5 FREE Museums You Can't Miss in San Francisco 

Pacific Tradewinds

5 FREE Museums You Can't Miss in San Francisco 

As budget-friendly backpackers ourselves, we get it. You don’t want to have to break the bank to enjoy the cities you’re traveling to, especially the more expensive ones like San Francisco. But don’t let that stop you from making your SF fantasies come true! 

There are plenty of free things that every city offers, you just have to do a little digging around. We took it upon ourselves to find unique museums in our own backyard that offer free admission. Below are our top 5 favorite museums that are free EVERY SINGLE DAY!


Free admission: Wednesday - Saturday

Hours: 12:00 - 18:00 

Location: 1011 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-1605

Calling all photography lovers! SF Camerawork is an easy 20 minute walk from Pacific Tradewinds Hostel. This museum is more like a gallery, with rotating exhibitions from photographers and artists. It has previously shown the work of the legendary Sally Mann, Larry Clark and many more! 


Free admission: Every day

Hours: 10:00 - 18:00

Location: 1201 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94108

San Francisco takes great pride in our famous cable cars. Passengers can take them to see the iconic Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and several other places! If you’ve taken a liking to the cable cars, checking out the museum might be worth your while. The museum is filled with everything you need to know about the cable cars, including three antique cars from the 1870’s! 

Open every day except on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Free admission: 12:30 - 18:30 

Free tour: Every 3rd Sunday of the month 72 hour notice necessary 

Hours: Every day

Location: 1620 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

San Francisco is a place where people feel safe to express themselves freely and in a sex positive way, so it’s no surprise that we have our very own vibrator museum! This museum is located in the Good Vibrations shop on Polk Street, so you have the freedom to browse the shop before or after the museum. Want to know more about the history of vibrators and why they really were created? Free tours are available on the 3rd Sunday of every month with sextologist Dr. Carol Queen. 

Call ahead to make sure that they are not closed for private party, special events, etc.


Free admission: Every day

Hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:00 - 19:00; Saturday - Sunday 11:00 - 18:00

Location: 326 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

It’s not as weird as you think! Or maybe it is... we’ll leave that up to you. However, these aren’t your everyday toilet seats.These toilet seats feature original artwork by comics and artists from all over the world. This museum is nestled inside Isotope Comic Book Lounge in Hayes Valley, so if you’re a comic book fanatic, this is a must see in San Francisco!


Free admission: Everyday 

Hours: 10:00 - 20:00

Location: Pier 45, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133

Ooo, this is a good one. This museum has a lot going on, as it is filled with coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade artifacts. It’s a huge bonus that all the antique games that you see here are still in working condition and are available for you to play! And yes, it is the arcade featured in the movie "The Princess Diaries"! The owner of the museum has been collecting since he was 11 years old after winning a game of BINGO. This little gem is open 365 days a year! 

Check out our calendar for more free attractions and events around San Francisco! 


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