Foodie on a Budget – How to Save and Spend in San Francisco

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a weekend getaway up the coast to one of the ultimate foodie cities – San Francisco. For 48 hours we walked and ate our way around the city spending our money on what matters most – food & drink!  Here are our top 5 free things to do and the food you should spend your money on. 


SAVE: Ferry Building

  • Explore the Ferry Building and the seemingly endless Farmer’s Market surrounding it on Saturdays.  Merchants sell everything from fresh local fish to artisan cheeses, just-baked breads and pastries. There are plenty of free samples to go around!

SPEND: Blue Bottle Coffee & Cowgirl Creamery Cafe

  • Blue Bottle Coffee at the Ferry Building is a must. On a breezy morning by the water it hits the spot. Go for the Gibraltar, a Blue Bottle specialty, and look for them in LA coming soon!
  •  You won’t be able to resist the smell of Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick Cafe’s made to order breakfast sandwiches baked with local cheese. Try their traditional Baked Egg Sandwich featuring Cave-Aged Gruyere.

Cowgirl Creamery


SAVE: Fisherman’s Wharf & Pier 39

  • From the Ferry Building we walked off breakfast by strolling along the Embarcadero up to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 where you can watch sea lions bask in the sun with a picturesque view of Alcatraz.

SPEND: Chocolate Heaven

  • Enjoy a mid-morning treat from Chocolate Heaven on the Pier because who could say no to chocolate covered marshmallow and almonds?

Chocolate Heaven


SAVE: Pioneer Park

  • Hike up through Pioneer Park for beautiful views of the Embarcadero and Bay.


SPEND: Reveille Coffee Co.

  • Stop for a light lunch and afternoon coffee pick-me-up at this popular shop at the intersection of Columbus and Kearney. With floor to ceiling windows it’s a prime spot for people watching.


SAVE: Chinatown

  • Explore San Francisco’s lively Chinatown down Stockton Street and make your way through the shopping crowds. For souvenirs, head down Grant Street.

SPEND: Drinks

Trick Dog Bar

  • This trendy hidden gem tucked away in the Mission District is known for their cocktails.
  • Try the Grandma’s Sweater cocktail made with gin, blood orange, Amaro, bitter lemon tonic, and mint.

Trick Dog Bar

Elbo Room

  • A popular staple in the Mission District and the perfect place to grab a happy hour drink before heading to dinner.


SAVE: Union Square

  • Union Square is a prime shopping area and San Fran hub. Stroll around the block and window shop at a variety of stores from Tiffany’s to a three-story Williams-Sonoma.

SPEND: Dinner


  • Walk over to nearby Delfina Restaurant or the more casual, but equally as popular, Pizzeria Delfina for amazing Italian food and wine.
  • Seasonal highlights:
    • Insalata di Campo | field greens, pancetta, walnuts, parmigiano, balsamic vinaigrette
    • Spring Ribbolita | Castello di Ama Estate olive oil
    • Rosemary Tagliatelle al Ragù

Wishing you all the best on your future travels!



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