San Francisco Museums: How to Have Cheap Fun in SF

(Last Updated On: January 4, 2019)

If you’re looking for cheap fun in SF, museums are the way to go. No matter what you want to learn about or what you’re doing in the city, there are museums you can enjoy. Many of the museums are free while many others offer free days.

Cheap fun in SF: museums that are always free.

The Autodesk Gallery is a museum that features computer-related exhibits. It is a cheap and fun museum in SF because it is free all the time.

The Cable Car Museum focuses on one of the most iconic things in all of San Francisco: the cable cars! You can learn more about the cable cars and where they got their start when you visit the museum. You can also learn all about how the cable cars play a huge role in today’s commuter world.

The Chinese Historical Society of America offers free admission on some exhibits you can visit while you’re in San Francisco. The exhibits offer you a glimpse of the Chinese history in the United States and how it had an impact on society.

The Japanese Tea Garden is unique in that it offers visitors a chance to learn more about Japanese culture and other things in SF. You can visit the tea garden and explore local plants and even other free opportunities.

The Musee Mechanique is a museum and arcade in one. When you visit the museum, you can learn about all the different machines that are there. From vintage and nostalgic to new and modern, the arcade games are sure to give you an idea of how arcades have improved.

The SF Fire Department Historical Society allows you to learn more about the impact the fire department has had on San Francisco. You can learn about how important the fire department is and how it has changed over the years.

Find more free fun in San Francisco.

The Streetcar Museum gives visitors a look at the streetcars in SF and the things the streetcars do. The museum features permanent exhibits visitors can enjoy when they’re looking for something cheap to do in the city!

The San Francisco Maritime Park is located close to other attractions and allows you to enjoy the sights that SF has to offer. The park is open year-round and is free for all visitors!

The SFO Museum gives visitors a glimpse of the airport. You can visit without having to take a flight into or out of the airport but it’s also a great place to enjoy when you’re waiting for a flight!

The Wells Fargo History Museum is a free museum in SF. You can check out the wild-west history of San Francisco. The museum transports visitors back to the gold rush days and allows you to see how the city has grown since then.

While the San Francisco MOMA will cost parents to get in, it’s free for kids under 18. Even with adult admission, it’s a cheap way to visit the city!

Get into these museums for free on Tuesday.

The Cartoon Art Museum allows free admission on the first Tuesday of each month. The museum has exhibits that are related to cartoon art and other things visitors can enjoy looking at.

The Conservatory of Flowers is free on the first Tuesday of each month. You can learn more about the flowers that are on display and also learn about the way the flowers have an impact on the local environment.

The de Young Museum gives visitors a chance to enjoy different art exhibits. The exhibits change on a regular basis so make sure you visit often. The museum is free on the first Tuesday of each month, but it is one of the SF museums that is typically cheap.

The Museum of Craft and Design’s free Tuesday admission allows you to learn more about crafting and design in San Francisco. You can learn about how it has had an impact on the community.

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts offers different exhibits and even shows on different days. They have special events you can attend for free, but they’re always free on the first Tuesday each month.

The San Francisco Botanical Garden offers free tours on the second Tuesday of every month. The garden gives visitors a chance to explore different flowers and plant life that can be seen in and around San Francisco.

Need cheap fun in SF on Wednesday? Check these museums out.

The California Academy of Sciences gives access to their museum for free on the third Wednesday each month. You can learn about science and other STEM-related information while you’re there.

The GLBT Historical Society shows the cultural impact of the large GLBT population in San Francisco. It also gives you a chance to see how far the GLBT people have come as far as rights and other things through the exhibits. You can visit for free on the first Wednesday!

Get to the San Francisco Zoo early on the first Wednesday of the month! The zoo fills up quick since it’s free admission and all visitors want to see the exciting animals from around the world.

Explore these museums for free on weekends.

The Asian Art Museum has free admission on the first Sunday of the month. You can learn more about Asian art and the Asian impact on San Francisco while visiting the museum. The museum also features artwork from Asian artists around the world.

The Children’s Creativity Museum is free on the first weekend of the month. They also offer other free times throughout the year for your kids to enjoy. The museum is a hands-on museum and exploration center.

The Exploratorium is another hands-on museum for children. Five Sundays out of the year, the museum offers free admission for all. You can visit their site and sign up for notifications to get advanced notice of their next free Sunday!

Got a CityPASS? Get in for free!

Using your CityPASS, you can get into these museums for free. Some might have restrictions during special events and certain times of the year. You simply need to show your CityPASS to get in for free!

The California Academy of Sciences

Adventure Exploratorium

De Young Museum

Aquarium of the Bay

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Use your Smart Destination pass to get into these museums for free.

The Smart Destination pass can get you into places throughout the city for free. Check out these museums that are included with the pass:

  • The California Academy of Sciences
  • SFMOMA
  • Exploratorium
  • Legion of Honor
  • The Asian Art Museum

You can get in to these cheap fun museums in SF with the SanfrancisGO pass.

Using your SanfrancisGO pass, you can get into museums and exhibits around the city. Each of the museums have different things to offer and have different times reserved specifically for pass holders. Simply show your pass to get into these museums for free:

The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Aquarium of the Bay

Are you a Bank of America cardholder? Get into these museums for free!

Bank of America cardholders can get cheap fun in SF by getting into these museums for free! You can enjoy the different things the museums have to offer any time of the year. Call ahead to learn about any restrictions on museum availability. You must show your BoA card to get in to any of the following museums:

Museum of the African Diaspora

Legion of Honor

Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Chabot Space and Science Center

Military members and their families get into these museums for free in the summer!

These museums are blue star museums. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, military members and their families can get into them for free. Just show your military ID at the door!

Discovery Museum

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Cantor Arts Center

Children’s Creativity Museum

CuriOdyssey

de Young and Legion of Honor

Filoli

Lawrence Hall of Scienc

Museum of Craft and Design

Oakland Museum of California

Walt Disney Family Museum

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Here are some more free things in California!

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