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

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 on the west coast of the United States.

San Francisco is one of the most popular destinations in California, with attractions that include the majestic Golden Gate suspension bridge, its hills and Victorian architecture.

San Francisco is also ideal for business travelers looking to get to the Silicon Valley, the epicenter technology in the US.

The best time to visit San Francisco is from May to September because it doesn’t rain as much and you can do outdoor activities.

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

The main means of transport in San Francisco are the famous Cable Cars, with three lines available in different districts of the city, buses, trams, metro, and taxis.

Visitors who want to travel comfortably can rent a car in San Francisco, always taking into account that parking spaces are not one of the city’s fortes.

Union Square is recommended among the best areas to stay in San Francisco because of its excellent location and great nightlife spots (See accommodation in Union Square). On the other hand, North Beach is an excellent choice of accommodation in San Francisco if you want to taste the best 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 great location in the center of the city.

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

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

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

Other attractions in this area are the Contemporary Jewish Museum and several clubs where you can get familiar with San Francisco’s nightlife.

Union Square is the best area to stay in San Francisco because of its central location and 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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Great transport connections
  • Best area for nightlife
  • Restaurants and bars

2. South of Market (SoMa)

South of Market (also called SoMa) is a relatively large business area of 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, but the area also hosts software and Internet companies, as well as the Moscone Conference Center.

In terms of transport, SoMa has Cable Car connections, several tram lines and the Bart (metro) that makes it possible to move from this area to the rest of San Francisco.

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 to stay 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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

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

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 and Victorian-style houses.

In this area, you’ll find cafes, Italian restaurants, clubs, 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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

  • Great food
  • Peaceful area
  • Bay area

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 museum.

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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

  • Pier 39
  • Connected by public transport
  • Great area for sightseeing

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, 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, you can choose between entertainment options such as theater plays, movies, museums, and local or gourmet restaurants to try different dishes. Similarly, it is also a good area to stay in San Francisco for shopping, with second-hand stores for bohemian and hipster visitors.

Tenderloin is among the best areas to stay in San Francisco due to its central location, access to other districts and good prices.

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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

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

6. Marina District

The Marina District is a vibrant area with a youthful atmosphere.

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.

Marina District stands out when choosing where to stay in San Francisco for the variety of hotels available here, including several budget and luxury accommodations.

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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

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

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 the 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 is this a recommended area to stay in San Francisco:

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

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