Hipmunk City Love: Tips for Exploring San Francisco on a Budget

This post is part of the Hipmunk #CityLove project.

Famously individualistic, the city of San Francisco is incredibly proud of being one of the most innovative cities in the U.S.A. If you’re looking to enjoy the city that’s home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, historic cable cars and a bustling food scene, without burning a hole in your pocket, then check out these tips to help you explore the highlights of San Francisco on a budget.

Golden Gate Bridge- San Francisco on a Budget

Photo by Elza Hayen via Trover.com

Budget Accommodation

If you’re flexible about the neighborhood, there are plenty of cheap hotels in San Francisco to choose from such as the San Remo Hotel close to Fisherman’s Wharf, the quirky and green Good Hotel, minutes from the International Art Museum of America or Nob Hill Inn, complete with Edwardian decor.

For a more luxurious stay, choose Laurel Inn, a beautiful boutique hotel close to the Palace of Fine Arts. Hotel Kabuki in Japantown, is a unique boutique hotel with a tranquil Zen Garden, pleasant Oriental touches in its design and a lounge that serves up Japanese-style sake cocktails.

Walk Around

San Francisco’s neighborhoods and many of its famous sights are best explored on foot and the Golden Gate Bridge is no exception. Walk across the bridge to enjoy the spectacular views and possibly a memorable sunset. Stroll around Van Ness Avenue to look at the beautiful architecture of the City Hall and the San Francisco Opera House. For remarkable hillside views and a satisfying cardio session, head up Telegraph Hill or hike the Lands End Trail for amazing ocean views. Other areas to explore on foot are Union Street for some retail therapy and Chestnut Street for dining. Don’t forget to enjoy the city’s green spaces such as the Golden Gate Park that is home to the oldest Japanese Tea Garden in the country, complete with picturesque landscaping, pines, cedars, magnolias and cherry blossoms, a teahouse and a Zen Garden.

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset- San Francisco on a Budget

Photo by You Go Jenn Coco via Trover.com

Get a GO San Francisco Card

Save money on entry fees at various local attractions, museums and sights by getting a GO San Francisco Card, a multi-attraction pass that helps you save up to 55% on combined admission.  Attractions include the Exploratorium, Aquarium of the Bay and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Choose from different packages, depending upon how flexible your itinerary is and which attractions you’re interested in.

Cheap Eats

San Francisco is home to a thriving dining business, from street food to world-class fine dining restaurants. With so much competition in the restaurant industry, it’s no surprise that the city is full of exciting food discoveries waiting to be made by passionate and adventurous food lovers.

Experience the culinary joys of affordable Asian cuisine at the award-winning House of Nanking in Chinatown, or take a Chinatown food tour. In Mission district, enjoy Mexican eateries in the backdrop of bold murals created by Mexican artist Diego Rivera during the 1930s.

Chinatown San Francisco on a Budget

Photo by Francesca Grandillo via Trover.com

Take a Cable Car Ride

A visit to San Francisco is incomplete without a ride in a historic cable car. This is one of the best ways to enjoy panoramic views of the city.

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