History by rail and on foot

San Francisco for Less: Day Three

It was a bit of a splurge, but the nearby restaurant Grub was packed with chic urbanites. We dove into our burgers and homemade chips, ($22.05), satisfied we were in the heart of the Castro's hipness.

One last trek (cable car: $4) took us to Grace Cathedral (free, but we left a $3 donation), a hulking gray Gothic-style Episcopalian church on the top of Nob Hill. By luck, our visit coincided with a Sunday concert. Though tickets to the small chamber where a harpsichordist and soprano performed Baroque pieces would have busted our budget, at $20 each, the hauntingly beautiful music followed us throughout the massive chapel, drifting up to the 91-foot-high ceiling. We stopped at a side gallery and listened while examining a Keith Haring triptych, the artist's last work before his death in 1990.

Outside, the sun was beginning to set and the soft light seemed an extension of the cathedral's eerie melodies. I reached into my pocket for the souvenir snow globe I'd purchased on our walk the first day―at $8.65, it was probably the biggest indulgence of the trip. In its little dome, snowflakes dropped onto the TransAmerica Pyramid.

And knowing we had spent a weekend in San Francisco for just $358.48 seemed pretty sublime too.


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