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San Francisco is the pride and glory of the Bay Area. It’s beautiful Victorian architecture, diverse culture and iconic hills give it an edge over so many other cities.
Its popularity comes at a cost, and San Francisco isn’t the cheapest destination.
That’s why we’ve put together this insider guide for where to stay in San Francisco to help you save money while visiting ‘The City by the Bay’.
Written by our travel experts, we break down San Francisco by interest to help you plan the best possible vacation without blowing your budget.
No matter what you’re looking to do in San Francisco, you’ll be able to find a hotel that’s right for you. Let’s explore our top picks for where to stay in San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Where to stay in San Francisco the first time – Nob Hill
Where to stay in San Francisco on a budget – Marina District
Best area to stay in San Francisco for nightlife – Mission District
Coolest place to stay in San Francisco – The Castro
Best neighborhood in San Francisco for families – Fisherman’s Wharf
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in San Francisco.
This hotel has 166 traditional rooms offering all the essentials to ensure a comfortable stay. It provides a gym, a coffee bar and valet parking. The front desk operates around the clock and the friendly staff can suggest places to visit and provide other tourist information. Breakfast is included.
The modern rooms at this colourful hotel in Marina District are decorated with spirit and come with a private bathroom and all the amenities you need. There is a gym, an outdoor pool, bicycle rental, a library and a golf course – plenty of amusement. A continental breakfast is served daily.
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This 5-star, luxury hotel is centrally located in San Fran’s Chinatown and features an indoor pool, a sauna, a gym, valet parking, a beauty centre and a car rental desk. Rooms are modern and beautifully styled to guarantee a comfortable stay. Parents will appreciate the babysitting / childminding services available!
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The city and port of San Francisco is on the peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It is a hub for both culture and financial business. San Francisco is a chic seaport whose steep streets and an abundance of hills are an icon in themselves. This large city is broken down into 11 districts and further subdivided into many small neighborhoods.
The city provides breathtaking views of one of the world’s greatest bays as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. The city is alive with culture, music, art, and good food. It’s multi-cultural and LGBT friendly. The city was struck by a catastrophic earthquake in 1906, which saw damage to 80% of the buildings. The city has since been rebuilt spectacularly.
Nob Hill is in the centre of the city, and is where you’ll see the famed streets that San Francisco is known for. With so much to see and do here, we recommend this neighborhood to first time visitors.
What was an up-and-coming area is now a fully-fledged happening spot – the Marina District. This is also where you’ll find the cheapest hotels in San Francisco.
The Mission District is the best place in town for nightlife. Pubs and bars line these streets! The Castro is also a happening place by night, and by day has something uniquely cool about it.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular, hip, seaside neighborhood with lots of family-friendly activities, upscale hotels and fresh seafood.
We’ve compiled the 5 best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco, let’s get started!
Nob Hill is about as central as you can get in San Francisco. This is home to those iconic hills that give San Francisco its charm. Nob Hill is one of the original seven hills, named at the time the city was founded.
Affluent townhouses are accessible by cable car, or legs of steel! Real estate prices have skyrocketed here, even though many homes were destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire that ravaged San Francisco.
Nob Hill borders Russian Hill which is another top neighborhood to explore.
The numerous facilities this award-winning motel has to offer include an airport shuttle, a tour desk and an express check-in and check-out feature. Of 29 well-appointed rooms there are multiple rooms specially designed for families. There is an on-site restaurant and daily breakfast is included.
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These contemporary rooms have air-conditioning and include an in-room safe, a pillow menu, a refrigerator, blackout curtains and a desk. Breakfast is included in the rate and there is both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind, as well as a fitness room on the premises.
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Each elegant room at the 5-star Fairmont San Francisco includes a mini bar and cable/satellite channels, and the bathrooms come with bathrobes and hair dryers. They all have a flat-screen TV, a seating area and movies-on-demand. There is a swimming pool, gym and children’s playground.
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Marina District is west of Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach, and connects to Russian Hill. It offers expansive green spaces, views of the bay as far as the Golden Gate Bridge and the streets are lined with places to eat and shop.
Until the catastrophic earthquake of 1906, the Marina was pretty neglected. Post-Earthquake, the area was revamped in elegant Art Deco style. Now, the Marina District buzzes with millennials and young professionals who call it home.
There’s always heaps going on, and travelers on a budget will be pleased to find cheaper accommodation here. Plus, it’s flat – so get cycling!
The rooms at the Pacific Heights Inn have wireless internet access and all the necessities for a comfortable stay. They are fitted with a private bathroom with shower, TV with cable/satellite channels and a telephone. There is a 24-hour reception and a tour desk. Clean, simple and cheap!
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Lombard Inn has 48 stylish rooms that are filled with all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay in San Francisco. Rooms are spacious with comfort in mind. There are a range of services including a concierge, 24-hour reception and a tour desk. An airport shuttle is also available.
The rooms are large with comfortable beds and a clean, modern private bathroom. The hotel has a 24-hour reception, luggage storage and a concierge. The hotel is surrounded by some of the city’s most popular shops, restaurants and cafés. There is also a restaurant and bar on the premises.
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South of Nob Hill and west of Mission Bay, is the Mission District – home to San Francisco’s most diverse nightlife, and its oldest building!
You’ll find cheerful dive bars frequented by locals, live music joints and swish cocktail bars. Mission District has a Hispanic legacy, so be sure to treat yourself to as much Latino food as you can handle!
The area is very cool, up-and-coming and pops with vibrant street art.
Hotel Tropica provides 40 comfortable rooms, each with complimentary wireless internet and a refrigerator. They are also equipped with a hairdryer and a microwave. There is a range of other amenities available to guests of the hotel, such as a 24-hour reception. Perfect location for exploring the local nightlife.
This comfortable bed and breakfast is located moments from San Francisco Armory, local restaurants and nightlife options. The property has 30 bright rooms offering all the essentials to ensure an enjoyable stay, such as private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, daily breakfast and an outdoor terrace. Rooms are ambient and comfortable.
Situated close to 16th Street Mission Bart Station, this Victorian bed and breakfast is a convenient base for those wanting to discover Mission’s nightlife. It offers complimentary Wi-Fi, and also features a golf course, swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. Bedrooms retain the Victorian spirit and have a private bathroom.
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The Castro is a small district in Eureka Valley, west of The Mission. Two long streets, Market Street and Castro Street, form the spine of this neighborhood – converging at Castro station for the trolley service.
Streets here are lined with picturesque Victorian residences, but it’s the thriving LGBT community that makes this area tick. Once you clock the rainbow banners proudly blowing out from the streetlights, you know you’re in The Castro. This area simply oozes coolness.
Beck’s Motor Lodge is close to Buena Vista Park and is minutes on foot from The Castro Street Station. Rooms provide a refrigerator, Wi-Fi internet and a coffee maker. Other facilities available to guests include laundry facilities, a sun deck and free Wi-Fi. The front desk operates 24/7.
Parker Guest House has 21 well-appointed rooms that are accompanied by a range of essential amenities to ensure guests have an enjoyable stay. Guests can enjoy the property’s gardens or borrow a book from the on-site library. This guesthouse gives guests the chance to discover the local nightlife.
This recently refurbished, 4-star property has 3 coveted apartments available. They are fully furnished to a luxury standard and come with fully equipped kitchens and spacious bathrooms. It provides a fitness centre, a car rental desk and free Wi-Fi. The location is moments from nearby clubs and bars.
A hub for tourists, the Fisherman’s Wharf is suited to all types of traveler but is especially rich in family-friendly potential. It used to be the number one destination for San Francisco’s tourists, but the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island have since claimed the top spots.
Fisherman’s Wharf is located in north-east San Francisco, running shoulders with North Beach. There is heaps to do here – the neighborhood is overflowing with fun attractions which are very well-suited to vacationing families. Plus, there is fresh seafood on every street corner.
This hotel has 585 unique rooms offering all the necessities to ensure a comfortable stay. Private bathrooms come with a hairdryer and bathtub. Guests can enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool or exercise in the fitness centre. Connecting rooms are available for families. In-room movies are available.
The air-conditioned rooms at Hotel Zephyr are stylish and provide an in-room safe, flat-screen TV and movies-on-demand. There are also multiple rooms specially designed for families. There is a fitness suite for guests, a games room and a huge terrace to enjoy a drink on.
This hotel provides 4-star accommodation with stylish, contemporary air-conditioned rooms. They have incredible bay views, and each is equipped with movies-on-demand, a mini bar and slippers. Private bathrooms include bathrobes and a hairdryer. Other services include a coffee bar, valet parking, bicycle hire and a spa.
San Francisco is one of the most distinctive and unique cities in the United States. It blends culture, history and diversity with bags of character. From its sweeping vistas atop its famous hills to its wealth of old buildings and it’s love of good food – everyone will find a reason to smile in this colorful city!
To recap our travel guide, the Marina District is our top choice for where to stay in San Francisco. This neighbourhood has come along way since its pre-earthquake days. There’s fresh seafood and views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Plus, it’s close to Nob Hill and Russian Hill!
Our top pick for the best hotel in San Francisco is the Hotel Del Sol a Joie de Vivre Hotel thanks to its great location, and chirpy, bright design, all at a budget-friendly price. There’s even a pool for those hot SF days! You seriously won’t find a better place to stay in San Francisco.
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Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.