I am proud to say that my parents came to town and the only thing we spent money on was food, 2 decks of cards, and parking. The level of cheapness was made possible in part by the fact that my parents splurged on a car rental- we could not have pulled this level of site seeing off in just 48 hours on public transit.
My parents 48 hour tour of SF started with lunch at The Pork Store, followed by drive through Golden Gate Park taking a moment to look at my favorite building in all of SF, the Conservatory of Flowers. If you follow me on instagram I post a picture of it nearly once a week. We found some good street parking of JFK and walked to the De Young viewing tower (free). Then we headed over to the De Young cafe and walked around sculpture garden (also, always free). We hoped back into the car and drove down JFK looked out of our window to view a beautiful GGP waterfall and a few pretty ponds, then headed down to where the buffalo are.
At that point we had to head to the mission to pick up the BF. While in the mission we drove down Vermont Street the actual most crooked street in SF (Lombard is the prettiest crooked street, but Vermont is definitely more intense.) We then walked down Balmy Alley to view the famous Mission Murals. Then hopped back in the car headed to the ocean to see the 1 of the 2 Dutch Windmills, Sutro Baths, and did a drive by viewing of the Legion of Honor. From there we lost my dad in Green Apple Books (at this point in my life I should know that you cannot 'stop in' to a bookstore with my father), and we had dinner at Burma Superstar. After dinner we headed to my house and upon realizing I don't own card I headed off to the liquor store to buy 2 decks. We spent the evening in playing hearts- my mom won, but it was an accident- does that even count as winning when you don't mean to??
Thursday was a full day starting at 7:30 am. We drove over to the Inner Sunset and started our day by hiking around Stow Lake, then headed to 9th and Irving for brunch at Chow. From there we headed back to the mission to visit Mission Dolores (okay, so not actually free but we only spent $15 for 3 of us each, and my dad got in free because he was wearing his preacher clothes). We did lunch in Japan Town then went over to Grace Cathedral to walk the Labyrinth. The stop at Grace could have been free, but I really didn't want to drive around forever looking for parking. The lot at Grace is $2.50 per 20 minutes and for this particular trip to the church, it was worth the $10. The evening was less free: we went to the Do Good Lab happy hour at Dear Mom and dinner at Old Skool. (I already posted about how I spent a bit too much money there, but it was worth it.)
We ended the visit with a trip to the Japanese Tea Garden (Free before 10 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and a final drive through the park so we could see the other Dutch Windmill.
I have to say I think I live in one of the best cities ever. All told we spent less than $30 on entertainment and all the rest of the money went to food and my parents treated me to some fantastic meals. This trip might not fit everyone one who visits SF. We did spend most of the trip in Golden Gate Park and I know many people come to The City to spend time in the city. For us the combination of old churches and gardens was perfect. I would recommend that anyone traveling to SF on a budget take advantage of the park. I know that we could have saved more money by skipping the restaurants, but the food here is just too good for that non-sence.
If you were planing a cheap tour of SF where would you go? I know I left off some great places, but my parents will be back. Ideas for their next journey?
Scarf: Bought with Coupon from ScoutMob from The Mission Statement (sadly, I walked by the store the other day and it is gone) Dress: Hand-me-down from Rachael, Tights: Hue, Boots: Hunter Rain Boots- I wanted them in hunter green for AGES but couldn't justify $100+ for rain boots. Luckily, I found these on sale for $70 a few years ago, and I still love them