Where to stay in San Francisco | Best places & areas

The best areas to stay in San Francisco (California, United States) are Union Square, Nob Hill, Haight Ashbury, Hayes Valley, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Each of these areas has its own atmosphere. Discover our selection of the best accommodations and hotels in San Francisco for a first trip, a romantic or family getaway, or a trip with friends.

  1. First trip 
  2. For a romantic stay 
  3. Hotels in San Francisco with family 
  4. For the nightlife 
  5. Budget accommodation 
  6. Best areas in San Francisco 
  7. Neighborhoods to avoid 

Where to stay in San Francisco first time?

Union Square and Nob Hill. These two neighborhoods are the most interesting for a first trip to San Francisco. They are located not far from each other. Union Square is a central, bustling shopping district, while Nob Hill is quieter.

Fisherman’s Wharf. This San Francisco neighborhood is often cited as one of the best neighborhoods to stay in. It is from here that you can visit the famous island of Alcatraz. On the other hand, Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the city’s most touristy areas. Here are some excellent accommodations in this area.

citizenM San Francisco Union Square: located in downtown San Francisco, this hotel offers modern rooms for 2 people, as well as private parking (a real bonus if you go to San Francisco by car).

White Swan Inn: a lovely hotel with an ideal location for visiting San Francisco!

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse: located just a 6-minute walk from the beach, this hotel is a fun place to stay in San Francisco as a couple or with family.

Beresford Arms: a budget hotel to stay in San Francisco first time.

Best hotels to stay in San Francisco for couples

What is the best area to stay in San Francisco for a romantic trip? If you visit San Francisco, you are bound to take a trip to the hippy Haight Ashbury district, the birthplace of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. In addition to this famous district of San Francisco, you can book accommodation in the trendy district of Hayes Valley. In addition to Nob Hill and Union Square, these two neighborhoods are places to stay in San Francisco for couples.

Petite Auberge: located in the Union Square district, this B&B is a charming place for a romantic stay in San Francisco.

Palihotel San Francisco: the rooms are modern and tastefully decorated. The location is excellent for a romantic trip to San Francisco.

The Grove Inn: This lovely inn is located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. It is an excellent place to stay in San Francisco with good value for money.

Stanyan Park Hotel: This hotel is housed in a historic building in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

hotels san francisco for couples

Best places to stay in San Francisco with family

What is the best area to stay in San Francisco for a family trip? For a family stay in San Francisco, you can choose these three neighborhoods: Union Square, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Chancellor Hotel on Union Square: this hotel is ideal for a family stay in Union Square, San Francisco.

Hotel Zoe Fisherman’s Wharf: located just 9 minutes from the beach, this hotel is an excellent place to stay in San Francisco with family.

lombard street

Where to stay in San Francisco for nightlife?

The Castro. It is one of the best places to stay in San Francisco to enjoy the nightlife. You will find many places to go out and party. The Castro is a picturesque neighborhood in San Francisco, ideal to stay in for partyers.

Beck’s Motor Lodge: This hotel is on a tree-lined street. A terrific place to stay in San Francisco!

castro where to stay in san francisco for nightlife

Budget accommodation in San Francisco

Here is our selection of the best places to stay in San Francisco on a budget.

San Remo Hotel: located a 10-minute walk from the beach in the North Beach area, this hotel is an excellent place to stay in San Francisco on a budget. The decoration is old-fashioned, and the bathroom is shared.

Green Tortoise Hostel: This hostel offers shared dormitories. It is located in the North Beach district of San Francisco.

ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel: a cheap hostel where you can stay in San Francisco on a budget with very accessible rates, whether you visit the city alone or with friends.

Andrews Hotel: Located in the central Union Square area, this hotel offers good value for a stay in San Francisco.

Best areas to stay in San Francisco

Learn more about the best areas to stay in San Francisco: Nob Hill, Union Square, Haight Ashbury, Hayes Valley, Fisherman’s Wharf, Financial District, North Beach, or La Marina.

Union Square

Union Square is in downtown San Francisco. In this area, you will find the widest choice of hotels in San Francisco. Union Square is a bustling shopping district. It is one of the best places to stay in San Francisco for a first trip.

The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel: a 4-star hotel with elegant, refined, and minimalist decoration.

union square neighborhood san francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the liveliest and most touristy areas of San Francisco. You can enjoy seafood, admire beautiful views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate, and go to Alcatraz Island (read our blog post: Tips for visiting Alcatraz). Do not miss Ghirardelli Square, the most central place in this district.

Kimpton Alton Hotel: this hotel has an ideal location in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Francisco, just 4 minutes from the beach.

Haight Ashbury

Haight Ashbury is the symbol of the counterculture of the 1960s. Here you will find vintage clothing shops, bars, and restaurants. You will love the laid-back atmosphere of this neighborhood, one of the most visited places in San Francisco.

The Metro Hotel: a nice hotel that offers double rooms and family rooms. It is an excellent place to stay with family or as a couple in San Francisco.

san francisco area painted ladies

Nob Hill & Hayes Valley

These two neighborhoods are good places to stay in San Francisco to discover local life, a little further away from the city’s tourist areas. Nob Hill and Hayes Valley are close to downtown San Francisco but have a quieter, more authentic side. There are few hotels in these areas.

Chateau Tivoli Bed and Breakfast: This B&B is located near City Hall and the University of San Francisco. If you appreciate the charm of the old, the rooms of this B&B will undoubtedly please you a lot.

areas hayes valley san francisco

North Beach

Another vibrant area of ​​San Francisco! North Beach is one of the neighborhoods to visit in San Francisco. Highlights include the Filbert Steps at Telegraph Hill, the City Lights library, and the Vesuvio Cafe bar.

Hotel Boheme: fairly spacious double rooms with the 1950s-1960s decoration.

The Castro

The Castro is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in to enjoy San Francisco’s nightlife. It is the LGBT community neighborhood in San Francisco. Among the places not to miss are the Castro Theater and the GLBT History Museum.

The Hotel Castro San Francisco: a hotel with a self-check-in system. This hotel is convenient if you want to check in late at night or early in the morning.

Financial District

You will find premium hotels in the business center of San Francisco. Here is an example.

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero: this is an exceptional place for an exceptional stay!

financial district san francisco hotels

The Marina

La Marina is a pretty neighborhood that runs along San Francisco Bay. However, it is not a central district.

Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco: 10 minutes walk from the beach, this motel offers rooms for 2, 3, or 4 people. The rates are reasonable for San Francisco.

marina district san francisco stay on a budget

Areas to avoid in San Francisco

Tenderloin is one of the neighborhoods to avoid in San Francisco. Even though certain streets of the SoMa (South of Market) and The Mission districts are interesting for their murals or places to go out, these districts should be avoided overall.


If you visit California, you will necessarily go through San Francisco. For a short stay in San Francisco, choose neighborhoods such as Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Nob Hill, Haight Ashbury, or Hayes Valley. Union Square is where you’ll find the widest selection of hotels in San Francisco.

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