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 excellent time interval between Tech Growth 1.0 and Tech Growth 2.0. Town I moved to was quirky and reasonably priced: I used to be capable of work as a barista and attend artwork faculty whereas nonetheless having the ability to pay for hire and my school social life.

That looks as if a very long time in the past now – an reasonably priced San Francisco looks like a distant reminiscence. Since then, I’ve modified as a lot as the town has. However just a few 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 capable of 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 – will probably be requiring proof of vaccination to enter, and lots of different companies are additionally requiring vaccination proof voluntarily. Make sure that to convey your vaccination card (or a photograph of it) or a digital QR code with you. Alternatively, you possibly can nonetheless eat outdoors. And naturally, masks are required all over the place (most locals put on them each indoors and out of doors). For extra particulars, click here. Take pleasure in your go to!
Lia enjoying the regularly scheduled 6pm cold/fog.
Lia having fun with the often scheduled 6pm chilly/fog. The remainder of the photographs of this submit are sunny and heat, however take into account 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 modifications. 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 looks like the longer term – however items of the town will at all times mirror its previous. The Summer season of Love in 1967 might have felt like the following large factor for younger People on the time, however immediately, Haight-Ashbury feels prefer it’s charmingly frozen in time, a residing museum to an period lengthy gone.

That is additionally why it will probably 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 measurement, it will probably 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 practice or automobile 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 if you hearken to San Francisco songs. Oh, by the way, listed below are just a few of our favorites so that you can play whilst you’re studying this submit:


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Now that you simply’ve acquired your playlist all queued up (and a cup of espresso or tea, maybe – this can be a lengthy submit!) let’s get began.

Psst: Planning to go to the Bay Space? We’ve acquired a ton of weblog posts about our house! Listed below are just a few of our favorites that can assist you put together to 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 all over the place (sure) and for those who’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 Constructing is San Francisco’s greatest meals corridor, and it’s a incredible 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 just a few fast ideas that you simply’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 trouble or expense of parking a automobile throughout your journey to San Francisco. It’s terrible. I NEVER drive in San Francisco if I might help it, and I extremely encourage you to do the identical. Something you need to entry outdoors of the town may be organized through 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 a good way to out your self as an out-of-towner, which has the additional advantage of inflicting everybody close to you to take just a few steps again and internally seethe.
  • Pack good strolling sneakers. San Francisco is a metropolis greatest explored on foot. Sure, you possibly can take transit to get round, however you’ll miss fairly a little bit of the quirks and attraction that make up San Francisco! Spend at the least a day wandering by way of the town and stroll as a lot as you possibly can. To assist, we’ve acquired a self-guided San Francisco walking tour – and we’ve additionally acquired options for the perfect strolling sneakers for journey. Listed below are our favourite journey sneakers for men and for women.
  • Carry layers. San Francisco will not 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 possibly even a hat, and pack all of them with you. Will probably be freezing chilly till 10am, then you definately’ll have just a few wonderful hours of heat and probably even sunny climate, earlier than 6pm hits and will probably 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 understand that the parents experiencing homelessness are our neighbors, and never a blight or an eyesore. Most of the of us that you will notice are additionally fighting psychological diseases, and you might 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 much more hazard than you’re, and are unlikely to hurt you in any approach. Homelessness is traumatic, notably for the mentally unwell, whose situations may be exacerbated by the stress of homelessness. Additionally, as a result of there are too few public restrooms in San Francisco, you’ll scent some disagreeable issues throughout your keep. Maintain your breath and bear 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 incredible useful resource for the way to reply to the homeless in San Francisco on SF Gate.
  • You gained’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. Over time, strict legal guidelines have been established, limiting the quantity and sort of AirBnBs discovered within the metropolis. When you can nonetheless discover just a few personal rooms for hire in SF, with the intention to be a extra accountable traveler, we advocate that you simply select to remain in resorts as a substitute.

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

In case your check-in and check-out instances 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 whilst you’re operating round! Use the code PRACTICALW for two hours of free baggage storage on us.


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Now that we’ve acquired that out of the way in which, 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 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 attraction. There are many good locations to remain right here, however this space isn’t one among our prime picks. Authentic picture credit score: “Union Square, San Francisco” (CC BY 2.0) by Tony Fischer Photography

Union Sq.

We’ll begin out with probably the most in style decisions, earlier than supplying you with a bunch of different choices that we extremely encourage you to decide on as a substitute. Union Sq. and the encircling areas are probably the most 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 among the greatest purchasing within the metropolis. Each clothes model you possibly can consider has a storefront right here.

Union Sq. is centrally positioned, near transit, and the resorts on this space serve up incredible high-rise views. In case you’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 “all the pieces closes after 6pm” curse.

That stated, for those who’re not visiting for work, there are much more attention-grabbing locations to remain – Union Sq. doesn’t precisely serve up San Francisco attraction. That doesn’t imply it’s not price a go to, although: you may end up passing by way of Union Sq. for a experience on our well-known Cable Car, a day of purchasing, or an outside lunch and an iconic picture in gorgeous Maiden Lane.

  • The place to Keep in Union Sq.: Many of the resorts 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 for those who can, experience the glass elevators to the highest of the towers for among the finest views within the metropolis. In case you’d want a extra budget-friendly room, attempt Villa Florence as a substitute.
Giant arrow statue along the Embarcadero south of Market Street in San Francisco, California.
SoMa is an enormous neighborhood. On the far jap aspect of SoMa, you’ll discover Rincon Hill, the Oracle Park, and this cool large arrow statue.

South of Market, aka SoMa

Locals confer with the sweeping space south of market avenue within the jap half of the town as SoMa. It’s VERY giant. So giant, actually, that there are sub-districts inside SoMa like East Lower, 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 previous warehouse buildings.

SoMa is a incredible place to stick with fairly a bit happening, however completely different elements of SoMa have completely different vibes. For instance, on the eastern-most tip of SoMa, you’ll discover lovely properties surrounding South Park, a quiet inexperienced London-Type 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. In case you’re visiting San Francisco in September, and also you’re NOT into leather-based, kink, or nudity, don’t remain on this space. Contemplate your self duly ready.

In different elements of SoMa, you’ll discover among the greatest eating places within the metropolis, like Saison, Bar Agricole, and South Park Cafe. There’s additionally wonderful 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 possibly can’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 prime kind since 2014, but it surely’s nonetheless the most beautiful ballpark in the country. Native’s tip: the fog settles in round 9pm, so convey a rain jacket for those who’ll be at a late-night sport. Additionally, order the Garlic Fries.


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Beer at a giants game in San Francisco, California.
Oracle Park, positioned 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, make sure to catch a Giants sport throughout your journey!

There are just a few drawbacks to staying in SoMa: being so completely huge, the neighborhood lacks any actual id, making every block really feel form 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 principally plenty of lofts, warehouses, and vast streets with huge sidewalks – attraction is certainly missing. Additionally, all downtown freeway exits go by way of right here, making site visitors an absolute nightmare.

That stated, SoMa is house to a number of bus strains, making it pretty transit pleasant even for those who’ll have to move as much as Market to catch a BART practice. And since the neighborhood is so HUGE, there are a number of various vibes to fit your journey model.

  • The place to Keep in SoMa: The gorgeous and reasonably priced BEI Hotel is positioned on the westernmost tip of SoMa, near a number of transit choices and bordering a few of San Francisco’s greatest neighborhoods. We’d fortunately keep right here! Far to the east aspect aspect of SoMa, the extra upscale Hotel Griffon provides Bay Bridge views, walkable Monetary District entry, straightforward transportation to CalTrain for those who’re heading into Silicon Valley for work, and easy accessibility to Oracle Park; this can be a nice possibility for enterprise vacationers.
A groovy shop in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
Haight-Ashbury is one among our favourite neighborhoods in San Francisco and among the finest areas to remain in, due to its attraction, historical past, central location, and proximity to lovely Golden Gate Park! Authentic picture credit score: “Jammin on Haight” (CC BY 2.0) by M McBey


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

There are just a few explanation why you won’t need to base your self in Haight-Ashbury. Listed below are just a few that come to thoughts:

  1. You continue to hate hippies… and immediately’s equal counterculture folks, which is form of a gutter-punk crust/grunge mashup
  2. You’re allergic to weed smoke
  3. Tie-Dye stuff makes you see crimson

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

Along with the attractive historic properties, you’ll discover tons of lovely, distinctive little boutique retailers. In relation to purchasing in San Francisco, we truly want Haight-Ashbury to  Union Sq.: the retailers right here have that native aptitude and are expertly curated. In case you’re not into lovely upscale retailers, although, you’ll additionally discover among the greatest thrift shops within the metropolis, a bunch of groovy retailers promoting tie-dye and weed equipment, and a plethora of really wonderful costume retailers.

Victorian Home ni San Francisco, California.
Among the most lovely Victorian properties in San Francisco may be discovered within the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, among the finest locations to remain in San Francisco.

Haight-Ashbury can be centrally positioned 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 way in which, 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 easy accessibility to BART within the Haight, there’s loads of MUNI strains operating out and in of the realm, so that you’ll haven’t any hassle getting round inside San Francisco. In case you don’t keep right here, at the least pay the neighborhood a go to – and make sure to put on some flowers in your hair. You’d be shocked how small Haight-Ashbury truly is: you possibly can 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 attraction and budget-friendly charges. We expect this is likely one of the greatest locations to remain in San Francisco!
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 likely one of 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 matters of debate, however as a customer, you don’t have to fret about it (you fortunate duck).

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

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

Additionally, honest warning: for those who 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 will probably be nudity, partying, elaborate costumes, common 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 for those who’re close by at Alamo Sq. to snag a Painted Girls picture for the ‘gram.

  • The place to Keep in Hayes Valley: The Hayes Valley Inn is likely one of the most surprisingly high-value resorts in San Francisco. It’s loopy reasonably priced for the most costly metropolis within the nation, particularly contemplating it’s positioned proper within the coronary heart of one among its most lovely neighborhoods. In change for these financial savings, although, you’ll should share a toilet with the opposite company. Look, there’s at all times a catch. In case you want 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 district is a traditionally LGBTQ+ neighborhood. We undoubtedly advocate each visiting and staying right here, however please keep in mind that whilst you’re there, you’re a visitor within the queer group, so be respectful. Authentic picture credit score: “seeing is believing at sunset : castro,” (CC BY 2.0) by torbakhopper

The Castro

The Castro is likely one of the most iconic neighborhoods in San Francisco, and likelihood is you’ve already seen photographs of its rainbow-flag lined streets. For the reason that 70’s, the Castro has been probably the most famously LGBTQ+ neighborhoods within the USA. In case you’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 think about staying right here, too. Clearly, for those who’re homophobic, trans-phobic, or simply not comfy with queer tradition, it is best to keep away from the Castro… and probably take into account not visiting San Francisco in any respect.

There are a ton of explanation why we love the Castro, beginning with the climate. I do know it sounds bizarre, however each neighborhood in San Francisco has completely different climate (they’re referred to as Micro-Climates). It has one thing to do with completely 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 enduring Seward Slides. And also you’ll have easy accessibility to Dolores Park, a should go to whereas within the metropolis. DoLo is the place everybody comes on heat days to put out with pals and celebration in no matter approach they see match. Some of us drink and dance, some of us 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 among the greatest nightlife within the metropolis – which is nice for those who’re spry and with it, and possibly not so fascinating for those who’re previous 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 might have some context for the place you’re staying. Additionally, keep in mind that whilst 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 positioned, extremely rated, and pretty reasonably priced – so just about a house run on the subject of locations to remain in San Francisco!


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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 Seaside, and it’s a terrific space to remain in San Francisco.

North Seaside (& Chinatown)

Though these two neighborhoods are vastly completely different – actually, the border of the 2 neighborhoods on Kerouac Alley is likely one of the greatest 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 simply’ll end up weaving out and in of them steadily throughout your keep. Additionally, as a result of there actually aren’t any resorts to talk of in Chinatown, so the closest you possibly can actually get is North Seaside.

We love this space for just a few causes. To start with, the meals. There isn’t a scarcity of excellent meals right here! Between the most important 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 Dwelling, Z & Y Restaurant, Mister Jiu’s, R&G Lounge, Metropolis View, or Sam Wo. Don’t overlook to pop into one among Chinatown’s little bakeries to choose up a scrumptious deal with for dessert, too!

These two neighborhoods are additionally house to some attractive San Francisco views. North Seaside 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 a wide range 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 crimson lanterns twinkling overhead nearly utterly alone.

The neighborhoods are each completely positioned for guests, with shut proximity to a lot of San Francisco’s greatest 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 way of 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 Seaside, and take into account reserving a guided tour within the daytime or evening to essentially get to know these two unbelievable neighborhoods.

We do need to provide you with a heads-up, although: whereas these two neighborhoods are among the greatest in San Francisco to go to and to remain in, North Seaside can get just a little 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 advertisements to them, Broadway can begin to really feel a bit like Las Vegas at evening.

But it surely’s a straightforward repair: simply keep away from that stretch of Broadway and be sure you’re staying far sufficient away to not get neon lights lighting up your resort room at evening.

  • The place to Keep in North Seaside & Chinatown: The Washington Square Inn is a stunning, cozy little Victorian-style inn positioned on the completely lovely Washington Sq. park in North Seaside. In case you’re on a decent finances, the Hotel North Beach sacrifices just a few comforts (assume: shared bogs) however provides an insanely good worth, and is positioned instantly alongside the border between these two neighborhoods.


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Canine Pleasant Resorts in San Francisco

In case you’re like us, touring together with your pup could also be a compulsory requirement. And San Francisco is a uniquely dog-friendly metropolis – actually, there are more dogs here than children! From the dog-friendly beaches to the dog-friendly bars, eating places, and parks, you possibly can just about convey your canine with you all over the place you go. (And we completely do.)

So for those who’ll be bringing your pup with you in your journey, we’ve discovered some wonderful locations to remain:

  • Hotel Argonaut: Positioned on Fisherman’s Wharf, this deliciously good-looking eco-friendly resort provides 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., Resort Nikko goes a step additional to your canine – they provide pet-friendly rooms on the VIP (Very Necessary Pet) Ground 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 resort is decoarted in fashionable blues and whites and has a glass-enclosed pool.
Notoriously curvy Lombard Street in  San Francisco, California.
We’ve got just a few options on areas that aren’t a terrific 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’d advocate you NOT staying in. These are all incredible 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 selection for the place to remain in San Francisco additionally occurs to be the primary one which I’d inform you 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.

But it surely’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 resorts listed below are dear.

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

The one exception is for those who’ll be touring with a canine – the Hotel Argonaut is positioned proper off Fisherman’s Wharf and is a incredible dog-friendly resort!

  • The place to Keep As an alternative: We’d advocate staying in North Seaside or Chinatown, each of which supply straightforward, walkable entry to Fisherman’s Wharf. Check out the Washington Square Inn, a stunning, cozy little Victorian-style inn positioned on the completely lovely Washington Sq. park.
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 to your go to! You may snap this shot throughout the bridge in Marin at Battery Spencer.

Close to Golden Gate Bridge/The Presidio

Various guests to San Francisco assume that the Golden Gate Bridge is near the remainder of the town. It’s not. It’s approach out of the way in which.

The world across the Golden Gate Bridge is named the Presidio, and it’s truly an enormous nature park that was once a navy base. It’s completely attractive and a beautiful place to go climbing (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 way in which 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 easy accessibility to the Marin Headlands.

That stated, there’s one large plus to the Presidio: this is likely one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco the place it’s not a serious drawback to have a automobile.

  • The place to Keep As an alternative: Actually, wherever else on our neighborhood checklist could be a better option. In case you’re after Golden Gate Bridge views, yow will discover them everywhere in the metropolis for those who keep in a high-rise building- however count on to pay extra for the privilege.
Steep hills in San Francisco, California.
Certainly one of Nob Hill’s well-known ridiculously steep hills. As an alternative of staying right here, simply take a taxi for a go to – much less steep hill climbing 😉

Nob Hill

You must solely keep in Nob Hill for those who love extremely steep, near-vertical hills and have some huge cash.

Look, we do like Nob Hill – we truly acquired engaged on the roof of the attractive Fairmont Resort and spent our marriage ceremony evening there – however there’s a motive 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 an alternative: Chinatown and North Seaside are in the identical space, however on the base of the hills fairly than on prime of them.
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! But it surely’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 beloved it. It might be the grittiest neighborhood within the metropolis, but it surely has a sure attraction. As you stroll from Union Sq. into the Tenderloin, enormous high-end shops filter into tiny mom-and-pop retailers, chain resorts turn into seedy motels, gilded bars flip into native dives, sit down eating places flip into taquerias and pizza retailers.

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.

But it surely’s uh…acquired 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 positioned. Consequently, there are fairly just a few homeless residents, drug customers, and different down-on-their-luck of us who spend most of their time on this space.

Put it this manner: San Francisco has plenty 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.
The Tenderloin is positioned 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. Nevertheless, alternative crime is REAL within the Tenderloin. Muggings, telephone snatches, and automobile break-ins are fairly frequent at evening. In case you’re used to large cities, you’ll know what to anticipate. (For what it’s price, I wouldn’t fear a lot about violent crime within the space – smashed automobile home windows are irritating, however not life-threatening.)

Now to be honest, there was an try lately to revamp the neighborhood … but it surely was fairly problematic. To not get too political, however the late Mayor basically wished to brush out the displaced and mentally unwell of us who name the neighborhood house to make approach for shiny new tech places of work paying excessive rents.

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

So please, don’t keep right here, and for those who go to, achieve this mindfully and respectfully – the homeless are our neighbors, and we urge you to be empathetic to their struggles.

Mission Burrito in San Francisco, California.
In case you 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 really like The Mission for a similar motive I really like the TL, but it surely has very comparable issues. The neighborhood acquired hit exhausting within the tech increase, and generations of households residing underneath one roof have been pushed out of the place they’ve often known as house their entire lives. And why? One other third wave espresso store? More room for AirBNBs? Gentrification a fancy difficulty 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 a terrific market from a enterprise perspective. However considering that approach 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 stated…it is best to completely VISIT the Tenderloin and the Mission. Each The Mission and Tenderloin are positioned on Bart and bus strains, so you possibly can 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 probably 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. If you need a banh mi that can 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 perfect burrito in San Francisco is commonly 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 essential 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, take pleasure in 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 mix 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 an alternative: The Castro, Hayes Valley, and SoMa are all wonderful locations to remain close by – we’ve acquired our picks listed up above within the sections for every of these neighborhoods.
The Richmond neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
The Sundown & Richmond neighborhoods are San Francisco’s suburbs. They’re a incredible 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 numerous San Francisco residents stay right here.  And loads of unsuspecting vacationers are tempted to remain on this space.

Sure, it’s a reasonably identify for a neighborhood. Sure, it’s proper subsequent to San Francisco’s coast and Ocean Seaside. Sure, there’s wonderful meals (particularly Asian delicacies – the dumplings are subsequent degree) and a cute native aptitude and cultural vibe. And sure, you’ll be bordering lovely Golden Gate Park, one among San Francisco’s greatest 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 motive, getting out and in of the Sundown through any type of public transit takes HOURS. It is unnecessary, however belief us on this one.

Additionally, throughout all however about 2 hours of the day, this entire space is totally coated in a thick, heavy, moist, freezing chilly layer of fog. The locals are used to it; you’re not. In case you 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 an alternative: 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.
Right here is actually all the pieces it is advisable to know in a single quick paragraph. You’re welcome 😉

The place to Keep in San Francisco: Abstract

That was plenty of studying, so we wished 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 Seaside.
  • The Greatest Resorts in San Francisco: Our prime resort 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 resorts 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. Over time, strict laws have been established, limiting the quantity and sort of AirBnBs discovered within the metropolis. So whilst you can nonetheless discover personal rooms in SF, with the intention to be a extra responsible traveler, we advocate that you simply select to remain in resorts as a substitute.

Wow, I can’t imagine we simply managed to condense 5k phrases into one paragraph. Properly finished, us!


The Perfect Weekend in Nashville, Tennessee: Itinerary & (Massive) Guide

Hey, on the lookout for 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 ideas for visiting!

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

Psst: Planning to go to the Bay Space? We’ve acquired a ton of weblog posts about our house! Listed below are just a few of our favorites that can assist you put together to 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 all over the place (sure) and for those who’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 might have about the place to remain in San Francisco? Drop us a remark beneath!

xo 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!

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 ideas for visiting San Francisco!

Our Prime Journey Ideas & Sources

Listed below are our favourite journey ideas & assets for saving cash and planning journey logistics! For extra ideas, 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 ideas: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on solely on a finances airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Lodging: We normally keep in budget-friendly, trip leases, boutique resorts or personal rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to e-book resorts (we love their versatile cancellation coverage) and Hostelworld to e-book hostels (low deposit, straightforward change/cancellation, and wonderful evaluations). For trip leases, we want to e-book utilizing VRBO (they have decrease charges and higher help than Airbnb, and we’re not followers of Airbnb’s unethical observe file.) You may as well 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 recommend it – go to our Travel Insurance Guide to search out out why. We advocate both World Nomads or SafetyWing for worldwide journey insurance coverage. SafetyWing is likely one of the few insurance policies that covers Covid-19, they usually have wonderful month-to-month insurance policies which can be excellent 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 may 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 an area’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 the best way to get from place to put utilizing public transit, and e-book native transportation on-line utilizing Bookaway wherever we are able to. Once we e-book a rental automobile, we use Kayak to match rental firms and discover the perfect deal.
  • Baggage Storage: Each time we’re testing early or profiting from a protracted layover, we use Stasher or LuggageHero to securely retailer our baggage whereas we’re operating round. On Stasher, you need to use the code PW10 for 10% off!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we convey 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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