an Francisco is the financial, cultural, and commercial center of Northern California. It is the 13th most populous city in the United States. The name San Francisco is Spanish and means Saint Francis. With its hills, cool summers, a mix of architectural genius, numerous beaches, and landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a major tourist hub. But for students who are working on a budget, some of the experiences that this magnificent city has to offer are beyond their means. However, there are many spots across San Francisco that a student can experience an exciting weekend at without having to break the bank. Some of these places include:
The Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate is a strait that spans the west coast of North America connecting the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco peninsula. A suspension bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge was built to connect San Francisco to other counties such as Marin County and its sheer structure is a work of magnificence. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks that identify the city and it has been referred to as a wonder of the modern world according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Numerous travel blogs and writers describe the bridge as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. It is the most photographed one too.
For students touring San Francisco, the bridge is a must-see for them to have experienced one of the fantastic structures that the city has to offer. During its construction, the designers put in place walkways and bicycle paths for everyone to be able to access the bridge and experience its delight. There are times set aside for pedestrians and cyclists to use the bridge, so before embarking on a tour of it, one should check the schedule. Bicycles and pedestrians can access the bridge during weekdays from 5 am to 3.30pm, and it only opens to pedestrians until 6 pm. One can use a car to access it at any time, and two transport agencies provide public transportation for people. On the San Francisco side of the bridge, there is a gift shop, a visitor center, and various cafes and exhibitions.
Its popsicles are renowned throughout the city. They incorporate fun flavors like Nutella to traditional ones like organic fresh pineapple and natural fresh strawberry. It’s open from Monday through Sunday from 8.00 am to 11.00 pm. It is a quaint shop that has products with numerous flavors. A student either taking a study break or just visiting San Francisco should make a point of visiting Bliss Pops and experience the various gourmet flavors that they have to offer. The prices are relatively low, and one will be able to afford what they have.
It’s a small island in San Francisco which was home to facilities such as a military prison, lighthouse, and military fortification back in 1868. In 1986, however, the island received designation as a historical landmark and a national recreational area. It is open to tourists today, and a student visiting the city can book a tour of the famous island. Not only is the island remarkable but it can be a source of significant historical knowledge for a student. It is accessible through a 15-minute ferry ride from Pier 33 and is host to the oldest functional lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. The places to visit on the island include:
- Parade Grounds
- Warden’s House
- Main Cell House
- Recreational Yard
With its rich and informative stories about the attempted jailbreaks and occupation by natives, Alcatraz is an exciting place for a student to visit at least once in their lifetime.
It is an independent music chain with spaces in various American cities including San Francisco. Amoeba Music is open to independent music lovers of all genres of music and movies. They trade in old discs making their stock change on a daily basis and underground or old school music accessible to fans. The store also holds music performances and is a meeting and networking point for the creative and progressive community in San Francisco. It is in the Haight Ashbury district and is a big city-sized store but still maintains a personal relationship with music lovers. Most students enjoy various kinds of music and visiting this store may just open them up to a new and versatile genre they did not know existed. One may also be in luck and catch one of the many free performances that the store hosts around its premises. It is one of the amazing things to do in the city. Its proximity to the Golden Gate Park can also transform into a leisure walk across the park.
Image by Mack Male via Flickr
Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39
This part of the city covers a vast stretch of blocks along the waterfront and one of the top destinations for tourists in town. Walking through the Fisherman’s Wharf, one will see souvenir shops, street performers, and numerous restaurants. A student can just wander across the pier taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the performances without spending a dime. It is also home to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, the Cannery Shopping Center, the Ghirardelli Square, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. One will also get to see the sea lion colony who lie on wooden docks that were initially used to dock boats. There is also an odd but exciting street performer known as the World Famous Bushman who sits behind branches and startles passersby.
The Palace of Fine Arts
For a student interested in photography or who enjoys lovely scenery, the Palace of Fine Arts is perfect. It has a lagoon and outdoor dome and is one of San Francisco’s most photographed sites. Visitors are allowed to enjoy leisurely walks across it, relax at the dome and even enjoy a picnic on the immaculately cut grass that surrounds the area.
The Crissy Field
It is a park within San Francisco that has numerous restaurants, a beautiful beach, fishermen’s pier, and parks for Frisbee. It is close to the bridge, and a student can take a leisure walk along the harbor which also leads to the town center. It offers a sweeping view of the entire harbor, and one will meet locals who are either lying on the beach, walking their dogs or running as they enjoy the cool breeze from the ocean.
San Francisco offers various locations for a student to visit using little or no money in some areas. The town is full of historical landmarks and stories that broaden a student’s understanding of the city. From sea animals to man-made structures that defy imagination, the city is full of wonders. A weekend visit can give you many ideas for essays to write, say on history, cultural diversity or even an essay on global warming. Touring most of the sites costs little or is free for all, making the city a preferred location for many.
Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, she writes for various sites. Her posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In her spare time, she prefers to read novels and crime thriller stories. Connect with Christina on Twitter.