Fun, Free, Cheap: What to Do in San Francisco This Week

By Johnny Funcheap

Exam Specialr

“Hearts in San Francisco” sculptures at the Ferry Building

What costs 400 pounds, takes up to six weeks to create, and helps raise vital funds to support health care in San Francisco? It’s “Hearts in SF,” those huge, 6-foot-wide, artist-designed heart sculptures that are part of a benefit for San Francisco General Hospital. For the first time, all 20 hearts (four large, six tabletop and 10 miniature) are on display in one place in and around the Ferry Building until the end of the month. After February 28, all hearts sold at auction will separate, with only a few large hearts making a final appearance in Union Square until October. On view through February 28, Ferry Building Marketplace, One Ferry Building, SF, free.

A gathering of pickle balls at The Crossing at East Cut. (Courtesy of The Crossing)

Valentine’s Day Outdoor Festival at The Crossing

An entire 3+ acre block of SOMA that served as the site of the temporary Transbay Terminal from 2010 to 2018 has turned into a community pop-up, “The Crossing”. The site will be open for approximately two years until construction of affordable, market-priced housing begins. So let’s have fun at the two new soccer fields, pickleball courts, a beer garden, and a bunch of fun free events like “A Jazzy Valentine’s All-Ages Happy Hour.” Enter for free cookies, a Valentine’s Day card decoration, a five-piece swing band, free hot chocolate, and a free flower and chocolate truffle for the first 100 guests who RSVP on Eventbrite. Monday, Feb. 14, 4-6 p.m., The Crossing at East Cut, 250 Main St., SF, free.

(Courtesy of Nerd Night SF)

(Courtesy of Nerd Night SF)

‘Nerd Nite’ is back

It’s your brain on the beer. Learning is so much more fun when you drink with friends. That’s the premise behind “Nerd Nite,” an informal TED-style conference event in over 100 cities in bars, pubs, and music venues. Three experts give 20-minute talks on fun and fascinating topics often mixed with DJs, trivia, and a fair amount of swearing. After a four-month COVID/holiday hiatus, Nerd Nite is bringing the geeks back for their return to San Francisco. This month, you can learn about SF’s only public glassmaking studio, find out how scientists study social harm and ecological change, and champion the progress of multiracial Google employees, all while drinking. Wednesday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m., Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., SF, $10 adv, $15 door.

(Courtesy of Chinese New Year Festival and Parade)

(Courtesy of Chinese New Year Festival and Parade)

Chinese New Year Parade, Fireworks and Street Fair

Let’s try again! SF’s Chinese New Year Parade, the biggest celebration of its kind outside of Asia, is finally back and with some fun new changes for 2022. After spending the day exploring Chinatown during the Community Street Fair, find a cozy place along Kearny to get a view of all the magnificent floats (although fewer than in previous years), colorful costumes and the 288ft tall golden dragon that requires a crew of over 180 to carry it . Among the new additions to this year’s parade is the first-ever Star Wars contingent endorsed by Lucasfilm. It’s all topped off with a short fireworks display from Union Square. Parade: Saturday, February 19, 5:15-8 p.m., Market & Second to Kearny & Jackson, SF Street Fair: Saturday, February 19, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sunday, February 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Grant Ave. from California to Broadway, Washington, Jackson & Pacific between Stockton and Kearny, SF Free.



SF Beer Week 2022

Want to just focus on beer without all the Nerd Nite learning? It’s time for SF Beer Week. There are over 250 events as part of the 10-day festival, some of which cost $95 to attend. But we’ve scoured the calendar to find a dozen of the best cheap and free activities: buy a pint and get a free pinball party at Outer Orbit (February 16-17), drag queen karaoke at Laughing Monk (February 18), a cleanup of the beach “Beers for the Sunset” with Seven Stills (February 20) and the last day of the festival, full installments of $ 5 at Old Devil Moon or whatever remains until the taps of the week of the beer dry up (February 20) . Feb 11-20, multiple locations, SF, lots of free events, but prices vary.

Visit for a handpicked list of fun, free, and cheap things to do in San Francisco.

About Laurence Johnson

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