A hipster at heart, San Francisco loves its music, hippie history, and gritty underground restaurants that laugh in the face of chains.
It’s “center” isn’t placed in the middle like other cities, either. Toward the east coast above Mission is Union Square, where nightclubs, shopping, hotels and restaurants collide. Other neighborhoods like Castro, Haight Ashbury and Cow Hollow have more distinct character, but a bit less of a blend.
Here are a couple of cheap tricks cheap tips to know before you go:
Food: Some of the best international fare can be found in Mission, Chinatown and Japantown. San Fran also rocks the cheap brunch scene, specifically at places like Olivia’s Brunch & Fine Dining, Three Papayas, and The Little Chihuahua.
Drinks: Happy hours with specials less than $8 include 5A5 Steak Lounge, Ambassador, Fly Bar, Infusion Lounge, Laszlo Bar, The Page Bar and Smuggler’s Cove.
Hotels: For inexpensive, less-than-glam accommodations, pick a hostel like Elements in Mission, or for more upscale locales, try one of the Personality Hotels properties in Union Square.
Entertainment: Martuni’s, Johnny Foley’s, and Sheba Piano Lounge are all reasonably-priced piano bars. Want to see Alcatraz for less? Book in advance, and shop around online for discount specials.
Shopping: Haight Ashbury may seem like a hippie haven, but its distinct boutiques sell jewelry and clothing in the reasonable double-digits.
Free: Walk around Alamo Square to see Victorian homes, Golden Gate Park for Japanese tea gardens and the Strybing Arboretum, and Pier 39 to watch the sea lions.