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 don’t want to get close to. However, the hotel offer in San Francisco is huge, so there are always good options to get the best location.
But beware: you cannot forget that it is also one of the most expensive cities in the whole country and more if you are looking for hotels in San Francisco with parking.
For this reason, we have sort 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. For this reason, we bring you this post where we recommend the best neighborhoods to stay 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 will see that in each neighborhood we mention the hotels that we recommend in San Francisco so it is easier for you to choose.
Union Square, best area to stay in San Francisco
Union Square is perhaps the best-known neighborhood since it is the center of the city. This is a very dynamic place, where you can attend many concerts and events throughout the year. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best places to stay in San Francisco for being very connected by public transport to all parts of the city.
There are many shops and stores, such as Gucci, Versace or the well-known Macy’s. In addition, it is very close to points of interest such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or the Grace Cathedral. If you travel to San Francisco at Christmas, here you will find the Christmas tree and the ice rink.
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 you can find other accommodation 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 here is Pier 39 (the first port of San Francisco converted into a mall) as well as seafood restaurants. When you pass by, don’t leave without trying the Dungeness Crab and the 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. Besides, here is the hotel where we stayed in San Francisco.
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 you can find 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, for 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 are a fan of Italian cuisine, this neighborhood may be the best place to stay in San Francisco for you. Here you will find ice cream parlors and restaurants with a taste of Italy.
Of all the hotels we found in North Beach, these are our recommended:
Here you can find other accommodations in North Beach San Francisco.
Marina District, the cheapest area to stay in San Francisco
Surely you remember watching the famous Lombard Street in the movies, a street that zigzags down a steep slope. Every year thousands of tourists come together to photograph this street.
Also, not far away, you can find the Golden Gate Bridge, another of the icons that you shouldn’t miss in SF. The funny thing is that, despite being so busy, Marina District is the cheapest area to stay in San Francisco.
If you are traveling on a budget, I recommend you search your hotels in San Francisco here. It is 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 you can find other accommodation 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 class lives here. Russian Hill is to the north, and as you can see when you go, it is built with an interesting inclination.
The two neighborhoods are good options for finding accommodation in San Francisco, depending on the budget, of course. If we talk about Nob Hill, staying in this area of San Francisco may mean you have to eat rice for a few days.
However, it is worth it for the location: to the south is Union Square; to the east Chinatown and to the northwest, 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.
SoMa. South of the Market, another neighborhood to stay in San Francisco
SoMa is a place full of old buildings converted into art galleries, pubs and true cultural centers. There are also a lot of fast food restaurants, and coffee shops.
Among the attractions we find here, you cannot miss Yerba Buena Gardens, a famous park in this neighborhood. Just for this, it is worth looking for hotels in San Francisco in this area.
Another positive thing about coming to SoMa is that you will be very well connected since the means of transportation here are very efficient. Therefore it is, 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 you can find other accommodation in SoMa.
The Mission, a good option to sleep in San Francisco
The origin of the name of this neighborhood is found in a Catholic parish, The Mission, which is the oldest building in the city.
This area is the favorite one for the Spanish speakers since it is considered the Latino cultural district. However, it caught our attention because of the huge graffiti that bathes the facades of the buildings. If the price is the most important thing for you, here you can find cheap accommodation in San Francisco. These are my recommended hotels:
Here you can find other accommodation in Mission District .
Haight-Ashbury and The Castro, coolest neighborhoods in San Francisco
Haight-Ashbury is named for the intersection of these two streets where we find very old shops and colorful Victorian houses. If you like vintage style, it’s your area. No one can deny that it is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco.
As for The Castro, it is the gay neighborhood of San Francisco. If you’ve seen the movie Harvey Milk (who was a councilman and an activist), you know what we’re talking about. Here is his famous photography shop.
The following hotels are a good option if you are interested in staying near these neighborhoods:
- Premium option: Stanyan Park Hotel
- Standard option: Beck’s Motor Lodge
- Low-cost option: The Willows Inn
San Francisco neighborhoods to avoid
There are times when it is not possible to stay in the tourist areas of San Francisco, either due to price or to haven’t booked well in advance your hotel. If it is impossible for you to stay in one of the best hotels and areas to stay in San Francisco, at least make sure you are not in any danger. 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. And, according to our experience, it is very easy to enter them without realizing it. Especially to Tenderloin since they are very close to Union Square just separated by a street.
Both this and the Civic Center area are conflictive places, full of homeless people, drugs and violence … So it is 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 is cheap and well connected with the center, but it is very dangerous.
Although it is 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 the importance of hiring proper travel insurance for the USA. In addition to preventing troubles in case you suffer a theft, you will be covered against any medical expenses that may arise during the trip. The healthcare in the United States is so costly that visiting this country without buying insurance is too risky.
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 travel to San Francisco for a special reason to enjoy your honeymoon or just want to treat yourself, I leave you the best hotels in San Francisco in the following list. 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 have already seen that if we want to travel safely, it is very important to choose the neighborhood well, iinstead of booking whatever cheap lodging in San Francisco you find. However, it is also possible to find where to stay in San Francisco without spending much and being in a good neighborhood.
In the following list you will 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)
With 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. In addition, we have left you a map so you can locate the best areas and hotels where to stay in San Francisco that I hope it’s useful.
Finally, tell us if you have any questions about choosing accommodation in San Francisco and have fun!