In the land of dizzying real estate and $ 30 restaurant entrees, deals are hard to find. But thanks to the city’s expert on all things cheap, Johnny Hayes of the hugely popular site SFFunCheap.com, we’ve come up with a list of things to do that are free or cost $ 5 or less.

Johnny’s picks include a few free things you might be familiar with (for example, Friday nights at de Young) and plenty of offers you might not even have realized existed.

Did you know that Hamilton Pool has two waterslides and kids get in for $ 1?

And you can participate in a lottery to score reserved seats at the free Stern Grove Festival?

Johnny started attending cheap, free events in 2001 when he moved here from Los Angeles (he’s still a Dodger fan!) And didn’t realize the city was slipping into a recession. He couldn’t find a job and didn’t know a soul.


“The only friend who convinced me to move to SF moved only a few months after I arrived,” Johnny explained. “I was bored, I felt alone and broke and I was trying to find ways to fill my days.”

And so, he started looking for free things to do in town – like free concerts at Amoeba, pub quizzes, book readings, and openings – and started compiling a list and posting it on. a Yahoo group.

“And then people started posting their own events and helping me put together a list and it just grew from that!” he wrote in an email. “And one of the first friends I met when I moved to SF helped me with the very first registrations and we ended up dating and then I married her.”

He added, “She’s from the Bay Area so I’m here for life! So FunCheap has found my career call and my wife!”

Johnny’s Yahoo group was turned into a website as a side project in 2007, and running it is now his full-time job.



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