San Francisco is my favorite city hugging the west coast. It is also one of the most expensive especially for hotels. Lucky for the frugal traveler, many of the sights are free.
Note: When I first went to San Francisco (driving up from L.A.), I was very surprised by the decrease in temperature. Check the weather before arriving.
Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square cover about 6 blocks along the waterfront. This tourist destination offers great views of the famous Alcatraz, souvenir shopping, seafood vendor and street performers. Some of the local “residents” include pelicans and sea lions. The souvenir to take back for chocolate loving Moms? Ghirardelli chocolate. This is where it all started.
While at Ghirardelli Square, grab a few photos at the Cable Car Turnaround (the end of one of the lines). The cable cars, calling San Francisco’s living monument, are a good break for the weary.
Note: There are no transfers with cable cars. Each ride requires a new ticket.
The Chinatown in San Francisco is second in size in the U.S. only to New York City. It is great place to get cheap supplies and an inexpensive meal.
Known as the crookedest street, Lombard is another one of those photo opps tourists love. Walking down is free.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Another famous and picturesque walk is across The Golden Gate Bridge. On a clear day, the views are fantastic (and will work off all that great Chinese food you’ll be eating). This suspension bridge is a little less than 9,000 feet long so plan your round trip accordingly.
Cable Car Museum
Love the cable cars? Then visit the Cable Car Museum on Mason Street. Admission is free and the museum deck overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the cables. Great photos can be taken in the vintage cable cars.
A city of different cultures, bordered by the sea, San Francisco has a perfect mixture of historic attractions and modern sights. Many of them free.