Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco, California

Americas, California, San Francisco, United States  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in San Francisco – A guide to the city by the bay

San Francisco is known as “the city by the bay” and is located west of the Pacific Ocean, bounded on the south by San José and northeast by Sacramento.

San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations to stay in California for being an iconic city on the west coast.

San Francisco attractions include the majestic Golden Gate suspension bridge, its hills and Victorian architecture.

San Francisco is also ideal for business travelers looking to get to Silicon Valley, the epicenter of finance and technology.

The best time to visit San Francisco is from May to September because it is the coolest and least rainy, or during the summer when the city has temperatures of 50ºF (10°C) to 70ºF (21°C).

The city connects with the rest of California and the world through the San Francisco International Airport, located 12mi from downtown.

The main means of transportation in San Francisco are the Cable Car, with three lines available in different districts of the city, the bus, the tram, the metro, and taxis.

Visitors who want to travel comfortably can rent a car in San Francisco, always taking into account that parking is not a strong point of the city.

Among the best areas to stay in San Francisco, Union Square is recommended, for its excellent location and lively nightlife (See accommodation in Union Square). On the other hand, North Beach is an excellent choice of accommodation in San Francisco if you want to know the cuisine of the city (See hotels in North Beach).

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in San Francisco, California

The best areas to stay in San Francisco, California

1. Our favorite area: Union Square

Union Square is San Francisco’s best-known shopping and entertainment area, with a prime location in the city center.

Close to Union Square, there are department stores with both cheap and high fashion stores that make it one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco for shopping.

Union Square has streets full of boutiques, exclusive shopping centers such as the Westfield San Francisco, restaurants and bars to take a break from shopping and enjoy a brunch or a coffee.

Moving from Union Square to other areas of San Francisco can be done through the Montgomery subway station or by taking the bus, the tram or the Cable Car.

Other points of interest in this area are the Contemporary Jewish Museum and several nightclubs where you can discover the San Francisco nightlife.

Union Square is the best area to stay in San Francisco because of its central location and availability of hotels for all types of visitors.

Best areas to stay in San Francisco - Union Square

Best areas to stay in San Francisco – Union Square

Accommodation in Union Square - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Union Square – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Best area for sightseeing
  • All types of hotels
  • Great transport connections
  • Commercial area
  • Best area for nightlife
  • Restaurants and bars

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Hotel Beresford

Hotel Beresford has a traditional British bar-restaurant and Victorian-style rooms with cable TV. This hotel is centrally located, just 2 minutes’ walk from the restaurants, theaters and shops of Union Square.

from US$149
Budget

Grant Hotel

Located in downtown San Francisco, just a 5-minute walk from Union Square, this charming hotel offers rooms with cable TV and free Wi-Fi. The Chinatown neighborhood is a 9-minute walk away.

from US$119
Luxury

Hotel Diva San Francisco

Located in San Francisco, a 3-minute walk from the restaurants, shops and galleries of Union Square, this hotel features a modern fitness center. The rooms have contemporary décor and free Wi-Fi.

from US$499
 

 

 

2. South of Market (SoMa)

South of Market (also called SoMa) is a relatively large and business area in San Francisco that includes the districts of South Beach, Mission Bay and Rincon Hill.

SoMa is home to many of the city’s museums such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, home to software and Internet companies and the Moscone Conference Center.

In terms of transport, SoMa has Cable Car, several tram lines and the Bart (subway) that connects this area with the rest of San Francisco, making it easy to move to other attractions.

In addition, SoMa also has clubs and high-end restaurants that make it one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco.

South of Market is also a recommended area when staying in San Francisco because of attractions such as the Children’s Creativity Museum and the Asian Art Museum.

South of Market (SoMa) - Best areas to stay in San Francisco, California

South of Market (SoMa) – Best areas to stay in San Francisco, California

Accommodation in South of Market - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in South of Market – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Best area for business travelers
  • Great transport connections
  • Museums

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Carriage Inn

The Carriage Inn is a 10-minute walk from the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco and offers rooms with Wi-Fi. The hotel rooms feature a custom design that commemorates famous people from the history of San Francisco.

from US$199
Budget

Grant Hotel

The San Francisco Inn serves a free continental breakfast and offers rooms with free Wi-Fi just a 12-minute walk from the Civic Center/UN Plaza, which houses attractions such as the Asian Art Museum, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the main library. San Francisco.

from US$99
Luxury

InterContinental San Francisco

Located in San Francisco, a 3-minute walk from the restaurants, shops and galleries of Union Square, this hotel features a modern fitness center. The rooms have contemporary décor and free Wi-Fi.

from US$499
 

 

 

3. North Beach

North Beach is a neighborhood located northeast of downtown San Francisco, near Chinatown, Russian Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Although in the past, North Beach was known as the red light district of the city, today, it is famous for having many restaurants and housing a large Italian population with Victorian-style houses.

Attractions in this area include cafes, Italian restaurants, nightclubs, bakeries, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul and the San Francisco Art Institute.

To move from North Beach to other areas, you can take the bus or the light rail at any of its stations.

North Beach is among the best area to stay in San Francisco for travelers looking for a residential and peaceful environment during their stay, without sacrificing a good location.

Where to stay in San Francisco, California - North Beach

Where to stay in San Francisco, California – North Beach

Accommodation in North Beach - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in North Beach – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Great food
  • Peaceful area
  • Bay area

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    San Remo Hotel

    This cozy, European-style hotel in North Beach is within walking distance of Fisherman’s Wharf and offers free Wi-Fi.

    from US$119
 

 

 

4. Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a neighborhood located northeast of the city and one of the main attractions to see in San Francisco.

This area extends from Ghirardelli Square or Van Ness Avenue to the east, where it reaches Pier 35 or Kearny Street.

Fisherman’s Wharf is known as a tourist district, with souvenir shops, restaurants, local seafood stalls, and fresh fish, as well as wonderful views of the San Francisco Bay.

During your stay in this area, you can visit the Musée Mécanique, the Aquarium of the Bay, The San Francisco Dungeon, shopping centers and the Madame Tussauds.

Fisherman’s Wharf has a ferry terminal, bus stops, a light rail station, the Cable Car Powell-Hyde line, and tram line F.

Fisherman’s Wharf is recommended among the best areas to stay in San Francisco for its abundant hotel offering and to be able to tour the Pier 39 and watch the sea lions frolicking or sunbathing.

Fisherman's Wharf - Where to stay in San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf – Where to stay in San Francisco

Accommodation in Fisherman's Wharf - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Fisherman’s Wharf – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Pier 39
  • Connected by public transport
  • All types of hotels
  • Souvenir shops
  • Bay area of San Francisco
  • Best area for sightseeing

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

The Wharf Inn

A 5-minute walk from the shops and restaurants of Fisherman’s Wharf, The Wharf Inn offers rooms with free Wi-Fi. This non-smoking motel serves coffee for free every morning.

from US$389
Budget

Travelodge by Wyndham by Fisherman’s Wharf

This motel is located in the tourist district of San Francisco, 3 blocks from the Fisherman’s Wharf area. The property offers rooms equipped with free Wi-Fi.

from US$119
Luxury

Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel

The family-run Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from Pier 39 and features an outdoor pool. There is also a cafeteria, the Link @ Sheraton, where meals and light snacks are served to take away.

from US$499
 

 

 

5. Tenderloin

Tenderloin is a neighborhood located in downtown San Francisco, on the plains of the southern slope of Nob Hill, between the Union Square district and the Civic Center.

Alternative bars, cheap food stores, historic buildings, and colorful murals make Tenderloin the heart of San Francisco.

The means of transport available in Tenderloin are buses, the metro (with 5 lines that connect with different districts of the city) and taxis, although these are not recommended because of their high cost.

When staying in Tenderloin, there are entertainment options such as theater, cinema, museums, and local or gourmet restaurants to try different dishes. Similarly, it is also a good area to stay in San Francisco to go shopping, with second-hand stores and brands.

Tenderloin is among the best areas to stay in San Francisco due to its central location, access to other districts and prices adaptable to the pockets of those who visit the city of California.

Tenderloin - Where to stay in San Francisco, California

Tenderloin – Where to stay in San Francisco, California

Accommodation in Tenderloin - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Tenderloin – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Central area
  • Cheap area to stay in San Francisco
  • Connected by public transport

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    San Remo Hotel

    Embassy Hotel, housed in a charming Art Deco building from the 1930s, just 0.2 mi (1.2 km) from Union Square in San Francisco with its shops and restaurants, offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, a bar and restaurant.

    from US$119
 

 

 

6. Marina District

The Marina District is a animated area dominated by a young population.

This area is surrounded by the districts of Van Ness Avenue, Fort Mason, Cow Hollow, Lyon Street and the Presidio Park. Marina District is divided into two parts, where the north comprises the San Francisco Bay.

This neighborhood by the sea hosts attractions such as parks for outdoor activities, the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, the Ghirardelli Square mall and the Palace of Fine Arts.

Whether on buses, through Chestnut St and Lombard St, the metro or the tram, it is possible to travel to other areas of the city from Marina District, to continue enjoying your stay in San Francisco.

Marina District stands out when choosing where to stay in San Francisco for the variety of hotels available to suit the needs of the most demanding travelers, whether luxury or budget options.

View of the Golden Gate from Marina District, one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco

View of the Golden Gate from Marina District, one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco

Accommodation in Marina District - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Marina District – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Lively area
  • Museums and cultural options
  • Wide range of accommodation

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Seaside Inn

The Seaside Inn is located in the San Francisco Marina District, about a 10-minute walk from Marina Green Park and the famous shops and cafés on Chestnut and Union Street. A free continental breakfast is served.

from US$389
Budget

Redwood Inn

This hotel is located on Lombard Street in San Francisco, 1 mile (1.6 km) from Fisherman’s Wharf. It offers free parking and rooms with free Wi-Fi.

from US$99
Luxury

The Fairmont Heritage

Located on top of Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, this urban complex offers views of San Francisco Bay and luxury apartments with free Wi-Fi and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen.

from US$999
 

 

 

7. Pacific Heights

Pacific Heights is a mostly residential area, thanks to its mansions and Victorian houses where the business elite of California live.

The Pacific Heights neighborhood borders Bush Street, Presidio Avenue, Union Street, and Van Ness Avenue, linked by several bus stops to travel to other districts.

The streets of Pacific Heights stretch along the most picturesque areas of the hilltop.

Pacific Heights includes two parks: Lafayette and Alta Plaza, each with spectacular views of the city and bay.

South of the Pacific Ave, you’ll find numerous shops and boutiques of famous designers.

Those staying at the Pacific Heights hotels (with their Edwardian and Châteauesque style) will enjoy breathtaking views of the Golden Gate, Cape Marin, and the famous Alcatraz Island that make it one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco.

Where to stay in San Francisco - Pacific Heights

Where to stay in San Francisco – Pacific Heights

Accommodation in Pacific Heights - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Pacific Heights – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in San Francisco:

  • Exclusive area
  • Amazing views of the Golden Gate
  • Shopping area

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Jackson Court

The Jackson Court occupies a magnificent red-stone mansion dating from the 19th century, located in the exclusive Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It is close to the center of the action, although it is located in a quiet area with no noise.

from US$219
Budget

Pacific Heights Inn

This San Francisco hotel is located on Union Street, one mile from Fisherman’s Wharf. The Pacific Heights Inn offers continental breakfast, free parking and free WiFi in all rooms.

from US$119
Luxury

Hotel Drisco

Hotel Drisco was built in 1903 and features Edwardian architecture. This upscale San Francisco hotel is located on Pacific Avenue in the upper Pacific Heights neighborhood, just 5 minutes’ walk from the Presidio National Park.

from US$449
 

 

 

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