San Francisco on a Budget: Where to Go and How to Save Money During Your SanFo Trip

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Last Updated on: 28th December 2023, 01:59 pm

Do you want to explore San Francisco but have a limited budget? Are you looking for places to visit and activities to do in The Golden Gate City that wouldn’t require spending a lot of cash? If you answer yes to both questions then this article is for you!

In this blog, we will explore the ways you can make the most of your San Francisco trip even though you have a limited budget. We will list down affordable but still amazing places you shouldn’t miss during your trip, as well as practical tips to keep in mind so you won’t overspend.

California - San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge

Free and Affordable Places to Visit in San Francisco

If money is an issue on your San Francisco trip, don’t let it bother you so much. There are many free and affordable attractions and destinations in the city that you can easily visit without spending so much. Get access to these places safely and conveniently with the help of car rental SFO Airport service. Or, if you don’t have the budget for it, you can probably use taxis or public transport.

. Here are some places you can visit in SanFo without breaking the bank.

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the most famous and most iconic landmark in San Francisco, and you can visit it for free! Take a stroll and take lots of pictures on Vista points, such as the Battery Spencer and Marin Headlands. They offer stunning views of the famous bridge and the city skyline.

Golden Gate Park

While you’re already in the vicinity of the San Francisco Bridge, be sure to make Golden Gate Park your next stop. Entrance is free, and you can spend hours in the park enjoying the beauty of the gardens and lakes. Note, however, that some attractions within the park have entrance fees, but if you wish not to spend money, there are plenty of areas to enjoy for free, such as the Botanical Garden and Stow Lake.

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San Francisco on a Budget


Explore San Francisco’s Chinatown, the oldest and one of the largest in North America. While there are many shops and marketplaces in the area, you can meticulously choose which ones to enter and buy from. If you don’t want to spend, simply take a walk, take some pictures, and enjoy the vibrant streets of Chinatown.

Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39

Other famous tourist destinations in the Bay Area are Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39—and there’s no charge to visit them. Enjoy the lovely waterfront atmosphere and the street performers during your trip. However, if you want to try some of their food, buy souvenirs, or try some attractions, you may have to shell out some cash.

San Francisco Cable Car Museum

While riding cable cars requires payment, entering the Cable Car Museum is free of charge, so make sure to add this to your itinerary. Learn about the history of these cool and innovative vehicles and discover how the cable car system works.

San Francisco on a Budget

Tips on How to Save Money when Exploring San Francisco

Traveling shouldn’t be expensive. As long as you carefully plan your trip and observe money-saving tips, you should be able to maximize your SanFo travel without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Here are some practical tips to keep in mind so you can save money during your SanFo vacation.

Plan your itinerary carefully.

Study the places you’d like to visit, find out how much to enter these attractions, and create a strategic itinerary where you don’t have to travel far or back and forth to visit different destinations. By taking time and doing your homework to carefully create an itinerary, you can identify the free and affordable places to visit in San Francisco.

San Francisco on a Budget

Skip luxury hotels and stay in a decent motel, inn, or Airbnb home.

Hotels can be very expensive, especially if you are staying in the city for several days or weeks. Try looking for an alternative accommodation that has clean units, quality service, and stellar reviews from past customers. YOu can save a lot if you choose an affordable option.

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Watch out for promos and discounts.

Whether it’s for a show, theme park, attraction, or other activities, look out for promos that offer discounted prices. Especially if you are traveling with a big group, even a 10% discount can mean a lot.

Choose dining places with an affordable menu but delicious dishes.

Again, this may require you to do some research and read online reviews from previous customers. Just because a restaurant is popular doesn’t mean you have to immediately book a table in it. There are many good dining options in SanFo, and all you have to do is find out which ones offer cheap but quality food choices.

San Francisco on a Budget

Be smart with your transportation choices.

If you don’t have the budget for an Uber, taxi, or rental car when exploring the city, study how the public transportation system works and know which buses to take or subway stations to use. However, if your priority is safety, comfort, and convenience, simply opt for a rental car service, such as SIXT car rental, to ensure that you get to your destination smoothly and according to your itinerary. Saving time and energy is sometimes more valuable than spending less cash.

It is indeed possible to travel to and explore San Francisco without breaking the bank. By knowing the free and affordable places to visit and following the money-saving tips above, you can experience what the city has to offer without overspending.

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