San Francisco is an expensive place to visit. Here are 10 things to do to keep you within your budget.
1. Botanic Gardens, 1199 9th Ave.
Visit this gorgeous 55-acre landscaped oasis in the city, featuring over 8,000 colorful plants and flowers from all over the world. Take the opportunity to see the Magnolia Collection and Redwood Gardens. Check out their featured events like the Garden Feast. Botanic Gardens
2. Coit Tower, 1 Telegraph Hill Blvd.
The Lillian Coit Memorial Tower is a 210-foot architectural beacon. Named after the wealthy eccentric and patron of the city’s firefighters, visiting the tower is one of the least expensive things to do in San Francisco. The observation deck is an excellent place to take in the views of the bay and city. You can also enjoy the interesting Diego Rivera-inspired murals that line the interior, depicting scenes of local life from the 1930s. Coit Tower
3. Haas-Lilienthal House, 2007 Franklin St.
You’ll see plenty of gorgeous Victorian homes in San Francisco. Hass-Lilienthal House has been turned into SF’s only Victorian house museum. The Queen Anne-style mansion was built in 1886 by Jewish immigrants. This well-preserved home features classic architectural and amazing woodwork. This Landmark is only one of 34 National Treasures in Americal recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Haas-Lilienthal House
4. Japanese Tea Garden, 75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
$9 (Free MWF if you go before 10a)
You’ll be greeted by an ornate wooden entrance gate leading to the five-story pagoda. Stroll around the 5-acre garden, across the high arching drum bridge, past stone lanterns and tranquil koi ponds to the zen rock garden. This peaceful, immaculately landscaped garden will have you feeling relaxed and recharged. Cherry blossom trees bloom throughout the garden in the spring. Japanese Tea Garden
5. Chinatown tea tasting, 509 Grant Ave.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest and largest Chinatown in North America. The neighborhood has a rich history and is steeped in Chinese culture. Vist Vital Tea Leaf! With over 400 teas to choose from, you are sure to find something you will enjoy. You will be given one most comprehensive tastings and demonstrations you will ever experience. This is tea education at its finest. Vital Tea Leaf
6. Lombard Street, Russian Hill Neighborhood
Don’t miss this famous Francisco landmark. Touted as the “crookedest” Street in the world, Lombard Street has made appearances in films such as What’s up Doc? and The Love Bug. Cars can wind back and forth down the hairpin turns eight times in just a one-block as they descend from Hyde to Leavenworth. From the top, you have a terrific photo opportunity to photo Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay. From the bottom, you can snap that quintessential picture of the winding red-brick road.
7. Thanh Long, 4101 Judah St
Chow down on garlic noodles. The hidden gem, Thanh Long is well known for their garlic noodles. When it first opened, it was said to be San Francisco’s first Vietnamese restaurant. Regular patrons included Danny Glover and Harrison Ford before reaching their star status. Customers enjoy Thanh Long’s signature dishes like Roasted Crab and Garlic Noodles with Tiger Prawns. If you are on a budget, the garlic noodles are well worth the $9. Thanh Long
8. Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Filmore St. (at Fell)
Roll out old school. The Church of 8 Wheels will be nothing like you have ever experienced. It’s a 120-year-old former Catholic church gone disco. The building is just a stone’s throw from San Francisco’s famous Painted Lady rowhouses at Alamo Square. Old pews have been pushed against the walls of the expansive space. Lights bounce off a disco ball and onto the ceiling murals. If you haven’t been roller skating since your youth, this is the perfect place to slip on some skates and bring it all back. Roller skating and inline skating are both welcome. You can even learn line dance techniques. Church of 8 Wheels
9. Good Luck Dim Sum, 736 Clement St.
If you love Dim Sum, put Good Luck Dim Sum on your list. This little place is a San Francisco secret favorite. You can get delicious egg rolls, shrimp dumplings, pot stickers, and vegetable pork buns. Many of their pieces are 3/$2! Good Luck Dim Sum
10. Take a yoga class at Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St
This private mansion was turned into an Episcopalian cathedral. Under the hand of the church, it has become an architectural extravaganza. The façade was modeled on Notre Dame. Features include a lovely rose window, a spectacular organ, and gilded bronze portals made from casts of the Doors of Paradise in Florence’s Baptistery. Grace Cathedral has two beautiful labyrinths. They offer yoga classes on the indoor labyrinth each Tuesday at 6:15 pm.
11. Ride a cable car, 1201 Mason St
San Francisco’s cable cars ran as many as 23 routes in the 1800s. There are only three remaining cable car lines. It’s a classic San Francisco experience and a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy views of Nob Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf, Russian Hill, and the Bay. MuniMobile® lets you buy tickets instantly through a credit/debit card account. The Clipper® Card is an all-in-one transit card for the Bay Area. Use your Clipper card on all Bay Area transit systems.
What are your favorite budget-friendly things to do in San Francisco? Comment below!