Anyone who knows me well knows that I like cheap and free things to do with the family. It isn't that I'm not willing to pay good money for good fun, I just happen to believe that the best fun is sometimes as free as the wind. The same holds true when visiting new cities like San Francisco. I will invest a great amount of time looking for activities that me and other members of my family can enjoy for little or no money. This saves money for other things like good food and souvenirs.
I'm also a big fan of David Letterman and in that spirit I decided to devise a top five list of my very own in honor of Mr. Letterman's Top 10 list. My big 5 list consists of things to do for free when visiting San Francisco.
1) Golden Gate Bridge. This is a favorite among tourists for many reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that it is one landmark that belongs only to San Francisco. It is uniquely a part of this city and represents, for many, your entire trip. Another reason is that there are so many ways to get there. I recommend walking and if you're up for it, try one of the guided walking tours-this will provide valuable background information about the bridge as well as insuring that you don't get lost on the way.
2) Golden Gate Park. This park is larger than New York's Central Park and in my opinion equally grand. There is so much to do and see in Golden Gate Park that you could spend a good portion of your vacation here alone.
3) Cable Car Museum. Kids of all ages will find this museum interesting, especially big and little boys. This museum definitely offers a great deal of education and excitement for the family. In addition to learning about these neat cable cars which have become a trademark of San Francisco transportation. This is one museum I would pay to go to, the fact that it is free is a bonus that I can't resist and the primary reason it is on this particular top ten list.
4) Walking Tours of San Francisco. These free walking tours are not only entertaining; they are also very informative as well. Learn about the history of the neighborhoods that this city is famous for as well as the great people who rebuilt a grand city, literally from the ashes of what it once was and made it even better. San Francisco has a wonderful story to tell and these guides narrate it wonderfully.
5) San Francisco Fire Department Museum. For the big kid in all of us that wanted to grow up to be a fire fighter, this museum takes the cake. Not only does it provide great historical references and artifacts but it is also really cool! I can think of no greater compliment to give a museum than that. This one, even your children will enjoy and beg to go back again and again.
Whether you are a big kid, a little kid, or just a kid at heart these activities are a great and inexpensive way to pass a day or two while on vacation. If you can't stand the thought of saving money or not spending it, I'm sure each of these places will be glad to accept donations or at the very least sell you something at the gift shop (if the place you are visiting has one). Regardless, I hope my suggestions have gotten your mental wheels turning and you are coming up with your own great ways to enjoy the day without spending a lot of green.