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SF Things We Can’t Afford But Do Anyway

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San Francisco is easily one of the best cities in the world, and we find ourselves lucky enough to be living in it! It’s hard to keep track of all the bills and life necessities we need to pay for, but we are doing it.  And well, sometimes this means we are too broke to afford more than a bottle of wine for dinner. Then there are the soon-to-be-halcyon times when we find ourselves with more than we expected, and we all know that there are some things only money can buy. Here are some of those things.

blue bottle

Blue Bottle Coffee. Image: Youtube

Some mornings are harder than others, and on those that are particularly hard there is Blue Bottle Coffee. Their New Orleans iced coffee is a whopping $4, but it is a small price to pay for adding that exclamation point to our mornings. Add a cookie and we’re well on our way to glory and the poor house. They even offer an adorable little milk carton of the very same, so we can store one for tomorrow and enjoy the freshly made one right now. And although $4 is quite a steep price for what is literally coffee with ice in it, it’s impossible to say no when we get that sweet whiff of beans roasting. How can we look past the 12 hour cold brew. It is beyond incredible, it is a religious experience.

tonga room

The Tonga Room. Touristy yes, still a hilariousy good time

The Tonga Room is a San Francisco must see, there is a band that literally plays in a lake and it rains inside. Not to mention the delicious yet deadly tiki drinks, and the devious and massive scorpion bowls to be shared (which are also set ablaze.) It’s easy to not notice how drunk we are when we’re only on drink number one, but these umbrellas conceal a powerful blend of intoxicants. So long as we pay attention to our alcohol intake The Tonga Room is not to be missed, and with drinks averaging $17 it’s easy to build up quite the tab. All things considered there is something extra special about it that has us going back, maybe it’s the funky tunes, maybe it’s the delicious food. But go back we must, if only to initiate guests of course, never to just go with friends on a weeknight and request Prince songs…of course.

Swan Oyster Depot. Photo: Lucky Peach

Swan Oyster Depot. Photo: Lucky Peach

Let’s be real, every day is a good day for oysters. Unless you’re a monster. The seafood staple of Polk street, Swan Oyster Depot is a magical place where we would happily wait in line all day. Half a dozen oysters go for about $8, while a dozen pieces of sashimi can cost up to $22! In spite of all of this, it is the most wondrous of places. The real trick is to skip the line and call in food to pick up. However, waiting in line at least once is necessary, to bask in the sheer experience of Swan Oyster Depot. There is something thrilling about finally getting to the front of the line and spying people getting ready to leave. It’s like winning a small lottery when we finally get to sit down and order, and that feeling is something worth waiting for.

A Rainforest in California. Image: California Academy of Sciences

A Rainforest in California. Image: California Academy of Sciences

On those occasions when we find ourselves longing to check out a museum, California Academy of Sciences is often the one we end up choosing. It satisfies both a need for adventure and a desire to learn. It’s also gorgeous and contains an aquarium, natural history museum, an indoor rainforest, and a planetarium, all in one place. There’s something just lovely about running around with children learning new and interesting facts about the world, it acts as a reminder that everyone is still very much a kid at heart. Tickets go for about $35 even if we are kids at heart, because we are still very much adults in the rest of our body. And although the price is a bit steep, it is really a place that is not to be missed, AND it’s educational. Bonus: it’s a great spot for a first date. Or second, or third.

The Chicken at Zuni. Image

The Chicken at Zuni. Image

It takes a special someone to understand the importance of chicken for two. It also takes a special someone to put up with waiting about an hour for food to be served. Zuni’s chicken for two has got us wrapped around their finger with their perfectly roasted chicken. Also a good place for a first date, you get to enjoy nothing more than the pleasure of each other’s company for an hour, assuming neither of you get too hangry. The cost for this time consuming meal is $58, which has us wondering if it is really worth both the wait and the cost. Spoiler alert: it is.

the rent is too high

Last but certainly not least, the most common thing in San Francisco we do that we can’t really afford is pay our Rent, capital R. With prices hitting over two grand for a closet that they call a studio, it makes sense to try to find someone who has lived here for ages and then attempt to make them fall in love with you so you can split really cheap rent. Although rent is possibly the most difficult thing about living in San Francisco right now, it does nothing to weaken the undeniable charm that the city provides, charm which really doesn’t exist anywhere else. It is a beautiful city of misfits. Sorry LA and NY, but SF has our hearts, and there is nothing you can do about it.

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Sarah Schwitkis

Sarah Schwitkis

Sarah Schwitkis is a writer, makeup artist, and aerial silks obsessed weirdo who has lived in San Francisco for over a decade.