If you are in San Francisco, and there is no fog and just maybe that dynamic weather that happens during the winter when the storms start to roll in, head out to the Cliff House along The Great Highway and take in the spectacular view. If you time it right, the rays of sun will break through the clouds and you will be spellbound. It is better than going to the movies.
The 38 Geary bus, a bike ride through the wiggle and out through Golden Gate Park or even the N Judah train will all get you out to Ocean Beach in San Francisco. From the walkway at the Cliff House you can look south down the full length of Ocean Beach; one of my favorite places in San Francisco.
Close by is the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center and Lands End where you can muse over the the remains of the Sutro Baths. Another cheap thrill is to head south and walk along the promenade. If you want to get closer to the ocean it is best at a low tide and keep you eyes out if the swell is big. Alternately you can make your way to the Beach Chalet. The first floor is a small museum with elaborate murals painted by Lucien Adolphe Labaudt as a 1936 Works Progress Administration project. The murals depict people and scenes from San Francisco in the 1930s. What a bunch of characters!
At this point you may be hungry or thirsty and the Beach Chalet Restaurant on the second floor, while not cheap is very good. The wide selection of beer on tap is brewed in-house. From the dining room you can continue to enjoy the view of Ocean Beach.
Before you go, just check the weather and the tides. That is your cheap thrill of the week.