Is it possible to travel to SF on a budget? It's hard, I can tell you that. But not impossible! The vacation started off with an airport Corona and some really good news. As we were getting to know the people at the next table in the LAX airport, we opened up about our plans to visit the city on a strict budget. We were staying with a friend Thursday and Friday night but were still figuring out Saturday.
As I was jabbering on about life, budgets, and goals (and the conviction I feel in reaching said goals) the unbelievable happened! The kind strangers exchanged a look. One was already picking up his phone and said, "Should I?" As the other said, "YES!" and boom. They had set us up in a spare room in their SF home.
What better way to start the trip than the total kindness of strangers turned instant friends? It all worked out, and with the help of those amazing people, we actually pulled off a trip to one of the most expensive cities in the nation for under 200 bucks. Between the amazing public transit, the free entertainment of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the complimentary lodging, and the delicious single pizza slices, two people for less than two hundred dollars can be done!
We did walk a ton, maybe a little too much in fact. We first started walking a lot because it was just fun to see the city, but by the end of the night we were pretty sure we made a mistake. The buses leaving the festival area of Golden Gate Park were PACKED and you really don't realize just how far 25 blocks of park walk is. The next day we made a similar mistake. This map shows our Thursday night walk in blue, the Friday walk in red, and the Saturday walk in green. I'm pretty zoomed out, but you get the idea.
I enjoyed Chinatown, especially the stores with fresh produce I've never seen in our markets in SD. Even the roasted chicken and ducks were pretty fresh. Straight from the cage freshness. I also liked the natural air-drying of clothes you see in most other big cities around the world. I wish our apartment building was a little friendlier towards clothes lines! And not sure what the little rope tied section of plastic bags are on the street, any ideas?
We also loved going into the old churches along the way.
We realized we were close to Lombard St (the crooked st) and so we hiked up to check it out. Unfortunately the view is not as cool from the top, but I decided I have seen enough photos of this street to move on. I got a good view of Alcatraz and we pondered if the guy ever really made it after his famous escape off the island. Some people say it would have been impossible for him to swim it, but they never found a body... soooo....
Anyway we almost walked right past the famous Victorian houses you might remember from the opening credits of Full House. I mean, they were really not THAT great, am I right? After spending 6 hours of the morning walking through the amazing neighborhoods of SF, those houses didn't stick out at all.
At the festival we saw Patty Griffin, Bright Eyes, M Ward, and The Bell Brigade among many others. The place was total hippie chaos, with more than 800,000 people expected to attend. We didn't mess around with too many bands, and stuck to a few we really wanted to see.
The trip was a success and I'm totally refreshed! By the way, the SF airport is way ahead of the game. Not only do they have recycling trash cans, they actually have composting ones too. Not to mention the awesome "cool seats" and the free wifi. Come on LAX and get with the program!
Thanks again to our angel strangers, as well as my dear cousin Ally for letting us stay in her tiny hotel room for two nights.