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Choosing where to stay in San Francisco is critical because, in spite of being one of the safest cities in the United States, there are certain neighborhoods you want to avoid. However, the hotel offer in San Francisco is huge, so there are always good options to get the best location.
But beware: don’t forget that it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the whole country, even more so if you’re looking for hotels in San Francisco with parking.
For this reason, we’ve sorted the best places to sleep in San Francisco by price and neighborhood.
When we went to this beautiful city after visiting Yosemite National Park, we didn’t find much information on the best areas and hotels to stay in San Francisco. Because of this, we’re bringing you this post where we recommend the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco.
Also, if you’re taking a west coast 10-day road trip and you’re traveling on a budget, we’ll recommend some of the best cheap hotels in San Francisco.
Best areas to stay in San Francisco
We want to show you the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco. Have a look and choose the one that best suits you.
In addition, you’ll see that in each neighborhood, we mention the hotels that we recommend in San Francisco so it’s easier for you to choose.
Union Square, best area to stay in San Francisco
Union Square is perhaps the best-known neighborhood, since it’s the center of the city. This is a very dynamic place, where you can attend many concerts and events throughout the year. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in San Francisco, since it’s very connected by public transport to all parts of the city.
There are many shops and stores, such as Gucci, Versace, and the famous Macy’s. In addition, it’s very close to points of interest such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Grace Cathedral. If you travel to San Francisco at Christmas, you’ll find the Christmas tree and the ice rink here.
If you want to sleep in downtown San Francisco to have everything at hand, this is your best choice.
These are the best hotels in San Francisco if you want to stay in Union Square:
- Premium option: The Westin San Francisco on Union Square
- Standard option: Hotel Union Square San Francisco
- Low-cost option: HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel
Here are other accommodations in Union Square San Francisco.
Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the best neighborhoods to stay in SF
Fisherman’s Wharf is perhaps one of the best-known neighborhoods in San Francisco because Pier 39 is here (the first port of San Francisco that was then converted into a mall) as well as seafood restaurants. When you visit, don’t leave without trying Dungeness Crab and clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.
This is a good area to stay in San Francisco and the best place to see sea lions. Moreover, the hotel where we stayed in San Francisco is here.
These are the recommended hotels in Fisherman’s Wharf:
- Premium option: San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf
- Standard option: Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf (My hotel in San Francisco)
- Low-cost option: San Remo Hotel
Here are other accommodations in Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco.
North Beach, one of the most popular places to sleep in San Francisco
North Beach is the best option to stay in San Francisco for many travelers. This nice neighborhood, close to Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, is considered the Little Italy of San Francisco because of the large number of Italians who migrated to this area. The beautiful Victorian apartments and duplexes are worth seeing (rebuilt in 1920, due to the great earthquake of 1906).
If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, this neighborhood might be the best place to stay in San Francisco for you. Here you’ll find ice cream parlors and restaurants with a taste of Italy.
Of all the hotels we found in North Beach, these are our recommended ones:
- Premium option: Hotel Boheme
- Standard option: Washington Square Inn
- Low-cost option: San Remo Hotel
These are other accommodations in North Beach San Francisco.
Marina District, the cheapest area to stay in San Francisco
You’ll probably remember seeing the famous Lombard Street in movies; it’s a street that zigzags down a steep slope. Every year, thousands of tourists come to photograph this street.
Also, not far away, you’ll find the Golden Gate Bridge, another of the iconic attractions you shouldn’t miss in SF. The funny thing is that, despite being so busy, the Marina District is the cheapest area to stay in San Francisco.
If you’re traveling on a budget, search for hotels in San Francisco here. It’s also the best place if you need to book a hotel with free parking in San Francisco. These are my favorites:
- Premium option: Cow Hollow Inn and Suites
- Standard option: Hotel Del Sol, a Joie de Vivre Hotel
- Low-cost option: Alpha Inn and Suites
Here are other accommodations in Marina District .
Nob Hill and Russian Hill, where the best hotels in San Francisco are
Nob Hill (also known as “Snob Hill”) is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, since the most affluent folks live here. Russian Hill is to the north, and as you can see when you go, it’s built on an interesting incline.
The two neighborhoods are good options for finding accommodation in San Francisco, depending on your budget, of course. If we’re talking about Nob Hill, staying in this area of San Francisco may mean you’ll have to eat rice for a few days.
However, it’s worth it for the location; to the south is Union Square, to the east is Chinatown, and to the northwest is North Beach. That’s why you can find the best hotels to sleep in San Francisco here. I recommend the following according to your budget.
- Premium option: Huntington Hotel
- Standard option: Nob Hill Inn
- Low-cost option: Cable Car Hotel
Here are other accommodations in Nob Hill and Russian Hill.
SoMa. South of the Market, another neighborhood to stay in San Francisco
SoMa is a place full of old buildings that have been converted into art galleries, pubs, and true cultural centers. There are also a lot of fast food restaurants and coffee shops.
Among the attractions here, don’t miss Yerba Buena Gardens, a famous park in this neighborhood. It’s worth looking for hotels in San Francisco in this area for this park alone.
Another positive thing about staying in SoMa is that you’ll be very well connected, since transportation here is very efficient. Therefore, it’s, in general, a good area to sleep in San Francisco. Here are my hotel recommendations:
- Premium option: The Park Central San Francisco
- Standard option: Hampton Inn San Francisco
- Low-cost option: Sunnyside Hotel
Here are other accommodations in SoMa.
The Mission, a good option to sleep in San Francisco
The origin of this neighborhood’s name is a Catholic parish, The Mission, which is the oldest building in the city.
This area is the favorite for Spanish speakers, since it’s considered the Latino cultural district. However, it caught our attention because of the huge graffiti that covers the facades of the buildings. If price is the most important thing for you, you’ll find cheap accommodation in San Francisco here. These are my recommended hotels:
- Premium option: Nineteen 06 Mission
- Standard option: Union Hotel
- Low-cost option: Hotel Sunrise
Here are other accommodations in Mission District .
Haight-Ashbury and The Castro, coolest neighborhoods in San Francisco
Haight-Ashbury is named for the intersection of two streets, where you’ll find very old shops and colorful Victorian houses. If you like vintage style, it’s the area for you. No one can deny that it’s one of the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco.
As for The Castro, it’s the gay neighborhood of San Francisco. If you’ve seen the movie Milk (about Harvey Milk, who was a councilman and an activist), you know exactly what we’re talking about. His famous photography shop is here.
The following hotels are a good option if you’re interested in staying near these neighborhoods:
- Premium option: Stanyan Park Hotel
- Standard option: Beck’s Motor Lodge
- Low-cost option: The Willows Inn
Here are other accommodations in Haight-Ashbury and The Castro.
San Francisco neighborhoods to avoid
There are times when it’s not possible to stay in the tourist areas of San Francisco, either due to price or to not having booked your hotel in advance. If it’s impossible for you to stay in one of the best hotels and areas to stay in San Francisco, at least make sure you’re safe. Check that your hotel is in a safe area to stay in San Francisco and avoid the following neighborhoods:
TENDERLOIN AND CIVIC CENTER
These two neighborhoods are areas where not to stay in San Francisco. In our experience, it’s very easy to enter them without realizing it, especially Tenderloin, since it’s very close to Union Square and just separated by a street.
Both this and the Civic Center area are places full of homeless people, drugs and violence … certainly not a good place to sleep in San Francisco.
Oakland is another of the areas to avoid in San Francisco. There are many tourists who make the mistake of staying here because it’s cheap and well connected with the center, but it’s very dangerous.
Although it’s brimming with thrift stores and delicious places to eat (the Fentons ice cream shop, for example), we don’t recommend you stay there at all. In fact, some friends were assaulted in this area during their vacations.
Remember to buy proper travel insurance for the USA. In addition to preventing problems if you experience theft, you’ll be covered against any medical expenses that may arise during the trip. Healthcare in the United States is so costly that visiting this country without buying insurance is too risky.
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Best hotels in San Francisco
If the area doesn’t matter to you but you want to be sure of staying in good hotels in San Francisco, we bring you the best of the best. In case you’re traveling to San Francisco for a special reason, to enjoy your honeymoon, or you just want to treat yourself, here are the best hotels in San Francisco. Of course, prepare your wallet:
- Huntington Hotel: One of the most exclusive hotels in San Francisco (Nob Hill)
- The Ritz-Carlton: Amazing luxury hotel in San Francisco (Nob Hill)
- Nob Hill Hotel: Hotel opened in 1906 with a refined style (Nob Hill)
- Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco: San Francisco’s most romantic hotel (Union Square)
- St. Regis San Francisco: Luxury hotel in San Francisco with infinity pool (SoMa)
Cheap accommodation in San Francisco
You’ve already seen that if you want to travel safely, it’s very important to choose the neighborhood well, instead of booking whatever cheap lodging in San Francisco you find. However, it’s also possible to find where to stay in San Francisco without spending much and still be in a good neighborhood.
On the following list, you’ll find the cheapest hotels in San Francisco that we recommend:
- HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel: Cheap hotel in San Francisco for backpackers (Union Square)
- Orange Village Hostel: Another good option for accommodation in SF (Union Square)
- Minna Hotel: Perfect hotel for low-budget couples (SoMa)
- Cable Car Hotel: Cheap hotel in San Francisco (Nob Hill)
- San Remo Hotel: Affordable hotel in San Francisco (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Besides, you may be interested in our article on how to get cheap hotels.
With all of this, you already have what you need to find the best place to stay in San Francisco.
Map of the San Francisco Neighborhoods where to stay
You already have all the information about where to stay in San Francisco. As an added bonus, we’ve left you a map so you can locate the best areas and hotels where to stay in San Francisco. I hope it’s useful.
Finally, tell us if you have any questions about choosing accommodation in San Francisco and, most importantly, have fun!