Budget-Minded: Grocery Stores in San Francisco

My recent trip really got me back in the budget-travel mode, and thinking about how to cut corners here and there and leave more room for the fun things (a tour here, a beer there). Since I first started traveling, one way I have saved a few bucks (and my health) is to buy a meal or two at the grocery store. Even when staying in places that don’t have a kitchen, I found grabbing water, snacks, and perhaps a sandwich really helps! And, I have always loved checking out what they stock on their shelves, and how the locals shop. I have covered our terrific Farmer’s Markets before, but they aren’t always the most budget-friendly options.

If you are a tourist in San Francisco, chances are good you are staying in the downtown/Union Square area or in the Fisherman’s Wharf Area. Unfortunately, because Union Square isn’t a residential area, there aren’t a ton of supermarkets right there. But never fear! I will steer you in the right direction. (you have more options in the Fisherman’s Wharf area)

  • Safeway @ 145 Jackson St. – This Safeway is hidden on the edge of the Financial District (FiDi). It may be small, but it has all the basics: deli, produce, liquor… what more could you ask for?
  • Safeway @ 298 King St. – This location is a little outside of the FiDi, but you can easily walk there or take the bus there. It is located one block away from AT&T park, and just across the street from the CalTrain station. It is also a larger Safeway, boasting a bakery in addition to the other basics. They also have a good prepared food section.
  • Trader Joe’s @ 401 Bay St. – Trader Joe’s lies on the cusp of North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf. Lots of good prepared food options, as well as lots of interesting food options (and a really economical beer/wine section, including the famous “Two Buck Chuck”).
  • Safeway @ 350 Bay St. – Like the other locations, you’ll find all your basics here. This is a really convenient location for Fisherman’s Wharf, just a few blocks off of Pier 39.

All of these locations are also in close proximity to some beautiful picnic sites, so grab something yummy and go people watch with the Golden Gate Bridge as your backdrop.