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Clement from Singapore asked

Budget Trip

My girlfriend and I would be arriving in San Francisco on the morning of Christmas Eve and we are leaving California after 13 days. We are looking for budget places that are a must-see and hopefully not as touristy. We absolutely love food and adventure. Also, are there any great places to spend Christmas night at?

San Francisco (California)

2 Answers
top answer by
Debbie from San Francisco

How exciting!  I love adventures on a budget in San Francisco :)

First suggestion is touristy, but definitely check out the Ferry Building, it's a tourist attraction that is worth visiting! If you're there on a Thursday or Saturday afternoon, hit up their farmers market.

Any day that it's nice, you should visit Dolores Park (weather's weird around here, so it could still be nice in December, who knows). Stop off at the Bi-Rite Market to grab some picnic goods, Bi-Rite Creamery to get some ice cream (prepare for a long line), Ike's Place to get a sandwich (prepare for a long line or order online ahead of time), or El Farolito for a quesadilla suiza (or taco or burrito, but the suiza is my favorite) and sit and relax and picnic! To really get a taste for local flavor, you should come here on a weekend afternoon.

While near the park, you should also explore the Mission District. Tons of restaurants and shops. Walk on Mission, and Valencia between 16th and 24th St to see the most stores. Also walk on 16th and 24th St themselves. Tons of cool street art and good food.

For cool, not-so-touristy, but still very San Francisco landmarks, check out the Clarion Alley in the Mission District.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps ProjectAnd Lands End for the labyrinth

If you like food trucks and food carts, every Friday, there's Off the Grid where the best food trucks all park during dinner time.  And there's also SoMa StrEat Food Park which is a pod of food trucks open 7 days a week and also till late night.These spots are loved by locals and travelers alike and are worth while spots to explore.

For things to do on Christmas, I'm sure there will be tons of Chinese and Indian restaurants opened :P  Something that I've been meaning to check out for years is the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show at New Asia Restaurant that will be running for its 22nd year this year.  Its tagline is "Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant" because it's just that.  Tickets are $65, so they are a tad pricey, but looks like a ton of fun.

Have fun and let me know if you have any other questions! :)

Comments (7)

Awesome! Thanks Debbie! This is exactly what I was looking for. We'll be out there for four days around New Year's and we're looking for different things to do. Thanks!

Great answer, Debbie! I miss SF!

Thanks, fellas! I'm going to have to share some suggestions with you, Scott, and it sounds like it's time to visit again, Mark!

This is awesome Debbie! I go to San Fran tons but you've given me some great new things to try! BTW -- it's not exactly budget budget -- but if anyone is at the Ferry Building -- behind it is my favorite "Vietnamese" restaurant "Slanted Door" .. if you eat ONE thing -- get their imperial egg rolls -- they are like nothing you've had before and AMAZING and fairly cheap (maybe $8 max?)

Thanks, Steven! I've been to Slanted Door before, but I've not yet had those imperial egg rolls. Will have to try them!

Hey all! Thank you so much for your suggestions! I have heard there are amazing theme parks in California! Please do share them with me!

My pleasure, Clement! The amusement parks near San Francisco aren't that memorable. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Six Flags in Vallejo and the one in Santa Clara. There's Disneyland, but that's all the way down in LA! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dolores Park (attraction)
  2. Bi-Rite Market (attraction)
  3. Bi-Rite Creamery (restaurant)
  4. Ike's Place (restaurant)
  5. El Farolito (restaurant)
  6. Mission District (neighborhood)
  7. Clarion Alley (attraction)
  8. 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project (attraction)
  9. Lands End (attraction)
  10. Off the Grid (restaurant)
  11. SoMa StrEat Food Park (restaurant)
  12. New Asia Restaurant (restaurant)
comments (7)
likes (6) thanks
answered by
Andy from San Francisco

Hey Clement, I actually wrote several blog posts about fun non-touristy things to do in San Francisco. Each one focuses on a different section of the city, and includes lots of great food and fun activities.

The Mission and the Castro

Mission street art and dessert

Chinatown, North Beach, and the Embarcadero

Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach

Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and Fisherman’s Wharf


First Fridays, Art Murmur, and a burlesque show

Here are some inexpensive food recommendations:


That's just what I came up with off the top of my head. There are too many places to name!

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Comments (1)

Clement, I have been wanting to visit Singapore forever and I just joined this site but it is synchronicity that you wrote this on my birthday and today I have decided to get a Before I am 45 list and Singapore is the second item. I have less than 4 years.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Yamo (restaurant)
  2. Deja Vu Pizza & Pasta (attraction)
  3. Dumpling Kitchen (restaurant)
  4. SoMa StrEat Food Park (restaurant)
  5. Truck Stop (restaurant)
  6. Off the Grid: San Francisco (attraction)
  7. Arinell Pizza Inc (restaurant)
  8. Kasa Indian Eatery (restaurant)
  9. Hong Kong Lounge (attraction)
  10. New Eritrea Restaurant & Bar (restaurant)
  11. Playground (attraction)
  12. SB40 (restaurant)
  13. Humphry Slocombe (restaurant)
  14. Ramen Underground (restaurant)
  15. Muracci's Japanese Curry & Grill (restaurant)
  16. Ike's Place (restaurant)
comments (1)
likes (2) thanks

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