What can you do with three spare days in San Francisco? In this guest post Parking Panda recommend a potpourri of cultural, natural and social attractions for a fantastic short break in SF!

Only have a weekend to spare to experience The City by the Bay? With world-class museums, historical sites, and festivals, it is no wonder that in 2012, more than 16 million people visited San Francisco. Ranging from free events to can’t-miss attractions, check out this activity-packed itinerary to help you experience the city in one short weekend!

Day 1 – Art and Culture

The Exploratorium offers a full range of activities for the whole family. From hands-on activities exploring everyday science to exciting exhibits on astronomy and space, the Exploratorium offers six main galleries each focused on an area of sense exploration. The museum even features a Tactile Dome where visitors can take an interactive walk through complete darkness using only the sense of touch. Demand is high for this exhibit so remember to arrive early!

The Asian Art Museum is home to the one of the most comprehensive collection of Asian art in the world. Free guided tours are available daily in the museum’s permanent collection area. There is approximately 18,000 works of art and artifacts, including the must-see exhibit on the oldest dated Buddha statue in Gallery 16. To celebrate the Year of the Horse, the Asian Art Museum will be featuring horse artworks from all major cultures of Asia in 2014.

For a contemporary art experience, head over to the San Francisco Art Exchange near Union Square. Known as the “Gallery of the Popular Image”, the SFAE holds events and exhibits on  culturally and historically significant imagery. The gallery is known for rock and roll art and rare photography prints of musicians, sports icons, and celebrities and features each exhibit in an intimate, knowledgeable light. Current exhibitions include historical and rare images of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Muhammad Ali.

Day 2 – The Bay

To explore the San Francisco’s vibrant Bay life culture, spend the day near the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood. As one of the top attractions in Fisherman’s Wharf as well as San Francisco, Pier 39 features sea lions lounging at the edge of the pier. Venture out to the edge of the boardwalk and take in the spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay. From west to east, visitors can view the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, Treasure Island, and the Bay Bridge. Don’t forget to curb hunger with a San Francisco classic, soup in sourdough bowl! Boudin Bakery & Cafe is the oldest continuously running business and is home to the most popular bread bowl and soup combinations.

During Major League Baseball season, you won’t want to miss out on attending a Giant’s game at the AT&T Park located in the historical SoMa neighborhood. With a gorgeous waterline background, you can take in the breathtaking view from the stadium.

Day 3 – Free Events in the City

Spending a day in San Francisco filled with excitement and discovery doesn’t have to break the bank. Plenty of free or discounted activities are available. The iconic San Francisco Cable Cars have a long story intertwined with the history of the city. Check out the engines, cable cars from the olden days, and historical artifacts and exhibits at the San Francisco Cable Car Museum located in the Nob Hill neighborhood.

Home to the biggest LGBT celebration in the world, San Francisco Pride is a world-renowned pride parade held in June of every year. This culturally significant parade has a unique theme each year and more than a million visitors gather each year to take in the celebration. This parade features over 200 parade contingents and even allows spectators to march behind the parade after the final float.

Named after the original name of San Francisco, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Gardens holds year-round exhibitions on contemporary art and ideas. In addition to year-round art exhibits, the Yerba Buena Gardens hosts the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival from May to October. Nearly 100 community events are held in the gardens including performance by international music groups, dancers, and art performers. Past events include Latin Jazz Fest, Maori Dancers, and Brazilian Percussion Celebration.  Each event is free for the public and picnics on the grass are encouraged.

With a full weekend of activities, you don’t want to be worried about parking. Parking Panda provide easy-to-book online parking reservations for San Francisco visitors. Check out San Francisco parking for some of the most popular venues and neighborhoods mentioned in the blog post and more!

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