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Author: Sean Keener

San Francisco, CA, United States

North America: Round-the-World Travel Destinations

Budget Scale: 1-5

1-least expensive; 5-most expensive
5– San Francisco would make a great RTW travel destination, but the one negative you’ll hear from travelers, especially those who are budget minded, is that it’s expensive. There’s no way to get around it. Like New York and LA, traveling in San Fran is going to hurt your budget. Because of the natural beauty of the city and its surroundings, there are plenty of free activities, so be sure to check out the indie travel tips below.

Indie Travel Scale: 1-5

1-not a good Indie Travel destination; 5-a great Indie Travel destination
3– Despite the high prices, there is just something about San Francisco that screams indie. The diversity, the alternative lifestyles, the beauty and set-up of the city itself, the people – all combine to create a vibe that is uniquely San Francisco.
Indie Travel Tips
Accommodations are going to cost you quite a bit of cash, and if you want to taste some of the city’s famous cuisine, you’ll be paying for that, too. But there are plenty of ways to explore the city on your own, take in all the culture, and have a unique experience that won’t have you taking cutting your trip short.

  • There are tons of street festivals throughout the year – from the Chinese New Year parade in February to the Cherry Blossom Festival in April to the Haight Ashbury Street Fair in June to the Street Food Festival in August – there’s a parade and festival for every even in San Fran. What better way to interact with the locals than heading out to the variety of festivals on offer throughout the year?
  • In addition to the Street Food festival, you may want to check out Off the Grid, which puts on weekly events on Friday nights where a collection of as many as 30 or 40 food trucks are gathered in one spot. A great way to try different cuisine at a little cheaper than the restaurants.
  • Simply wandering around and exploring the different neighborhoods is a great way to get introduced to San Francisco and get away from the typical tourist destinations. Head to Chinatown (get to Stockton Street to get away from all the other tourists), Ocean Beach, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, and Haight Ashbury, among others.
  • There are plenty of parks and even a few beaches to chill out in. Check out the massive Golden Gate Park, watch the sun rise or set from the Twin Peaks, or head to Ocean Beach, China Beach, or Baker Beach if the sun decides to come out.

Why you should add San Francisco to your RTW travel list

  • It has one of the most extensive public transport systems in the country.
  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The people, the culture, and the vibe are unlike any other city you’ll ever visit.
  • Take day trips to the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma.
  • Revisit the 60s in Haight-Ashbury, birthplace of the hippie and flower power.
  • Grab a beer and a hot dog at the beautiful Pac Bell baseball park.
  • Just walk the streets of a town that’s been in more movies than you can count.
  • Visit Chinatown, especially during the Chinese New Year.
  • Take part in the multitude of parades and festivals on offer throughout the year.
  • Catch a cable car down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Bust into Alcatraz and find out why it was an escape-proof prison.
  • Wander around the campus of the University of California in Berkeley.

Why you should not add San Francisco to your RTW travel list

  • One of the only reasons San Francisco should be left off a RTW itinerary is because of the high costs. But if you can add it to a RTW flight itinerary or only stay for a few days, it’s worth it.

Are you heading to San Francisco? What do you need to do?

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