In the land of sky-high real estate and $30 restaurant entrées, deals are hard to find. But thanks to the city’s expert on all things cheap, Johnny Hayes of the wildly popular site SFFunCheap.com, we’ve tracked down a list of things to do that are free or cost $5 or less.
Johnny’s selections include a few free activities you probably know about (i.e., Friday Nights at the de Young), and many deals that you might not even have realized existed.
Did you know the Hamilton Pool has two water slides and kids get in for $1?
And you can enter a lottery to score reserved seating at the free Stern Grove Festival?
Johnny started tracking cheap and free events back in 2001 when he moved here from Los Angeles (he’s still a Dodger’s fan!) and didn’t realize the city was sinking into a recession. He was unable to find a job and didn’t know a soul.
“The one friend who convinced me to move to SF moved away just a few months after I came,” Johnny shared. “I was just bored, broke and lonely and was trying to find ways to fill my days.”
And so, he started looking for free things to do around the city — such as free concerts at Amoeba, pub quizzes, book readings and art openings — and began compiling a list and posting it to a Yahoo group.
“And then people started posting their own events and helping me compile a list and it just grew from that!” he wrote in an email. “And one early friend I met when I moved to SF helped me with the very early early listings and we ended up dating and then I married her.”
He added: “She’s a bay area native so I’m here for life! So FunCheap found me my career calling as well as finding me 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.