Destination tips

Best free things to do in San Francisco

By May 9, 2013 November 6th, 2018 No Comments

Free time and little money in San Francisco means one thing: wander around Haight Asbury. Back in the 1960’s disenchanted college students started flooding to San Francisco to try to live a different life style. They had decided that the mainstream norms of American society did not fit them any more and that they wanted to create a sub culture that championed a different lifestyle. The heart of that lifestyle was in Haight Asbury. Still to this day there are reminders of that magical time in this wonderfully eclectic district as the book stores, the bohemian clothes shops, and the head shops are all still there. Combine these with access to many of the city’s best parks and with San Francisco famous Victorian architecture and you have the ever popular Haight-Asbury of 2013. Since the main aspect of being in Haight Asbury is soaking in the scene you won’t have to spend money, just hangout.

Haight Ashbury, San Francisco

Haight Ashbury Victorians

Haight Ashbury is also known for having great Victorian style architecture made of brick. Perhaps the best example of this is the Red Vic, a Bed and Breakfast – which is also part museum and part street side cafe. A quick wander up Ashbury Street will lead you to the Grateful Dead House (710 Ashbury) the residence where the infamous band lived communally with other varied Haight characters.

Parks in the Haight-Ashbury

Haight Asbury also has access to several fantastic parks. Buena Vista Park which has sweeping views over the Golden Gate Bridge and a warm sun drenched green in the summer. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s main park, starts in Haight Ashbury than stretches to the ocean. With a variety of things to see and do this park suits all temperaments and personalities. Check out “hippy hill” which is easily recognized by the beating drums and the aromatic smoke that clouds above it all day long. The options for free things to do in the park are extensive.

Shopping in Haight-Ashbury

Haight Ashbury is one of the busiest commercial areas in San Francisco and is famous for having many independent businesses that specialize in alternative products. Even if you are not going to spend money in them they certainly warrant a look through. There are vintage clothes shops like Aaardvark’s Odd Ark to look for great thrift bargains and gems. Music shops such as Amoeba Records (housed in a former bowling alley), Recycled Records, and Grove Merchants – the latter where DJs find their spins. The Haight is also filed with fantastic book stores like the legendary City Lights Book Store for you to stand where the beat nicks did and peruse through the great selection of alternative literature.

City Lights Book Store, San Francisco

Nightlife in the Haight-Ashbury

Perhaps roaring nightlife isn’t the strength of Haight Ashbury, but still there are a few cool bars and pubs to fall into as the sun goes down. Hobson’s Choice specializes in cocktails; Club Deluxe plays live swing and jazz music; Mad Dog in the Fog is the Haights British pub, and Noc Noc is an edgy artsy bar full of locals.  Maybe this last option will require your pockets to turn out a few extra bucks, but after a day of wandering around the height for free you probably will fancy a beer.

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