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Free things to do in San Francisco

A Hyde Street cable car is turned around near Fisherman's Wharf Ghirardelli Square San Francisco. | Eric Risberg~AP

A Hyde Street cable car is turned around near Fisherman's Wharf and Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. | Eric Risberg~AP

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Updated: June 2, 2012 5:56PM

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s no secret that you can drop a lot of cash seeing the sights of San Francisco. After all, this is the home of the Gold Rush.

But did you know that some of the finest things in the City by the Bay carry the budget-friendly price tag of free, gratis and no charge?

Here are some things that may make you leave your heart, but not your money, in San Francisco.

GOLDEN GATE PARK: Covering more than 1,000 acres, the Golden Gate Park is home to playgrounds, museums, flower gardens and more. On the western side of the park, check out the Dutch-style windmills near John F. Kennedy Drive. Visit www.golden .

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE: Parking is limited, so public transit is the recommended way to visit. Once you’re there, stroll along the eastern sidewalk and take in the beautiful views of San Francisco and the bay. Visit www.goldengate .

CABLE CAR TURNAROUND: Riding a cable car costs $5 one way, but watching the drivers turn the historic cars on the turntables at the end of each route is free and fun. A good viewing area is at the Aquatic Park end of the Powell-Hyde line. Visit

FISHERMAN’S WHARF: Yes, you can drop a lot of cash on all things kitsch at this popular tourist spot. But there are some free things to take in, too. You can look through the window of the Boudin Bakery at Pier 39 and watch bakers twisting sourdough bread into animal shapes. Watch California sea lions sitting, or rather, basking, on docks in the bay. Visit


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