How to spend a day in San Francisco on any budget
It’s no secret that San Francisco is one of the most exciting cities in America. This is just one of the many reasons we chose the city as the destination of our new home, Common City Gardens in SoMa. Our fully-furnished home comes complete with utilities, professional cleanings, and WiFi (for only $960 a month!) and offers excellent views of the surrounding area. As for the views you can’t see from the window, we’ll have to hit the streets. SoMa and its adjacent neighborhoods are growing by the day, so there’s something for everyone — from foodies to sightseers and everything in-between. With so much to do, planning a day can be a bit overwhelming. But we’re here to help!
While a day in San Francisco can be pricey, it certainly doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are so many fun and affordable options that it would take weeks to enjoy them all, but we’re up for the challenge! If you only have a day and want to keep your spending low (around $20), here’s how to do it:
Rise and shine!
Start with coffee and a croissant from independent roastery, Sextant. Inspired by San Francisco’s rich coastal-town history, their cold brew made from in-house roasted beans and flaky pastries will get you amped for the day and keep you moving for hours. Channel this energy into a walk over to Out of the Closet and peruse their racks for a good deal–maybe a trinket or two for your new home!
After you’ve burned off breakfast, stop for a slice (or two) at Goat Hill Pizza. Serving slices to SoMa since 1975 (say that five times, fast!) they’ll surely become your neighborhood go-to. And don’t worry, they deliver to Common City Gardens–so you can get your fix any time.
After a day out in the new neighborhood, kick back and relax at SoMa sensation StrEat Food Park. Offering small plates, big flavors, and a great environment for meeting new friends, the Food Park is a can’t miss. The best part? It’s only a stone’s throw from Common City Gardens.
If you’ve got a little extra scratch…
We’ve proved that a perfect day in San Francisco doesn’t have to break the bank, but if your budget allows for a little more we’ve got you covered. Here’s how far $50 can take you.
Only 15 minutes via Uber (or 20 via bike if you feel up to it) from the Common City Gardens front steps is the legendary Embarcadero: the gateway to historic San Francisco. From here you have your pick of countless museums, restaurants galore, and SF charm you can’t get anywhere else. But if you ask us, grabbing coffee from Blue Bottle and a sweet-tooth satisfying treat from Miette Cakes while you take in the sights of the centuries-old Ferry Building is the way to go.
Get some air
Just across the street from the Embarcadero is six acres of open-air California green space: Sue Bierman Park. California’s weather is some of the best in the country, and this park takes full advantage of that. Throw out a towel, read a few pages from your favorite novel, and occasionally pinch yourself–we promise you aren’t dreaming! Book a reservation for drinks while you’re at it.
Nothing works up a thirst like soaking up some vitamin D! After achieving zen in the park, head to the Battery Hotel–not for a late check in, but rather for drinks in their House Bar. A no-phones affair, you can live in the moment while sampling small plates and some of the best craft cocktails (or artisanal sparkling waters, you do you!) the city has to offer. Feel free to brag to your friends later.
Going big in the bay
We’ve shown you thrifty and semi-splurge ways to spend a day in San Francisco, but if you’ve got one day–and around $100–to make a lifetime’s worth of SF memories, here’s how to do it.
There are only so many hours in a day, so set that early alarm (sorry, no snoozing today!) and fuel up with a smoothie from vegan favorite Nourish Cafe on your way back toward the Embarcadero. Here, all you true crime fanatics can embark on a tour of Alcatraz Island. If this is too spooky for your taste, there’s always the San Francisco Whale Tours at nearby Pier 35, though these are a bit more costly. If you do decide to crack open the piggy bank, though, it’s well worth it. We should also mention that both of these tours have excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Classic two-birds scenario!
Back on the mainland…
After spending your morning at one San Francisco landmark, it’s time to visit another. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace, now synonymous with deliciously decadent chocolate treats, is housed in a former chocolate factory which dates back to the mid-1800’s. The building may be old, but the chocolate is as fresh as can be.
Ending with a bang
Hopefully you didn’t get too full off of the chocolate fountain, because we’re rounding out the day at one of San Francisco’s best restaurants: State Bird Provisions. Offering socially-distanced outdoor dining and a constantly-evolving menu, there is no better way to round out your day than at this SF gem. Go with friends to get the full culinary experience, and share a bevy of carefully crafted small plates. Enjoy a brief, but blissful, ride back to Common City Gardens and revel in all that the day had to offer. Ready to do it all again tomorrow?
Your own slice of San Francisco