Fun Things to do in San Francisco -
Some of the best low cost attractions in San Francisco

Shortcuts: Fun Things to Do,  Hiking TrailsFree ActivitiesBargain Places to EatBest Places for DessertsTwitter Updates

Fun Things To Do in San Francisco:

1. Urban Trek USA is a unique way to see San Francisco. A San Francisco walking tour is the best way to get to know why San Francisco is one of the best places on earth. Urban trekking is an experience you will never get sitting inside a tour bus. With Urban Trek USA's treks, you absorb more of the environment and thus have an enhance interaction with your surroundings.

2. Eating at the many neighborhood restaurants. Check out Bargain Places to Eat, Best Places for Desserts, and Twitter Updates for suggestions showcasing a few neighborhood restaurants that provide great food, good value, and an atmosphere that is unique to San Francisco.

Hiking Trails in San Francisco

On Your Own Urban Trek 5 - Urban Trek USA is now providing suggestions for self-guided urban treks you can do on your own. For more information about the self-guided urban treks, refer to the "On Your Own" web page or "On Your Own - Trek 5" web page.

Presidio Hiking Trails - Click here to download a printable map of the Presidio Hiking Trails. The hiking trails at the Presidio are one of the best. You will see some of the best views of San Francisco and feel like you are in the wilderness even though you are within city limits. Here are some samples of what you can expect to see:

View from Inspiration Point Overlook

View from Batteries to Bluffs Trail
(Click here to watch all Urban Trek USA videos in full screen on YouTube.)


Free Activites in San Francisco:

Try Urban Trek USA's On Your Own Urban Treks:
Urban Trek 5. For more information about the self-guided On Your Own Urban Treks, visit the "On Your Own" web page.

California Academy of Sciences - One Sunday per quarter. Check their calendar.
M.H. de Young Museum, Conservatory of Flowers & Legion of Honor - free every first Tuesday of the month.

Street Fairs:
It is that time of year again for street fairs all over the city. For a schedule of all the street fairs, click on this link: San Francisco Street Fairs

This Urban Trek Leader's favorite are: Fillmore Street Jazz, Union Street Art Festival, North Beach Festival, Stern Grove Festival.

Watch a movie under the stars in San Francicso:
San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation shows movies at different parks from June 20th to October 3rd.  Check link to their website for dates, show times, and movie listing: San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation website.

Some suggestions if you plan to go to one of the screenings: a) Washington Square is in the North Beach district. Have coffee and pastries at Victoria Pastry (Victoria Pastry website) or  have gelato at Naia (Naia website) before watching the movie.  b) Dolores Park is not far from Tartine Bakery and Cafe (Tartine website) where you can have their delicious bread pudding or have good ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (Bi-Rite Creamery website) across from the park.

Bargain Places to Eat:
Click for shortcut to area: Castro AreaChinatownInner Richmond (new Chinatown) Area, Mission/Valencia Area,   Union Square/Financial District,   Tenderloin/Civic Center Area

Around the Castro Area:

, 215 Church Street (@ Market Street), San Francisco, CA 94115, (415) 552-2469 (Click here for Chow's website)

Chow has really good food at prices that are affordable. I try not to endorse chain restaurants but -- although Chow has other locations -- I don't consider Chow as a true chain restaurant. Chow has that neighborhood restaurant feeling.

I can't say I have a favorite dish because everything I have had is good. However, I must say that the Ginger Cake with pumpkin ice cream is one reason I don't go to Chow that often because it is hard to resist ordering this delicious dessert.

Kasa Indian Eatery, 4001 18th Street (corner Noe), San Francisco, CA 94114, (415) 621-6940 (Click here for Kasa's website)

Truly a bargain place with delicious Indian fast food menu. Favorite is lamb curry kati rolls. For two of them with a drink plus tax and tip the bill will be less than $10.00. Good cheap food, what more can one ask for?

Thai House Express, 559 Castro Street (corner 19th Street), San Francisco, CA 94114, (415) 864-5000 (Click here for Thai House Express' website)

Thai food is one of this Trek Leader's favorites and Thai House Express does not disappoint. Everything sampled on the menu was good. The curries are delicious.

Thai House Express also has another restaurant in the Tenderloin/Civic Center area.

Around Chinatown:

Capital Restaurant, 839 Clay Street (near Waverly Place), San Francisco, CA 94108, (415) 397-6269 (Click here for Yelp on Capital Restaurant)

What this Trek Leader likes about Capital Restaurant is the affordable prices and it has that "hole-in-the-wall" quality. The walls have photos of some of the dishes so it can make it a little easier to order based on the photos if you are not familiar with some of the dishes.

Around the Inner Richmond District (New Chinatown) Area:
Good Luck Dim Sum
, 736 Clement Street (between 8th & 9th Ave), San Francisco, CA 94118, (415) 386-3388

Good Luck Dim Sum is one of the best bargains you can find for a meal. For two people, you can spend about $12.00 ($6.00 each) and have a sample of at least eight different dishes. The food is also good especially if you factor in the price, which makes the experience even better.

Good Luck Dim Sum is in San Francisco's new Chinatown (Clement Street from 3rd Ave to 11th Ave). If you come here during the rush hour, you will probably have to fall in line. While in line, fill up your order form (click here to view sample order form) which you can pick up at the counter. They also normally provide pens at the counter. Circle the items that you want to order on the order form. Normally, three pieces come with each order but always ask to make sure. You can eat your meal at one of the tables (if one is available) or order food to go.
Recommended items: Pork Siu Mai, Shrimp Dumplings, Shark Fin Dumpling, Steamed BBQ Pork Bun,  & Baked BBQ Pork Bun.

Around the Mission/Valencia Area:

Yamo, 3406 18th Street (@ Mission Street), San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 553-8911 (Click here for Yamo's menu as of 04/15/2009)

This is the Urban Trek Leaders new favorite place. Why? Because the dishes cost only $5.25 (as of 4/14/09)!!! Aside from the great price, the food is delicious. The group tried the Chicken Noodle Soup, Black Bean Fish, and Yamo House Noodles with Beef and they were all good. This could be the best value meal one can have in San Francisco.

The minus is that it's such a small space with a counter that probably can fit less than 10 people so going there at peak time could mean a bit of a wait. A big group would probably be hard to accommodate. Those that live in the neighborhood order ahead for pick up. That seems the best way to do it. If you don't live in the neighborhood, maybe the best thing to do is to go before the peak lunch/dinner hours.

Yamo's business hours: Mon - Thur 10:30 am - 9:30 pm, Fri - Sat 10:30 am - 10:00 pm.

Around the Union Square/Financial District:

Uncle Vito's, 700 Bush St (@ Powell), San Francisco, CA, (415) 391-5008 (Click here for Out The Door's website)

A neighborhood restaurant a couple of blocks from Union Square that offers reasonably priced food. The Tia Mia pizza is a favorite.

Around the Tenderloin/Civic Center Area:

Osha Thai Noodle Cafe, 696 Geary Blvd (corner Leavenworth), San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 673-2388 (Click here for Osha Thai Noodle Cafe's website)

Year and years ago this Trek Leader started going to Osha Thai Noodle Cafe because it was one place that stayed open late on weekends (after partying at the clubs and bars) to get something to eat before heading home. That was when this location was the only one Osha Thai Noodle Cafe had and was basically a hole-in-the-wall place that served good food. Today, Osha Thai Noodle Cafe has remodeled and expanded this location and  has opened restaurants at several locations. This Trek Leader thinks that the Geary Blvd location (the original one) still serves the best noodle soup (i.e. Duck Noodle Soup). And although not the healthiest dish to order, the Fried Chicken Rice Plate is hard to resist.

Best Places for Desserts:

DeLise Dessert Cafe, 327 Bay Street (between Mason & Powell), San Francisco, CA 94122, (415) 399-9694 (Click here for DeLise Dessert Cafe website)

This place offers excellent ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet. This Urban Trek Leader's absolute favorites are the coconut pandan sorbet and the toasted rice ice cream. A single scoop for $2.25 and a double scoop for $3.50 and a triple scoop for $4.50 are a bargain! I get my fix each time I have to go food shopping at Trader Joe's near by.

The pastries and sandwiches are also good if it is too cold for something frozen.

DeLise is a hidden jewel in the Fisherman's Wharf area, which is an area filled with tourist traps.

Tartine Bakery & Cafe, 600 Guererro Street (@ 18th Street), San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 487-2600 (Click here for Tartine's website)

The bread pudding is absolutely delicious. This Trek Leader can eat a whole pan of this divine dessert. Most of the other desserts are also good but one must try the bread pudding. The only bad thing about this place is that it closes too early so one would have to have an early dinner around the neighborhood in order to get to Tartine Bakery & Cafe for dessert before it closes. Well, maybe those that do not like having an early dinner can have the bread pudding (or other desserts) after breakfast, lunch, or anytime during the day.

If you are more in the mood for ice cream than pastries then read the next recommended place.

Bi-Rite Creamery, 3692 18th Street (@ Dolores), San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 626-5600 (Click here for Bi-Rite Creamery's website)

Bi-Rite Creamery is a block from Tartine Bakery & Cafe. So on warm days/evenings ice cream might be a better choice for dessert. My favorite is Sam's Sundae, which is chocolate ice cream with bergamot olive oil, maldon sea salt, and whipped cream. Yes, you read that correctly, olive oil and sea salt. The sea salt brings out the chocolate flavor and the olive oil add something that makes it unique. If you're not willing to try something unusual, you will not be disappointed with the many ice cream, sorbet, and popsicle flavors. Bi-Rite Creamery also serves some baked goods.

Naia, 520 Columbus Avenue (between Green & Union Streets), San Francisco, CA 94133, (415) 677-9280 (Click here for Naia's website)

Naia serves good gelato with a wide variety of flavors. Flavors range from the usual strawberry/chocolate to goodies like tiramisu/cantaloupe and the more exotic young Thai coconut. This is a place to get something quick and yummy, especially on a warm day/night.

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