Best Hotels in San Francisco, California
San Francisco? It's safe to say we've left our heart here. From the majestic skyline and postcard-worthy bridges to enough nightlife and open space to hold the ever-growing tech hub, San Francisco is one for the books. Lucky for you, we're all about the hotels in the City by the Bay.
Known for its big hills, overpriced housing and famous orange bridge (let's be real — it's not really gold), some are surprised to know all that San Francisco has to offer. From going beyond Fisherman's Wharf to get a taste of the bay to tip-toeing around the Tenderloin to find diamonds in the rough, San Francisco is more than meets the eye, and we've got hotels to match.
Why We Love San Francisco
Crisp sourdough bread, bright Victorians and cable cars — oh my. We love what makes San Francisco the city iconic and even more for what makes it different.
- Hot hotels: You know we got it covered when it comes to hotels in the Bay. From swanky institutions that gloss the history of San Francisco to new hip inns and boutiques, we know all the best spots to keep the night going or crash after a long day of sightseeing.
- Sports fans: Talk about options. The Bay Area has some killer sports teams, and chances are, your visit will align with a game or two. Depending on the season, catch the Giants by the water at Oracle Park or hitch a ride on Caltrain to see the 49ers. More options await across the bay in Oakland — Golden State Warriors, anyone?
- Good neighborhoods: San Francisco is all about the neighborhoods. Walk from one to another and see the city completely transform before your eyes. Keep it all business in the Financial District, rub elbows with socialites in Nob Hill or play tourist in Fisherman's Wharf. Tread lightly in rougher areas like the Tenderloin, but don't be afraid to explore lesser-known gems like Laurel Heights. San Francisco will keep you exploring for days.
- It's all green: In such a metropolitan area, it can be a relief to find some greenery. Luckily, San Francisco is all about nature moments. From world-famous Golden Gate Park with acres of trees, meadows and stops for museum grazing to the local favorite Dolores Park, where everyone flocks when the sun makes its rare appearance, San Francisco is serious about staying green.
- Iconic attractions: Talk about sightseeing. From Chinatown to Alcatraz, San Francisco is flooded with famous places, landmarks, museums and more. You can't hit them all in one trip, but you can sure try.
Best Places to Stay in San Francisco
You'll find a multitude of unique, vibrant neighborhoods in San Francisco, each with something special to offer. Whether you're looking for the best hotels in the Bay Area or discount hotels in San Francisco, there's a hood for every taste and budget. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to explore in the city, where you'll find plenty to do, lots to eat and great places to stay:
- Fisherman's Wharf: With waterfront views and fresh seafood, it's no wonder Fisherman's Wharf is one of the most popular destinations in San Francisco. Here you can walk the red carpet and get your picture with Madonna or Jimi Hendrix at Madame Tussauds, hang out on Pier 39 to observe sea lions or street performers, or step into maritime history aboard the USS Pampanito. Fisherman's Wharf is a top attraction for families and seafood lovers who want to experience fun amusements and boardwalk vibes. You'll find several luxury hotels in this part of San Francisco, complete with pools and nautical decor.
- South of Market: More frequently referred to as SoMa, South of Market is a hub for art, culture and nightlife. With several museums linked by beautiful gardens, you can get your gallery fix during the day and gear up for a night out. You might find yourself enjoying a cocktail at Monarch, dancing at DNA Lounge or staying out late at The EndUp. This hip hood is perfect for culture lovers or business travelers who want to be close to the Financial District. Here you'll find a range of accommodations from luxe boutique hotels to eco-chic mid-range hotels close to it all.
- Union Square: Host to some of the top names in fashion, Union Square is considered to be one of the biggest shopping districts in San Francisco. Here you'll also find modern music venues and nightclubs, as well as a few historical gems. Shop your way around the square, enjoy a cocktail in the Prohibition-era speakeasy Bourbon and Branch or catch a live show at the lavish American Conservatory Theatre. You'll find some of the best Bay Area hotels in Union Square — perfect for business travelers who want to be in the heart of it all.
- Presidio: History buffs, film fans, and nature lovers alike flock to the Presidio to explore dozens of trails, learn about the long military history, and visit the Yoda Fountain. Stay in the Presidio or nearby, and you'll find upscale suite hotels with some of the best views in San Francisco.
- North Beach: Heavily influenced by Italian culture, North Beach is the best place for espresso, gelato, cabarets and jazz clubs. Walk the Filbert Street steps to the top of Telegraph Hill and try to spot the wild parrots, then catch a jazz band at the open-air Savoy Tivoli. If you want great views and great pasta, check out North Beach. You'll find everything from cozy budget hotels to high-end hotels with a gym in this part of San Francisco.
- Haight-Ashbury: Haight-Ashbury is perhaps San Francisco's most famous neighborhood. Visitors head here to experience the Summer of Love and step back into counterculture history. Visit this diverse neighborhood to snap a selfie in front of the Grateful Dead House, listen to jazz at Club Deluxe or shop for vinyl at Amoeba Music. You'll find a few laid-back budget hotels nearby.
- Financial District: The Financial District is the business heart of the city, where you'll find towering skyscrapers, tons of happy hour spots and historic eateries. This is a great part of town for history buffs who want to check out landmarks and some of the oldest restaurants in the city, and business travelers in need of lunchtime gems. This where you'll find San Francisco's swanky business hotels with stylish bars and killer views.
- The Castro: Anyone interested in relaxing and experiencing LGBTQ history has to spend some time in the Castro. Whether it's for a stroll past the Victorian homes in Eureka Valley, the views of the Bay Area or shopping for unique gifts, this area is colorful and proud. You'll find hip and affordable hotels nearby.
- Hayes Valley: Hayes Valley is a chic San Francisco neighborhood with Euro-California vibes. Here you'll find modern art spaces, trendy boutiques and an eclectic mix of eateries. Stay in Hayes Valley to shop the latest fashions, catch an outdoor indie flick at Proxy, and dine in one of the many bistros. You'll find a range of hotels in or near Hayes Valley.
Places to Eat in San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the most innovative food cities in the country. Visit the City by the Bay, and you'll get to try everything from original ice cream flavors to world-famous sourdough. If you'll be visiting San Francisco for the first time, here are a few iconic eateries you don't want to miss:
- The Buena Vista Cafe: The Buena Vista is home to world-famous Irish coffee, a creamy, boozy delight developed in 1952. Stop at this landmark in Fisherman's Wharf to wash down a Dungeness crab omelet with the whiskey-coffee-cream concoction, and live the life of a local fisherman.
- Boudin Bakery: Boudin is home to legendary sourdough bread that tastes like none other in the world. With locations throughout San Francisco, it shouldn't be hard to get your clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and taste a piece of history.
- Taqueria La Cumbre: If you're hungry and love Mexican food, make sure to head to Taqueria La Cumbre during your San Francisco vacay. Many credit Taqueria La Cumbre with creating the Mission-style burrito — a large flour tortilla packed a variety of ingredients. For fresh, authentic flavors and a casual atmosphere, add Taqueria La Cumbre to your list of must-tries.
- Humphry Slocombe: Did you ever want to try jalapenos in your ice cream? San Francisco adores ice cream, and folks aren't afraid to get a little wild with their flavors. You're invited to sample some crazy good creamy inventions at Humphry Slocombe, so make sure to visit them.
- Tadich Grill: Located in the Financial District, Tadich Grill is the oldest continuously run restaurant in California. This is the place to go for fine dining in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Enjoy quality San Francisco seafood classics like Dungeness crab cakes or cioppino.
Looking for a low-key place to enjoy a relaxed evening on the town? Here are a few ways to kick back with friends and locals in San Francisco:
- Comstock Saloon: Comstock Saloon, located in the Financial District, has a laid-back vibe, hosts live musicians nightly, and offers classic bites with a creative spin. It's the perfect venue for a relaxing evening out with drinks and friends.
- Tupelo: Need a place to cheer on your sports team of choice while enjoying a southern-comfort menu and a beer? Or are you more into live jazz and soul bands? Or even belting some dance karaoke? Whatever your brand of fun, Tupelo is the spot for you. You can also expect great service at Tupelo, even when this place is hopping.
- Sutter Pub and Restaurant: If you're staying in the Nob Hill area and get an overwhelming craving for bangers and mash, head to Sutter Pub and Restaurant. Sutter Pub is a cozy little joint serving classic English fare and a large variety of beer, sure to put you in a jovial mood.
- Stone Bowl Plus: Stone Bowl Plus is a low-key Korean fusion restaurant located in Lower Haight. Stop here to escape the crowds and satiate your appetite with delicious food such as seafood udon or kimchi fried rice.
- Ragazza: Ragazza is a comfy, casual neighborhood spot where locals come together to enjoy thin-crust pizza, antipasti and Italian-inspired wine. Visit Ragazza for mouthwatering eats and to dine like a neighbor.
Things to Do in San Francisco
San Francisco has so much to offer every kind of traveler. Families will enjoy the amusements at Fisherman's Wharf, while culture lovers will feel right at home in SoMa. Whether you love spending the day soaking up inspiration as you gaze at art or relaxing in the California sun in a scenic park, you'll find something that floats your boat in this coastal city. Here are just a few of the top attractions in San Francisco to consider checking out:
- Golden Gate Park: Golden Gate Park is a must-see for any first-time visitor. Over 13 million people visit Golden Gate Park each year to explore more than a thousand acres of gardens, lakes, playgrounds, trails, monuments and more. Here you'll also find the California Academy of Sciences and San Francisco's oldest museum, de Young Museum. There's so much to do in Golden Gate Park whether you want to look at art, ride a carousel or watch a herd of bison graze.
- Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz Island is another top tourist attraction, and where you'll find the infamous federal prison, a historic lighthouse, and a park with gardens, tide pools, birdwatching opportunities, and incomparable bay views. Whether you're a nature lover, history buff or a little bit of both, you don't want to skip a trip to Alcatraz while visiting San Francisco.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is one of the many museums you'll find in SoMa and one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the country. Browse creations by artists from all over the world, take a relaxing stroll in the sculpture garden, or take a break next to the 30-foot-tall living wall. A trip to SFMOMA is a great way to start an enriching and rejuvenating San Francisco vacation.
- Yerba Buena Gardens: Serving as a focal point for SoMa culture, the Yerba Buena Gardens cover two blocks of serene gardens, museums and activity centers. The area is home to the Children's Creativity Museum — a multimedia museum with interactive displays — an indoor ice rink with skyline views, a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and a restored carousel from the once-booming amusement park, Playland-at-the-Beach.
- Exploratorium: Exploratorium is a science museum located on Pier 15 in the Embarcadero. This museum features over 650 hands-on exhibits for both kids and adults to enjoy. Here you can venture into a tornado, cross the Fog Bridge, and watch optical effects in a giant spherical mirror. No matter your age, there's something to learn and explore at the Exploratorium.
Have you already cruised to Alcatraz Island and hit other top attractions? Frequent travelers to San Francisco will be pleased to discover the city's many hidden gems. Here are a few under-visited destinations so that you can tour the city like a local:
- Haas-Lilienthal House: The Haas-Lilienthal House, built in 1886, survived the 1906 earthquake and is the only Victorian house museum in the city. You can take a guided hour-long tour of this landmark to step back in time and experience the city in a different era.
- Fort Point National Historic Site: Fort Point National Historic Site is a great place to visit, especially if you're staying in the Presidio or Marina District. Fort Point, located beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, was built between 1853 and 1861. Stop here for a fascinating history lesson and some of the best bridge views in the city.
- Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts: Already tour SFMOMA? For even more inspiration, head to the Wattis Institute of Contemporary Arts, which is part of the California College of the Arts. The Wattis focuses on showcasing artists who aren't afraid to take risks and experiment. Stop here to expand your mind and view art from both emerging and established artists.
- The Wave Organ: The Wave Organ, located on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay, is a sculpture designed to play tunes by the impact of waves. Visit the Wave Organ during high tide and listen closely to this unique oceanic instrument.
- The Beat Museum: Home to displays unlike any other art and writing gallery, the Beat Museum is the only foundation dedicated solely to the history of the Beat Generation. Be sure to stop in and view their exhibitions and listen to the stories of the Beat community.
Where to Find the Best Hotels in San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a hub of innovation, history, diversity and natural beauty. With some of the best eateries in the country, an array of world-class museums and picturesque bayside communities, this city is a must-see for every kind of traveler. Plus, there are digs galore to make you feel at home during your stay. Whether you're looking for amazing luxury hotel deals in the Bay Area or affordable hotels near San Francisco, there's a room for you.
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