San Francisco on a budget...
February 12, 2008 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Going to San Francisco next week for a comic book convention...need some cheap things to do and cheap places to eat!

Going to San Fran Thursday night and leaving Sunday morning. We're three ladies on a budget and looking for some fun stuff that is relatively inexpensive. Also...eating is definitely on a budget. Any suggestions??
posted by LiquidKarma to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I think you're going to be in for some great clear weather, so there are going to be some fun things you can do outside that don't cost anything! Getting the obvious out of the way, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is fun and free. The view from Twin Peaks should also be fantastic.
posted by zsazsa at 10:11 AM on February 12, 2008

the tamale lady and zeitgeist combo would meet all those standards and then some if it's nice outside.
posted by flaneuse at 10:15 AM on February 12, 2008

Lots of choices for cheap eats:

Shalimar on Jones for Pakistani
Thai house express for Thai
Pagolac (seven course beef), Bodega Bistro (street food), or Wrap Delight (banh mi) for Vietnamese
Jang Soo (bbq), Shin Toe Bul Yi (fried chicken) for Korean
Balompie or the La Santaneca at richland, not 24th for Salvadorian
Yamo for Burmese
Old Mandarin Islamic (Muslim Chinese)
posted by foodgeek at 10:18 AM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

First tip is to not call it San Fran or Frisco, and the second tip is that there's about 4,172 previous threads on this topic. Yelp is basically a giant restaurant database for the Bay Area. Is there anything specific you want past those things?
posted by kcm at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2008

Two and a half words.


Supposedly the quality has slipped a bit since the days when they only had one, tiny location in the TL and I would stand out front, smoking cigarettes with the old bald guy who did the majority of their cooking, but it's still good, cheap food, with awesome free chai.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 10:38 AM on February 12, 2008

It might help if we knew what areas of the city you'll be spending your time in (will you have a car? will you want to drive and park? do you mind public transit or walking?) Is the convention in Moscone center?

That said, cheap eats is trivial. See yelp and also the SF Chronicle's restaurant section (they have a bargain bites or something like that list they do every year). The easiest and probably most common suggestion is burrito / taco joints. They are plentiful and usually at least adequate taste-wise.

As for cheap things to do, there is obviously lots of site-seeing (Golden Gate Park, the bridge, the standard tourist things). You could also see what cheap events there are -- SF Fun Cheap keeps a listing of free or near free events and activities.
posted by R343L at 10:45 AM on February 12, 2008

you should arrive little earlier for pillow fight
posted by sammich at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2008

having been a shalimaritarian in the past, i gotta say naan-n-curry is no where near a close second. I think beating them both in the tandoorloin is Lahore Karahi, food is absolutely delicious, but be prepared for a long wait and a trek through rancid smelling streets.
posted by flaneuse at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've found Lahore Karahi to be bland and boring compared to Shalimar - The problem with Shalimar is you need to go with at least four people so you can share a good portion of the menu. Shalimar is best on Thursdays when they've got the goat on the menu. That said, I'll take Zaiqa in Chicago over any of the Pakistani options in SF.
posted by foodgeek at 11:13 AM on February 12, 2008

if you consider the overwhelming taste of red chilli powder to be flavorful and exciting then you would be right.
posted by flaneuse at 11:34 AM on February 12, 2008

This is my favorite restaurant ever: Tajine. If you're thinking lunch, get one of the spectacular salads from Plutos, you won't regret it.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:56 AM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then you're going to be by the Moscone Center. Most of the stuff by Moscone is price-y FiDi lunch food or touristy union-square rip-off joints, although there's also some cheap dives around.

Walk two-three blocks east from New Montgomery up Market (with your friends, because it's semi-sketchy on Sixth) to Sixth & Market, where you'll find both Tu Lan (on sixth) -- super-cheap, super-good Vietnamese food -- and also Cancun (on Market), which is probably in the top 30% of SF burritos (or top 50% -- whichever; i'm not trying to get into a burrito argument here).

I used to live above both these restaurants and probably ate at one or the other every day. You should be able to pay $6 or less per person.

If you want an ultra-cheap sandwich you can try Lee's Deli; they have one right across the street from the Art Academy building down there on New Montgomery. Nothing special aside from being inexpensive. I ate there every day when I worked in the FiDi because I could get lunch w/ soda for under $5.

Arrow Bar is also there, which is still apparently somewhat hip. PBR is your best bet for cheap drinks. I do much prefer zeitgeist because I like patios, not sure how crowded it is these days, as bike culture has exploded in the last couple years. Gestalt, on 16th and Mish has super cheap liter beers, and the Knockout (previously the Odeon) past Caesar on Mission has cheap shows and fairly cheap drinks. Decent crowd; i was just there last thurs.

For free/cheap stuff, pick up the SF Weekly or the Bay Guardian, at many newsstand locations around town. You might also check FuncheapSF and Squidlist. If you're into punk rock you might check out the list. A friend of mine did publicity for Brokeass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply In SF which he used to like to give to all his friends who came to visit him in SF. Not sure if there's a place you can pick it up locally (heck, my guess is that if he is smart you'll be able to get copies at wondercon), but you might check it out.

Where are you stayng? What sorts of things are you looking to do?

What kind of things are you guys looking to do?
posted by fishfucker at 12:01 PM on February 12, 2008

(arrow bar is also there refers to sixth and market. oops!, also looks like it finally closed. The cocaine market must be doing poorly).
posted by fishfucker at 12:03 PM on February 12, 2008

ducks Indian-food fight

Can we at least agree that Pancho Villa is an awesome, awesome taqueria? It's right next to the 16th St Mission BART which makes it super easy to find.

It might help us to know the general area you're staying in, if you want local suggestions. BART will add up, you may not want to deal with MUNI, and walking all over can be annoying.
posted by hototogisu at 12:06 PM on February 12, 2008

Response by poster: That's right we are heading for WonderCon.

We're spending a couple of nights there so we're looking for fun stuff to do at night...bars..or touristy stuff it really doesn't matter. We're up for anything!

Those are some really good suggestions
posted by LiquidKarma at 1:10 PM on February 12, 2008

If you're going to be near the convention center I highly recommend walking a few blocks down (away from market) third street to South Park. It's a small park, with a great, cheap, taqueria. It's about 5 blocks away. Get the burrito to go, and then eat it out in the park.
posted by aubilenon at 2:09 PM on February 12, 2008

LiquidKarma: if you'd like to meet fellow Mefites, we'd love to have you and your friends at the MetaFilter meetup that Thursday night! The location (Place Pigalle in Hayes Valley) is easily accessible by quick bus ride from Moscone. We'll probably grab some food in Hayes Valley or Mission so you'll be covered for dinner as well.
posted by junesix at 2:20 PM on February 12, 2008

If you can make it to the haight go to the toronado for happy hour, they serve some really good beer for really cheap, and there is an amazing sausage bar next door that you can even order from in the bar.
posted by Large Marge at 2:25 PM on February 12, 2008

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