Backpacking in San Francisco, USA: 6 Things to do With a $100 Bill

San Francisco in the USA offers a lot to visitors. As with many cities, you can quickly rack up surprisingly high expenses before you even know it. As I prepare for my first visit to the USA in 7 years (more to come on that), here are six things to do in SF that cost less than $100 combined – not bad on your backpacker’s wallet!

1. Tour by Cable Car

Backpacking in San Francisco - A Top 6 things to do with $100

Backpacking in San Francisco – A Top 6 things to do with $100

Image via Flickr by Alfonso Jimenez

Get a passport for unlimited public transportation all day. The cable cars, especially, are a fun and retro way to tour San Francisco. One passport will cost you $13 for the day and the cable cars will take you through neat San Francisco areas for a great urban sightseeing experience. Rock n Roll!

Cable Car Passport: $13

2. Freaky History – Alcatraz

Alcatraz! Backpacking in San Francisco - A Top 6 things to do with $100

Alcatraz! Backpacking in San Francisco – A Top 6 things to do with $100

Image via Flickr by sergejf

Once one of America’s most infamous/famous prisons, Alcatraz now brings in over a million visitors every year. Don’t miss your chance to experience this landmark with a ferry ride to the island and tours of the Rock. Book your tickets well in advance, since passes are limited and often sell out at least three weeks before the date.

Alcatraz Trip: $30

3. Local Food Challenge

For a fun San Francisco experience, challenge yourself to spend a limited amount at a local farmers’ market. Different markets are open on different days of the week, so pick the one that works for you and try limiting your spend to $10. From a fresh lunch to a bag of local coffee, you never know what will catch your eye!

Market Challenge: $10

4. Experiencing the Beats

Art! Backpacking in San Francisco - A Top 6 things to do with $100

Art! Backpacking in San Francisco – A Top 6 things to do with $100

Image via Flickr by Goodnight London

Starting at the Beat Museum, take a 2 hour tour and explore the anti-authoritarianism movement. From the favorite Beats hangouts to the 1953 City Lights Bookstore, this is one tour you can appreciate as a poet, filmmaker, historian, or tourist.

Walking Tour: $30 ($8 Beats Museum Fee Included)

5. Exercise in the Park

Join the locals in Golden Gate Park – the three-mile-wide expanse of beautiful man-made nature conservation. Don’t forget to bring your skates or bike if you aren’t a fan of walking or jogging. You will get to experience free sightseeing of the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, and Hippie Hill in tandem with a heart-healthy workout!

Self-Tour of the Park: Free

6. City Lookout Point

Backpacking in San Fran - City Lookout Point.

Backpacking in San Fran – City Lookout Point.

Image via Flickr by Franco Folini

Finally, climb the Coit Tower atop historic Telegraph Hill and check out the views of the city. You know how much I love free views of cities! Getting into the tower is free, but if you want to save your legs (or if you are too worn out from the walking Beats tour and exercise in the park), then you might want to pay the minimal fee to take the elevator. Aside from the great view overlooking the city, you can also check out the tower’s beautiful murals painted in 1934.

Elevator Ride to the Top: $7

So, all-in-all we believe there are more than enough activities here to keep you busy for a total of $90 for the day and chump change for unexpected expenses, with that spare $10 you can pop down the local for a few happy hour beers. Check out this helpful travel guide for more great San Francisco tourist tips.

Safe travels!

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