for photo ops of the bridge and city in your backdrop. Bikes or the Big Bus are a great way to get across quickly.
2. Check out the architecture.
Old Victorian houses filled with colors of a rainbow, Haight-Ashbury residences filled with character and of course the famous Painted Ladies (aka the Full House strip) in Alamo Park make for great city strolls and stops for relaxation. If you’re in the Haight-Ashbury district, pop into Amoeba Records if vinyl is your jam. The store is massive and filled with classic and rarities you won’t find at home.
If you’re looking for modern day high rises and skyscrapers, head to Union Square or the Financial District.
Or you can head to Golden Gate Park where there’s plenty of mini lakes and gardens and spots for your children to run wild. Check out the resident Bison, or if museums are your jam – visit the de Young museum.
3. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Pier 39 is home to the resident Sea Lions that soak up the sun amongst the flashing cameras. Hearts young and old will smile with this stop.
4. Watch the sunset.
There are some amazing spots along the seawall to watch the sun go down behind the Golden Gate. The sunset, well it’s golden. If you’re family is well behaved, you can rent a chartered yacht for a cheap sunset cruise, like the Adventure Cat Sailing Charter.
The Adventure Cat sails under the Golden Gate, creating a perfect spot for a romantic kiss with your significant other. It also sails around Alcatraz which is great for storytelling. Plus they serve wine, beer and snacks – adult priorities after a long day of strolls.
Have you been to San Francisco? What are some of your favorite things to do with your family? Let me know in the comments below.