San Francisco, along with nearby Berkeley and Oakland, is the most expensive place to live in California, according to a recent MSN Money article. Compared to the rest of the nation as a whole, it costs 34.5 percent more to live in or near San Francisco. Tourists face high costs everywhere they go as well, which has led many to search for bargains before visiting the popular vacation destination.
Hang Out with the Sea Lions at Pier 39 of Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is home to dozens of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, but the most popular entertainment costs nothing at all. Each day, anywhere between 300 and 900 sea lions make their way to the pier to interact with visitors and try to find someone to give them a fish treat. They have been doing this continuously since 1990 when an earthquake disrupted their natural habitat in the water.
Stroll through the Muir Woods National Monument Park
People who have never visited San Francisco before sometimes feel surprised that it has so many acres of nature to explore. The Muir Woods National Monument Park is home to some of the oldest and tallest Redwood trees in all of California. The park offers a 1.5 hour guided tour that crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and introduces tourists to the coastal town of Sausalito. People who choose to take the guided tour board a bus in San Francisco and head to the park as a group.
Take a Walking Tour of San Francisco
Tourists can save a lot of money on transportation fees by touring the city on foot, starting at the Dragon Gate that symbolizes the entrance to Chinatown. The location of the Dragon Gate is the intersection of Grant Avenue and Bush Street. This neighborhood tour spans just one mile, so it should be simple for most people to do.
After snapping a few photos and passing through the Dragon Gate, visitors to San Francisco can see each of these sites if they choose:
- Fortune Cookie Factory to see first-hand the manufacturing process for these famous cookies.
- Portsmouth Square, where people gather daily just to socialize.
- Sing Chong Building with authentic Chinese architecture.
- Mary’s Square and Cathedral, which has historical significance dating back to the 1850s.
- Tin How Temple, which is the oldest authentic Asian temple in the United States.
- Z & Y Restaurant, an authentic and affordable Chinese restaurant where tourists can grab a meal at the end of their walking tour.
Visit Baker Beach
Baker Beach is nestled in the northwest corner of San Francisco away from the noise and crowds of the city. People can visit for free, whether they choose to swim or not. The location provides spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge without the crowds that normally surround it. Baker Beach also offers scenic cliffs and waterfalls of its own to enjoy.
After leaving the beach, tourists can continue on foot to visit the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco if they wish.
Traveling to San Francisco can be expensive, but a bit of budgeting and flexibility with plans can go a long way towards reducing costs.