Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco, California
Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco, California

The Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco for a First Time Visitor

Where to stay in San Francisco – What you need to know

Where to stay in San Francisco - Best areas and hotels
Where to stay in San Francisco – Best areas and hotels

If there is a common San Franciscan feature when it comes to looking for accommodation is its high price. San Francisco has, together with New York, the most expensive room rates in the United States. This is mainly due to three factors: the high purchasing power of its inhabitants, pushed up by the big tech companies in Silicon Valley, the tourist boom of a city that is one of the most attractive places in North America and, finally, the relative scarcity of big hotels in the city center. See all hotels in central San Francisco.

Unlike other large American cities, most San Francisco hotels are small, family-run properties. In fact, the Californian city is considered the birthplace of the boutique hotel .

With all of this, accommodation prices in San Francisco rarely drop below $ 100 a night for the cheapest hotels, and even hostels typically cost around $ 25 a night in a shared room.

In terms of areas, the most recommended area for staying is near Market Street, below which most metro lines run, and on the surface of which there are many tram and streetcar lines.

The good news is that it is possible to find budget hotels in San Francisco if you know where and how to look for them. If the price is not a problem, and are simply looking for a quality place to stay, or if you are looking for luxury accommodation, you are in luck; the city has some of the best hotels in all the United United States.

Below is a list of the best areas to stay in San Francisco.

Accommodation Options in San Francisco

Hotels in San Francisco

The best hotels to stay in San Francisco

Hostels in San Francisco

Hostels and cheap stays in San Francisco

Apartments in San Francisco

Would you like independence? Book an apartment in San Francisco

Bed & Breakfast in San Francisco

Inns, B&Bs and guest houses in several areas around San Francisco

The best areas to stay in San Francisco

1. Best Area SOMA (South of Market Street)

SOMA is probably the cheapest area to stay in central San Francisco.

SOMA is an acronym for South of Market (Street), and covers a large area of the city’s urban grid south of its main street.

It is a lively nightlife and dining area, with plenty of things to do both day and night.

It may not be not the prettiest neighborhood from an esthetic point of view, but it certainly compensates with its central location, close to the metro and trams and some of the cheapest hotel rates in town.

Stay in SOMA - Central San Francisco
Stay in SOMA – Central San Francisco

What makes this the best area to stay in San Francisco, CA

  • Very central
  • Accessible by foot
  • Lively nightlife
  • Market Street
  • Shopping options
  • Great connections
  • Cheap hotels

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Hotel Best Western Americania Hotel is an art deco jewel in San Francisco. It is a superior category hotel with a swimming pool, located in a central area close to the metro and tram lines.

  • Budget Option

    Simple Good Hotel is a budget hotel located one hundred meters from Union Square. It offers simple accommodation and low prices.

  • Midrange Option

    Great Carriage Inn Hotel is a fantastic and eclectic boutique hotel whose rooms are named after famous San Francisco locals. Its location could not be better, two streets away from the metro and tram.

  • Luxury Option

    The elegant Intercontinental San Francisco is a fantastic luxury hotel in the central SOMA neighborhood. The most remarkable feature of this hotel are the spectacular views from its highest rooms.


2. Union Square

The surroundings of Union Square are undoubtedly a fairly interesting area in which to choose a place to stay in San Francisco.

This is the most popular commercial district of the city, but also an area of great cultural and historical symbolism in which many solemn acts and celebrations are held.

Union Square is a public square bounded by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets. Its name extends to the entire commercial, hotel and theater district that surrounds it.

This shopping quarter contains a wealth of shops of all kinds, boutiques, gift shops, art galleries and beauty salons. Union Square has some of the largest department stores in United States and stores of the most select brands.

The hotels in this coveted area are among the most exclusive in the city.

Top areas to stay in San Francisco - Union Square
Top areas to stay in San Francisco – Union Square

What makes this the best area to stay in San Francisco

  • Heart of the city
  • Accessible by foot
  • Lots of bars and restaurants
  • Luxury bars and clubs
  • Exclusive shopping
  • Big chain hotels
  • Very well connected

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The lovely Handlery Union Square Hotel s a superior quality hotel located in the heart of Union Square, two minutes from the trams. It has a swimming pool and gym.

  • Budget Option

    Adelaide Hostel offers shared accommodation and private rooms near Union Square in one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco.

  • Midrange Option

    The Executive Hotel Vintage Court is located two blocks from Union Square and 15 minutes from the subway. It offers quality accommodation in downtown San Francisco.

  • Luxury Option

    Orchard Hotel is a four star hotel with spacious rooms located on Bush Street. It has a restaurant and a gym.


3. Tenderloin

Tenderloin is one of the most central areas of San Francisco.

Located north of Market Street and next to the Downtown area. It is one of the commercial districts of the city, with an abundance of shops, as well as restaurants, bars and trendy nightclubs.

In this area it is possible to find many cheap hotels (by city standards), which makes it one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco from a budget point of view, although it is not the most attractive quarter in town.

Tenderloin - Where to stay in San Francisco
Tenderloin – Where to stay in San Francisco

What makes this the best area to stay in San Francisco, CA

  • Very central
  • Excellent nightlife
  • Bars and restaurants

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Great Cova Hotel is a three star hotel located in the Tenderloin District. It offers a free shuttle to Moscone Center, Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.

  • Budget Option

    HI San Francisco City Center Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Francisco. It offers shared accommodation and private rooms.

  • Midrange Option

    The Mosser Hotel is a historic hotel hosted in an early 20th-century building with an eclectic and modern décor. It’s located very close to the tram stop.

  • Luxury Option

    The Phoenix Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Hotel is a superior category boutique hotel in the Tenderloin. It has an outdoor pool.


4. North Beach

Somewhat further from the city center, but equally interesting, the North Beach neighborhood is avery interesting area to stay in San Francisco.

This neighborhood is touristy but pleasant, especially in summer (in winter it empties and loses most of its nightlife).

Fisherman’s Wharf offers plenty of fun leisure opportunities and activities: museums, parks, attractions. The famous open mall Pier 39, is a prime tourist attraction and offers activities of all kinds as well as shopping.

It is the ideal place to try seafood and the famous San Franciscan clams and crab. At Fisherman’s Wharf there are many restaurants and food stalls. And sea lions dozing on the dock!

The neighborhood is very well connected to the city center and is undoubtedly one of the top areas of San Francisco.

Best Districts to stay in San Francisco - North Beach
Best Districts to stay in San Francisco – North Beach

What makes this the best area to stay in SanFran

  • Lots of tourist attractions
  • Close to the sea
  • Seafood restaurants
  • Pier 39
  • Fisherman’s Wharf

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    San Remo Hotelis a historic hotel in the North Beach neighborhood. It has a charming European style and it’s located ten minutes from the beach.

  • Budget Option

    The Green Tortoise Hostel offers quality shared accommodation with a fun atmosphere. It has a sauna.

  • Luxury Option

    The Washington Square Inn Hotel is a small hotel housed in a historic building. It’s family-run with an European boutique style and classic decoration.


5. Financial District

If your trip to San Francisco is on business, you can do much worse than staying in the Financial District.

The Financial District is essentially that, a quarter dedicated to business, with spectacular skyscrapers, luxurious offices, banks, insurance companies, big law firms and the headquarters of many large and important companies from San Francisco and the world over.

It is also a political center: in the Financial District there are several diplomatic missions from various countries.

But it’s not all business and money in the Financial District. The neighborhood also has nice parks and squares and good places to walk and eat. And it is perfectly connected to the rest of the city.

Stay in San Francisco's Financial District
Stay in San Francisco’s Financial District

What makes this the best area to stay in San Francisco, California

  • Best area for business
  • Incredible views
  • Luxury restaurants
  • Business style hotels
  • Well-connected

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    The Galleria Park, a Joie de Vivre Hotel is a fantastic modern four-star hotel located very close to the Montgomery Metro stop.

  • Luxury Option

    The impressive Le Meridien San Francisco is a luxury hotel located in the heart of San Francisco. It has spacious rooms with incredible views of the city. It also has a restaurant and gym.


6. The Castro

San Francisco is a city famous for its rebellious spirit and open attitude. The Castro neighborhood has played a leading role in the conquest of social rights and sexual freedom in California, the United States and the world.

It is a historic neighborhood in the struggle for the rights of the LGBT community, which have made it their favorite place to live and visit. Because of this background, most of Castro’s tourism options are related to the LGBT community and the history of gay rights activism.

It is a major destination for the LGBT community and its allies throughout the world, who in the Castro find an open and friendly atmosphere: cafes, clothing and fashion stores, theaters, shows … And all exceptionally colorful, cared for and with love for detail and esthetics.

Barrio de Castro - San Francisco
Stay in the gay area of San Francisco – The Castro

What makes this the best area to stay in San Francisco

  • Very central
  • Excellent connections
  • Gay area of San Francisco
  • LGBT accommodation
  • Great nightlife

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Beck’s Motor Lodge is a motel style accommodation located in the historic Castro district. It features modern décor and free Wi-Fi.


7. Haight-Ashbury

If the Castro is the cradle of LGBT activism, Haight-Ashbury is famous for its role in the origin of the hippie counterculture. This was the hub of this movement in the 60s and 70s and, despite its inevitable transformation into a touristy destination, it still retains the spirit of the Summer of Love, its attitude and its principles. Before that, in the 50’s, it was the main area for the beatnik movement and where Beat Generation writers (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouak and William Burroughs, among others) wrote and exposed their work.

Haight-Ashbury offers a slice of history in which you can stay. Here you will live counterculture, pacifist and feminist movements, art and music.

Haight-Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury

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