Visiting any city in North American can get expensive, fast, and San Francisco is a particularly pricey place to visit. If youíre on a tight budget there are still plenty of things to enjoy in the city without breaking the bank.
1. HIT THE PARKS
San Francisco has some fantastic parks and playgrounds in them - all 100% free. The Delores Mission Park in the Mission District is not only a beautiful park with a view, but also has a newly renovated all-abilities playground for kids to climb, swing and run in, set against one of the best views in town. We also loved Golden Gate Park, which is a whopping 411-hectares of public grounds and contains a lake with ducks and the fantastic Koret Children's Quarter Playground - the first dedicated play space for kids in the nation. Lastly, right in the heart of San Francisco lies the Yerba Buena Gardens with itís childrenís garden and playground. During summer free concerts are held during the day for kids to enjoy in the gardens, and the Martin Luther King memorial fountain provides plenty of entertainment for kids who love to dice with getting wet.
2. GET SOME CULTURE
San Francisco has some incredible art, both in galleries and on the streets. Walk through the Mission District for your fill of vibrant street art, or check out Richard Serra's maze-like steel sculpture Sequence at the SFMOMA - itís free to enter this part of the building. In Golden Gate Park, itís free to wander through the sculpture garden at the de Young Museum, and letís not forget Union Square, where you can watch the cable cars go by and pose with the giant hearts.
3. SEE THE CITY BY FOOT
Plenty of the famous San Franciscan sights are free to see. Take a stroll over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands for spectacular sweeping views over the city. Visit the Painted Ladies and let kids run off steam in the Alamo Square playground across the road. Stroll up and down the Embarcadero eastern waterfront, see Alcatraz from a distance and visit the sea lions at Pier 39. The sea lions have been regular visitors to the area since 1989. If youíre wearing your walking shoes, wind your way up the extremely crooked Lombard Street to the very top.
4. GET CLOSE TO NATURE
Amazingly there is plenty of nature on the cityís doorstep. Walk the lands End Trail, a fairly easy 4.8km hike along the coastline of San Francisco that includes China Beach, views of the Sutro Baths, Mile Rock Beach and ends at Sutro Baths. While itís generally too cold to swim in San Francisco, itís never too chilly to dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean and build sand castles at Crissy Fields, our fave beach with a sweeping view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Christine Knight writes about navigating
the world and parenthood on her site,
You can find her sampling gelato and cake around the world with her
preschooler, or building sandcastles at the beach in her home town of Sydney.