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


By Johnny Funcheap

Special for examiner

81st Annual SF Mother’s Day Rose Show

Want to give your mom one of the most glorious roses in town on the cheap? Plan an afternoon at Golden Gate Park’s Hall of Flowers for the return of the San Francisco Rose Society’s first in-person Mother’s Day Rose Show in three years. Discover a fine collection of hybrid teas, grandifloras and climbing roses from gardens across the city as they compete to win the queen of the show (and other prizes like biggest rose, smallest rose and the “blackest red rose”). And if you wait patiently until 4 p.m., you can give your mom one of these award-winning flowers. Most of the roses and bouquets in competition are offered at the end of the day in exchange for a small donation. Sunday, 12:30 p.m.-4 p.m., Hall of Flowers, 9th and Irving, Golden Gate Park, SF, free. sfrosesociety.org

(Courtesy of Exploratorium)

Mother’s Day Community Day at the Exploratorium

The Exploratorium had several “pay what you want” days each year, but these started to become rare even before the pandemic. This Sunday, the tradition of Community Day returns for the first time since May 2019 in honor of Mother’s Day/Día de las Madres. Many free bilingual activities entice you to spend the whole day at the museum, including folk dances and a mariachi concert singing the Mothers’ Serenade. Enjoy Mexican hot chocolate tastings, see how corn tortillas are made, or learn how to make colorful paper flowers for a free Mother’s Day gift. Arrive early as entry is subject to capacity. Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Pier 15, Embarcadero at Green St., SF, Pay What You Want. exploratorium.edu

(Courtesy of The Chase Center)

(Courtesy of The Chase Center)

Watch Golden State Warriors playoff parties

Dub Nation descends on Thrive City for the biggest and loudest game watch party in the bay. During each road playoff game, the Warriors open up the West Plaza in front of the Chase Center and fill it with grass games, an athletic field and a few thousand golden-blooded fans for an experience almost as electric as if you were inside the arena. Cheer on the Warriors on the massive 42-foot outdoor screen or get pumped by the dunk crew and DJs who often help amp up the crowd during breaks. RSVP if you wish, but entry to this incredibly popular event is first-come, first-served. Every Warrior road playoff game. Next game, Wednesday, 5 p.m., Thrive City West Plaza at Chase Center, 1 Warriors Way, SF, free, subject to capacity. chasecenter.com

(Courtesy of Jeffrey Eisen)

(Courtesy of Jeffrey Eisen)

Bluegrass picking picnic

Lay down on a blanket and enjoy a great day of music in the park that sounds like a tiny little version of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Local guitar/mandolin duo Jeanie and Chuck round up some of their favorite bluegrass, country and folk artists for yet another version of this five-hour impromptu jam gig at Dahlia Dell Garden, just east of the Conservatory of Flowers. It’s BYOE (Bring your own everything – including acoustic instruments if you want to participate). There are no signs pointing to the location, so if you’re having trouble finding things, just head to JFK Drive and keep your ears peeled for the faint sound of banjos and fiddles. Saturday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Dahlia Dell Grove, Golden Gate Park, SF, free. countryroundupsf.com

(Courtesy of the Conservatory of Flowers)

(Courtesy of the Conservatory of Flowers)

Free Japanese Flower Conservatory and Tea Garden for SF Residents

In case you missed the late April news, two of Golden Gate Park’s finest gardens are now free to all San Francisco residents. (Unfortunately, non-residents saw their price jump to $13.) The Conservatory of Flowers, built in 1879, is the oldest building in the park. Explore the five galleries of the massive greenhouse filled with nearly 2,000 plant species. Or stroll past the pagodas, koi ponds, stone lanterns and arched drum bridges of the Japanese Tea Garden, originally established in 1894 and now the oldest Japanese public garden in the United States . Open daily, variable hours. Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr., Japanese Tea Garden, 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., Golden Gate Park, SF, free for San Francisco residents with ID. conservatoiredesfleurs.org

To visit Funcheap.com for a handpicked list of fun, free, and cheap things to do in San Francisco.