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Bargains: Big City Culture Tips

Bowl of spicy Korean pork, big city bargains, image
Photo caption
A bowl of spicy Korean pork from the Asian Art Museum's cafe in San Francisco.

STAY Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, located on the banks of the Chena River, features an extraordinary collection of wildlife art. From $100.*

Café Alex Wine Bar dishes up artful tapas, such as macadamia-crusted halibut, and presents jazz and bluegrass on weekend nights. (907) 452-2539.

Tickets to the symphony are $25 (you’ll pay over $50 in New York), and seniors and kids get discounts. (907) 474-5733,

P.S. Catch nature’s splashiest art show, the aurora borealis, or northern lights. The Geophysical Institute offers forecasts:

Works by Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer David Hume Kennerly fill the Hotel Lucia. From $159.* (503) 225-1717.

In the Pearl District, known for its art galleries, try lunch at Park Kitchen; the three-course tasting menu is just $25. (503) 223-7275,

Check out the city’s best cultural attractions, such as the Portland Art Museum and its vast Asian collection, with the Attraction Pass. $25. (877) 678-5263.

The Inn at the Opera was built in 1927 as lodging for stars performing at the opera house and symphony hall. From $139.*

Break from browsing the Asian Art Museum’s 16,000 pieces and try spicy Korean pork (photo above, $8.50) at its Cafe Asia. (415) 581-3630,

Standing-room tickets for the opera ($10) and ballet ($18) are up for grabs on performance days; the symphony's Wednesday morning rehearsals are $19.

P.S. Museum-hop on the first Tuesday of every month and get in free at the Museum of Modern Art, de Young, Legion of Honor, and Asian Art Museum.

With 350 paintings and photographs hanging on its walls, the Hotel Max is an art gallery inside a boutique hotel. From $179.*

Culinary students at the Art Institute run the Portfolio Restaurant. Entrées, such as hanger steak, are under $15. Call ahead. (206) 239-2363,

For half-price, day-of-show theater seats, stop by one of four Ticket/Ticket box office locations. (206) 325-6500,

P.S. Among the fish and produce stalls at Pike Place Market, you’ll find nine art galleries displaying local art. (206) 682-7453,

Photography courtesy Cafe Asia/Robert Bengtson

This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.