Eat. You can't leave without trying a San Francisco burrito. Pamela Schroeder, MONEY ad sales director, who has lived in the Bay Area for 10 years, recommends Puerto Alegre, "a fabulous hole in the wall in the Mission."
For something more upscale, go to the nearby Foreign Cinema and eat on the patio as an international film is projected onto the wall. In SoMa -- that's south of Market Street -- visit the StrEAT Food Park, which features different vendors daily and a heated beer garden.
Do. Plan your Golden Gate Park visit for a Sunday, when the busiest roads are closed to cars, or a Thursday, when the California Academy of Sciences natural history museum has $12 admission (typically $30) and a band or deejay from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For a less crowded nature fix, take a quick drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands for hiking and stunning views of the city and the bay, says MONEY senior writer and San Francisco native Kim Clark. After you come back to the city, explore Hayes Valley for shopping, or go catch a movie at the Art Deco Castro Theatre. Double features are just $11, and you'll get to hear some tunes on its storied Wurlitzer organ before the evening show starts.
Skip. Don't take the cable cars that run down Powell Street. Tourists wait a long time on Market Street to ride these cars to the Fisherman's Wharf area. Instead, take the California line from the Embarcadero past Chinatown to Nob Hill. This line is less crowded and offers a peek into fascinating San Francisco neighborhoods.
They soar above ordinary trips and perform feats of vacation derring-do, all while nailing their budget. Here are their travel tips.