For some unknown reason, sea lions began gathering at Pier 39 after the 1989 earthquake, and they never left. It’s not a day-long activity, but if you've got an hour to spare, head down there, tell your date you speak sea lion, and then bark obnoxiously until someone finds it funny.
Russian Hill (& other neighborhoods)
Why should viewing good art cost you anything? Conduct your own urban art crawl and check out the Diego Rivera murals around town. Fun fact: these were the first murals painted by the artist outside of Mexico. You’ll find them at the Pacific Stock Exchange, the SF Art Institute on Chestnut St, and the SF City College Diego Rivera Theater. While you’re at it, check out Clarion Alley, the Precita Eyes Murals, and the Rincon Center Murals.
Listen to free live music
All over the city
There are plenty of places to listen to all sorts of free jams in the city. You can find an afternoon bluegrass session at The Lucky Horseshoe in Bernal Heights (you can also bring your banjo and join in), eclectic tunes at Club Deluxe, Original Famous Twang Sundays at Thee Parkside, Balkan Evening Dance at Revolution Cafe, or live blues at The Saloon (it’s also one of the city’s oldest bars). Pro tip: do not do your hilarious sea lion impression at any of these places.
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Eloise Porter is a Thrillist contributor and is currently taking Valentine applications. Follow her on Twitter @eloisepporter and send yours her way.