- The list below includes 706 free or cheap things to do in or near San Mateo, California, including 127 different types of inexpensive activities like Parks, Gardens, Hiking Trails and Running/Jogging.
- From The San Mateo Japanese Garden to Sawyer Camp Trail, there are a variety of budget-friendly attractions in San Mateo and in nearby cities within 25 miles like San Francisco, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Berkeley.
Located in the scenic countryside, Hensley Ranch is an equestrian facility that provides a number of services for horses and their owners to enjoy. Training, riding lessons, and horse boarding are among the many services provided at the ranch.
Sonoma Train Town is 4 miles of railroad track reduced to quarter scale. Besides the miniature train ride, there are other attractions such as carousal and airplane rides. Parking and entry is free. Inside, refreshments and restrooms are available too.
Gardeners and horticulture enthusiasts love to visit the Petaluma Seed Bank, one of the largest and most important botanical supply stores on the West Coast. It features thousands of heirloom seed varieties, gardening supplies, accessories and books.
At The Phoenix Theatre, guests can see a variety of musical acts on both major and independent labels. Their stairway and bathrooms are covered with graffiti art. Visitors can watch bands from the main floor or go upstairs.
Individuals interested in athletic activities can access a skate park, baseball and softball fields, and a Sports Center at this location. The Allan Witt Park also contains an aquatics complex that offers swimming lessons.
A short drive from San Francisco, the Military Antiques & Museum contains many treasures. The museum offers free admission with exhibits that include uniforms, old grenades and other weapons. There is also an antique shop where memorabilia can be purchased.
A park with separate playgrounds for children of different ages, Joseph Ceciliani Park also features tennis courts and picnic tables. Willow trees cover the area and a paved trail runs along a creek through the park.
The beautiful Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park is home to one of the largest historical adobe structures in California. Formerly a working ranch funded by the Mexican government, today the park is a popular destination for tourists and local history buffs.