Where to stay in San Francisco (& Where NOT to stay): a local's travel guide.

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I (Jeremy) first moved to San Francisco in 2009 for faculty, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and proper in the midst of that good time interval between Tech Increase 1.0 and Tech Increase 2.0. The town I moved to was quirky and inexpensive: I used to be in a position to work as a barista and attend artwork college whereas nonetheless with the ability to pay for hire and my school social life.

That looks as if a very long time in the past now – an inexpensive San Francisco seems like a distant reminiscence. Since then, I’ve modified as a lot as the town has. However a couple of issues have remained the identical: I’ll at all times get that butterfly-in-my-stomach feeling of pleasure after I cross over the Bay Bridge from our present house in Oakland and catch glittering daylight reflecting off skyscrapers within the Monetary District and shining on Coit Tower, or after I’m in a position to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge unobscured by fog.

Necessary 2021 Journey Replace: Starting August 20, 2021, all indoor companies in San Francisco – together with eating places, bars, golf equipment, and gymnasiums – shall be requiring proof of vaccination to enter, and lots of different companies are additionally requiring vaccination proof voluntarily. Make sure that to deliver your vaccination card (or a photograph of it) or a digital QR code with you. Alternatively, you’ll be able to nonetheless eat outdoors. And naturally, masks are required in all places (most locals put on them each indoors and out of doors). For extra particulars, click here. Get pleasure from your go to!
Lia enjoying the regularly scheduled 6pm cold/fog.Lia enjoying the regularly scheduled 6pm cold/fog.
Lia having fun with the frequently scheduled 6pm chilly/fog. The remainder of the photographs of this submit are sunny and heat, however think about your self duly ready: Karl the Fog is ever current in San Francisco.

Yet one more factor has stayed the identical: San Francisco will at all times be a metropolis that adjustments. Since San Francisco first started to draw hopeful visionaries within the early days of the Gold Rush, it’s been a lightning rod for no matter’s subsequent, new, and thrilling. San Francisco seems like the long run – however items of the town will at all times mirror its previous. The Summer time of Love in 1967 might have felt like the subsequent large factor for younger People on the time, however right this moment, Haight-Ashbury feels prefer it’s charmingly frozen in time, a dwelling museum to an period lengthy gone.

That is additionally why it will possibly really feel extremely complicated to determine the place to remain in San Francisco. For one factor, there are a TON of various neighborhoods, every with a totally distinct vibe, historical past, surroundings, and even climate. And regardless of San Francisco’s comparatively tiny dimension, it will possibly take hours to get from one aspect of the town to a different on public transportation due to ridiculous hills and site visitors.

Basing your self in the best spot can imply the distinction between strolling out your entrance door to discover, and spending an hour and a half in a bus or prepare or automotive simply to see the sights.

We all know the place you keep could make or break your journey expertise, and we would like you to fall in love with San Francisco – and to get that butterfly feeling while you take heed to San Francisco songs. Oh, by the way, listed below are a couple of of our favorites so that you can play when you’re studying this submit:

Now that you just’ve obtained your playlist all queued up (and a cup of espresso or tea, maybe – it is a lengthy submit!) let’s get began.

Psst: Planning to go to the Bay Space? We’ve obtained a ton of weblog posts about our house! Listed here are a couple of of our favorites that will help you put together in your journey.

We even have a Podcast episode about San Francisco! Discover out what to eat, the place to drink, & the perfect issues to do, plus solutions to questions you by no means knew you had… like whether or not there’s weed in all places (sure) and should you’ll unintentionally see nudity (double sure). We’re additionally spilling the fair-trade, natural, ethically sourced tea on our lesser-known lifetime of crime.

The Ferry Building in San Francisco, California.The Ferry Building in San Francisco, California.
The Ferry Constructing is San Francisco’s finest meals corridor, and it’s a unbelievable place to get espresso and breakfast earlier than heading out on our self-guided walking tour of San Francisco!

San Francisco Journey Ideas

Earlier than we dive into our San Francisco neighborhood information, listed below are a couple of fast suggestions that you just’ll have to know earlier than you begin planning your journey.

  • Don’t rent a car. Don’t do it! You do NOT need the effort or expense of parking a automotive throughout your journey to San Francisco. It’s terrible. I NEVER drive in San Francisco if I can assist it, and I extremely encourage you to do the identical. Something you need to entry outdoors of the town may be organized by way of tour or at most, a one-day car rental.
  • Don’t name it “San Fran” or “Frisco.” There are 2 acceptable affectionate nicknames for San Francisco: “SF” and “The Metropolis.” That’s it. These are the two. Permitting “San Fran” or “Frisco” to go your lips is an effective way to out your self as an out-of-towner, which has the additional benefit of inflicting everybody close to you to take a couple of steps again and internally seethe.
  • Pack good strolling sneakers. San Francisco is a metropolis finest explored on foot. Sure, you’ll be able to take transit to get round, however you’ll miss fairly a little bit of the quirks and appeal that make up San Francisco! Spend no less than a day wandering by the town and stroll as a lot as you’ll be able to. To assist, we’ve obtained a self-guided San Francisco walking tour – and we’ve additionally obtained ideas for the perfect strolling sneakers for journey. Listed here are our favourite journey sneakers for men and for women.
  • Carry layers. San Francisco shouldn’t be a heat metropolis. And it’s particularly not heat in the summertime, which is definitely the coldest season of the yr. Carry a jacket, a shawl, and perhaps even a hat, and pack all of them with you. It will likely be freezing chilly till 10am, then you definately’ll have a couple of wonderful hours of heat and presumably even sunny climate, earlier than 6pm hits and it is going to be instantly freezing once more. Throw your layers in a day bag and also you’ll be good to go!
  • San Francisco has a LOT of homeless residents. This will undoubtedly be a little bit of a tradition shock. Please needless to say the parents experiencing homelessness are our neighbors, and never a blight or an eyesore. Lots of the people that you will notice are additionally scuffling with psychological diseases, and you may even see individuals who look like speaking to themselves or to skinny air. Though this may be startling, keep in mind that these individuals are in way more hazard than you’re, and are unlikely to hurt you in any method. Homelessness is traumatic, notably for the mentally unwell, whose circumstances may be exacerbated by the stress of homelessness. Additionally, as a result of there are too few public restrooms in San Francisco, you’ll odor some disagreeable issues throughout your keep. Maintain your breath and keep in mind: you get to go house and use a toilet or take a bathe everytime you need. They don’t. Have compassion. There’s a unbelievable useful resource for a way to reply to the homeless in San Francisco on SF Gate.
  • You received’t discover many quick time period rental listings. Regardless of Airbnb being headquartered within the metropolis, quick time period leases in San Francisco have traditionally contributed to the housing disaster, which in flip impacts homelessness. Through the years, strict legal guidelines have been established, limiting the quantity and sort of AirBnBs discovered within the metropolis. When you can nonetheless discover a couple of non-public rooms for hire in SF, to be able to be a extra accountable traveler, we advocate that you just select to remain in accommodations as a substitute.

We’ve obtained some extra useful – and solely mildly useful – suggestions for visiting San Francisco in our information to things nobody tells you about San Francisco!

In case your check-in and check-out occasions don’t sync up together with your have to roam the streets and also you want a spot to retailer your baggage take a look at LuggageHero, a service that helps you discover a secure place to maintain your baggage when you’re working round! Use the code PRACTICALW for two hours of free baggage storage on us.

Now that we’ve obtained that out of the best way, let’s dive into which areas to remain in San Francisco!

The Greatest Areas to Keep in San Francisco

Union Square in San Francisco, California.Union Square in San Francisco, California.
Union Sq. in San Francisco is a handy place to remain and beautiful to go to, however the space is missing in a lot of San Francisco’s signature appeal. There are many good locations to remain right here, however this space isn’t one among our high picks. Authentic photograph credit score: “Union Square, San Francisco” (CC BY 2.0) by Tony Fischer Photography

Union Sq.

We’ll begin out with some of the in style decisions, earlier than providing you with a bunch of different choices that we extremely encourage you to decide on as a substitute. Union Sq. and the encompassing areas are some of the in style vacationer locations in San Francisco. The sq. itself isn’t a lot to get enthusiastic about (besides throughout Christmas, when it turns into a lovely ice skating rink with an enormous Christmas Tree), however the surrounding streets are full of a few of the finest purchasing within the metropolis. Each clothes model you’ll be able to consider has a storefront right here.

Union Sq. is centrally situated, near transit, and the accommodations on this space serve up unbelievable high-rise views. For those who’re visiting for work, Union Sq. is simply shut sufficient to the Monetary District and the Moscone Conference Heart for a brisk morning stroll, and suffers much less from the FiDi’s “every part closes after 6pm” curse.

That mentioned, should you’re not visiting for work, there are much more fascinating locations to remain – Union Sq. doesn’t precisely serve up San Francisco appeal. That doesn’t imply it’s not value a go to, although: you may end up passing by Union Sq. for a trip on our well-known Cable Car, a day of purchasing, or an outside lunch and an iconic photograph in gorgeous Maiden Lane.

  • The place to Keep in Union Sq.: Many of the accommodations on this neighborhood are on the upper finish, just like the Westin St. Francis, which borders one finish of Union Sq. – pop in for a surprising foyer show in the course of the Christmas Season and should you can, trip the glass elevators to the highest of the towers for the most effective views within the metropolis. For those who’d choose a extra budget-friendly room, strive Villa Florence as a substitute.
Giant arrow statue along the Embarcadero south of Market Street in San Francisco, California.Giant arrow statue along the Embarcadero south of Market Street in San Francisco, California.
SoMa is a large neighborhood. On the far jap aspect of SoMa, you’ll discover Rincon Hill, the Oracle Park, and this cool big arrow statue.

South of Market, aka SoMa

Locals check with the sweeping space south of market avenue within the jap half of the town as SoMa. It’s VERY giant. So giant, in reality, that there are sub-districts inside SoMa like East Reduce, South Park, and Rincon Hill. Traditionally, this neighborhood was a warehouse district, however now it’s house to tech firms and lofts which occupy the roomy outdated warehouse buildings.

SoMa is a unbelievable place to stick with fairly a bit happening, however totally different components of SoMa have totally different vibes. For instance, on the eastern-most tip of SoMa, you’ll discover lovely properties surrounding South Park, a quiet inexperienced London-Fashion little park sq..

However head west to Folsom Road between seventh and ninth and also you’ll discover the BDSM and leather-based tradition block (as a result of …San Francisco) that homes our infamous Folsom Street Fair each September. For those who’re visiting San Francisco in September, and also you’re NOT into leather-based, kink, or nudity, don’t remain on this space. Think about your self duly ready.

In different components of SoMa, you’ll discover a few of the finest eating places within the metropolis, like Saison, Bar Agricole, and South Park Cafe. There’s additionally glorious nightlife at bars and golf equipment like twenty first Modification, Raven, Bloodhound, Want, Butter, DNA Lounge, Home of Shields, Native Version, and Tempest. And there’s loads of tradition as effectively: the San Francisco MoMA, Yerba Buena Heart, and the Up to date Jewish Museum will scratch your artwork itch.

And naturally, you’ll be able to’t go to San Francisco throughout baseball season with out stopping at Oracle Park (previously AT&T Park) to look at the SF Giants! Positive, we haven’t been in high kind since 2014, however it’s nonetheless the most beautiful ballpark in the country. Native’s tip: the fog settles in round 9pm, so deliver a rain jacket should you’ll be at a late-night recreation. Additionally, order the Garlic Fries.

Beer at a giants game in San Francisco, California.Beer at a giants game in San Francisco, California.
Oracle Park, situated on the far east aspect of SoMa, is one among our favourite locations on this neighborhood. Whether or not you keep right here or not, you should definitely catch a Giants recreation throughout your journey!

There are a couple of drawbacks to staying in SoMa: being so completely monumental, the neighborhood lacks any actual identification, making every block really feel kind of like its personal factor. In San Francisco, house of extremely distinctive micro-neighborhoods, that’s fairly uncommon.

SoMa can be not … very fairly. It’s largely a variety of lofts, warehouses, and extensive streets with large sidewalks – appeal is unquestionably missing. Additionally, all downtown freeway exits go by right here, making site visitors an absolute nightmare.

That mentioned, SoMa is house to a number of bus strains, making it pretty transit pleasant even should you’ll have to move as much as Market to catch a BART prepare. And since the neighborhood is so HUGE, there are a number of various vibes to fit your journey fashion.

  • The place to Keep in SoMa: The attractive and inexpensive BEI Hotel is situated on the westernmost tip of SoMa, near a number of transit choices and bordering a few of San Francisco’s finest neighborhoods. We’d fortunately keep right here! Far to the east aspect aspect of SoMa, the extra upscale Hotel Griffon presents Bay Bridge views, walkable Monetary District entry, simple transportation to CalTrain should you’re heading into Silicon Valley for work, and quick access to Oracle Park; it is a nice choice for enterprise vacationers.
A groovy shop in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.A groovy shop in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
Haight-Ashbury is one among our favourite neighborhoods in San Francisco and the most effective areas to remain in, due to its appeal, historical past, central location, and proximity to lovely Golden Gate Park! Authentic photograph credit score: “Jammin on Haight” (CC BY 2.0) by M McBey


Haight-Ashbury is one among our absolute favourite neighborhoods, and some of the iconic and historic in San Francisco! The Summer time of Love days could also be lengthy gone, however the Haight nonetheless preserves a few of the identical emotions. Actually, I believe a few of the identical folks from that summer time are nonetheless hanging across the neighborhood…

There are a couple of the explanation why you won’t need to base your self in Haight-Ashbury. Listed here are a couple of that come to thoughts:

  1. You continue to hate hippies… and right this moment’s equal counterculture people, which is kind of a gutter-punk crust/grunge mashup
  2. You’re allergic to weed smoke
  3. Tie-Dye stuff makes you see purple

If not one of the above apply, enable us to persuade you to base your self on this space. For starters, it’s freakin’ beautiful and the structure can’t be crushed: there’s nothing extra iconically San Francisco than the colourful, frilly Victorian properties that line the streets of the Haight.

Along with the beautiful historic properties, you’ll discover tons of lovely, distinctive little boutique outlets. Relating to purchasing in San Francisco, we really choose Haight-Ashbury to  Union Sq.: the outlets right here have that native aptitude and are expertly curated. For those who’re not into lovely upscale outlets, although, you’ll additionally discover a few of the finest thrift shops within the metropolis, a bunch of groovy outlets promoting tie-dye and weed equipment, and a plethora of really glorious costume outlets.

Victorian Home ni San Francisco, California.Victorian Home ni San Francisco, California.
A number of the most lovely Victorian properties in San Francisco may be discovered within the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the most effective locations to remain in San Francisco.

Haight-Ashbury can be centrally situated within the metropolis and borders lovely Golden Gate Park (no relation to the Golden Gate Bridge, and no, it’s not close by). By the best way, do you know that Golden Gate Park is larger than Central Park?! And that it’s house to a herd of bison? And redwoods? And hikes? And a botanical garden? And a flower conservatory? And an art museum? And a science museum? And a Japanese Tea Garden?

Look, we’re simply going to say it: Golden Gate Park is the perfect metropolis park within the nation and NYC can stuff it. Don’t @ us.

Whereas there’s no quick access to BART within the Haight, there’s loads of MUNI strains working out and in of the realm, so that you’ll haven’t any hassle getting round inside San Francisco. For those who don’t keep right here, no less than pay the neighborhood a go to – and you should definitely put on some flowers in your hair. You’d be shocked how small Haight-Ashbury really is: you’ll be able to see the entire neighborhood in a day.

  • The place to Keep in Haight-Ashbury: The Stanyan Park Hotel borders Golden Gate Park, with luxurious old-world Victorian appeal and budget-friendly charges. We predict this is among the finest locations to remain in San Francisco!
The famous Painted Ladies on Alamo Square in San Francisco, California.The famous Painted Ladies on Alamo Square in San Francisco, California.
Hey, it’s us, Lia and Jeremy! Simply bein’ mushy in entrance of the Painted Girls on Alamo Sq..

Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is among the most lovely neighborhoods in San Francisco. We’d LOVE to stay right here, however let’s simply say we … can’t … afford it. However hey, let’s not speak about SF hire – it’s one of many native’s favourite subjects of debate, however as a customer, you don’t have to fret about it (you fortunate duck).

Right here is why you must stay out our private San Francisco fantasy and base your self in Hayes Valley: it’s freaking lovely. Suppose tree-lined streets, eating places spilling out onto shaded sidewalk cafes, and plenty of small boutique outlets (together with a few of our favourite moral/sustainable clothes manufacturers, Alternative Apparel, Outdoor Voices, and locally-based fave Marine Layer). We’d somewhat buy groceries right here than in Union Sq. any day!

That mentioned, Hayes Valley is extra walkable than transit-able, and like the remainder of San Francisco, having a automotive will deliver you nothing however hassle.

Additionally, honest warning: should you occur to be staying in Hayes Valley throughout Bay to Breakers in Might, you’re in for a really bizarre, VERY San Francisco expertise. (Actually, we’d extremely advocate it, however put together your self: there shall be nudity, partying, elaborate costumes, normal ridiculousness, and a LOT of enjoyable. Additionally a historic marathon, however that’s really the least interesting bit.)

We undoubtedly encourage anybody not staying in Hayes Valley to go to, notably should you’re close by at Alamo Sq. to snag a Painted Girls photograph for the ‘gram.

  • The place to Keep in Hayes Valley: The Hayes Valley Inn is among the most surprisingly high-value accommodations in San Francisco. It’s loopy inexpensive for the costliest metropolis within the nation, particularly contemplating it’s situated proper within the coronary heart of one among its most lovely neighborhoods. In change for these financial savings, although, you’ll must share a toilet with the opposite visitors. Look, there’s at all times a catch. For those who choose to bathe within the privateness of your room, keep at The Grove Inn simply off of Alamo Sq. as a substitute.
The Castro Neighborhood in San Francisco, California.The Castro Neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
The Castro district is a traditionally LGBTQ+ neighborhood. We undoubtedly advocate each visiting and staying right here, however please keep in mind that when you’re there, you’re a visitor within the queer group, so be respectful. Authentic photograph credit score: “seeing is believing at sunset : castro,” (CC BY 2.0) by torbakhopper

The Castro

The Castro is among the most iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco, and chances are high you’ve already seen photographs of its rainbow-flag lined streets. For the reason that 70’s, the Castro has been some of the famously LGBTQ+ neighborhoods within the USA. For those who’re a respectful participant in queer tradition or a card-carrying ally, we extremely advocate a go to to the Castro to discover its historic streets and sights, and we’d encourage you to contemplate staying right here, too. Clearly, should you’re homophobic, trans-phobic, or simply not snug with queer tradition, you must keep away from the Castro… and presumably think about not visiting San Francisco in any respect.

There are a ton of the explanation why we love the Castro, beginning with the climate. I do know it sounds bizarre, however each neighborhood in San Francisco has totally different climate (they’re known as Micro-Climates). It has one thing to do with totally different constructing layouts and the way they have an effect on solar and wind publicity, however I’m no Brick Tamland. What I do know is the Castro nearly at all times looks as if one of many warmest locations within the metropolis.

We additionally love that the Castro is close to the long-lasting Seward Slides. And also you’ll have quick access to Dolores Park, a should go to whereas within the metropolis. DoLo is the place everybody comes on heat days to put out with mates and get together in no matter method they see match. Some people drink and dance, some people drink and nap, some drink and play elaborate video games whereas others watch. Ingesting is the official exercise although. There’s additionally some premium canine watching (my favourite), plus some hilariously San Franciscan distributors that stroll round. My private favorites are Michael the Coconut man (he walks round machete-ing coconuts and filling them with rum) and the cereal bars from the lady with the basket and vaguely Swiss maid outfit. Sure, there’s weed in them.

The Castro can be house to a few of the finest nightlife within the metropolis – which is nice should you’re spry and with it, and perhaps not so fascinating should you’re outdated at coronary heart and like to go to mattress early.

Earlier than you go to, learn up on LGBTQ+ history and culture in San Francisco so you’ve gotten some context for the place you’re staying. Additionally, keep in mind that when you’re right here, you’re a customer within the queer group, so please be respectful.

  • The place to Keep within the Castro: Parker Guest House is gorgeous, completely situated, extremely rated, and pretty inexpensive – so just about a house run relating to locations to remain in San Francisco!
Along Broadway, Chinatown turns abruptly into Little Italy and the Transamerica Pyramid pops up around every corner. This neighborhood is called North Beach, and it's a great area to stay in San Francisco.Along Broadway, Chinatown turns abruptly into Little Italy and the Transamerica Pyramid pops up around every corner. This neighborhood is called North Beach, and it's a great area to stay in San Francisco.
Alongside Broadway, Chinatown turns abruptly into Little Italy and the Transamerica Pyramid pops up round each nook. This neighborhood is named North Seashore, and it’s an incredible space to remain in San Francisco.

North Seashore (& Chinatown)

Though these two neighborhoods are vastly totally different – in reality, the border of the 2 neighborhoods on Kerouac Alley is among the finest examples of the distinct dichotomy between neighborhoods in San Francisco – we’re together with them collectively as a result of they’re so shut that you just’ll end up weaving out and in of them often throughout your keep. Additionally, as a result of there actually aren’t any accommodations to talk of in Chinatown, so the closest you’ll be able to actually get is North Seashore.

We love this space for a couple of causes. To start with, the meals. There is no such thing as a scarcity of excellent meals right here! Between the biggest Chinatown in America, and San Francisco’s Little Italy, you’ll by no means go hungry.

For Italian meals, we advocate The Italian Home made Firm, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Baonecci Restaurant, or Il Casaro.

For Chinese language, take a look at Hunan’s House, Z & Y Restaurant, Mister Jiu’s, R&G Lounge, Metropolis View, or Sam Wo. Don’t neglect to pop into one among Chinatown’s little bakeries to select up a scrumptious deal with for dessert, too!

These two neighborhoods are additionally house to some beautiful San Francisco views. North Seashore is tree-lined and inexperienced, dotted with historic sights just like the Sentinel Building whereas the Transamerica Pyramid pops up round each nook.

However Chinatown transports you to a different nation: in the course of the day, its crowded streets fill with grocers and distributors hawking quite a lot of bewildering wares, however round twilight everybody mysteriously vanishes, leaving you to discover quiet streets splashed with colourful avenue artwork and benefit from the vivid purple lanterns twinkling overhead nearly utterly alone.

The neighborhoods are each completely positioned for guests, with shut proximity to lots of San Francisco’s finest sights. You’re proper subsequent to Coit Tower, Ghiradelli Sq., Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Telegraph Hill and the Filbert Steps (house of a well-known flock of parrots), Kerouac Alley, and Washington Sq. Park. Whew. That’s a LOT of vacationer locations in a single very small space! Which, in fact, is why our self-guided San Francisco walking tour goes straight by this space *ahem.*

We additionally love the historical past of those two neighborhoods. From escaped slave refugees to immigrants to the good beat writers of the 1950’s, this small pocket of the town has wealthy tales to inform. We extremely advocate you learn up on the historical past of Chinatown and North Seashore, and think about reserving a guided tour within the daytime or evening to actually get to know these two unbelievable neighborhoods.

We do need to provide you with a heads-up, although: whereas these two neighborhoods are a few of the finest in San Francisco to go to and to remain in, North Seashore can get a bit of bizarre at evening. There are like, a bunch of strip golf equipment. With actually vivid neon lights that activate after darkish. And between the strip golf equipment, dance golf equipment, and promoters handing out adverts to them, Broadway can begin to really feel a bit like Las Vegas at evening.

Nevertheless it’s a simple repair: simply keep away from that stretch of Broadway and ensure you’re staying far sufficient away to not get neon lights lighting up your lodge room at evening.

  • The place to Keep in North Seashore & Chinatown: The Washington Square Inn is a beautiful, cozy little Victorian-style inn situated on the completely lovely Washington Sq. park in North Seashore. For those who’re on a good price range, the Hotel North Beach sacrifices a couple of comforts (assume: shared bogs) however presents an insanely good worth, and is situated instantly alongside the border between these two neighborhoods.

Canine Pleasant Resorts in San Francisco

For those who’re like us, touring together with your pup could also be a compulsory requirement. And San Francisco is a uniquely dog-friendly metropolis – in reality, there are more dogs here than children! From the dog-friendly beaches to the dog-friendly bars, eating places, and parks, you’ll be able to just about deliver your canine with you in all places you go. (And we completely do.)

So should you’ll be bringing your pup with you in your journey, we’ve discovered some superb locations to remain:

  • Hotel Argonaut: Positioned on Fisherman’s Wharf, this deliciously good-looking eco-friendly lodge presents lovely views throughout the San Francisco Bay. Watch the boats go by out of your nautical themed room, with its uncovered bricks and ship-themed touches. Take your pup for a stroll by the water; it’s proper there!
  • Hotel Nikko: Positioned in Union Sq., Lodge Nikko goes a step additional in your canine – they provide pet-friendly rooms on the VIP (Very Necessary Pet) Flooring with canine beds, meals and water bowls, and mats! You may even stroll out on their Pet Terrace, which options an off-leash canine run for play time and metropolis views. In addition to pet choices, they lodge is decoarted in trendy blues and whites and has a glass-enclosed pool.
Notoriously curvy Lombard Street in  San Francisco, California.Notoriously curvy Lombard Street in  San Francisco, California.
We now have a couple of ideas on areas that aren’t an incredible place to base your self throughout a go to to San Francisco. However simply because a neighborhood won’t be the perfect place to remain throughout your journey doesn’t imply you shouldn’t go to! Pictured: Lombard Road, San Francisco’s windiest highway.

The place To not Keep in San Francisco

Now that we’ve given you our favourite areas to remain in San Francisco, listed below are the neighborhoods we might advocate you NOT staying in. These are all unbelievable locations to go to, however not the perfect spots to base your self throughout your go to to San Francisco. Don’t fear, we’ll clarify why!

Fisherman’s Wharf

Arguably the obvious alternative for the place to remain in San Francisco additionally occurs to be the primary one which I’d let you know to take a tough go on. Positive, it’s an iconic location, and clam chowder in a bread bowl is at all times close by, in addition to different San Francisco staples like Buena Vista Cafe, Ghirardelli Sq., Musee Mecanique, Boudin Bakery, and the seals at Pier 39.

Nevertheless it’s additionally insanely crowded, filled with vacationers, and lacks any actual essence of San Francisco aside from what you may see on a mug or a magnet. Plus, the accommodations listed below are dear.

We undoubtedly encourage you to go to – in reality, our San Francisco Walking Tour takes you up and down the entire Embarcadero to point out you ways a lot we love this space – however we don’t advocate that you just keep right here.

The one exception is should you’ll be touring with a canine – the Hotel Argonaut is situated proper off Fisherman’s Wharf and is a unbelievable dog-friendly lodge!

  • The place to Keep As a substitute: We’d advocate staying in North Seashore or Chinatown, each of which supply simple, walkable entry to Fisherman’s Wharf. Check out the Washington Square Inn, a beautiful, cozy little Victorian-style inn situated on the completely lovely Washington Sq. park.
Lia in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.Lia in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
The Golden Gate Bridge is nice for photographs, however not so good as a base in your go to! You may snap this shot throughout the bridge in Marin at Battery Spencer.

Close to Golden Gate Bridge/The Presidio

Numerous guests to San Francisco assume that the Golden Gate Bridge is near the remainder of the town. It’s not. It’s method out of the best way.

The realm across the Golden Gate Bridge is named the Presidio, and it’s really an enormous nature park that was a army base. It’s completely beautiful and a beautiful place to go mountaineering (we advocate the Batteries to Bluffs path) or to look at the solar setting at Land’s Finish.

However don’t keep there in case your aim is to discover San Francisco. It’s fairly out of the best way and takes a very long time to entry on transit! We’d solely advocate basing your self right here in order for you peace, quiet, nature, isolation, and quick access to the Marin Headlands.

That mentioned, there’s one large plus to the Presidio: this is among the few neighborhoods in San Francisco the place it’s not a serious drawback to have a automotive.

  • The place to Keep As a substitute: Actually, anyplace else on our neighborhood listing can be a more sensible choice. For those who’re after Golden Gate Bridge views, you’ll find them everywhere in the metropolis should you keep in a high-rise building- however count on to pay extra for the privilege.
Steep hills in San Francisco, California.Steep hills in San Francisco, California.
Certainly one of Nob Hill’s well-known ridiculously steep hills. As a substitute of staying right here, simply take a taxi for a go to – much less steep hill climbing 😉

Nob Hill

It is best to solely keep in Nob Hill should you love extremely steep, near-vertical hills and have some huge cash.

Look, we do like Nob Hill – we really obtained engaged on the roof of the beautiful Fairmont Lodge and spent our wedding ceremony evening there – however there’s a cause locals name it Snob Hill. Which is that it’s insanely costly. And on an extremely steep hill.

Spend an evening partying on the Tonga Room and having fun with the sweeping views of the plebs metropolis, however don’t keep right here.

  • The place to Keep As a substitute: Chinatown and North Seashore are in the identical space, however on the base of the hills somewhat than on high of them.
Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.
Valencia Road within the Mission district is one our favourite locations to go to and stroll round. It’s flat, it’s sunny, it’s fairly, and there’s loads to see and do! Nevertheless it’s not an space we advocate staying in.

The Mission & the Tenderloin

These are two of San Francisco’s hottest and well-known neighborhoods, even outdoors of California locals. And whereas we extremely encourage you to go to, we need to strongly discourage you from basing your self right here. Permit us to clarify why.

I lived within the Tenderloin for a few years and liked it. It could be the grittiest neighborhood within the metropolis, however it has a sure appeal. As you stroll from Union Sq. into the Tenderloin, big high-end shops filter into tiny mom-and-pop outlets, chain accommodations change into seedy motels, gilded bars flip into native dives, sit down eating places flip into taquerias and pizza outlets.

Anybody accustomed to genuine inner-city neighborhoods (assume Harlem, not Midtown, as a New York equal) shouldn’t be too shocked by the Tenderloin. It’s conveniently positioned and residential to a number of locations I’d advocate visiting.

Nevertheless it’s uh…obtained a rep.  Right here’s the factor: The TL, because the locals name it, is the neighborhood the place drug rehabilitation, homeless providers, and needle swap clinics are situated. In consequence, there are fairly a couple of homeless residents, drug customers, and different down-on-their-luck people who spend most of their time on this space.

Put it this fashion: San Francisco has a variety of issues, and also you’re going to see all of them within the Tenderloin. I’ve by no means felt unsafe there, however I’m a straight white man. I can’t assure you’d really feel the identical.

Market Street in San Francisco, California.Market Street in San Francisco, California.
The Tenderloin is situated simply north of Market Road (proven right here). And whereas there’s loads to see and do there, we don’t advocate you keep on this space.

Most individuals you see on the streets of San Francisco are there as a result of the town lacks the infrastructure to assist everybody. Nonetheless, alternative crime is REAL within the Tenderloin. Muggings, telephone snatches, and automotive break-ins are fairly widespread at evening. For those who’re used to large cities, you’ll know what to anticipate. (For what it’s value, I wouldn’t fear a lot about violent crime within the space – smashed automotive home windows are irritating, however not life-threatening.)

Now to be honest, there was an try in recent times to revamp the neighborhood … however it was fairly problematic. To not get too political, however the late Mayor primarily needed to comb out the displaced and mentally unwell people who name the neighborhood house to make method for shiny new tech workplaces paying excessive rents.

Look, let’s simply say it: we’re speaking about gentrification, and it’s the actual cause we’d discourage you from staying within the Tenderloin. The extra folks keep right here, the extra change occurs. And positive, that’s good for the CITY, however it’s not essentially good for the folks dwelling within the neighborhood who can’t afford the ballooning hire, small enterprise homeowners who’re being (fairly actually) muscled out of their leases to make method for greater firms or fancy accommodations, and the displaced and unmedicated on the road.

So please, don’t keep right here, and should you go to, accomplish that mindfully and respectfully – the homeless are our neighbors, and we urge you to be empathetic to their struggles.

Mission Burrito in San Francisco, California.Mission Burrito in San Francisco, California.
For those who don’t eat a Mission Burrito, did you even go to San Francisco?! We extremely advocate spending a day exploring the Mission, appreciating its avenue artwork, and consuming its scrumptious burritos!

I like The Mission for a similar cause I like the TL, however it has very comparable issues. The neighborhood obtained hit onerous within the tech increase, and generations of households dwelling below one roof have been pushed out of the place they’ve referred to as house their complete lives. And why? One other third wave espresso store? More room for AirBNBs? Gentrification a posh subject and we aren’t going to sort out it right here, however we need to make you conscious that it’s a pervasive and ever-present actuality for San Franciscans.

Sure, the Mission and the Tenderloin are soiled. Sure, there’s alternative crime. Sure, it’s an incredible market from a enterprise perspective. However pondering that method ignores the human factor. It ignores the lifeblood of the town and what makes San Francisco so freakin’ bizarre and funky. And that’s why I say don’t keep there.

Now, all that mentioned…you must completely VISIT the Tenderloin and the Mission. Each The Mission and Tenderloin are situated on Bart and bus strains, so you’ll be able to simply cease by.

Within the Tenderloin, go to Brenda’s for the perfect brunch within the metropolis (however count on a loopy lengthy wait). There’s normally a drag and/or comedy present happening at PianoFight. Bourbon and Department is the native speakeasy you want a password and presumably a 1920’s costume to enter – throughout the road, Custom has simply nearly as good drinks however with much less of the strict historic speakeasy vibe. In order for you a banh mi that may change your life, go to Saigon Sandwich.

We undoubtedly advocate spending a heat, sunny afternoon (as a result of micro-climates) exploring the street-art splashed streets of the Mission. The most effective burrito in San Francisco is usually contested, however the large contenders all stay within the Mission: Taqueria Cancun (the nineteenth and Mission location is our fave), La Taqueria, and El Farolito. It’s necessary for us to notice that thse have been all finalists within the NATIONAL BURRITO CONTEST. (Sidenote, how do I get on that judging board? I’ve the {qualifications}.)

After you’ve skilled the Mission burrito, get pleasure from some highly effective margaritas and dance salsa at Latin America Membership. Play some pool, pet some doggos, and drink some low cost drinks at Kilowatt. And wander alongside Valencia Road for a combination of thrift purchasing, bookstores, and high-end boutiques – don’t miss the Pirate Shop, a pirate provide retailer slash literary group (simply belief us).

  • The place to Keep As a substitute: The Castro, Hayes Valley, and SoMa are all glorious locations to remain close by – we’ve obtained our picks listed up above within the sections for every of these neighborhoods.
The Richmond neighborhood in San Francisco, California.The Richmond neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
The Sundown & Richmond neighborhoods are San Francisco’s suburbs. They’re a unbelievable place to stay and there are some lovely locations to go to – however we don’t advocate staying right here!

Interior or Outer Sundown

The Sundown – together with the Richmond district – are San Francisco’s suburban areas, and various San Francisco residents stay right here.  And loads of unsuspecting vacationers are tempted to remain on this space.

Sure, it’s a reasonably title for a neighborhood. Sure, it’s proper subsequent to San Francisco’s coast and Ocean Seashore. Sure, there’s glorious meals (particularly Asian delicacies – the dumplings are subsequent stage) and a cute native aptitude and cultural vibe. And sure, you’ll be bordering lovely Golden Gate Park, one among San Francisco’s finest sights.

However we don’t advocate you keep within the Sundown! Why? As a result of it’s SO. FAR. AWAY.

Look, I do know San Francisco is a teeny tiny metropolis and solely 7×7 sq. miles. However for no matter cause, getting out and in of the Sundown by way of any type of public transit takes HOURS. It is senseless, however belief us on this one.

Additionally, throughout all however about 2 hours of the day, this complete space is totally coated in a thick, heavy, moist, freezing chilly layer of fog. The locals are used to it; you’re not. For those who don’t need to be soaked to your pores and skin strolling to your lodging after 6pm, keep someplace hotter as a substitute!

  • The place to Keep As a substitute: Haight-Ashbury additionally borders Golden Gate Park, however on the inland aspect, which suggests you’ll escape the freezing chilly fog.
View of San Francisco, California.View of San Francisco, California.
Right here is actually every part you have to know in a single quick paragraph. You’re welcome 😉

The place to Keep in San Francisco: Abstract

That was a variety of studying, so we needed to wrap issues up and provide you with a fast at-a-glance model of this submit.

  • The Greatest Areas to Keep in San Francisco: We advocate staying in Haight-Ashbury, Hayes Valley, The Castro, or North Seashore.
  • The Greatest Resorts in San Francisco: Our high lodge picks are The Stanyan Park Hotel,  The Hayes Valley Inn, and Parker Guest House. Choose any a type of 3 choices and also you’re golden.
  • The Greatest Canine-Pleasant Resorts in San Francisco: Hotel Argonaut in Fisherman’s Wharf and Hotel Nikko in Union Sq. are the perfect dog-friendly accommodations in San Francisco.
  • Why aren’t recommending any AirBnBs? Sadly, AirBnBs in San Francisco have traditionally contributed to the housing disaster, which in flip impacts homelessness. Through the years, strict laws have been established, limiting the quantity and sort of AirBnBs discovered within the metropolis. So when you can nonetheless discover non-public rooms in SF, to be able to be a extra responsible traveler, we advocate that you just select to remain in accommodations as a substitute.

Wow, I can’t consider we simply managed to condense 5k phrases into one paragraph. Nicely achieved, us!

Hey, in search of assist planning your journey to San Francisco? Enroll beneath and we’ll ship you a printable model of our self-guided strolling tour, plus our favourite suggestions for visiting!

Get the San Francisco Strolling Tour PDF!

Subscribe beneath and we’ll ship you the FREE San Francisco Strolling Tour printable map. We’ll additionally ship you our favourite suggestions for visiting San Francisco!

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Psst: Planning to go to the Bay Space? We’ve obtained a ton of weblog posts about our house! Listed here are a couple of of our favorites that will help you put together in your journey, or click here to browse all of them.

We even have a Podcast episode about San Francisco! Discover out what to eat, the place to drink, & the perfect issues to do, plus solutions to questions you by no means knew you had… like whether or not there’s weed in all places (sure) and should you’ll unintentionally see nudity (double sure). We’re additionally spilling the fair-trade, natural, ethically sourced tea on our lesser-known lifetime of crime.

What questions do you’ve gotten about the place to remain in San Francisco? Drop us a remark beneath!

xo Lia & Jeremy signature graphicxo Lia & Jeremy signature graphic

Where to stay in San Francisco: a local;s comprehensive travel guide to the best neighborhoods, hotels, and things to see in each spot. Plus, where NOT to stay in San Francisco, California!Where to stay in San Francisco: a local;s comprehensive travel guide to the best neighborhoods, hotels, and things to see in each spot. Plus, where NOT to stay in San Francisco, California!


Where to stay in San Francisco: a local's comprehensive travel guide to the best neighborhoods, hotels, and things to see in each spot. Plus, where NOT to stay in San Francisco, California!Where to stay in San Francisco: a local's comprehensive travel guide to the best neighborhoods, hotels, and things to see in each spot. Plus, where NOT to stay in San Francisco, California!

Disclaimer: This submit was created in partnership with Travelocity. All opinions, shade thrown,  and suggestions are 100% our personal and completely not their fault.

Get the San Francisco Strolling Tour PDF!

Subscribe beneath and we’ll ship you the FREE San Francisco Strolling Tour printable map. We’ll additionally ship you our favourite suggestions for visiting San Francisco!

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Our Prime Journey Ideas & Assets

Listed here are our favourite journey suggestions & assets for saving cash and planning journey logistics! For extra suggestions, take a look at our travel tips resource page or our guide to planning a trip.

  • Reserving Flights: To attain flight offers, search on Skyscanner or Kayak. Cash-saving suggestions: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on solely on a price range airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Lodging: We normally keep in budget-friendly, trip leases, boutique accommodations or non-public rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to e-book accommodations (we love their versatile cancellation coverage) and Hostelworld to e-book hostels (low deposit, simple change/cancellation, and glorious critiques). For trip leases, we choose to e-book utilizing VRBO (they have decrease charges and higher assist than Airbnb, and we’re not followers of Airbnb’s unethical observe report.) You too can e-book trip leases on Expedia and Hotels.com. We have additionally used TrustedHousesitters as each hosts (for our house and our fur-child) and vacationers!
  • Journey Insurance coverage: We at all times, at all times, ALWAYS purchase journey insurance coverage for worldwide journeys, and we STRONGLY counsel it – go to our Travel Insurance Guide to seek out out why. We advocate both World Nomads or SafetyWing for worldwide journey insurance coverage. SafetyWing is among the few insurance policies that covers Covid-19, they usually have glorious month-to-month insurance policies which are good for Digital Nomads and long run vacationers!
  • Vaccines & Meds: We use the journey guides on the CDC website to analysis beneficial drugs and vaccines for worldwide journeys. We at all times advocate getting each vaccine beneficial by the CDC! You will get them at your main care physician’s workplace or a walk-in pharmacy.
  • Excursions: We love reserving guided excursions, particularly meals excursions and strolling excursions, to get a neighborhood’s perspective and a historical past lesson whereas sight-seeing! We e-book our excursions utilizing Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to determine learn how to get from place to position utilizing public transit, and e-book native transportation on-line utilizing Bookaway wherever we will. Once we e-book a rental automotive, we use Kayak to check rental firms and discover the perfect deal.
  • Baggage Storage: Every time we’re testing early or making the most of an extended layover, we use Stasher or LuggageHero to securely retailer our baggage whereas we’re working round. On Stasher, you should utilize the code PW10 for 10% off!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we deliver on each journey. We even have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and lots of extra. Check out all of our packing guides!

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