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    Where to sleep in San Francisco: neighborhoods and recommended areas

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    Joel Fulleda

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    All of the accommodations on Vrbo is not wrongly considered one of the liveliest cities in the United States due to its wealth of attractions and places to visit. If you have already got an idea of ​​the main things to see, now is the time to choose the area where to sleep and, as in all cities, also here as regards the choice of hotel there are more or less suitable neighborhoods, and the factors to consider are essentially 2: the safety of the area and the connection with the main city attractions.

    Below you will find my selection of eligible areas, with some recommended accommodation facilities (hotels, B & Bs, hostels ...), but also some useful tips to save on prices, which in San Francisco are not exactly low (difficult to go below 100-120 euros per night). So let's see the best neighborhoods and areas to find accommodation in San Francisco.

    Do you need a tested and ready-to-use itinerary for your itinerary? Take a look at our ebooks American Dream Routes, available on computer, tablet and smartphone, and complete with day by day itinerary, interactive maps, suggestions on where to stay and much more!


    • Tourist districts: Fisherman's Wharf, Ferry Building and Union Square
      • Fisherman's Wharf: the entertainment district
      • Ferry Building: good morning starts in the morning
      • Union Square: where to stay in the city center
    • Cheaper neighborhoods: Chinatown, Cow Hollow and Marina District
      • Chinatown: the low cost solution for downtown San Francisco
      • Marina District and Cow Hollow: motel with free parking
    • Residential neighborhoods: Lombard Street, Nob Hill and Pacific Heights
      • Lombard Street: the city panorama 
      • Nob Hill: between Victorian houses and breathtaking views
      • Pacific Heights: for an elite stay
    • Characteristic and ethnic neighborhoods: Castro, Mission and Haight-Ashbury
      • Castro and Mission: between murals and rainbow flags
      • Haight-Ashbury: the hippy district of San Francisco
    • Sleeping outside San Francisco: is it worth it?
    • Where to sleep in San Francisco on a budget
    • Hotel in promotion for San Francisco
    • Getting around the city: Bike and Tram
    • Where to sleep in San Francisco: Map of the neighborhoods

    Tourist districts: Fisherman's Wharf, Ferry Building and Union Square

    The heart of San Francisco beats in three different places: Fisherman's Wharf, a neighborhood with a fun and contagious atmosphere; Ferry Building, ideal for waterfront walks and gastronomic experiences; Union Square, nerve center of Downtown.

    Fisherman's Wharf: the entertainment district

    For those who want to have fun in San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf it is ideal: docking point for fishing boats (with its famous pier 39) it is the sleeping area for those who want to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and clubs of all kinds.

    Being a particularly commercial district, it is possible to find shops of the most extravagant and unique. Sleeping here means being in constant contact with the liveliest and most festive soul of San Francisco, as you can read in our article designed for those who want to visit Fisherman's Wharf.

    If you choose to sleep in this area, you will be able to spot the many sea lions that come to rest on the pier, you will be close to the embarkation for Alcatraz Island, you will easily find good fresh fish and the best Italian restaurants in North Beach will be at reachable distance.

    It is also one of the best choices to be near the famous Golden Gate bridge, an unmissable stop for any good self-respecting stay in San Francisco.

    Some hotels to stay in? Here they are:

    • Argonaut Hotel: other than the Golden Fleece of mythological memory ... here you really enter a high-class marine world! The furnishings, all in blue and white, refer to the seafaring tradition, which is interpreted in luxury key. The rooms and the restaurant have everything needed to make the guest feel at ease.
    • The Warf Inn: In addition to the price, a little below the high average in San Francisco, the greatest value of this motel is the location just a stone's throw from Pier 39. Oh no, there's another one, and it's even more tempting. : the parcheggio included in the price!

    Find accommodation at Fisherman's Wharf

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    Ferry Building: good morning starts in the morning

    The choice of hotel or B&B, in the case of a city as varied as San Francisco, is best that it falls as close as possible to the central areas of the city, in order to quickly reach the areas of greatest interest.

    A great area where to stay in San Francisco is the area near the Ferry Building: this is where the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, where you can find stalls of all kinds and choose whatever suits us best for breakfast.

    Once you leave the building, go and admire a breathtaking view of the ocean, having your breakfast quietly while enjoying a unique and enveloping atmosphere (it is no coincidence that we recommended it in our article on where to have breakfast in San Francisco).

    Its particular geographical location makes this area very pleasant not only to stay overnight, but also to take a nice walk along the promenade, admiring the bay. Here are some recommended accommodations:

    • Hyatt Regency San Francisco: very high standards for this luxury hotel, conveniently located near the Ferry Building. The bay view rooms are equipped with everything you need, and more!
    • Hotel Griffon: a few less stars for this hotel, but a bit heavier wallet in the trouser pocket. We are on The Imbarcadero, a stone's throw from the area of ​​interest and the hotel is traditional, with small and functional rooms. Especially good for the location.

    Find accommodation near the Ferry Building

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    Union Square: where to stay in the city center

    The heart of the city is definitely Union Square. Full of luxury hotels (but not only, fortunately), shops, theaters and beautiful monuments, it is an excellent destination for those looking for a comfortable holiday. In fact, in this area you will have access to many services, as well as to the main city transports both for the airport (BART line) and for the surrounding attractions (Muni and the characteristic Cable Car).

    It is very pleasant to walk around the neighborhood and if you have the opportunity to stay overnight in this nerve center of the city you can easily move towards the financial district, where to admire the Transamerica pyramid, a symbolic construction that seems to evoke the atmosphere of the best Blade Runner-style action movies. Take a look at these accommodations:

    • Park Central San Francisco: What are the highlights of this beautiful Union Square hotel? The location: it is close to all the attractions of the center and to public transport; there beautiful view on the Financial District which can be enjoyed from the bedroom windows; the splendid hall and the common rooms in a modern style.
    • Beresford Hotel: more UK than USA, this hotel, at least from the outside ... and in fact the pub connected to this simple hotel could confirm its Anglo-Saxon nature. Not chic, but functional rooms; honest price, without forgetting that we are in the center of San Francisco ...

    Find accommodation in Downtown San Francisco

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    Cheaper neighborhoods: Chinatown, Cow Hollow and Marina District

    Especially on weekdays, cheaper solutions can be found in these districts. However, if in the case of Chinatown we are practically in the center, i Marina and Cow Hollow motels instead they are further away. On the other hand, the distance from the Golden Gate Bridge is reduced by a lot and the atmosphere is quiet.

    Chinatown: the low cost solution for downtown San Francisco

    Leave Union Square and, after 5 minutes, find yourself in front of the Dragon gate it's a bit alienating experience: Chinatown it's not just San Francisco's Asian neighborhood, but more correctly a world unto itself.

    You will notice it by walking down Grant Avenue or immersing yourself in the colorful Waverly Place: on the street there are palaces with oriental architecture, Taoist and Buddhist temples, retail outlets, shops, oriental restaurants and cultural centers where Chinese culture is deepened, with particular attention to the issue of integration in San Francisco.

    Not everyone may like the idea of ​​staying overnight near an ethnic neighborhood with such marked characteristics, but there are important ones 3 advantages: in primis, la position. Chinatown is located in a strategic point for visiting central San Francisco on foot: Union Square and the Financial District are a 5-10 minute walk away, Ferry Building, Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 33 just over twenty.

    La safety: the neighborhood is quiet both day and night. Economics: Especially on weekends, Chinatown hotel prices tend to be a bit lower than in other central districts of the city.

    • Omni San Francisco: high-class property with elegant accommodations featuring a refined luxury. The hotel is located nearby on California Street, a quietly "American" street a stone's throw from the colorful streets of the Chinese Quarter.
    • SW Hotel: on the northern edge of the district, not far from Embarcadero, is the SW Hotel. If you like the beat generation, know that you are a stone's throw from the famous City Light bookshop. The quality-price ratio is interesting: on the December weekend you spend just over 100 euros per night, breakfast included. It sounds like a lot, but hey: you're in San Francisco!

    Find accommodation in Chinatown

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    Marina District and Cow Hollow: motel with free parking

    Not all of Lombard Street is flowered and curved: the street extends east towards Telegraph Hill, west towards the Presidio. On this last stretch of road (the less known) they are located some motels that are for those who want to stay in a residential area of ​​San Francisco, perhaps saving a little and taking advantage of the free parking, which in these parts is gold. Lombard Street establishes the boundary between two small quiet neighborhoods: Cow Hollow e Marina District.

    Di Cow hollow, named after its ancient vocation for farming, we talked about in the article on shopping in San Francisco: the neighborhood is now residential, and Union Street it has some very interesting shops and boutiques.

    Walking from Lombard Street towards the sea, we find the Marina District which has various reasons of interest: the houses in the Mediterranean revival style, the pleasant walks on Marina Green, the views of the bay, Alcatraz and Golden Gate, the curious Wave Organ, the grandeur of the Palace of Fine Arts, built for the 1915 Expo.

    • Lombard Plaza Motel: Sure, the American motels of any other American town would cost half, but the Lombard Plaza Motel offers all the comforts you can ask for in this type of structure. Including free parking, very rare in these parts.
    • Town House Motel: During my research, I found very few properties that go down under 90 euros per night in San Francisco (weekdays). One of these is the Town House Motel: they are included in the price breakfast e free parking space.

    Find accommodation between the Marina District and Cow Hollow

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    Residential neighborhoods: Lombard Street, Nob Hill and Pacific Heights

    They are a little further away from the Downtown, but they have some characteristics that may prove to be interesting: they are well connected by public transport in the center and include green spaces, panoramic points and buildings of great beauty.

    Lombard Street: the city panorama 

    Frisco, as it is affectionately called by its inhabitants, has always been known as the panoramic city par excellence, especially for some particularly favorable points, such as the Coit Tower, the observation tower of Telegraph Hill, and Russian Hill, where it stands. Lombard Street, one of the most characteristic streets in the world, with its beautiful floral decorations that accompany the steep and winding road.

    If someone asked us what to see in San Francisco at the top of the top 10 attractions, we certainly couldn't miss this particular street. Being one of the most scenic spots in the whole city, sleeping in the Lombard Street area is certainly an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind holiday. Some examples? Here they are:

    • Pier 2620 Hotel Fisherman's Wharf: beautiful rooms in a modern and stylish structure original ... I would say, brilliant. Close to Lombard Street, the Cable Car stop and, in fact, Fisherman's Wharf.
    • San Remo Hotel: ten minutes walk from the winding flowery road, you will find the San Remo Hotel. You will be impressed by staying in a hotel that vaguely recalls a slightly retro Spanish style. Quiet and central area and hotel suitable for those who like to sleep in hotel out of time.

    Find accommodation near Lombard Street

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    Nob Hill: between Victorian houses and breathtaking views

    Certainly one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of San Francisco, characterized by beautiful retro-style Victorian houses and a privileged hillside position, which allows you to enjoy a beautiful view. There aren't many hotels in this area, but if you manage to snatch one you can say you've slept in one of the most exclusive and chic areas of San Francisco. There's no shortage of classy restaurants here, and proximity to other attractions isn't bad either (15 minutes' walk from Lombard Street and 20 minutes from Union Square).

    To reach Fisherman's Wharf and the Ferry Building, you should instead take public transport (the historic cable cars cross the center of Nob Hill, and, connecting to other transport lines, lead to downtown, Chinatown, the pier and others. areas). How about these hotels?

    • Stanford Court San Francisco: also well served by the cable car, the Stanford Court (4 stars) looks like a traditional but not old-fashioned hotel, with impeccable service. Bike service available (for the brave who want to use it uphill) but above all great view of the bay from the room.
    • Cable Car Court: Absolutely Solution low cost, therefore, the comfort of superior category hotels in the area is not to be expected. However, spending a reasonable amount in San Francisco for decent accommodation in this central area… isn't bad at all!

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    Pacific Heights: for an elite stay

    There are no attractions in the strict sense of Pacific Heights, yet going to visit it is not a strange idea, nor is it sleeping there. Because? Because Pacific Heights is known as the most exclusive neighborhood in San Francisco. Between Victorian-style mansions, mansions with Baroque architecture, Italian villas and sumptuous gardens, Pacific Heights shows off the most opulent and elite side of the city.

    In some ways it can be considered as the competing neighborhood of Nob Hill, and in fact it is just as difficult and costly to stay there, given the shortage of facilities. If you have decided to stay the night here, take the opportunity to experience the neighborhood a little, choosing one of the restaurants in Fillmore Street or enjoying the panorama that opens up before your eyes at the top of the Lyon Street Steps and from the height of Plaza Alta Park.

    • Laurel Inn: a good standard boutique hotel that stands out for its good location. We are a little on the edge of the neighborhood but i connections to the center by bus are excellent: the stop is right in front of the hotel.
    • Hotel Drisco: stay at the luxurious and comfortable Donatello it is not a privilege for everyone's pockets. In addition to the suggestive position near the best green spaces and the most beautiful streets of the neighborhood, it is necessary to highlight the very high level of services, well above the average city.

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    Characteristic and ethnic neighborhoods: Castro, Mission and Haight-Ashbury

    Castro, Mission and Haight-Ashbury are districts full of history and many pleasant to visit, however the availability of accommodation is less and not all roads are recommended. Furthermore, the distance from the main places of interest is greater: walking is not recommended and in some cases it can take a long time.

    Castro and Mission: between murals and rainbow flags

    These are 2 neighboring neighborhoods with a clearly recognizable soul. Self Castro is a parade of rainbow flags, a favorite destination for civil rights activists and LGBT organizations, Mission instead it is the South American district, scattered with historical murals (over 400) inspired in large part by the work of the artist Diego Rivera.

    Both districts boast several points of interest and a fair number of accommodations, although availability is obviously more limited than in the central areas, so you need to search well in advance and book early.

    As for the connections, even if a little decentralized, the area has its advantages: it is in fact reachable with the MUNI (Light rail) from the Ferry Building and Financial District area and, with the system Bart, directly from the airport.

    From the point of view of safety however, we must be careful: the Mission district is generally not very safe, the safest area is considered the West Side, towards Castro, while it is not advisable to go too far eastwards. Locals usually recommend that you also pay attention to the streets around Valencia Street and Guerrero Street, where thefts and robberies are recorded.

    In this area cheaper accommodation can be found more easily than in the center, however it must also be said that quality often goes hand in hand both in terms of services and cleanliness. I recommend checking the reviews carefully before booking a low-priced property.

    Here are 2 structures to be on the safe side:

    • The Inn San Francisco: Beautiful historic Victorian style building dating back to 1872 (among the few that survived the 1906 earthquake). Elegant, well-appointed rooms and excellent transport links to the center (it is close to both the Bart and the bus stops).
    • Nineteen 06 Mission: Clean and essential B&B in the Mission area, built with the utmost attention to the environment, with energy-saving lighting, recycled materials and organic products. What makes the difference is the proximity to the Bart line stop (only 2 minutes on foot), which means that in just 25 minutes you can arrive directly at the airport.
    • Parker Guest House: located in Castro, these splendid apartments are near the Mission of San Francesco di Assisi and Mission Dolores Park. The MUNI stop is 2 steps away, there is no shortage of restaurants and places to have a snack.

    Find accommodation in Castro and Mission

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    Haight-Ashbury: the hippy district of San Francisco

    You can't finish an article about San Francisco's best neighborhoods without mentioning the eclectic Haight-ashbury, which will delight the nostalgic of the Sixties. While there is no shortage of things to see in Haight-Ashbury, it is equally true that there is not a great variety of accommodation options: just a few B & Bs or apartments for rent in residential areas. If you want to know more, read our in-depth analysis at the link below.

    Accommodation available in Haight-Ashbury

    Neighborhoods to Avoid in San Francisco As you can imagine, there is no shortage of options for accommodation in San Francisco. However, beware: there are a few dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco that should be avoided: in this regard, read our article on where not to sleep in San Francisco.

    Sleeping outside San Francisco: is it worth it?

    Oakland, Berkeley, San Bruno, Daly City, Colma, Sausalito and all the others cities around San Francisco: Are there any viable accommodation options for a visit to San Francisco? Do you save anything on the hotel? Are there valid connections to the center? Are they interesting towns? To answer this legitimate question, we have published an article on where to sleep outside of San Francisco.

    Where to sleep in San Francisco on a budget

    The cost of the rooms in San Francisco is medium-high. There are also low-priced accommodation available but of poor quality. In decentralized areas, prices drop a bit, however it is rather difficult to find satisfactory solutions below the canonical 100 euros per night, except for the motels on Lombard Street and some structures on the edge of Chinatown.

    If you want to sleeping in the center on a budget the best choice is that of a hostel. There are excellent quality ones and some rooms also have private bathrooms. Two solutions that I recommend you to evaluate are the HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel and USA Hostels San Francisco; those who are looking for a particular experience can fall back on Pod Room O’Farrell St, where he can sleep inside real ones space capsules walking distance to Union Square.

    Hotel in promotion for San Francisco

    Of course there are always hotels on offer. Below are the hotels on sale in San Francisco right now. Have a nice stay!

    List of cheap hotels on Booking

    Hotel in promotion on

    Getting around the city: Bike and Tram

    Regardless of where you are staying, San Francisco offers a urban connection really excellent: the historic cable car trams offer, in fact, the opportunity to fully experience the beauty of the city by plunging back into its most evocative past. An excellent solution is also to rent a bicycle, even if the continuous ups and downs of the city could tire you a little in the long run. Here is an article that can help you understand how to get around San Francisco.

    Where to sleep in San Francisco: Map of the neighborhoods

    On this map you can see the geographic distribution of the San Francisco neighborhoods described above.

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