San Francisco Labor Day Weekend for Under $650

Anatomy of Vacation Costs, San Francisco edition:

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S, as well as one of the most expensive to visit.  However, we spent four days and three nights over Labor Day in the heart of San Francisco and our total expenses came out to just $650 total including airfare, one day car rental, food, hotel and baseball tickets.

This trip was a treat for Lisa’s mom, who lived in San Francisco in the late 1960’s and hadn’t returned for over forty years.  She did buy her own airfare there and chipped in for some meals, but otherwise the total cost is for all three of us was $650.

$55.15 Cantina restaurant
$8.00 Lyft to Ritz
$7.00 Beard Papas
$38.45 Cafe Roxanne breakfast
$53.00 Wine groupon + tip
$13.31 McCormick’s (with $25 gift certificate)
$50.00 Car rental
$8.00 Lyft to AT&T Park
$9.00 Uber to hotel from Ferry Building
$20.40 BART Oakland airport to downtown SF
$68.55 Buena Vista Cafe breakfast
$50.89 Mel’s Drive In with $7.50 free Groupon credit
$42.00 Chancellor Hotel breakfast
$5.00 Room tip
$34.30 Uber to airport
$20.00 Ritz room charges (bottle of wine)
$19.00 California Pizza Kitchen lunch
$22.40 SW Airlines tax
125 SF Giants baseball tickets
$649.45 Total
$1,350.00 Ritz Carlton hotel
$65.00 PDX airport breakfast
$350.00 SW Airlines RT for 2
$22.00 PDX aiport late snack
$1,787.00 Total value from point redemptions and vouchers



Food:  $347.35
Transport:  $172.10
Baseball Tickets:  $125
Other:  $5
Total:  $649.45

We stayed at the luxurious Ritz Carlton San Francisco, on the cable car line and just a block from Chinatown.  We redeemed our three complimentary nights to basically stay for free — this was a sign up bonus benefit for getting the Ritz Carlton credit card.  The normal bonus is two free nights, but last year they offered three nights so of course I snapped it up.  Regular room rates were $450 per night including taxes, so the value is right around $1350.  For our flights, I used the SW Companion Pass to fly Lisa for free (excluding taxes) and used SW Rapid Rewards Points to get my flight.  To save money on eating, I purchased one Groupon for Mel’s Diner, one Groupon for a wine tasting, and we used a $25 gift certificate that Lisa had as a birthday reward for the Landry’s chain of restaurants, using the credit to have happy hour at McCormick and Kuleto’s.  Finally, using Uber and Lyft turned out to be cost effective, as taking the regular public buses in San Francisco would have run about the same for all three of us ($9, or $3 each).  Taking Uber to the airport was just $5 more than taking a combination Uber and BART ride, but taking Uber all the way to the airport was super convenient and that gave us more time to enjoy the lounge perks at the airport.

We had a great time despite record breaking heat (106 degrees!), took in a Giants game, ate plenty, stayed in a fancy hotel and toured around the city all for under $650.

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