San Francisco is a popular tourist destination; it constantly ranks in the top ten cities to visit in the US. According to the San Francisco Travel Association, 26.2 million tourists visited in 2019, bringing in $10.2 billion in spending into the local economy. The figures were the tenth consecutive year showing record-breaking numbers.
San Francisco is famous, but it’s also expensive. It ranked 8th in the most expensive cities to visit. So while you may find a lot of fun and exciting things to do, you will likely have to spend a lot too. Although the city may be expensive, you can take steps to reduce your costs. If you apply them well, you may find that the trip won’t hurt your pocket as much.
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Use the BART
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is an east bay transit system that connects the San Francisco Peninsula with Oakland, Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, and other cities. The fare varies according to the station you want, but it’s always the fastest and cheapest way to get around. You can purchase a ticket for a single or multiple rides.
Fastpass and CityPass Access
The San Francisco CityPASS is a low-cost option for traveling through the city. It gives you admission to various attractions, a San Francisco Bay Cruise, and a seven-day Muni pass. The Muni-pass gives you unlimited rides on cable cars, historic trolleys, and other city public transportation. The Go San Francisco card also offers packages and discounts on passes and admissions. All in all, you will save money buying the bundle rather than the individual tickets.
Go During Winter
Some times of the year are more affordable than others when traveling to the bay area and enjoying what it offers for sightseeing. The autumn months of September and October are the city’s peak periods, so naturally, that’s when prices go up.
As you plan your trip, you should understand that hotel rates are high from August to October, and airfare is high from June to August. If you are looking for reasonable prices and fair weather, you should aim for springtime. You should also avoid making bookings during conventions, it’s not only harder to find a room, but it’s also usually more expensive.
To avoid the summer crowds and make savings, you should consider visiting the city in the winter. Even at the best of times, San Francisco has odd weather patterns and microclimates. Winter in San Francisco has low tourism visitors, so prices usually go down.
Lots to Do For Free
There are a lot of activities, events, and tourist areas in the city, and most of them charge an admission fee, which can add up as you explore the city. Fortunately, there are things you can do without having to pay an admission fee.
Some of these activities may charge admission in other ways besides initial access, or they have varying rates depending on the time of year. Some free things you can do include;
- Taking a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Enjoy free music, performance arts, and cultural programs at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
- Taking in the views from the Twin Peaks Overlook.
- Exploring the Musée Mécanique.
- Check out the sea lions at the Sea Lion Center.
- Watch a movie at the Film Night in the Park.
- Visiting the Ferry Building.
- Hiking the San Francisco Crosstown Trail.
- View the New Deal-era murals on the first floor of Coit Tower.
- Take a walk along The Embarcadero at night, or
- Exploring Chinatown, The Fillmore, or any of San Francisco’s exciting neighborhoods.
Go Beyond San Francisco
You don’t have to restrict your visit to San Francisco’s inner; there is more to see outside of it. You can visit other landmarks or sites like Oakland, Berkeley, or down San Jose. The surrounding areas are less expensive and have fewer crowds than inner San Francisco. Using the BART, you can get to them quickly and cheaply. You can search local websites for insights like fun things to do in Oakland.
Don’t Forget Street Food
The nay is a cultural melting pot, with cuisines from all over the world. You’ll find fine dining and great takeaway restaurants. You don’t have to fork out; you can opt for some street food. You will find food trucks and stalls at popular spots unique to the bay area.
Visit San Francisco on a Budget
Yes, San Francisco can be a bit pricey, but if you plan your trip smartly, you can save some money. Saving money on a visit will enable you to do more in a city with many attractions. Plan and use all the available tools and information to make the trip the best.