In my previous blog I discussed a few ways I was able to keep the transportation costs down on my trip to Northern California. In this post I am going to discuss specifically how we were able to affordably dine out and site see while vacationing in Northern California. Prior to the trip I was watching 20/20 and they did a story about traveling on the cheap and it just so happened they were in San Francisco. One of the tips they offered was to always go a street over from where the tourists were to find the deals. That is probably best advice I could have received when it came to dining out and sightseeing.
My mom and I were able to enjoy the foodie scene of San Francisco and Northern California all while spending on average than on less than $50 a day during our vacation. We usually only ate one large meal and then were able to snack or eat smaller meals. One night we even ate leftovers from the previous nights dinner, which we only paid $25. Of course, we were only able to do this because we had a fridge in our room and there was a microwave available to reheat the food. We were in San Francisco on a Saturday and were able to grab a fresh homemade breakfast from the Farmers Market on the Pier, which is very similar to Portland’s Saturday Market. The Farmer’s market was also a great place for browsing the local arts scene. The vendors offered many free samples of locally grown produce, desserts, wine and much more.
Another great way we saved money was by purchasing bottles of water from local corner market stores and not the tourist areas. In these areas you would pay almost $3 for a bottle of water, but walking a block or two over you could find a large bottle for around a dollar. Souvenirs were the most affordable in Chinatown and the shops outside the main tourist areas. As far as sightseeing there were plenty of things to do and see for free. The only two attractions that we spent money on were the Conservatory of Flowers museum ($7) and then wine tasting/tour of Castillo de Amorosa in Napa Valley ($34). Overall, my mom and I had a great time on our trip and it was a bonus to save some money and stick to a budget at the same time.