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San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley

Looking for 2-3 cheap, and fun activities in the SF area

I'm taking my girlfriend to SF this weekend, and i'm looking for some fun things to do (outside of food). Looking for things that are like an hour in length, meaning nothing that takes all day. I'm all about doing a lot of little things, ya know? We'll be there this Thursday,Friday, and Saturday morning. 

16 Answers

top answer by
Krista from San Francisco

Hey Matt,

Lucky you - there are a ton of awesome, inexpensive things to do in San Francisco! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Explore the Ferry Building. It's by the bay, so you can enjoy fresh air and a sea breeze in between strolling through local shops and eateries.
  • Have a picnic at the Palace of Fine Arts. The views are stunning and it's a great way to spend a day!
  • Take a boat on the Bay. At $15 each, you'll find these tiny boats next to Joe's Crab Shack Fishermans Wharf by Pier 39. The hour tour will take you around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge - a super cool experience for locals and visitors!

Hope this helps and you enjoy your trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ferry Building (attraction)
  2. Palace of Fine Arts (attraction)
  3. Joe's Crab Shack Fishermans Wharf (restaurant)
  4. Alcatraz (attraction)
  5. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
8 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Debbie from San Francisco

Man, most of my favorite things in San Francisco involve food, but I'll try!

I'm a very walk-happy person (free and fun!), so I really enjoy walking in these places in San Francisco and stopping in random restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, and scenic views along the way:

In Oakland, I enjoy wandering around Old Oakland during around brunch time and perusing for food.  Then I stop by the Blue Bottle Coffee Co there and take a stroll to Jack London Square.  You can rent canoes and SUP-equipment out there, too, and paddle around the estuary and see the cranes structures that were purported to have inspired George Lucas in the creation of the AT-AT walkers.

Another cool neighborhood is Uptown.  Tons of cool bars and art galleries around there.

There's also Lake Merritt, which you can walk or run around (it's a perfect 5k around), or take a romantic gondola ride in.

In Berkeley, upper Solano Ave is full of shops and you can also walk in the city of Albany which is lower Solano Ave (the whole street's like, just a mile long).  It's super cute there.  Another good street is Shattuck Ave where downtown Berkeley is, and Telegraph Ave, which is like Berkeley's Haight-Ashbury, is cool, too.

College Ave in the Elmwood District is also really nice.  My favorite ice cream shop ever -- Ici Ice Cream -- is there!  Tons of little shops and restaurants.

Hope you have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Justin Herman Plaza (attraction)
  2. Cupid's Span (attraction)
  3. Fisherman's Wharf (attraction)
  4. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (attraction)
  5. Bernal Heights Park (attraction)
  6. Crissy Field (attraction)
  7. Haight-Ashbury (attraction)
  8. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  9. Old Oakland (attraction)
  10. Blue Bottle Coffee Co (restaurant)
  11. Jack London Square (attraction)
  12. Uptown (attraction)
  13. Lake Merritt (attraction)
  14. Solano Ave (attraction)
  15. Shattuck Ave (attraction)
  16. Telegraph Ave (attraction)
  17. College Ave (attraction)
  18. Ici Ice Cream (attraction)
6 thanks

answered first by
Scott from Bakersfield

I enjoyed a day in San Francisco as part of a cruise this past May.  While docked there I took a tour to the Muir Woods National Monument.  Not sure how expensive it is but it was well worth it if you are a nature lover.  I also visited Pier 39 and the San Francisco Bay Aquarium there.  It was worth the $18 admission.  I have toured Alcatraz in the past which was fun.  From the Pier 39 area you can hop a boat to Sausalitowhich is fun to walk around and do some window shopping and eating.  Enjoy your trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Francisco (city)
  2. Muir Woods National Monument (attraction)
  3. Sausalito (city)
5 thanks

answered by
Matt from Los Angeles

Hey guys, just want to thanks for all the great recommendations! 

We had a great time and ended up doing a bunch of fun stuff (mainly eating up a storm). Some highlights were... 

  1. Twin peaks - such a great view 
  2. Dolores park - definitely went to Bi-rite before! 
  3. Climbing the filbert steps and going to the top of Coit tower, (thanks Jonathan!) 

Trippy for the win!! 

3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Karen from San Francisco

1. Rent bikes and ride around Golden Gate Park

2. Explore the Haight (upper and lower) on foot.  Lots of street art, small shops, etc.  Great architecture too

3. On a clear day, head to the top of Twin Peaks for a great view.  The hike up there is fun too!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  2. Twin Peaks (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Andy from San Francisco

There have been plenty of suggestions of the regular things to see and do in SF so I won't bother repeating them. Instead, I'll give you a list of events that are happening in SF while you're here. And lucky for you there are some great and cheap events this weekend!


Thursday night there is a game night at Folsom Street Foundry starting at 6pm. You can play a variety of games including ping pong, board games, and video games. It's a bar so you can also have a drink if you like. Check out a video of the event here

I would be there except I'm going to a Con Bro Chill concert. 

If you're going to be by Folsom street, then I recommend going to Cat Club or Raven Bar. Both are cool bars with good music that'll get you dancing. 

If game night isn't your thing, then you can check out Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences. Every Thursday evening they open up the museum at night to adults so you can check out the exhibits, have a glass of wine, and enjoy some live music. It's the best way to see the museum in my opinion. 

If you're more into comedy, then check out "Rock and roll comedy jam" at Milk Bar. When you're done with that you can walk down Haight street and check out any of the fun bars/clubs in that area. 


If you're into a bit more culture, you can check out a free Taiko drumming and Japanese music show at Hotel Nikko San Francisco between 5-7pm. When that's done, you can walk over to...

The Nerd nite block party! It's a bunch of events all happening within a 3 block radius. Folsom Street Foundry is hosting another game night on Friday so you can just go there and check out the other events as well. Nerd nite block party is part of the science festival happening this weekend. 

You can also take free circus classes at Circus Center
starting at 7pm. I just went last night and learned how to juggle rings, play with a diablo yo-yo, walk on a big ball, and walk on a tightrope. You should register beforehand but walking in is fine too. 


Since you only have the morning, I suggest having brunch SoMa StrEat Food Park. Sample food from some of the best food trucks in the city before you leave. 

It's too bad you're not around for Saturday night, because there's a pretty good fireworks show at Pier 39 at 8:30pm.

If you want more stuff to do during the day, check out my blog posts about walking tours in the city. 

Walking tour of the Mission and Castro

Street art & dessert tour of the Mission

And you can follow my blog for future posts. 

Have an awesome weekend!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Folsom Street Foundry (restaurant)
  2. Cat Club (attraction)
  3. Raven Bar (attraction)
  4. California Academy of Sciences (attraction)
  5. Milk Bar (restaurant)
  6. Hotel Nikko San Francisco (hotel)
  7. Circus Center (attraction)
  8. SoMa StrEat Food Park (restaurant)
  9. Pier 39 (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Michele from Yuba City

Take a Cable Car ride Powell St

Have a sunset cocktail Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Top of the Mark

Eat dinner Scoma's Restaurant

Visit San Francisco Chinatown

Visit North Beach for a good Italian dinner The Stinking Rose

WalkGolden Gate Bridge

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Powell St (attraction)
  2. Intercontinental Mark Hopkins (hotel)
  3. Scoma's Restaurant (restaurant)
  4. San Francisco Chinatown (attraction)
  5. North Beach (neighborhood)
  6. The Stinking Rose (restaurant)
  7. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by

I took a return trip from SF Ferry Building to Angel Island for 6 dollar 25. Great views over the bay. Trip to Angel Island lasts about 20 minutes. For 0 dollars, head up to Coit Tower, take drinks and munchies and see the sun set. Cheers and have fun.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ferry Building (attraction)
  2. Angel Island (attraction)
  3. Coit Tower (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Amy from Florida

Ah, excellent place to bring your girlfriend! It has plenty of romantic destinations.

My recommendations
1) Start at the Ferry Building. Walk around and maybe grab some of the delicious food! (I highly recommend grilled cheese sandwiches from Cowgirl Creamery.)
2) Walk outside and take the ferry to Sausalito. It's super romantic, has great scenery, and was named the second best ferry ride in the world. Plus, it's way cheaper than taking a chartered boat out onto the Bay.
3) Rent a bike and ride around Sausalito, or take the ferry right back to SF. (Seriously, to me, the ride itself is worth it).
4) Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's so beautiful!
5) Take a stroll around Golden Gate Park; LOTS to see there. The Japanese Gardens are pretty.
6) At the end of the day, head to the top of Twin Peaks to watch the sunset. 
7) Once night has fallen, head to the Palace of Fine Arts, which I think is most romantic when viewed at night. :)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ferry Building (attraction)
  2. Cowgirl Creamery (attraction)
  3. Sausalito (city)
  4. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  5. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  6. Twin Peaks (attraction)
  7. Palace of Fine Arts (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Eric from Rocklin

It may sound touristy but the Alcatraz cruise and tour is well worth it.  Also a short hike at the Lands End trail gives great views.  The De Young Museum is a great place to visit as well.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Alcatraz (attraction)
  2. Lands End (attraction)
  3. De Young Museum (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Take the bus to the Golden Gate Bridge, then walk across the bridge (but dress warmly!);  take the ferry to Angel Island (take a lunch), lots of hiking there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)
  2. Angel Island (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Jonathan from Los Angeles

A walk unto the Coit Tower but more specifically the Filbert Steps

Dolores Park if its a nice day is a great spot to relax and has amazing views of the city -

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Coit Tower (attraction)
  2. Filbert Steps (attraction)
  3. Dolores Park (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by

A fun but cheap thing to do in the bay is spend a day at Golden Gate Fields! You can go on a dollar day where parking, entry, hot dogs & beer & soda are only $1! You can find out more here:


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Fields (attraction)

answered by
Pooja from Bangalore

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. House of Air (attraction)
  2. Presidio (neighborhood)

answered by
Madison from San Francisco

This site is pretty cool for what's coming up in SF

answered by
jane from North America

Golden Gate Park. Walking Lombard Street and walking through Golden Gate Bridge. Zero money needed.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Golden Gate Park (attraction)
  2. Lombard Street (attraction)
  3. Golden Gate Bridge (attraction)

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