Where To Stay In San Francisco: Best Areas + Hotels

From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to bustling Chinatown, San Francisco offers a unique experience and vibrant culture that you can’t find anywhere else. But with so many choices, where to stay in San Francisco?

In this travel guide, we will help narrow down your search for accommodations with an extensive list of neighborhoods and featured suggestions for hotels ranging from luxury stays to affordable options.

With so much variety, you won’t have trouble finding a perfect stay for your vacation!

6 Best areas to stay in San Francisco

If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, it can take time to choose where to stay to get the most out of your visit.

To help you find the perfect area for your stay, here are the best neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Where to stay in San Francisco? Complete guide to the best areas and hotels in San Francisco.

Nob Hill

Nob Hill is a popular tourist destination in San Francisco. Its many architectural wonders, beautiful views of the bay, and proximity to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks make it an ideal area for you to stay. 

Boasting luxurious hotels, excellent restaurants, and plenty of shopping options, you can find everything you need while staying here. 

The historic cable cars run through Nob Hill on their way up California Street into Chinatown, so you can easily explore all this vibrant city has to offer! 

Cable car in Powel street in San Francisco.

Spend your days taking in amazing views from the park atop Nob Hill, or go down to Chinatown for some delicious dim sum.

When night falls, take a walk along the Embarcadero waterfront, where you will be surrounded by stunning skyscrapers and the incredible San Francisco Bay. 

With its infamous cable cars, gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and some of the best restaurants in town, Nob Hill is a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike.

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset in San Francisco.

Best things to do in Nob Hill:

  • Take a ride on a cable car (The Powell-Hyde Line takes riders up and down steep hills between downtown Markets Street and Fisherman’s Wharf along Hyde Street).
  • Explore Chinatown.
  • Dine out in countless restaurants dotting Nob Hill.
  • Take in the amazing views of downtown San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, and Alcatraz Island from its hilly slopes.
  • Shopping and trolling down Union Street or Polk Street.

Union Square

Union Square San Francisco is a vibrant destination in the heart of the city. With upscale shopping, world-class dining, and spectacular entertainment options, there’s something for everyone here. 

You can explore this lively area is an attraction in itself, from bustling energy to iconic landmarks; Union Square is always buzzing with activity.

A stroll through this historic area will give you a real sense of the city’s unique character. 

Union Square also offers plenty of opportunities to soak up some culture. There are numerous art galleries featuring local artists and museums showcasing artifacts from around the globe. 

The area offers endless entertainment options for visitors and locals alike. There is always something new to explore, whether it’s a play at one of the many theaters, a concert in one of the outdoor spaces, or a comedy show. 

Best things to do in Union Square:

  • Catch a show at the historic Orpheum Theatre and Curran Theatre.
  • Visit the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
  • Explore Yerba Buena Gardens.
  • Explore some nightlife spots like the infamous Top of the Mark and Tonga Room.

North Beach

North Beach is a vibrant and charming neighborhood in San Francisco. With its steep rolling hills, beautiful bay views, and lively Italian restaurants, this area has something to offer everyone! 

Take a stroll down bustling Columbus Avenue or enjoy shopping at one of the many boutiques in the area.

You can enjoy an espresso at an iconic cafe such as Caffe Trieste or visit historic sites like Washington Square Park. 

As one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, North Beach is also home to a thriving arts scene with galleries, theaters, and live music venues throughout the area. It has some of the most renowned comedy clubs, where you can catch performances from world-famous comedians.

After catching a show, why not stop by one of Jack Kerouac’s favorite bars and grab a drink? 

North Beach is one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco.

Best things to do in North Beach:

  • Take a stroll down Columbus Avenue. 
  • Visit Washington Square Park. 
  • Get an espresso at Caffè Trieste. 
  • Shop around at City Lights Bookstore. 
  • Take a ride on San Francisco Cable Car.
  • Eat at Mama’s.
  • Take a stroll along the picturesque San Francisco shoreline.
  • Spend an afternoon browsing the shops at Fisherman’s Wharf.


The Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco is a vibrant neighborhood full of culture, history, and art.

This area was the epicenter of the 1960s counterculture movement, with many famous musicians and artists making it their home. 

It is most remembered for the Summer of Love in 1967, when it was made famous by hippies and musicians who flocked to the neighborhood to live out their free-spirited lifestyles. 

Today, it’s still a popular destination for visitors from all over the world who are interested in experiencing this unique part of San Francisco’s history. It’s also home to some great parks and green spaces where locals can view the city skyline or just relax outdoors.

The street is lined with colorful shops and restaurants, reflecting the eclectic spirit of the community.

You can stroll Buena Vista Park for stunning views of the city skyline, wander down famous Haight Street to browse vintage shops or enjoy live music at historic venues like The Fillmore. 

Best things to do in Haight-Ashbury:

  • Visit the Haight Street Market. 
  • Explore Golden Gate Park. 
  • Take a tour of the Haight-Ashbury Murals.
  • Shop at vintage stores. 
  • Treat yourself to dinner at Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery.
  • Head to Amoeba Music. 
  • Have a beer at Toronado Pub.

Hayes Valley

Hayes Valley is an area in San Francisco known for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning architecture.

A popular spot for locals and visitors alike, Hayes Valley features unique shops, delicious eateries, green parks, and a variety of cultural activities. 

Located just south of the Civic Center, Hayes Valley has something for everyone – shopping and dining options, cultural spots like The Warfield music venue, plus gorgeous green spaces like Patricia’s Green Park. 

The neighborhood also boasts plenty of green spaces, making it perfect for relaxing activities like walking, jogging, and biking.

Hayes Valley also hosts events throughout the year, like music festivals and farmers markets, so you can get a taste of what makes this area unique.

Best things to do in Hayes Valley:

  • Enjoy some artisanal ice cream out on Octavia Boulevard.
  • Browse through funky boutiques on Patricia’s Green.
  • Catch a show at the SF Jazz Center.
  • Dine at Zuni Cafe.
  • Spend a day shopping at The Fillmore Center Mall.
  • Visit the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.
  • Catch a show at the Hayes Valley Theater.
  • Explore the bustling eateries in Hayes Valley.

The Mission

Founded in 1776, the Mission in San Francisco is the oldest neighborhood in the city. It was initially established as a Spanish military outpost and has since grown into a vibrant, diverse community. 

From the colorful murals that line the streets to the unique restaurants, boutiques, and galleries you’ll find around every corner, there’s something special about this vibrant area of town. 

You can enjoy a meal at one of the top-rated eateries or browse the small shops along Valencia Street.

You can also stroll through Dolores Park with friends or admire the street art surrounding you—it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. 

The Mission has some of the best restaurants in the city, so if you’re craving Mexican cuisine, look no further than Taqueria El Farolito or La Taqueria.

If you’re looking for more high-end fare, then head over to Delfina, where you can enjoy delicious Italian dishes made with seasonal ingredients.

Best things to do in The Mission:

  • Spend some time browsing the small shops along Valencia Street.
  • Take a stroll through Dolores Park with friends. 
  • Enjoy Mexican cuisine at Taqueria El Farolito or La Taqueria.
  • Visit Mission Dolores Park.
  • Check out an art gallery or museum such as The Mexican Museum and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
  • Take a tour of Balmy Alley.

Where to stay in San Francisco with the best views? 

Whether you want to be close to the hustle and bustle of downtown or enjoy an escape from it all, Fairmont San Francisco, Harbor Court Hotel, and Cavallo Point hotels offer spectacular views. 

Fairmont San Francisco boasts a commanding view of Nob Hill and the city skyline from its rooms on the higher floors. 

For something a bit more secluded, check out Harbor Court Hotel. Its waterfront location offers stunning Bay Bridge and Alcatraz Island views. 

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, Cavallo Point is a resort just north of Golden Gate Bridge that sits atop lush rolling hills with breathtaking views of both land and sea.

Where to stay in San Francisco? Cavallo Point lodge is one of the best hotels in San Francisco.
Cavallo Point offers a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Where to stay in San Francisco on a budget? 

Inn at Union Square, Grant Hotel, and Yotel San Francisco are three options you should not miss if you are looking for a hotel to stay in San Francisco on a budget. 

Inn at Union Square offers a convenient downtown location, comfortable rooms, and a complimentary continental breakfast every morning with your stay. 

The Grant Hotel is another excellent budget-friendly option located in the city center boasting modern decor, plenty of space for groups or families, and cozy beds; therefore, you can have a good night’s rest after exploring all that San Francisco has to offer. 

Finally, Yotel San Francisco is perfect if you’re looking for something more luxurious but still want to save money, which features bold designs and cleverly-crafted spaces. The exterior of the building boasts a turn-of-the-century style with modern accents for an added touch of grandeur. 

Where to stay in San Francisco with family? 

For the best place to stay in San Francisco for family trips, I recommend Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Handlery Union Square Hotel, and Stanyan Park Hotel

The Hyatt Regency San Francisco offers luxurious accommodations right near the waterfront. With multiple dining options and activities for kids, it makes for an excellent family getaway. 

The Handlery Union Square Hotel features spacious guestrooms, perfect for larger families, a pool, and a delicious restaurant on-site. 

The Stanyan Park Hotel has cozy rooms and a convenient location close to Golden Gate Park – making it easy to explore all the area has to offer. 

How much do hotels in San Francisco cost?

The average rate for a standard double room can range anywhere from $100 to over $400 per night, depending on the hotel.

For luxury accommodations or large suites with extra features, prices may exceed $500 per night. Of course, you can find plenty of budget-friendly options as low as $80 per night.

Wrapping Up

Overall, San Francisco has no shortage of accommodations in the city’s many different neighborhoods.

Whether you’re looking to stay near the heart of downtown or off the beaten track and experience local culture, there are San Francisco hotels and accommodations perfect for every type of traveler. 

Do your research and make sure you find a place that suits your needs in terms of neighborhood, price range, and other important criteria for your trip.

With this advice as a guide, planning your journey through San Francisco will surely be an unforgettable experience.

So pack your bags, analyze all the options, and book that perfect stay so you can explore everything the City by the Bay has to offer!

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