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How To Get Cultured Without Going Broke in San Francisco

It's the classic dilemma for visitors to any big city: do you take in all the high-culture highlights a metropolis has to offer, or keep the vacation budget under control? In San Francisco, the pull of the arts is particularly strong, and the price tag can be especially intimidating. 

Luckily, if your budget isn't quite as high-end as your taste in entertainment, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our guide to getting cultured without going broke in San Francisco.

Warm Up and Wind Down at Cafe Franco

It’s a typical Tuesday afternoon at Café Franco: the hiss of steaming cappuccino milk muffles the crooning of Sam Cooke. There's a low murmur coming from over in the corner, where friends are catching up over peanut butter cookies at a long, reclaimed-wood table. Behind it all, the click-clack of laptop keys keeps an erratic beat. 

These sounds do not combine to make up what most people would call “typical hostel noise” – and that’s exactly the way Café Franco likes it. 

Witness the gray whale migration in Northern California

Every winter and spring, approximately 18,000 Pacific gray whales embark on an annual migration from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Bering and Chukchi Seas to warm birthing lagoons off the coast of Baja California. During the epic 10,000+ mile round-trip journey -- one of the longest in the animal kingdom -- gray whales hug the coastline, offering a rare opportunity for land-dwellers to catch a glimpse of these enigmatic creatures.

Spreading Holiday Cheer on the Cheap in San Francisco

San Francisco may be short on snowfall and reindeer, but come December, we’re as holly-jolly a city as you’ll find anywhere. The City by the Bay is ready to spread some holiday cheer this season with trees, lights, music, and culture galore. Best of all, it’s easy to get into the spirit no matter what your budget. As a special holiday treat for you, we’re rounding up the very best ways to make merry on the cheap in San Francisco this year.

Hostelling International's Great Hostel Give Back 2014: Voluntourists Wanted

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" Throughout January and February 2014, 17 Hostelling International USA hostels are providing the perfect opportunity for travelers to answer that question for themselves by participating in HI-USA's 4th annual Great Hostel Giveback!

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