SAN FRANCISCO: Cheap Hotels in San Francisco

If you've never been to San Francisco, you are in for a real treat! If you have, then you know that this city can pull at your heartstrings in ways that you never thought possible.

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San Francisco

When to visit based on price

Your best time to visit San Francisco is during the cooler winter months, between October and March, except during holidays.

Key attractions

A visit to the infamous island prison of Alcatraz on Alcatraz Island is not only a fun way to spend a day, but enlightening. Take a ferryboat out to the island, viewing the city and bridge from the water. Spend a few hours on a self-guided tour with headsets, and learn life in prison during the days of the gangsters. You get to see the actual cells of some of the most famous inmates, like Al Capone ad Machine Gun Kelly. Walk the grounds and famous “exercise area”.
Spend some time on Fisherman’s Warf, for some seaside shopping, and dining on the water. This is a relaxing environment, with some of the most excellent seafood restaurants in San Francisco. This is also a good place to look for those gifts for the relatives back home.
While in San Francisco, you just have to take the “Ronzoni” Powell Street cable-car ride up to the top of the hill and back. It gives you a whole new look at the hills of San Francisco.

Having fun

If you enjoy strolling the streets and popping into a pub or restaurant, then its off the Pier 39. Here you can shop until your drop in some really enjoyable shops, then take in one of the fourteen restaurants for a break. It’s all on the waterfront, and you can choose to sit along the dock and enjoy the symphony put on by area sea lions.
For something different, a visit to Chinatown is always a nice getaway from the town and waterfront. You can stroll the streets, shops and maybe if you’re a good cook, some of the Asian grocery stores for those hard to find items.


There are some different and interesting shopping areas in San Francisco. Starting with shops straight out of the “hippy generation”, Haight Ashbury Shopping District shops on even today. You will find as you stroll the streets, some higher-end stores mixed with clothing and jewelry from the 1960’s era.
When down by the waterfront, the Embarcadero District offers a wide range of stores for you, from famous eyewear, Ann Taylor to Banana Republic and more.
And then there’s the Fillmore Street District where you can find Paolo Shoes, Eric Trabert Jewelers, Betsey Johnson Clothing, Crosswords Trading Company, Kuraya Japanese Antiques and over twenty health and beauty stores.


The most popular day trip from San Francisco is the Napa / Sonoma Wine Country. Only an hours drive from San Francisco, you could easily spend a day or more in Napa / Sonoma County. The journey through the countryside alone is well worth the time. You can choose from several areas to visit some of the most famous wineries in the United States. Although most require a “tasting fee”, you will find it well worth the price, and many deduct it from the cost of wines you purchase.

The Napa / Sonoma area is home to many fine dining restaurants, as well as some smaller pubs type taverns for lunch or dinner. However, there is nothing quite like stopping in a t a local deli, and having them make you a picnic lunch. This is very popular, and most wineries offer garden setting for you picnic lunch in the vines.

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Local expert's tips

  • Let’s take a Romantic Getaway for two in San Francisco

    For that “hand-in-hand” romantic walk, one of the best choices at sunset is the pathway along Crissy Field overlooking the Golden gate Bridge. The view is spectacular at sunset, as the city lights start to light up the night.
    Of course, a sunset cruise on the bay can be totally romantic for the two of you, especially on a warm summer night. However, not so much during winter’s cold and foggy nights, unless of course snuggling in a blanket will work.
    Another most awesome view of the city any time, but especially romantic is at the very top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. The Top of the Mark bar offers you a complete 360-degree view of the city below and spectacular sunsets, all year long. What a splendid place for a glass of vino or cocktail, specifically their signature martinis.
    If mixing fun, exercise and romance is sounding good to you we have something special for you. Why not rent a bicycle built for two from Bay City Bike and cruises over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and spends the afternoon in Sausalito. After a romantic dinner in town, end your day with a cruise back on the ferry.
    Maybe just the two of you taking a stroll along lover’s lane in the historic Presidio works for you. There’s plenty of private trails, and views of the city and Golden gate Bridge along the way. Maybe even pack a picnic lunch and bottle of wine with glasses, and a blanket.
    Now here’s a sweet deal for you, maybe as a surprise? Schedule a day at a local Spa for a “Couples Spa Day”. For instance, at the Nob Hill Spa you can have couples massages together, and before and after glass of champagne at the indoor pool or sun deck in nice weather. If you have never enjoyed a couple’s spa together, you are definitely missing a romantic opportunity.
    During summer months scheduling a sunset catamaran cruise can be totally romantic, and a super way to wrap yourselves around each other, gazing at the Golden gate Bridge. You can pick up a voyage at the Pier 39 Dock L.
    Our top suggestion for “happy hour” is at the 399 The Embarcadero Restaurant. Any time of year, sitting outside on the patio, sipping a glass of champagne while enjoying a iced plate of fresh San Francisco Bay oysters, is the way to go. The sunset views of Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge and City Skyline are the perfect Segway, along with those oysters, to a romantic evening.
    We have a perfect suggestion for your romantic stay in San Francisco, and its private with awesome views of sunsets over the ocean. Located within the San Francisco Presidio is the Inn at the Presidio, which was built in 1903 as a home for unmarried officers. It was completely restored, and available for your private escape in a gorgeous environment. You can actually walk to shopping, dining and the bridge from the house.

  • Enjoy a successful and fun family vacation in San Francisco

    One of the first things you need to understand before setting out on you vacation to this beautiful city, is pack lots of clothes to wear in layers. No matter what time of year you plan to visit, and yes, even Summer in California, you will need layers. San Francisco is captivated by “micro-climates” that can and do vary in temps from 15-20degrees at any given time. In fact, the entire California Coast can suffer from fog or “June Gloom”, and locals that are used to weather actually wear heavy jackets! If you head there in June, July and August thinking shorts and tanks will do, guess again, because the warmest months are actually September and October.
    Families vacationing in San Fran have nothing to worry about as far as kids activities. This town offers over 180 playgrounds, tons of recreation centers and 60+ soccer fields to burn off energy. You can often find one for the kids to run about in while you sit back and relax at one of San Francisco’s 300+ coffee shops.
    Of course there are the major family activities / tours to enjoy as a family, like the trip out to Alcatraz Island for a day. The cruise out offers spectacular photograph opportunities of the city as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. Children love the walking tout, self guided, with headsets providing the tour. What I enjoy on every visit, is hearing actual descriptions of life in this prison taped by prisoners who were jailed there when in operation. It provides hours of walking, again great for expending energy and having fun at the same time. If you have already taken the Alcatraz Tour before, you should at least take one of the Bay Cruises, especially during the evening when the city lights reflect off the waters.
    A super place to spend a few hours, possibly with a planned picnic lunch is a visit to the Golden Gate Park. Like so many other parks in San Francisco you will find that’s one thing this city does right, their parks. This park boasts a thousand acres of greenery, the Stow Lake, waterfalls, a playground and merry-go-round, and even a herd of buffalo.
    Whether or not you are old enough to remember the “Rice-a Roni” commercials and their San Francisco cable car theme or not, riding one is still thrilling for young and old. Pick up a cable car on Market Street or on Powell at the Warf, and take a ride. The “selfies” to family and friends is well worth it as well as the best photos of the city and bay below. If you end up on the Warf, be sure to check out the free San Francisco Railway Museum, with its historic streetcars and lots more for the train buff.
    If you didn’t decide to stay in one of the hotels near Chinatown, head down there at least once on your visit. Check out the free tour in the fortune cookie plant, eat some authentic Chinese foods, and shop the marketplace where the unusual can always be found hanging in your face.

  • San Francisco Vacation “on the cheap”, is it possible?

    For instance, everyone visiting San Francisco should check out Chinatown, but you can easily spend some mega bucks in this now “tourist trap”. Restaurants are just waiting for you to pull out your credit cards. Instead we suggest you head to Chinatown on public transportation, and do some “people watch”. Cruise the main streets, and visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Get a tour of the process of making these “fortune telling” cookies, and get to sample them for free.
    Another favorite place to spend money and see “native wildlife” is the San Francisco Zoo, but what the heck; most of us and especially kids just want to visit with a sea lion! So why not grab a coffee of soft drink and head down to Pier 39 and hang with hundreds of lions? There’s always a crowd of visitors listening to the “chorus” down in the water. The best part is, it won’t cost you a single penny!
    Another one of the “must visit” sites in the city is Fisherman’s Warf, and you should too. However, we suggest that you eat a mega breakfast at your hotels free buffet before heading down to the Warf. Fight off the urge to dine in one of the waterfront restaurants, and instead find one of the smaller restaurants down one of the side streets, and spend a lot less.
    Helpful tipping suggestions: You don’t need to kill that budget with tips for service, but in some cases it’s the thing to do. If your hotel concierge makes restaurant reservations for you, $5-10 is standard. Figure a couple $$$ for parking attendant at hotel. Taxi usually 10% and bell hop $1-2 per bag.
    If one of your simple pleasures on vacation is visiting a spa for a massage, you can expect to spend $100-200 for a popular spa treatment and facilities. Instead, why not spend around $30 and a tip? WE certainly have the place for you to visit, called Kubuki Springs, located in the Kinokunita Building on Fillmore Street. This is a complete spa, offering showers, pools, steam and sauna. Pamper yourself for less, so you have extra money for other entertainment.
    Another popular destination of course is Chinatown, and this is something we highly
    Suggest visiting. However, don’t fight the crowds of visitor near Grant Street like others. Instead, we suggest that you land on Stockton Street, where the locals frequent. This is where all the action is, and it won’t cost you a dime to experience the medicine shops, great smells of exotic food, or buy live frogs or snakes.
    If you want a bit calmer experience, and super photo’s, head to Waverly Place and tour the painted balconies once inhabited by the Chinese gangs, called “tongs”.
    With all the focus on pirates these days, via Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean, why not get your “pirate on”? Located at 826 Valencia Street is “The Pirate Store” and is it ever! You can find everything from wooden peg legs to beard extensions and more. Not only is fun to browse about, but also any money you spend goes towards a fund to educate local disadvantages children.
    Lastly lets talk public transportation, which basically is the BART System which covers everywhere you would want to go in the city. Everyone uses the system, which is safe and not hard to figure out. What you will pay will depend on the distance you travel, and there is no set fee.

  • Everything you need to know for families vacationing San Francisco’s “Rock”!

    Alcatraz began as a military fortress guarding the gates of this great city,
    Did you know that the lighthouse on Alcatraz, still working today, was the first one on the entire West coast? It first started as a military post during the Civil War, when it began its life as a prison. The military abandoned it as a post in early 1900’s, but continued to increase the prison capacity .It soon became a “maxim security” prison during the Great Depression.
    Over the years, some of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history were “guests” in the cellblocks. Names like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and of course the Birdman of Alcatraz.
    Your family starts the adventure at the Embarcadero at Alcatraz Landing where you purchase tickets for the ferry ride and tour. It’s a fairly short ride to the dock on the island where a Ranger who talks about the island as you start your walk up the hill to the Cellhouse meets you. At the Cellhouse, you each get your own audio tour headset, and away you go at your own speed. The audio tour is featured in most of the popular languages. While taking the tour as you enter specific locations, like certain prison cells, you will hear actual prisoners and guards talking about what happened in the cells, and who was in them. You hear from their own lips about life and death in this tough prison.
    If you decide to take the kids on the evening tour, keep in mind that creepy isn’t even close to the experience. That’s when rangers will give live demonstrations of how cell doors automatically open and close, as they invite you or your kids to step inside and see how it feels. This could be your chance for a little “free time” without the kids if you smile for the camera with rangers.
    As you and the family investigate the cells and grounds of Alcatraz Island, it might be fun talking to them about want it might be like as somewhere their age, living on this island when it housed hundreds of dangerous criminals. The fact is there were prison guards that moved their entire families to the island to live. Kids living there played in the large gardens, chased the bird population and got schooling on the island. It’s amazing that parents never worried about the safety of their children on the island.
    Families hitting the island, especially of a nice sunny day should give themselves at least three hours to tour and enjoy the island adventure. Take a lot of photos for yourself, as well as the kids so they can show their friends back home. If you decide to experience the night tour, be sure to make advanced reservations well in advance, and we mean months. Keep in mind that there is no restaurant on the island, so bring snacks for the kids. There is an area when you get off the ferry on the island that you could have a picnic lunch. Dad, know that you can’t bring that cooler and six-pack, because only bottled water is allowed on the island.

  • San Francisco like only a local can visit

    San Francisco is quite a “drinking town” and has its share of quirky local bars to socialize in. If you really want to break out of the “tourist bubble” and rub elbows, and maybe clink glasses with friendlies, we have a recommend for you. The place is called appropriately if you were in Texas, The Bourbon and Branch, located at 501 Jones Street. This place is the bomb, quite literally, and you better make reservations ahead for dinner and or drinks ahead of time to get in. In Chicago mobster style, when you locate the solid wood door, push the intercom button, and you’ll be asked for the password, which is “books”. It’s a really special experience, even if you just hand out in the “Library Bar”, hidden behind a, bookcase.
    If visiting San Francisco especially with children, I have an awesome destination for you that costs nothing, and puts you in a super “zoo moment”. Head out to the Golden Gate Bridge Park, and perhaps bring along a picnic lunch, bottle of wine, couple glasses and blanket. Your kids will be quite entertained by the herd of bison grazing there! That’s right, located near Spreckles Lake is a herd that has grown since the original pair were introduced in 1890. Not many visitors to this fantastic city even know they exist, but now you do.
    Another awesome adventure worth a few pics and a lunch bag is the Presidio, which used to be the military base in San Francisco. There are trails, wooded sections, sandy beaches and more to discover. From April until October this is quite popular for both locals and visitors, with outdoor concerts and a line-up of food trucks.
    Another “must do” experience is a visit to Monk’s Kettle, even if you aren’t a beer sipper for some unknown reason. Not only is this a great beer experience, with its greater than 200 beers available, but there’s also a very special treat for you. It’s called “Midas Touch”, brewed from a very ancient, like 2700-year-old beer recipe that was discovered in King Midas’s Tomb!
    While visiting San Francisco, you really should get out into the neighborhoods. This is where locals hang, where they eat and enjoy life. They don’t go to the Warf, Alcatraz and such. The Mission District is a perfect place if you want to experience life like a local. This has become a very popular location for new businesses, especially restaurants, because of lower startup costs. Mission Street is great for strolling shops and bars, especially between 15th and 20th Street. If action and the hottest new bar are in the cards, you will totally enjoy Trick Dog, offering some of the most eccentric cocktails ever. Pair a couple with Scotch Eggs or house-made jerky.

  • What’s Happening in San Francisco Spring 2017?

    If vacationing with smaller children, a super place to hang out for a while is the Exploratorium, a totally “family-friendly” museum. You will find hundreds of interactive exhibits, demonstrations and many areas where youngsters can play and enjoy themselves, and burn off energy.
    We have all heard and probably enjoyed “Six Flags Amusement Parks with their awesome thrilling rides. But how many of you know that San Francisco is home to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a theme park with live animals. This theme park offers not only the thrilling rides, but also many animal encounters, including those from both sea and land. There’s plenty to see and do on this 135-acre fun experience park.
    If you happen to be heading to the San Fran Warf on March 18th , and you’re a beer kind of guy or gal, are you ever in luck. That’s when the Bay Area Brewers Festival is happening on Pier 35. You have the opportunity to sample national as well as international brewers concoctions. The general admission costs under $50 and runs from 1-4 pm and 6-9 pm. There’s a special VIP area set up and available to “special people” from 1-4 pm for only $59.02. I wonder how they came up with that price?
    Don’t worry about sipping beer without anything in your tummy, because you are certainly in luck. Some of San Francisco’s most famous gourmet food trucks will be on hand to feed you, but that’s not included I the admission fare.
    On the same note, the San Francisco International Beer Festival is on April 8 from 7-10 pm. This is the 33rd Annual Beer Fest, and features over 100 breweries for tastings. This event is held in the Festival Pavilion in Fort Mason Center. Enjoy quite an impressive list of breweries, for only $75 per person.
    Staying on that theme, how can we not offer a local wine festival for you to experience, especially if you don’t have time to travel to Napa/Sonoma?
    San Francisco’s Uncorked Wine Festival is held on May 6, on Fisherman’s Warf within Ghiradelli Square. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to sip some California Red Zinfandel and nibble of Ghiradelli chocolate. You will enjoy food, wines and music, as well as on-site demonstrations and seminars. More than 50 local wineries will be on hand for your tasting pleasure. This event takes place from 1-5 pm, more than enough time for some sipping fun.
    If you will be in San Francisco on the weekend of May 13th, and want to surprise your Mom or wife, why not surprise her with a morning Champagne Cruise on the bay. There are also sunset cruises and a special Mothers Day Dinner Cruise available on the Hornblower Cruise line.

  • Planning a last minute visit to San Francisco?

    Hot Tip: Everyone asks when is the best time to visit Napa Wineries. Answer…spring and fall.
    As soon as you know the dates you will be visiting Napa Wine Country, start calling ahead to the wineries on your top 5 or 10 list, and get a reserved tasting time. Napa is busy all year long, and the crowds can keep you from tasting for hours, or even at all at some wineries. Another very important decision to make, is which well-known wineries that offer food pairings do you want to visit? That’s also something you need to be aware of, and make reservations. If you have never enjoyed a food and wine pairing at a winery, you need to, because it’s the best way to find that special wine. You’ll learn from the Sommelier exactly what food goes with their wines.
    Perhaps the best winery to start your adventure in Napa is at Domaine Chandon for a glass of bubbly, which is much more suited to the early part of the day, than a heavy Cab or Zin.
    Another suggestion would be one of sipping bubbly sparkling wine, and learning the proper way to remove the cork, with a giant knife! That’s right, at Schramsberg Vineyards, you can enjoy your champagne tastings in the cool cave sand learn the art of “sabrage”. If you have never witnessed this, you’re in for a treat. When I was first introduced to this method, it was done with a military saber.
    A personal favorite and one where you will sip awesome wines in a castle, is the Beringer Estate Winery, founded in 1876 by two German immigrants. I would highly suggest making advanced reservations for upstairs at the private reserve tasting room, instead of the crowded general tasting room. You will learn much more about wine, and will taste their best.
    If you are looking for a great place to buy a bottle of wine, grab a couple glasses and enjoy lunch in the gardens, V. Sattui Winery is the place for you. This is also a great place to get the children some exercise and eat lunch, if they are traveling with you.
    Hot Tip: Tastings flights can run anywhere from $10 – 20 or more depending on how good of wine you want to taste. Try sharing tastings with your spouse instead, or maybe one does the white flight, the other the red, and share.
    As for making reservations ahead for specific food and wine pairings, we thought we might suggest a couple for you.
    Artesa Vineyards on Henry Rd offers a choice between Spanish tapas and their Spanish wines, or wines paired with dark chocolates. Yummy!
    At Chateau Lane on Rapp Ln. offers food and wine tastings of classic antipasti from up to a 5-course tasting. Make your choice when registering.
    Now if you are looking for dinner suggestions, it can get complicated and quite expensive. Keep in mind, you can get some of the best burgers at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher, rated “Best Burger Specials” on the Food Network, or dine at Thee French Laundry foe up to $1000 for two!
    We highly suggest the Bouchon Bistro, for some excellent food at very reasonable prices.

  • Enjoy a budget conscience vacation on your San Francisco vacation

    One of the most famous sites to visit that won’t cost you a dime, and is a terrific way to work off some of that fantastic seafood you will be enjoying here, is Lombard Street. If you’re in shape or trying to get there, strolling up the most crooked street in the world rewards you with awesome photo ops, and a great view of the city below. It’s a fun walk or bike ride from the top, on the 600-foot-long red brick road.
    May we suggest starting at the bottom after a stop for treats at Ghirardelli then take the Powel-Hyde cable car to the top of Lombard Street?
    The waterfront of San Francisco is an awesome experience, and a great place to spend some time is browsing about the Ferry Building where you’re largest hurdle will be not busting your budget on food. Day or evening after the mega eating establishments and maybe a specialty coffee, you can jump on the ferry for a cruise in the harbor. Probably one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge comes from the view off the ferry, so be sure to have your camera available.
    You should seriously take a look at what the Hornblower Cruise offers, with choices including a Champagne Brunch Cruise as well as a special Sunday Brunch Cruise.
    Another excellent place to spend some time is San Francisco’s Chinatown. As you walk through the Dragon Gate, be transported back in time on streets that have served this community for years. You can shop and actually find some great deals on both souvenirs as well as food. In the hotter summer months this may be the perfect opportunity to pick up a personal fan. From a tour through an old fortune cookie factory, to some of the best Peking Duck, Chinatown is an experience you need to experience.
    May we suggest: A local favorite, House of Nanking offers low-key atmosphere, excellent food, and a menu that is oh so budget friendly.
    Transportation in San Francisco is something this town has taken seriously, and addressed well. From your flight into the airport, you can take the BART Rail System located in Garage “G”, directly into downtown San Francisco for only $8.10. From there take a cab to your hotel, and your experience will cost you much less than a day rate car rental. In fact, if you aren’t planning to leave San Francisco, don’t even bother renting a car, just use your debit card and the BART System for local travel. And if you happen to be flying into the Oakland Airport, no worries, BART’s there too.
    Something you may want to think about is the San Francisco City Pass that gives you admission to many of the top attractions, bay cruises, cable car rides and yes, even Alcatraz Island. Cost for adults is $58, and for children under 18 $50.

  • San Francisco’s best Happy Hour food and cocktails

    The next stop is a local favorite located on Divisadero Street, going by the name of Bar Crudo. If seafood is your thing, Bar Crudo is your place, especially for happy hour from 5-6:30 Tuesday through Sunday. Grab yourself a $5 glass of wine or pint of tap brew for $3, and order up some Rock Cod Taco’s, $10 for two. Fill up on their dollar jalapeno muscles or oysters and your ready for an anything. If this sounds like you kind of place, we suggest getting there before 5PM so you have a place in line.
    If you’re looking for a place outside on the waterfront for happy hour, the deck at Mission Rock Resort is calling. If slugging down $5 draft beers and $0.99 oysters between 3-7PM doesn’t fill you up nothing will. This is a great place to hang out in nice weather, but again, there’s lots of competition so get there early.
    If you’re in the market for happy hour cocktail prices that include some awesome bar food, for free, you need to check out Pesce located on Market Street. Happy hour is between 5:30 and 7PM every night and offers some super drink specials. How does goat cheese stuffed peppers or bruschetta smeared with smoked salmon sound? Maybe the gourmet meatballs with that glass of Zinfandel are the ticket to a successful evening for you?
    Monday through Friday at Fog City in the Embarcadero offers you some seriously yummy snacks with those discounted happy hour cocktail choices. They offer pints of Miller for $4, Moscow Mule for $7 (served in a traditional copper mug) or $6 shots. Pair those choices with probably the best oysters on the half shell in the world and sweet dreams. What makes the oysters so special you might ask? It’s their own “oak barrel aged” cocktail sauce, shallot mignonette and real Italian parsley that on them.
    Finally let hit the Palm House in Cow Hollow where happy hour is available Monday-Friday between 3-6:30 PM. You can go cheap with the $5 draft beers or step up with $8 signature cocktails or house special Pam House Slushie for only $6. Fill up on fries, chips or avocado for only $4, or get a bowl of fresh ceviche for half price. Sit at the long tables by the window, or at the sweet long bar. A light and cheery place and a great ending for your evening.

  • San Francisco Summer Fun Things to Do for Families

    How many people visit San Francisco with plans to visit the San Francisco Zoo? How many people know there’s a zoo there? Well, you should because it’s a pretty nice one.
    It’s home to over 1,000 exotic animals, has some wonderful and “cooling” gardens. And another thing that’s exciting for young children, and should be for you too, they have special areas for endangered animals and rescue animals.
    The zoo is always an exciting and educational experience wherever you visit, so why not visit the zoo in San Francisco?
    Next let’s see a very cool, especially on the evening tour, fun way to see San Francisco. The City Segway Tours are a fun sight seeing tool, and contrary to popular belief, is really easy to learn. In fact, the tour won’t leave until everyone is taught to and can handle a Segway safely.
    If your youngsters are over 12 years old and weigh over 100 lbs., then they can tour with you. You can choose tours during the day of the Bay Area, and during the evening when it’s cooler.
    Another fun visit is to Yerba Buena Gardens and the Cartoon Art Museum. Perfect for young children as well as Dad who might not admit it but collected comic books when he was little. Everybody knows who Charles Schultz is, but did you know he helped start the Cartoon Art Museum in the Art District of San Francisco? Have some fun in air conditioning with your kids, and see some old cartoon art, and the latest artists on canvas.
    Let’s take a peek at the Exploratorium, which is located in the Embarcadero in downtown San Francisco. It’s a perfect place to spend a few hours with your smaller children.
    They get to actually get hands on exhibits and interact with wonders of creation. Keep those little hands occupied while Mom & Dad get to relax a bit. They will enjoy hours of playtime because there’s well over 500 exhibits to enjoy.
    Finally you should for sure check out the San Francisco Aquarium because, let’s face it, you’re on bay, and many of the over 30,000 marine animals in this aquarium come from local waters. As San Francisco is well known as a conservation sensitive city, this aquarium is involved heavily with the protection and preservation of its waters and their inhabitants.

  • Let the local’s guide you to the best Happy Hours in San Francisco

    Another excellent choice daily between 5-6:30 PM would be Bar Crudo Oyster Bar, located on Divisadero Street. This is not only a great place to come for dinner, but also the Happy Hour serves up some of their yummy delights for less, so why not get your seafood fix and cheap drinks. A glass of nice wine and a few $1 oyster shooters and you will soon know why we picked this place. If beers your thing maybe $4 a pint from some awesome tapers too. Enjoy their other specials in food world, like $6 for seafood chowder that’s out of this world, or maybe muscles swimming in herb and jalapeno marinade. Its all good with much more available to you here.
    If you just happen to be checking out Chinatown for a day, why not end up at the Comstock Saloon on Columbus Ave for a trip back to the days of the California Gold Rush. It’s not gold flowing from the hills, but their specialty cocktails for $7 each should be a great replacement. For those really needing to relax, and probably take a Taxi after dinner, start your evening with a Happy Hour Special of a shot and beer “pairing” for $7. Locals suggest maybe the “Cabezazo”, which is a shot of Pueblo Viejo Tequila and a Tecate.
    The Two Sisters Bar & Books located on Hayes Street offers a different kind of setting for your more relaxed happy hour pleasure. A bit of class surrounds you in this eclectic bar scene, where you find yourself surrounded by vintage old style wallpapered walls, sitting at the window seat. In hand you enjoy your $3 draft beer or choice of wine or mixed drink for only $5. If you want to really get the party going, try the special $5 Old Fashion, and see where that leads you.
    Finally we offer you a happy hour selection that gives you options depending on when you are visiting. alaMar, located on Gough Street in Oakland has happy hour M-F between 5-6:30 PM offering wine choices for $6 and beers for only $4 a mug. There’s a good selection of appetizers to choose from at $6 each, along with fresh oyster shooters for $1.50 a piece. Oh what a deal. But wait! If your in town on a Saturday, enjoy a late night happy hour or maybe a “small plate dinner” of the same offerings, between 9 PM until closing.

  • Spend an in-expensive day at Fisherman’s Warf, San Francisco

    The main attraction of the Warf as far as seafood is concerned is the Dungeness crab which is you have never partaken, is almost a mandatory part of visiting San Francisco. Back in early days before this became a tourist area, the fishermen would cook the crab in massive steel pots and sell them to those walking about the streets. Today they are still served boiled, however you’ll have them on a plate, with silverware and napkin, or in most cases a bunch of napkins.

    Visiting today, there are many excellent restaurants for enjoying the “fresh catch” of the day, as well as an iconic sourdough bread bowl of clam chowder, another specialty here. Later in the article we will give a few hints of what awaits you in the world of taste buds in San Francisco’s, Fisherman’s Warf.

    Best time to visit for cheaper hotel rates? October through March, except holidays.

    The Warf is where you can not only see the infamous Alcatraz Island in the bay, but also where you can catch the boat out to the island for a tour. If you are only visiting for a day, you might not want to do a tour however, if staying at one of the area hotels, another day’s activities should include an Alcatraz Tour.

    Strolling the Warf streets and visiting the many shops, although appearing to be tourist traps, actually can hold treasures, especially during a cool or rainy afternoon. Who doesn’t have a shirt or sweatshirt or two with a destination or attraction on it? Whether it’s a coffee mug or a hoodie with “I Spent Time On Alcatraz Island”, somewhere down the road it will surly bring a smile to your face. Also, among those little shops, you’ll find local artist crafts as well as boutique clothing stores and maybe something really special for someone at home.

    If traveling with or without small children, the Pier 39 Aquarium of the Bay is a fun, exciting and informative experience, and a great place to visit. You will experience the underwater world of the waters in the bay, including otters, Giant Pacific octopuses, bat rays and sevengill sharks, during your stroll through clear glass tunnels. If you’ve never experienced this before, it’s quite a hair-raiser at times, so be sure your blood pressure is in check.

    The Aquarium is divided into four “learning areas” where you can experience the diversity of the waters around San Francisco. Discover the Bay shows you the animals found around the area docks. Under the Bay is where you walk through two massive clear tunnels viewing over 200 species. Then there’s the Touch the Bay where you actually arrive in the “petting zoo” and actually get to touch sharks, rays and more. Finally it’s time of course for a visit with California’s Otter families in the River Otters: Watershed Ambassadors area. All in all, the aquarium is a great place to spend a few hours and well worth the time and entry fee.

    As with many other tourist areas, there’s also a Fisherman’s Warf Wax Museum, where you and the kids can experience famous and infamous personalities from our nations history. Although it may not be such a big deal to parents, it can be quite fascinating to children.

    Fun for all, a visit to Fisherman’s Warf isn’t complete without checking out the USS Pampanito, a real World War II submarine docked at Pier 45. Right nearby you can also visit and explore the largest U.S. collection of historical vessels by heading to the Hyde Street Pier, and don’t forget your camera. This area is ripe for a “selfie” or two.

    If traveling with or without small children, the Pier 39 Aquarium of the Bay is a fun, exciting and informative experience, and a great place to visit. You will experience the underwater world of the waters in the bay, including otters, Giant Pacific octopuses, bat rays and sevengill sharks, during your stroll through clear glass tunnels. If you’ve never experienced this before, it’s quite a hair-raiser at times, so be sure your blood pressure is in check.

    The Aquarium is divided into four “learning areas” where you can experience the diversity of the waters around San Francisco. Discover the Bay shows you the animals found around the area docks. Under the Bay is where you walk through two massive clear tunnels viewing over 200 species. Then there’s the Touch the Bay where you actually arrive in the “petting zoo” and actually get to touch sharks, rays and more. Finally it’s time of course for a visit with California’s Otter families in the River Otters: Watershed Ambassadors area. All in all, the aquarium is a great place to spend a few hours and well worth the time and entry fee.

    As with many other tourist areas, there’s also a Fisherman’s Warf Wax Museum, where you and the kids can experience famous and infamous personalities from our nations history. Although it may not be such a big deal to parents, it can be quite fascinating to children.

    Fun for all, a visit to Fisherman’s Warf isn’t complete without checking out the USS Pampanito, a real World War II submarine docked at Pier 45. Right nearby you can also visit and explore the largest U.S. collection of historical vessels by heading to the Hyde Street Pier, and don’t forget your camera. This area is ripe for a “selfie” or two.

    If traveling with or without small children, the Pier 39 Aquarium of the Bay is a fun, exciting and informative experience, and a great place to visit. You will experience the underwater world of the waters in the bay, including otters, Giant Pacific octopuses, bat rays and sevengill sharks, during your stroll through clear glass tunnels. If you’ve never experienced this before, it’s quite a hair-raiser at times, so be sure your blood pressure is in check.

    The Aquarium is divided into four “learning areas” where you can experience the diversity of the waters around San Francisco. Discover the Bay shows you the animals found around the area docks. Under the Bay is where you walk through two massive clear tunnels viewing over 200 species. Then there’s the Touch the Bay where you actually arrive in the “petting zoo” and actually get to touch sharks, rays and more. Finally it’s time of course for a visit with California’s Otter families in the River Otters: Watershed Ambassadors area. All in all, the aquarium is a great place to spend a few hours and well worth the time and entry fee.

    As with many other tourist areas, there’s also a Fisherman’s Warf Wax Museum, where you and the kids can experience famous and infamous personalities from our nations history. Although it may not be such a big deal to parents, it can be quite fascinating to children.

    Fun for all, a visit to Fisherman’s Warf isn’t complete without checking out the USS Pampanito, a real World War II submarine docked at Pier 45. Right nearby you can also visit and explore the largest U.S. collection of historical vessels by heading to the Hyde Street Pier, and don’t forget your camera. This area is ripe for a “selfie” or two.

  • Attractions in San Francisco you shouldn’t miss, and they’re free!

    Whether you have seen them in a movie, travel show or the old “Rice-A-Roni” commercials, the cable car has a place in history, especially here in San Francisco. When visiting the World Famous Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco, you need to catch a historic ride on the F-Line cable car that runs from there through the Embarcadero and up Market Street to the top of the Castro District.
    Staying on the “cable car” theme, another often overlooked attraction, and definitely one for families is the Cable Car Museum, which is located in the historic district of downtown San Francisco. This museum is located in the Washington-Mason Powerhouse up on Nob Hill. You can spend some time roaming about the massive wheels and engines that hauled the cable cars up San Francisco hills many moons ago. Take a photo or two in front of the three 1880’s cable cars on view as your thoughts wander to days gone by.

    Pack yourself a picnic lunch, complete with perhaps a bottle of California’s wine and head off to stroll the Presidio, the old military post, now a National Park. This beautiful park is a splendid place to spend some time appreciating the architectural treasures throughout the park as well as its beautiful trails. However, you can enhance your visit and picnic site by heading to Crissy Field in the northern section of the park along the water. Here you can spread a blanket or use one of the picnic tables and barbeque set-ups while enjoying views of the bay and San Francisco Bridge.

    While there: See if there’s a walking tour while you’re there, they are free.

    Another outstanding adventure is located on the waterfront at Pier 15, in the Embarcadero. This attraction is so much fun for adults as well as families traveling with small children. This is a “hands on” museum, housing some 600 hands-on curious exhibits will entertain you for hours. Besides the exhibits another reason to visit is the magnificent glass and steel “Bay Observatory” offering some of the best views of San Francisco and the bay.

    A visit to Lombard Street, considered to many to be the “crookedest street” in San Francisco, and possibly the world is just a “kick”. You have two choices when visiting this famous street, driving or walking, each quite the experience in their own way. The draw over the years to this street is of course the eight zigzag turns that cover one block of San Francisco hills. Driving this road down a “bobsled type drop” at or below the posted 5 mph (8 km/h) is an experience only for the brave and any passenger that enjoys screaming on roller coasters.

    A much better way to visit in a relaxed fashion and gain the advantage of exercise before that big meal is taking the Powel-Hyde Cable Car. This will pick you up in Union Square or Ghirardelli Square and let you off the car at the top of Lombard Street. If you are in the best of shape or want to be, the walk up the street can be quite an adventure in itself as well as a gourmet adventure. You might decide to take those much-needed breaks along the way for an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Café or a chocolate at Ghirardelli Chocolates.

    Finally lets take a look at visiting some of the most famous example of early American architecture in San Francisco, and one to brighten your day. The Painted Ladies of San Francisco sounds like a visit to a “red light district”, but in fact are seven Victorian-style homes built between 1892 and 1896. These incredible homes are located on Steiner Street, and are survivors of this style of homes destroyed by the great San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. Bring your camera and capture the splendor of designs found in these homes that look exactly as they did back in the day.

  • Get off the “beaten path” in San Francisco, “on the cheap”

    So now that you have found a great deal on your hotel, it’s time to look at and plan your visit to San Francisco. For the lowest hotel rates as well as low visitor numbers, plan to visit in the Fall and Winter months, September through February. Keep in mind the exception to the rule, holidays. During these months, hotels often slash rates to encourage occupancy. You also will have the advantage of fewer crowds, however, be sure to bundle up and wear layers of clothes.

    Our first recommendation on your journey around San Francisco is to visit a “wild animal” attraction one would expect to only find in Montana and Wyoming. That being said, a visit to the Golden Gate Park will not only affords you an awesome view of San Francisco, but also the American Buffalo. You heard me right, ever since the late 1800’s these magnificent animals have been here in the park for your viewing. Now this isn’t the only reason to visit the park, as this 1000-acre plus activity location offers plenty. From Japanese Tea Gardens, Botanical Garden, the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, Segway Tours to Frisbee Golf Course and more.
    It’s a fantastic place to spend a day in the park where a free shuttle is offered to all areas of the park.

    What better way to really see and learn the history of a place than by taking a “walking tour”? Why not sign up and take a free San Francisco City Guide walking tour? You’ll have a choice of multiple areas of San Francisco, and learn about the history, culture and architecture. You can visit old Victorian houses, walk 100+-year-old alleyways or visit streets where you swear you hear activities of the Gold Rush Days. There’s a Foodie Tour of North Beach, “Behind the scenes” in the old Fairmont Hotel, a Chinatown Tour and many more. The best part is they are free, however, a nice gratuity for your tour guide is appreciated and in order.
    Contact the Main Library on Larkin Street for tours.

    If that walking tour has your stomach rumbling and the thought of a good burger enters your mind, have we got the place for you? Ganim’s Market on 18th Street is a corner market that locals use not only for a “quick pick”, but also for the burgers. You can’t miss the place because the sign has a big burger on it. Being that it’s a neighborhood market, you can expect a casual, comfortable interior, and you get it. A perfect place to chat with the locals, grab a six-pack of beer to go with that burger and fries 9massive amounts), and maybe share, the beer of course.

    For not only an adventure in San Francisco, but also an adventure in dining, the SOMA Streatfood Park is an experience you just shouldn’t pass up. If you can’t find something scrumptious here, that won’t break the bank, then it doesn’t exist. And to go with that food there’s now “Streat Brew”, San Francisco’s first Food Truck able to serve wine and beer both by bottle and draft.

    Here’s another excellent itinerary for a day in San Francisco, that won’t break the bank. Plan a day at Angel Island State Park, a historic place which was once the West Coasts entry port, or Ellis Island. Head down early in the morning to the downtown Ferry district, and check out the Ferry Building Marketplace. The idea is to cruise the many food shops and come up with a picnic lunch you can take on the ferryboat to the island.
    Make sure you bring your camera or smartphone, because the views from the island of Alcatraz, the city and the bay are fantastic. Wear good hiking shoes, because the trails aren’t to tough, and well worth taking.

    Now everyone that visits San Francisco, especially for the first time, needs to experience Fisherman’s Warf. It’s not really “off the beaten path”, but that doesn’t mean you must spend a million bucks and eat on the top restaurants. It doesn’t make any difference what the weathers like, dress accordingly and go for a walk. You can visit the shops, keeping an eye out for one of the many restaurants along the way. Always check out the menu, which is usually posted outside. You’re sure to find one that will fit your wallet and in many cases, offer great bay views, sometimes even outside seating. San Francisco restaurants, especially on the Warf, offer some of the best fresh seafood.

    Here’s a word or two about public transportation in greater San Francisco. It’s highly recommended to use it.

    Muni is an extensive network consisting of streetcars, busses, streetcars and trolleybuses. They cover the entire city, including every shopping district and tourist destination. The system has 1, 3 and 7-day passes or “Passports” for sales that offer unlimited rides on all. At times of choice or necessity, the Taxi services in San Francisco are safe and plentiful, and most time a great source for info.

  • San Francisco – 5 Ways To Experience The City For Less

    So how do you spend less while seeing more in San Francisco? Easy, just check out a few of things to do in San Francisco.

    Transportation: Buy a BART ( Bay Area Rapid Transit) pass and save money. Also consider using Uber or Uber x to get around town. It will save you money on parking and you can spend more time sightseeing and less time trying to figure out all the one way streets. You should know that while San Francisco is a pedestrian friendly city, it seems much larger than it actually is because you have to climb a large hill to get from one side to the other.

    Logistics: Where you stay makes a difference when it comes to moving around the city. Walking to Chinatown or Little Italy as well as having access to Market Street and the embarcadero means you need a hotel that is centrally located.

    The Golden Gate Bridge
    Everybody wants that perfect picture on the bridge or of the bridge but driving across is a bit of a hassle because you really never get a good opportunity to see the bridge. IN stead you can walk across the bridge and at 1.7 miles it is a manageable walk or you can rent a bike and take the bike path across. While you do that you might as well head all the way over to Sausalito for lunch and then pedal your way back. On a bright, sunny day this is about as good as it can get in San Francisco. Since there is a good chance that I might be a bit foggy, the bike option helps you keep warm and often gives you a bit better perspective on the size and span of the bridge.

    Golden Gate Park
    There are plenty of walking trails and sights in the park but this is one of those places where a bike rental goes a long way. You can see most of the park on a long ride or you can find a tiny corner of the open space and just enjoy the climate that is so very much a part of the Bay area.

    Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory lets visits check out the process.

    Cable Car Museum
    The cable cars are part of the history of San Francisco and while a trip to the city without one is almost impossible (it can be expensive unless you buy a day pass) you have to at least take in the free museum. The museum is free and it gives you a great rundown of all the tidbits that you never thought you wanted to know. You will get to see where all the cable cars originate in the city and you’ll also get a better understanding of how they work.
    1201 Mason St San Francisco, CA 94108

    Take a free city tour
    San Francisco City Guides offer tours in neighborhoods by real guides who are both in formative and very helpful when looking for things to do. These walking tours are free and a gem in this city.

    Lombard Street
    Yes, this is one of those tourist spots that is hard to believe exists but get to the top of the street and look out at the city. The switchback road turns too many times to count but the views of the city from here are worth a visit.

    Fisherman’s Wharf
    No matter how many times you visit San Francisco you have to have some of that mediocre clam chowder in a fresh sourdough bread bowl. You have to do it and you wont be hungry the rest of the day if you finish the entire thing. It’s the best cheap meal in San Francisco and your options are plentiful on the wharf. When you are done walk around with the rest of the tourists and watch all of the street performers trying to earn a living a dollar at a time.