Are you planning a trip to the famous Californian city? Do you already know what to see and what to do, but are still undecided on where to look for accommodation to spend a perfect holiday? In this post I suggest you which are the best areas where to sleep in San Francisco.
Personally I love San Francisco terribly: Once known as the epicenter of the counterculture movement, in the 60s and 70s, it was where you would find artists, idealists and those who practiced an alternative lifestyle.
It was the place where the likes of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Janice Joplin lived and creatively created their projects and works.
Life then was about experimentation. San Francisco is where the hippie movement was born, where the Summer Of Love took place and is the city where the thought of “Flower Power” took off in America.
Today the city is more technological than it is artistic but still revolves around a culture that values tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
This is one of the aspects that I love most about San Francisco, of its openness and its far-sighted thinking, still today.
But not only. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful and liveliest in the United States: each neighborhood has a unique and different charm from the other, each area has its own soul capable of involving the tourist.
Related articles: What to see in San Francisco in 3 days (my itinerary)
You'll fall in love with San Francisco, the blue bay views, the upbeat vibe, the rattle of Cable Cars up and down the city, just like I did.
- 1 - Fisherman's Wharf: Where to sleep with children
- 2 - Union Square: Where to sleep for business and shopping
- 3 - Financial District & Ferry Building: Where to sleep for business
- 4 - Nob Hill: Where to sleep for the first time when visiting San Francisco
- 5 - SoMa: where to sleep if you love food
- 6 - Chinatown: Where to sleep on a budget
- 7 - North Beach: where to sleep for a touch
- 8 - Castro: where to sleep for the LGBT community
- 9 - Mission: Where to sleep for the nightlife
- 10 - Haight - Ashbury: the trendiest area to sleep in San Francisco
- 11 - Pacific Heights: Where to sleep in the most exclusive neighborhood of San Francisco
Where to sleep in San Francisco: overview of the best areas
Eclectic, lively and charming, San Francisco is divided into five main districts: Downtown / Central, Richmond (to the right of Golden Gate Park), Sunset (left of Golden Gate Park), Upper Market e Bayview. Each district in turn is further subdivided into neighborhoods, some of which are certainly unique.
If you are in a hurry to know which are the best areas to sleep in San Francisco, here is a quick overview of the neighborhoods to take into consideration the most.
Fisherman's Wharf it is easy to reach and is the most tourism-focused district of all (and in some cases even a bit of a tourist trap). definitely a great area if you are visiting San Francisco with kids or for the first time, but if you are looking for a more local place, it is definitely not what you are looking for.
The district of Nob Hill is one of the affluent areas of San Francisco with boutique hotels and restaurants. The best area to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Nob Hill is a place for those seeking tranquility.
Financial District e Union Square they are the economic heart of the city. Areas that "never sleep" are certainly suitable for those visiting San Francisco for business or looking for modern, high-end hotels.
Haight-ashbury it is my favorite neighborhood and is where you will find the strangest and most bizarre side of the city, a mix of hippies, punks and "alternative" people. Although today it is more of an open-air museum from the days when the Flower Power movement dominated the city, it is still worth a visit.
Castro it is the area of the LGBT community.
South of Market (SoMa) it's a really cool neighborhood. Many warehouses have been turned into breweries, clubs and nightclubs, and it's also where the San Francisco Giants call home.
The Mission is the Hispanic neighborhood.
North Beach and Little Italy is the area to sleep in if you are looking for "home fragrance".
For an extreme oriental touch China Town it is certainly ideal; chaotic, lively and crowded is also the area where you can find the greatest offer of cheap accommodation.
Fisherman's Wharf: Where to sleep with the kids
At Randy Andy /
Fisherman's Wharf it is probably the most touristic district in the whole city.
The area is full of souvenir shops, restaurants where you can eat excellent fresh fish and excellent places to spend the evening, but as you can imagine this it is one of the most expensive areas in San Francisco.
Staying at Fisherman's Wharf is a great idea if you want to be close to many of the city's main attractions, but risk not fully enjoying the authentic spirit of San Francisco and only getting confused with the mass of tourists that flock to this neighborhood every day.
Despite the convenience of its location, I would recommend that you choose other neighborhoods in the city to stay in San Francisco.
Fisherman's Wharf, however, is very convenient for walking on Pier 39, board the ferries to Alcatraz and take a walk in Ghirardelli Square.
The best hotels in Fisherman's Wharf
Argonaut Hotel, a Noble House Hotel: A luxury cruise ship where you won't get seasick. It is located right in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, within walking distance of Ghirardelli Square. The rooms are beautiful and comfortable furnished with wooden and brick fittings. Check out the Blue Mermaid restaurant's delicious fish soup or take the kids through the visitor center exhibits run by the Park Service. Endless bars, restaurants and attractions within a few blocks.
The Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square: Fly over Ghirardelli Square and enjoy views of the bay and Alcatraz from anywhere in the hotel. Thirty-five residences, each with a private bathroom attached to each bedroom. King size beds, fireplaces, sofa beds, microwaves, gas stoves, dishwashers, and washer / dryers are standard in every residence. Take the free shuttle to Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 or the Presidio.
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Union Square: Where to sleep for business and shopping
Di Jakub Zajic /
Union Square it is the heart of San Francisco and, certainly, one of the most comfortable areas to sleep in the city.
Here you will find luxury accommodation, but also many economical alternatives and it is the perfect place to look for a hotel that suits the needs of any type of traveler.
Union Square is one of the areas best served by public transport, so from here you won't have any problems getting from one part of the city to the other: buses, subways and trams connect it to every corner of San Francisco, including the airport.
In the area do not miss a ride with the Cable Car, a visit to the Transamerica pyramid, a little shopping among the trendy shops and an evening stroll among restaurants, bars and theaters.
The best hotels near Union Square
Taj Campton Place: Right across the street from Union Square in downtown San Francisco, the Taj Campton boasts a rooftop fitness center, large nicely decorated suites, and a 2-Michelin-star restaurant. There is a courtesy car that takes you to nearby restaurants and nightclubs, such as Chinatown, SoMa, and North Beach.
Orchard Hotel: Large, cozy and traditional rooms with king size beds, flat screen TV and oriental artwork. Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square and the Financial District are all within easy reach. Guests traveling with children can request a rollaway bed or crib; the nearby Exploratorium offers a fun family activity.
The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel: The unique and artistic lobby extends to the dining room and event spaces, as well as the famous Redwood Room bar and lounge. The rooms are large and bright and have all the necessary comforts, especially for business travelers. Close to Union Square and famous night spots such as Johnny Foley's Irish Pub and Bourbon and Branch. Very close to many restaurants and tourist attractions.
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco: one of the best luxury hotels in San Francisco. The location is perfect, in the heart of Market Street, close to SoMa, the Financial District and the Embarcadero, and right on the BART line and trolley buses, so you can easily get anywhere in the city. Very simple, comfortable and bright rooms and a top notch restaurant and bar. The partnership with the Equinox gym allows guests free access. Proximity to the Yerba Buena Gardens, plenty of nightlife, Westfield Center shops, and restaurants like Tropisueno top it all off.
Grand Hyatt San Francisco Union Square: The elegant apartment-style rooms offer a lot of comfort. A well-decorated lobby is dominated by trendy bar and restaurant areas called OneUp. With Union Square just steps away, you are in the heart of it all.
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Financial District & Ferry Building: Where to sleep for business
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Il Financial District It is a very convenient area to stay: it is well connected by public transport to any corner of San Francisco, so you will have no difficulty getting around to visit the major attractions of the city.
Being a financial district, it is very lively especially during the week when men in suits and women in suits move from one side to the other of the streets bordered by some of the most majestic skyscrapers in the city.
In the evenings and on weekends, the area is much quieter.
Moving towards thePier you can take beautiful walks along the promenade or enjoy a snack at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, one of the most famous markets in the city, inside the Ferry Building.
The best hotels in the Financial District
Loews Regency San Francisco: spacious and modern rooms. Elegant decor. Many rooms offer city or bay views. If you are looking for restaurants, clubs and tourist attractions Chinatown, the financial district and North Beach are all within walking distance and within walking distance.
Omni San Francisco: a well thought-out mix of services for families, leisure and luxury. In the heart of it all, within walking distance of North Beach, Chinatown and downtown. Large and luxurious rooms with a design focused on comfort. The intimate restaurant and indoor bar give way to a beautiful space in the lobby. The program that offers kids a backpack of goodies upon check-in is a family-friendly bonus.
Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco: service, dimensions and decorations reminiscent of a royal palace. The hotel itself is an attraction to visit, but if that wasn't enough, you have SoMa, the financial district and the Embarcadero on your doorstep. You'd have a hard time finding a better gym than the Palace, complete with an indoor pool and changing rooms. Check out their on-site Pied Piper restaurant for food and drink, or if you want to look for a restaurant outside of the hotel, start across the street with the House of Shields!
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Nob Hill: Where to sleep for the first time when visiting San Francisco
At Rosangel Perry /
Nob Hill it's one of the chicest areas to stay in San Francisco… and one of the most expensive!
Hotels and B & Bs are few and all very, very expensive. If that doesn't scare you, though, you'll have the pleasure of sleep in one of the most beautiful and elegant districts of the city.
The Victorian-style houses rise up on the sides of steep uphill streets that offer wonderful views of the ocean.
The area is residential, so it is very quiet. However, there is no shortage of restaurants and clubs where you can spend a pleasant evening.
La location is very convenient: the center can be reached on foot, while for other attractions you just need to know that Nob Hill is well served by public transport.
A tip: to save your breath on the climb, use the famous Cable Cars!
The best hotels in Nob Hill
Fairmont San FranciscoFantastic rooms are available in all sizes for families or individual travelers. Known for its connection with celebrities such as Tony Bennett, its decorated ballrooms and the famous Tonga hall. Lesser known gems include shops, event centers, multiple fitness rooms, rooftop gardens, and bars. You can't beat its location atop Nob Hill, which dominates the rest of San Francisco.
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco: very nice restaurant, lounge and an extensive wine list. The children's program offers families traveling with little ones a treasure hunt around the hotel. The comfortable and quaint rooms offer sweeping views of the center. Located in the heart of San Francisco, between Nob Hill and North Beach. Walking distance from food in North Beach, Chinese in Chinatown or the center of nightlife.
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SoMa: where to sleep if you love food
South of Market (SoMa) is one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods of San Francisco and one of the largest! Inside, in fact, there are some sub-districts such as East Cut, South Park and Rincon Hill.
Once this was an industrial area, but today the neighborhood has been redeveloped and inside the old warehouses there are lofts, businesses and even discos.
Gourmets will be happy, because many of the best restaurants in the city seem to be concentrated in the SoMa district.
Here you will also find some of the most important museums in San Francisco such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of the African Diaspora and Contemporary Jewish Museum.
The area is well served by buses, metro and trams, so you won't have any problems getting around the city.
A piece of advice: prefer other areas than the one between 4th and 10th street, approach the Tenderloin neighborhood is not very recommended.
The best hotels in SoMa
St. Regis San Francisco: the open-room concept and interior design are beautiful. The in-house Vitrine restaurant is famous for its well-prepared American cuisine; they also boast a pop-up restaurant downstairs specializing in grilled dishes. A large swimming pool and a nice fitness center complete it all.
Hotel Zelos San Francisco: the rooms are bright and clean. The fitness center and restaurant are perfect. Right next to Union Square, Westfield Mall and the Metreon.
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Chinatown: Where to sleep on a budget
A great neighborhood to look for a hotel in San Francisco is Chinatown, the largest Chinese community in the United States lives here.
Cross the Dragon gate it means finding yourself immersed in a new world and apparently light years away from the rest of San Francisco. Oriental architecture, temples, typical shops and restaurants will catapult you straight, straight into the East.
Il neighborhood is very safe, both day and night and it is in a very strategic position with respect to the rest of the city. From here, many of San Francisco's attractions can be easily reached on foot: in 10 minutes you will get to Union Square and in about 20 you will be al Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.
Another point in favor of Chinatown? The accommodations are definitely much cheaper of the rest of the city!
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North Beach: where to sleep for a touch
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On the border with Chinatown it is located North Beach, also known as Little Italy.
The area is perfect for staying during a stay in San Francisco and… feeling a little at home!
Among restaurants and ice cream parlors, however, in these parts you can also breathe that typical American atmosphere linked to the years of the Beat Generation: Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg used to spend their days in this neighborhood. During your stay, you cannot miss a visit to the famous bookshop C.
North Beach, like Chinatown, is also much cheaper than other areas of the city.
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Castro: where to sleep for the LGBT community
Castro it is the heart of San Francisco's LGBT community: its streets are colorful and many rainbow flags fly on the windows of the houses.
In these parts there are numerous art galleries, you will find many cafes where you can spend pleasant evenings and you can indulge yourself in taking photographs of the magnificent street art of the area.
The area is quiet and absolutely safe even in the evening. It is a little off-center, but is served by the light rail that takes you to the Financial District area.
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Mission: Where to sleep for the nightlife
Near Castro is the South American neighborhood of Mission: the area is pleasant, full of historic murals, very colorful and dotted with delicious restaurants.
But unfortunately, not the whole area is really safe. This and the fact that it is not well connected to the center pushes me to suggest you visit Mission, but not to choose it as a base to stay in San Francisco.
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Haight - Ashbury: the trendiest area to sleep in San Francisco
Di Michael Warwick /
Haight – Ashbury is the hippie district of San Francisco: the place where the 60s seem to never be over.
If you are a nostalgic of those times, if you want to live a few days wrapped in a hippie atmosphere, stroll through the boutiques of the neighborhood, enter a record shop to listen to good music and, above all, if you are not allergic to the smell of smoke of cannabis, this is the right area for you!
Unfortunately, however, there are not many accommodations in this part: only a few B & Bs or houses for rent.
The area is also a little off-center, but is still served by the light rail.
Vedi Hotel a HAIGHT-HASHBURY
Pacific Heights: Where to sleep in San Francisco's most exclusive neighborhood
Pacific Heights it is the most exclusive district of San Francisco: here you will find magnificent Victorian-style houses, villas with luxurious gardens and even houses with Baroque architecture.
Staying here is very expensive, but if you want a 5-star stay, it might be for you.
One of the reasons why it is really worth going to Pacific Heights? The magnificent views of the Golden Gate Bridge!
The best hotels in Pacific Heights
Hotel Drisco: one of the best boutique hotels in San Francisco and one of my favorites. Very royal historical building. There's an old-school vibe, including complimentary wine for guests and a continental breakfast buffet. It is located in the middle of San Francisco's residential neighborhood, so be prepared to walk to see the nearby Presidio, Marina, and Fillmore neighborhoods.
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So, have you chosen the best area to stay in San Francisco?