There’s no denying the Bay Area has gone Super Bowl crazy since the festivities kicked off Saturday, but with all the hoopla going on, a day trip to San Francisco can make a substantial dent in anyone’s bank account.
For the stingy spenders and smart savers: relax, there are plenty of ways to get the most bang for your buck (and some free stuff) in the Super Bowl events:
1. Concerts in the Park
If you love music but hate paying for concert tickets, this week is for you. Super Bowl City, located on the Embarcadero in front of the Ferry building, will be hosting free concerts almost every night until Super Bowl Sunday.
Chris Isaak and Aloe Blacc have already performed, but Matt Nathanson will perform Wednesday at 7:30 p.m, followed by The Band Perry on Thursday night, One Republic Friday night, and of course Alicia Keys headlines the same stage on Saturday night.
As always, be sure to get there early to secure a great view of the shows. Check out the full schedule here.
No matter how cool of a car you have, it’ll never amount to the absurd parking fees you’ll have to pay for it to stay all over the city. Even if you attempt to take a taxi, Uber or Lyft, they will double, triple or quadruple the rates within San Francisco this week.
Leave the car at home and take public transit. CalTrain, BART, VTA, you name it – these are the ways to get around the city. Tickets are cheaper than a few gallons of gas and the passes usually last all day long. Expect them to be crowded, but hey, you will save loads of money.
It’s not free, but it’ll nearly feel like it.
3. NFL Experience
Unfortunately, the NFL Experience is not a free event, nor is it on the cheap side at $35 per ticket ($25 for kids 12 and under), but once you get it there, you won’t want to leave. Located in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, there are endless activities and exhibits to check out.
This is about the free stuff. Yes, the exhibits are free, but what if you wanted a slice of pizza for dinner? Head over to the Papa John’s food truck in the middle of the street once entering the event. Just download the Super Bowl 50 app (trust me, you’ll use it for more than just this) and you’ll be eligible to get a free, hot slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza courtesy of Papa John’s.
If you’re on the ground floor, head to the North side to the Snickers exhibit – pick one, two or 15 fun sized snickers bars to snack on as you check out more cool stuff. If you’re craving something other than chocolate, the Skittles area on the South side will have you taking handfuls of free skittles home with you. You’ll feel like Marshawn Lynch on pay day.
Have you been holding off paying for the still-expensive Madden 16 video game? Perfect! Several Xbox consoles are set up with the latest Madden game ready to play with you and your friends. While others wait in line to catch a glimpse of the Lombardi trophy, you can be defeating challengers in front of the big screens.
For those sports collectors, be sure to check out the Panini Autograph Stage, where dozens of current and former football stars will be scheduled to be ready with a pen to sign anything you desire. These lines were long, so be sure to get a head start and pay attention to the schedule of appearances.
There will be more free opportunities as the week moves on, but be sure to keep an eye out for the ones mentioned above to keep your wallet happy.