- The list below includes 431 free or cheap things to do in or near San Rafael, California, including 129 different types of inexpensive activities like Movie Theaters, National & State Parks, Parks and Swimming Pool.
- From China Camp State Park to China Camp, there are a variety of budget-friendly attractions in San Rafael and in nearby cities within 25 miles like San Francisco, Berkeley, South San Francisco and Richmond.
Collecting and preserving artifacts of the rich waterfront history of the area, the Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum is a must see. Exhibits cover the creation and discovery of the railroad and water transportation that made this town irreplaceable.
As an educational center, Bay Model Visitor Center features miniature models of the Golden Gate bridge, Suisun Bay, and other regional landmarks in a hydraulics pool facility. While touring the museum, visitors can learn about the area's delta system.
A movie theater with eight screens, Century Rowland Plaza displays first-run feature films using digital projection and RealD 3D. The theater offers mobile ticketing, arcade games and a snack bar with food and drinks.
The Richmond Plunge is an aquatics center that offers opening swimming sessions along with aquatic fitness programs. The center also offers swimming lessons, family and recreational swim sessions, and youth swimming programs.