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Our San Francisco Trip Budget

Our San Francisco Trip Budget

For the past 2 weeks, i’ve been keeping up with all of our San Francisco expenses for the simple reason that we wish we had this information during our planning stage! We’ve heard San Francisco is expensive, and we didn’t know if we would need $100 a day or $300 a day for food. We didn’t know if the City Pass was worth it, or if we should consider another option. Think of our budget as giving you the flexibility to increase or decrease your budget and better personalize your experience.

We purchased the city pass for this trip thinking the street car and MUNI bus would be a beneficial way to get around. The city pass also comes with tickets to the science museum, aquarium and a few other local attractions. However, we found that using an Uber to get around town was a better option. Our Uber rides only cost $7-$10 per ride, and we got some great local recommendations this way. The amount of time it took for us to stand in line and wait for a street car or bus wasn’t worth it to us. If we could do it again, we would skip the city pass.

We really enjoyed where we stayed. It was right in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf, so we could walk to dinner or grab ice cream at Ghirardelli. Our hotel was clean, our bed was extremely comfortable, and the complimentary breakfast was decent. If you want to go all out, you could stay at the Fairmont, Hyatt or Hotel Zephyr. We knew we would be out of the room a lot, so we chose a middle of the line hotel. If you want to save even more money, you could look into an AirBnb or Travelodge. If we go back, we will stay somewhere new just to explore a new area of town, maybe somewhere near Haight-Ashbury. Keep in mind that Fisherman’s Wharf is very dirty, very crowded, very touristy. If you want to see the real San Francisco, go deeper into town.

If I had to choose my favorite experience of the trip no matter the cost, it would be Coldplay, followed by the Giants game. California’s stadiums are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen. The food at the game is SO good, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the weather is lovely. Bring sunscreen because Tyler walked away a fried lobster and my head has been peeling through my hair the entire trip. Tyler’s chosen experience would be Coldplay, followed by biking the Golden Gate bridge with Blazing Saddles. He loved it!

My least favorite experience was China Town. It didn’t impress me much, and the food isn’t the typical Chinese food that you’re used to at home. There is some funky looking food in China Town! I also think the China Town in New York is nicer than this one.

Food wise, it looks like we spent around $100 per day on food. I think we could have eaten better as well as enjoyed a few more meals that didn’t involve a table number or standing in line. If you like the restaurant experience (and being waited on), I would increase your food budget. I know some that spent $200 a day solely on food.

If you have any questions about your San Francisco trip or ways to save/splurge, you are welcome to browse my past posts as well as leave your questions in comments. I’m happy to answer them! My whole goal on this blog is to make your life easier and provide you with real expectations for a hassle free trip.

Arrival Day:
• Delta Airfare with complimentary companion ticket (we have a Delta Sky Miles Credit Card) – $420.00 round trip for 2 people
• Airport lunch (Chick Fil A) and snacks for plane – $18.00, $25.00
• City Pass (usage of Street Car, Cal. Academy of Sciences, Bay Cruise Adventure, Exploratorium, Aquarium) $188.00 for 2 people
• Holiday Inn Express Hotel, Fishermans Wharf, 7 nights (complimentary breakfast) – $1700.00
• Fisherman’s Wharf Crab Chowder for dinner – $32.00 for 2 people incl. tip
• CVS run for chapstick, toothpaste, and makeup wipes – $15.00

TOTAL: $2,398.00

Day 1, Fishermans Wharf, China Town, AT&T Park:
• Starbucks morning coffee – $8.00 for 2 people
• CVS run for deodorant and shampoo – $9.44
• Giants game tickets – $110.00 for 2 people
• Giants game stadium food (1 hot dog, 2 hamburgers, 2 waters, 2 cokes, nachos, ice cream bar, peanuts) – $55.00
• China Town dinner at Begoni Bistro (impulse decision) – $55.00
• Uber back to the hotel – $10.00

TOTAL: $247.44

Day 2, Blazing Saddles Bike Tour, Sausalito:
• Bike rental – $100.00 for 2 people (one electric bike at $70, one mountain bike at $30)
• Trader Joes snacks for the bike trip – $8.15 (peanut butter pretzels, 2 waters, dark chocolate bar)
• Ferry ticket to return bikes – $20.00 for 2 people
• Lunch in Sausalito – $27.51 (2 sandwiches, 2 chips, 2 drinks)
• Saltwater Taffy – $10.00 
• Starbucks coffee in Sausalito – $9.20 (2 coffees)
• Pizza at Carmel Pizza$55.00 (2 large pizzas)
• Ice Cream Sandwiches at The Baked Bear$11.00 (2 ice cream sandwiches)
• Uber back to the hotel – $10.00

TOTAL: $250.86

Day 3, Alcatraz + Ferry Building:
• Alcatraz Tickets – $66.00 for 2 people
• Lunch in the Ferry Building – $47.00 (one salad, one hot dog, one sandwich, one cup of chili)
• Candy treats at Miette Bakery – $12.00 (one chocolate treat, one sour treat)
• Ghirardelli Square Sundaes – $29.00 for 2 sundaes
• Baked Potatoes for dinner – $19.00 (2 loaded baked potatoes, 2 drinks)
• Movie on demand – $3.00 (Escape from Alcatraz on Amazon)

TOTAL: $176.00

Day 4, Mission + Castro + Haight-Ashbury:
• El Farolito lunch – $23.00 (2 super burritos, 2 sodas)
• Starbucks – $12.00 (2 waters, 2 muffins, 1 coffee)
• Uber to Castro – $7.00
• Uber to Painted Ladies – $7.00
• Uber to Haight Ashbury – $8.00
• Uber to Embarcadero – $8.00
• Walgreens run (sunscreen, aloe, souvenir) – $29.00
• Starbucks collectible coffee mug souvenir – $12.00
• In N Out for dinner – $19.00

TOTAL: $125.00

Day 5, Bixby Bridge, Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Monterey Aquarium, Carmel :
• Enterprise Car Rental – $265.00 with insurance
• Starbucks – $8.20 for 2 drinks
• Santa Cruz Corn Dogs for lunch – $9.00 for 2 corn dogs
• Santa Cruz slushies – $12.00 for 2 slushies
• Monterey Bay Aquarium parking – $10.00 (our tickets were included in the City Pass book, see arrival day)
• Souvenir for parents – $18.00
• Carmel dinner – $74.00

TOTAL: $396.20

See Also

Day 6, Sausalito, Muir Woods:
• Lunch at Caffe Tutti – $46.85 (2 drinks, 2 lunches, 2 desserts, cup of soup)
• Sausalito parking – $4.00
• Entrance fee Muir Woods – $20.00 for 2 people
• Gas – $30.00
• Dinner at Bistro Boudin – $88.00 incl. tip (crab macaroni and cheese, meatballs, appetizer, hamburger)
• Souvenir for family – $28.00
• Ghirardelli – $20.61 (2 hot chocolates, 2 ice creams)

TOTAL: $237.46

Day 7, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Coldplay Concert:
• Switched Hotels for one night for Coldplay concert (and close to airport for the following morning) – $175.00
• Wings for lunch – $26.00 for 2 people
• Dinner – $15.89
• Stadium Drinks – $12.00
• Stadium snack – $7.00
• Coldplay T Shirts – $80.00
• Coldplay Tickets (the whole reason for our trip!) $600.00 for 2 people

TOTAL: $915.89

Departure Day:

• Gas – $11
• Breakfast at airport – $10.00
• Lunch at airport – $12.00

TOTAL: $33.00

TOTAL TRIP COST: $4,779.85

• Most Expensive: Hotel Cost, $1700.00 for 7 nights (and one night at a hotel for Coldplay)
• Average spent on food per day: $97.00 (I would recommend increasing your food budget if you plan on making reservations at a nice restaurant / being waited on since you will end up tipping your waiter. We only ate at one restaurant that waited on us. Everything else involved standing in a line and ordering at the register).
• Most expensive activity: Giants game / Coldplay concert

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