How to See San Francisco on $50 a Day - Page 2

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Lombard Street at night in San Francisco, California
Lombard Street at night in San Francisco, California  (iStockphoto)

Feast at food trucks and farmers’ markets
In a city known for its fine dining, you can also bet on finding some killer food trucks, offering tantalizing fare at wallet-friendly prices. To dine in San Francisco on the cheap, follow the Twitter feeds of the hottest trucks to find their daily location: Try the Crème Brûlée Cart (@cremebruleecart) and Chairman Bao (@chairmantruck). Or aim for one of Off the Grid’s “roaming mobile food extravaganzas”, with gourmet vendors, plus music and crafts in set locations, like Fifth and Minna streets on Friday evenings. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday the city’s vibrant farmers’ market surrounds the Ferry Building Marketplace. All week long inside the building is a beautiful indoor market with stalls selling just-baked sourdough, artisanal cheeses, and even cabernet gelato. Total cost: $5 to $15.

Take a walk in a park
As if San Francisco’s bridges and buildings weren’t beautiful enough, the city also has incredible swaths of green for strolling and exploring. Start in Golden Gate Park, the city’s 1,000-acre gem designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. (Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He did New York City’s Central Park.) The city also has its own national parkland: The Presidio. Once a military base, The Presidio now has roughly two square miles of forests, paths, and historic buildings near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Make a beeline to Crissy Field waterfront, with a spectacular meadow, beach, and bay-hugging walking path to Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge. Since you’re here, you might as well walk across the Bridge to the lookout points on the far side of the bay in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Total cost: $0.

Listen to street musicians and free concerts
Artists and musicians have long flocked to the City by the Bay, and it’s not uncommon to find high-quality street musicians and bands strumming and singing for a few tossed coins. Try Ghirardelli Square (musicians are regularly booked here) and the Valencia Street corridor in the Mission District. The annual free-to-all Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival has headliners filling stages throughout Golden Gate Park in October. On the other end of the musical spectrum, the Stern Grove Festival presents ballet, symphony, and opera performances for free June through August. Total cost: $0.

Take advantage of museum free days
If you happen to be in town the first week of the month, you’re in luck: Many of the city’s outstanding museums are open for free during this week. On Sunday, see stunning jade and porcelain at the Asian Art Museum. On Tuesday, head to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for contemporary works or the de Young for classic masterpieces. Total cost: $0.

Consider a CityPass
The cost of this pass includes rides on city buses, trolleys, and cable cars, a Blue & Gold Bay Cruise, plus admission to top attractions, including the Exploratorium, SFMOMA, and the California Academy of Sciences. It all adds up to huge savings compared to the cost of each individually. Total cost: $69 adult, $39 child (valid for nine consecutive days).

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