Maybe it was the glazed-over, slack-jawed look on my face, or perhaps the fact that I was wholly unable to communicate in complete sentences. Whatever it was that tipped him off, my husband noticed I was a little out of sorts after taxiing children from place to place, cooking, cleaning and otherwise being locked up in the house with several kids, day in, day out for months on end. And like the awesome hubs that he is, he came home one day last week with a “surprise”: We were getting the heck out of dodge. WITHOUT the kids.
It wouldn’t be a long trip — just 24 hours — but it would be just him and I, just adults, doing whatever the adults wanted to do. The crowning jewel? Our time away would include a Giants game. *SQUEE!!*
For those who have not met me IRL and have thus not been privy to my wardrobe, I am a diehard Giants fan. Knowing this, my love has become something of an easy gift-giving theme for my family; hence why 90% of my casual clothes contain the Giants logo somewhere. (Shoes included.) So when I found out we were headed to ATT Park and were going to catch Bumgarner pitch against the Astros? Sheer glee. The fact that we were going to spend the rest of the time in The City was just icing, baby.
As some may know, San Francisco is not a cheap town; and yet, I am a
cheap thrifty person. So how do I reconcile the two?
1) Transportation. Here’s the thing: Say you drive over into The City (over the Bay Bridge, paying the $4 to $6 toll), you’re better off parking and leaving the car in once place. Parking in San Francisco can cost you upwards of $35 per day. If you don’t park by the day, and move from lot to lot (which is a stupid waste of money and time), you could end up paying closer to $60. PER DAY. San Francisco is a pedestrian city, and driving in and parking in a day lot means you’re walking from place to place. So we figure, why even bother with a car? Every place we were headed was within 10 or 12 blocks radius; a little outdoor exercise would do us good.
That’s why we drove about 2 and 1/2 hours and parked for the night in Pleasanton. Right there, just under an hour away from The City, is a B.A.R.T. (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train station. Parking at the station is free all weekend, but being as we got there at noon on Friday, we had to pay the whopping parking fee of $1.00. Yep — parking for a buck.
Taking the train, we spent $24 total for two round-trip tickets AND the parking fee. No brainer.
2) Lodging: As I mentioned, we were planning on spending the night. A typical hotel stay can run anywhere from $110 to $180 per night, and that’s for an old, if quaint, stale-smelling shoebox of a hotel room. As we were parking in Pleasanton, we didn’t want to lug all our crap across the Bay and haul it around until check-in time. The solution? We stayed in Pleasanton. Right there near the Oracle complex are a spate of really nice, newer hotels that offer suite-style accommodations, complete with full kitchens and living rooms. Oh, and free breakfast — all for just under $100 per night.
3) Entertainment. When you arrive in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s probably a great idea to actually SEE the city itself. Since we were walking, we wanted to amble round the areas in and around the ballpark.
Our first stop was the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is located along the Embarcadero on Market Street. It’s a big indoor marketplace with various stalls, wine shops and eateries. It’s a great place to grab a bite or to sit and people watch. We did both.
Next up, in the hopes of walking off some of the magnificent lunch we enjoyed, we walked along the pier and eventually decided to hike on up to Telegraph Hill, to one of gems of The City’s skyline: Coit Tower.
“The simple fluted tower is named for Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy eccentric and patron of the city’s firefighters.” When Coit died, he bequeathed funds to the erecting of a monument built to honor the volunteer firefighters of San Francisco. And according to the the SF Rec & Park website, “Contrary to popular belief, Coit Tower was not designed to resemble a firehose nozzle.”
Finally, we made our way over to ATT Park for the game. While we didn’t do so this time, you can take a group tour of the park and go behind the scenes, seeing areas not normally available during game times. Tours are available daily at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
So next time you want to escape the heat, spend adult time out in a cosmopolitan atmosphere, seriously consider San Francisco — even if you are on a budget.