Street with cable car tracks facing the Bay Bridge in San Francisco
Destinations

Where To Stay in San Francisco: Best Neighborhoods and Hotels for 2024

Keri Bridgwater

Keri Bridgwater

November 29, 2023

17 min read

Table of Contents

Best described as “home to a little bit of everything,” San Francisco is famous for its hilly streets, bay views, unofficial weather mascot Karl the Fog, and culturally diverse districts—each with distinct personalities. There are iconic landmarks and attractions (like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Presidio), the oldest and largest Chinatown in the US, and historic neighborhoods like the “Summer of Love''-famous Haight-Ashbury and artsy Mission.

When it comes to finding accommodations, you have options, from boutique hotels to budget-friendly motels and charming bed and breakfasts catering to all tastes and price points. Perhaps a neoclassical grand dame in Union Square or an eco-luxe waterfront locale along the Embarcadero appeals. There’s also a mid-Market haunt styled by a famous interior designer and a fun, affordable spot to crash in the Mission that won’t break the bank—because, let’s face it, you’ll spend most of the day out exploring anyway. 

Regarding rates, there are several factors that drive prices up or down, including time of year, day of the week, and amenities. While the average stay costs $170–$350, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars for luxury hotels offering rooms with designated living areas, outdoor decks, and wraparound views. 

No matter where you stay, you can bet that you’ll be dazzled by this iconic city. 

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Where to stay for the first time in San Francisco: Union Square

Union Square, San Francisco

Located in the heart of downtown, Union Square is a prime location to familiarize yourself with the city. The area is anchored by upscale department stores like Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue, luxury clothing boutiques like Louis Vuitton, grand theaters (the Orpheum, which hosts numerous Broadway shows every year, is a big one), and gorgeous neoclassical hotels. Its proximity to public transportation, including the BART and Muni stations on Powell Street, are major draws, especially for those traveling without a car; even so, Union Square is within walking distance of main attractions, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and other visit-worthy neighborhoods, like Chinatown.

Highlights

  • Ride the cable car from the Powell Station turnaround to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Shop big-name stores, like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Visit Belden Place, a narrow pedestrian alleyway dubbed the “French Quarter,” for lunch; try Parisian-style bistro Café Bastille, which recently merged with Catalan bistro B44. Others nearby include SAAJ Mediterranean; tiki bar Pagan Idol, which buzzes with the after-work and post-theater crowds; listening bar Harlan Records; and Cafe Tiramisu for classic Italian cuisine
  • Catch a play at the American Conservatory Theatre or a Broadway show at the Orpheum

CitizenM Union Square

This colorful 12-story hotel features commissioned artwork by Los Angeles–based FriendsWithYou and a non-traditional third-floor lobby that feels more like a living room. Its 195 guest rooms are minimalist but ultra-modern with high-tech touches, such as mood lights and widescreen TVs. The on-site restaurant, bar, and co-working space are open around the clock.

  • Price: From $239 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Affordable luxury
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for older kids)
  • Amenities: Gym, retail mezzanine, rooftop terrace, 24/7 restaurant, bar, and co-working space  
  • Website

Hotel Stratford Union Square

A centrally located retreat for travelers on the famous Powell Street Cable Car line, the eight-story Hotel Stratford was constructed in 1910 but underwent an extensive multimillion-dollar revamp of its 95 king, queen, and twin rooms; updates extended to the common areas with rich wood paneling, sleek modern interior furnishings and fixtures, as well as art by Sausalito-based Eric Zener. The lobby features plush blue velvet seating accented by Jeff Koons-inspired balloon dog sculptures.

  • Price: From $279 per night for a double 
  • Vibe: Historic boutique
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: No (better suited for adults)
  • Amenities: Concierge services and contactless check-in, lounge with a coffee and tea bar, pet-friendly rooms, co-working space 
  • Website

Where to stay with kids in San Francisco: Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

With its postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, souvenir shops, and operating docks, Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most visited neighborhoods in San Francisco—and (considered by many) its most kid-friendly too. Pier 39 is chock-full of seafood eateries, street performers, and sea lions, who regularly hang out on the floating docks.

Highlights

  • See sharks and sea otters at the Aquarium of the Bay
  • Ride a ferry from Pier 33 to Angel Island State Park or Alcatraz, a maximum security federal prison about a mile off the north coast of the city
  • Tour historic ships and the USS Pampanito submarine at Hyde Street Pier
  • Get sundaes at The Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop

Kimpton Alton Fisherman’s Wharf

Located near Ghirardelli Square & Pier 39, Kimpton Alton has custom-designed Micro Kickboard scooters for kids to borrow and complimentary cribs available upon request. Guest rooms and suites feature extra touches for adults, like Victrola record players, while the on-site restaurant Abacá made The New York Times Best Restaurant list in 2022.

  • Price: From $201 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Simple sophistication
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Luxe Frette linens, pet-friendly rooms, 24-hour fitness center with Peloton bikes, full-service spa, evening social hour
  • Website

Argonaut

Nautical-themed rooms at the Argonaut are a hoot for kids—although adults will also appreciate their spaciousness and great views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. There’s an on-site seafood restaurant, the Blue Mermaid, as well as plenty of family-friendly eateries within walking distance, including brunch spot Eight AM and The Codmother Fish and Chips. Borrow complimentary bikes to explore, or book a guided tour with Blazing Saddles via the hotel concierge.

  • Price: From $289 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Upscale
  • Wifi: Yes (included in amenity fee)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: 24/7 fitness center and in-room yoga, in-room spa services and beauty treatments, courtyard fire pits and complimentary games, valet parking
  • Website

Where to stay near attractions in San Francisco: Embarcadero

Embarcadero, San Francisco

A bustling waterfront boulevard along the eastern side of downtown, the Embarcadero enjoys postcard views with its famous landmark, the Ferry Building, an important part of San Francisco since 1898. Designed in the Beaux Arts style, the historic transportation hub was repurposed as a food hall and marketplace in 2003 and features a variety of local vendors selling gourmet items, artisanal products, and other goods. From the Embarcadero, you can walk to Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf or catch a ferry to the north and east bays. A favorite among families, the Exploratorium—a science, art, and technology museum—is also close. 

Highlights

  • Hop aboard the F Line Streetcar, which runs from the Financial District to the Castro
  • Explore the Ferry Building. Dine on Vietnamese dishes at The Slanted Door, Tomales Bay oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., or to-go empanadas from El Porteño. Shop locally made goods at Fog Island City Flea Trading Post or Heath Ceramics
  • Visit the thrice-weekly farmers market set up on the plaza in front of the Ferry Building (open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays)

1 Hotel San Francisco

Located across from the Ferry Building, 1 Hotel San Francisco is a refined 200-room urban oasis with a focus on eco-design and sustainability—think rooms and public spaces finished in a neutral palette with organic elements like reclaimed wood, leather headboards, woven blankets and living walls. Dishes and drinks at the hotel's restaurant and bar Terrene feature regionally and ethically sourced ingredients from local ranches, local beers, and Napa Valley wines.

  • Price: From $355 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Sustainable luxury
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for older kids)
  • Amenities: Wellness spa, Field Gym House with complimentary fitness classes, live DJ nights, rotating monthly guest workshops (e.g. zero-waste mixology, artist-led watercolor painting, candle making, floral design)
  • Website

Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco at Embarcadero

This 48-story landmark offers jaw-dropping panoramas of the city, best accessed from its glassed-in Skybridge. Rooms are sophisticated affairs in tasteful muted color palettes with mid-century furnishings. You’ll find the hotel’s MKT Restaurant & Bar off the fifth-floor lobby, which also features 180-degree views of downtown San Francisco. 

  • Price: From $740 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Luxury
  • Wifi: Yes (complimentary standard wifi, premium at a daily rate)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Access to a connected Equinox Sports Club and spa with junior Olympic-sized pool, boxing studio and space for Pilates and yoga
  • Website

Where to stay with family in San Francisco: Japantown

Japantown, San Francisco

One of three remaining Japantowns in the US (all of which happen to be in California), this quaint six-block neighborhood has loads of straight-out-of-Tokyo specialty stores like incense gift shop Koshu and beloved discount chain Daiso, which sells everything from cosmetics to stationery. You’ll find excellent restaurants here, too, including omakase sushi bar Oma San Francisco Station, Marufuku Ramen, and Matcha Cafe Maiko. Seasonal parades, music series, and street fairs are held in the cherry-tree-lined Peace Plaza, but the neighborhood also serves as a jumping-off point to explore nearby Golden Gate Park—a 1,017-acre green space where you'll find the Japanese Tea Garden and Conservatory of Flowers—and Outer Sunset, a beachy neighborhood where Karl the Fog is known to lurk. 

Highlights

  • Sample authentic Japanese cuisine and street food snacks, including Japanese-style crepes at Sophie’s Crepes, Osaka-style takoyaki (savory balls of chopped octopus) from Takoyaki Yama-chan, and bento boxes from grocery store Super Mira 
  • Shop arts, antiques, and “kawaii” keepsakes in the East, West, and Kinokuniya malls
  • Visit J-Pop center New People for Japanese clothing, anime, and manga (a style of Japanese comic book and graphic novel)

Hotel Kabuki

Popular among hipsters and families with pets alike, rooms and suites here blend Eastern and Western aesthetics with authentic touches including shibori cloth and Japanese artwork. Some rooms are also pet-friendly. Pro tip: Request a room that faces the Japanese Garden. Attractions in Union Square and on Lombard Street—“the crookedest street in the world”—are walkable (as long as you don’t mind a few hills). 

  • Price: From $315 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Design-forward
  • Wifi: Yes (complimentary basic Wifi)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Fitness center, concierge, on-site bar and restaurant
  • Website

Kimpton Hotel Enso

West Coast–cool meets minimalist Zen at Kimpton Hotel Enso. Travelers will appreciate the walkability of its Jtown location, as well as the bright and airy guest rooms with plush beds and simple design elements. Kids can borrow scooters and helmets, and there’s a complimentary on-demand Family Fridge program, where you can request in-room Mini Me Milk Fridges to store breast milk safely. There’s also an outdoor courtyard. 

  • Price: From $230 per night for a double 
  • Vibe: Contemporary cool
  • Wifi: Complimentary for IHG One rewards members, available at an additional fee for everyone else
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Atelier Bloem bath amenities, indoor-outdoor fitness center and in-room yoga mats, complimentary tea and coffee in the morning, hosted wine hour from 5-6pm
  • Website

Where to stay for one night in San Francisco: Haight-Ashbury

Colorful houses in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco

Whether you’re a counterculture music fan or just curious, the historic enclave of ‘60s hippie-peace-and-love movement is a cool spot to spend a night in San Francisco—if one is all you’ve got. Famous former residents include Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin, whose old houses, along with one of the city’s best collections of Victorian homes, are well worth a look.

Highlights

  • Explore the colorful boutiques, vintage shops, and hip restaurants along Upper Haight
  • Hop on a Haight-Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour
  • Grab lunch to-go and picnic with a side of spectacular views at Buena Vista Park

The Metro Hotel

Not far from Golden Gate Park and all the action on Haight Street, this three-star hotel has a range of room options with TVs and ensuite bathrooms, including a group-friendly double twin and the Haight Ashbury Private Studio with two rooms. The art-filled lobby is jewel-box-sized, and there’s a shared leafy garden out back.

  • Price: From $226 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Low-key bohemian
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: No
  • Amenities: Garden, flat-screen TVs, 24-hour front desk, on-site parking
  • Website

Stanyan Park Hotel

Designed in the Beaux Arts style and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Stanyan Park Hotel is steps away from Golden Gate Park. It features 36 rooms and suites, each furnished in a chintzy but charming Victorian style, with TVs and free Wifi. A buffet-style continental breakfast is included in the rate and served each morning; guests here also enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese hour and evening tea service.

  • Price: From $291 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Victorian B&B
  • Wifi: Free
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for adults)
  • Amenities: Wine and cheese hour on weekdays, evening tea service, 24-hour reception
  • Website

Where to stay for 3 days in San Francisco: Nob Hill

Cable cars on Nob Hill in San Francisco

The upscale but approachable Nob Hill (occasionally called “Snob Hill”) is an affluent neighborhood that dates back to the Gold Rush. With picturesque tree-lined streets and local restaurants, it’s quintessential San Francisco and makes a perfect home away from home. You'll find the city's tenth steepest street—Broadway—here, which enjoys gorgeous views of the downtown skyline. Centrally located and with iconic cable car lines running directly through it (be warned, the rumble of passing cable cars runs late into the evening), the neighborhood also provides easy access to every corner of San Francisco. One such area is the “village in the heart of the city,” Polk Street, a two-mile stretch dotted with an eclectic mix of shops, cafés, and cocktail bars stretching from Ghirardelli Square to Civic Center.

Highlights 

  • Learn about the history of San Francisco’s transport systems at the Cable Car Museum
  • Admire Grace Cathedral and other historic neighborhood sites on a walking tour
  • See a concert at the Nob Hill Masonic Center (Ella Fitzgerald once played here)
  • Spend an afternoon like a local in Lafayette Park

Fairmont San Francisco

Located at the top of Nob Hill, this grand dame is popular with everyone, from business travelers to families. With its marble columns and potted palms, the lobby is unabashedly ornate, while rooms and suites have palatial bathrooms. Afternoon tea has been a tradition since the hotel opened in 1907, but tiki cocktails and pupus (Hawaiian for “appetizer”) are a must at on-site, tiki-themed Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar.

  • Price: From $238 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Stately historic
  • Wifi: Yes (for a daily fee)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Fitness center, Beauty Bar, rooftop herb garden with honeybees, Le Labo products
  • Website

White Swan Inn

With its floral wallpaper and crystal doorknobs, this 26-room petite country manor meets boutique B&B in a celebration of all things British. Each room has a working fireplace and a sitting area with books. Bathrooms feature walk-in showers or soaking tubs. Breakfast is served every morning, but next-door restaurant Del Popolo can also deliver to your room.

  • Price: From $199 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Boutique
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for adults)
  • Amenities: Borrow books and games to play in the parlor living room or courtyard, all-day tea and coffee service, White Swan Treasure Hunt map (find and photograph specially marked locations on a city map and potentially win a prize)
  • Website

Where to stay for a romantic trip to San Francisco: The Presidio

Lover's Lane in the Presidio, San Francisco

Bordered by the Golden Gate strait and San Francisco Bay on the north and the Marina neighborhood to the east, the Presidio is a former military base turned national recreation area—and it promises quiet and cozy evenings, woodland walks, and spectacular views. The 1,500-acre park has over 24 miles of trails across its meadows, forests, and bluffs, ranging from easy coastal walks (like the Presidio Promenade) to challenging hikes (like the Batteries to Bluffs Trail). The Lovers’ Lane footpath, which meanders through a grove of cypress and pine trees, is ideal for a romantic stroll. 

But for great views and sunsets, head to Baker Beach, the hilltop barracks, or the Presidio Tunnel Tops Park, a 14-acre urban oasis with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The park, unveiled in July 2022 after several years of construction, was designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind New York City’s High Line). It features picnic areas, a campfire circle, meadows for kite-flying, and art murals while connecting two of the Presidio’s major hubs: the buzzy Main Post and the Crissy Field waterfront.

There are two historic hotels in the Presidio and a seasonal campground, plus a handful of good places to eat, including Colibri Mexican Bistro inside the Presidio Officers’ Club and the Presidio Social Club; if these don’t strike your fancy, you’ll find a wealth of vetted neighborhood restaurants nearby in the Marina and Pacific Heights.

Highlights 

  • Visit the Palace of Fine Arts or Walt Disney Museum
  • Explore the Presidio Tunnel Tops Park 
  • Get pastries filled with twaróg (Polish farmer’s cheese) at Cinderella Bakery and Café in nearby Richmond

Inn at the Presidio

Once home to military officers, the Inn at the Presidio underwent a restoration of its Georgian Revival–style building and opened as a historic boutique hotel in 2012. Often in high demand, its 26 guest rooms and suites enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge or the Presidio's forested grounds. Some feature fireplaces, and military memorabilia and original art serve as decoration. Room 332 on the third floor has the best views of the bay, while second-floor Suite 211 overlooks a century-old cypress. One of San Francisco's oldest buildings, the Presidio Officers' Club (now a museum), is nearby and worth exploring too.

  • Price: From $530 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Historic boutique
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Complimentary breakfast, evening wine and cheese reception, bicycles on loan, outdoor patios and fire pits, pet-friendly
  • Website

Lodge at the Presidio

Surrounded by eucalyptus groves on one side and bay views on the other, the Lodge at the Presidio is the closest hotel in San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge. A military barrack in the 1890s, the smart 42-room hotel faces the Presidio’s Main Parade Ground, with its View King rooms the most in-demand. The lobby has several cozy social areas with leather sofas and coffee tables, as well as original art and historical photographs related to its military past; guests, however, often make a beeline for the wooden rockers on the front porch or gather beside the fire pit on the back patio. The lodge is located next to the Walt Disney Family Museum, and the PresidiGo shuttle bus, which runs between the park and downtown, has a stop just steps from the hotel.

  • Price: From $350 per night for a double 
  • Vibe: Historic boutique
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Breakfast, evening wine and cheese reception, bicycles on loan, outdoor patios and fire pit, pet-friendly
  • Website

Where to stay on a budget in San Francisco: Tenderloin

City Hall in San Francisco

Occupying a wedge of the city with Market Street to the south, Van Ness Avenue to the west, Nob Hill to the north, and Union Square to the east, the notorious Tenderloin district has always been considered gritty. The businesses here, however, have a large draw. Hotspots include the Great American Music Hall (one of the longest running independent music venues in San Francisco); the Alcazar Theater (also home to Alcazar Fine Art Gallery); Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, the "last gay bar in the Tenderloin'' serving up drag shows and DJ nights; and Black Cat Jazz and Supper Club. You can also book a thatched-roof tiki hut at Zombie Village for cozy South-Seas-meets-San-Francisco vibes and fun cocktails like Scorpion Bowls and Disco Bananas. 

The Tenderloin also holds San Francisco’s Civic Center, a complex consisting of a plaza (where many rallies and protests take place), performance venues for the San Francisco Ballet, the main branch of the city’s public library, and City Hall—a stately, gold-leafed building constructed in 1915. 

While the Tenderloin no doubt has personality, it also has higher rates of homelessness and crime than other areas of the city. That said, the Tenderloin is considered safe if you’re visiting during the daytime or walking with caution at night. 

Highlights 

  • Catch some music at the Alcazar or a show at the Marrakech Magic Theater
  • Peruse vintage and out-of-print titles at Kayo Books
  • Gather a private group to sip gin cocktails at steampunk-themed Whitechapel

Phoenix Hotel

Located relatively deep in the Tenderloin, the Phoenix has hosted an impressive roster of musicians over the years—Joan Jett, David Bowie, and Pearl Jam to name a few—before changing hands and undergoing a major remodel five years ago. The 44 retro-inspired rooms and suites feature colorful textiles and neon light installations, mini-fridges, and microwaves. The crown-jewel Headliner Suite has a courtyard pool view and separate living room. The swimming pool is a social hub and open nightly until 11pm; it also hosts a summertime poolside event series, so expect some noise, especially during the weekends. The Phoenix’s rock and roll theme continues in its restaurant Chambers Eat+Drink, whose walls are lined with 7,000 vintage LPs. A bustling brunch spot Wednesday through Saturday, it’s more of a moodily-lit drinking and dinner den mid-week with a menu spanning tapas, small plates, pork belly, and New York steak. 

  • Price: From $169 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Hip motel
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: No 
  • Amenities: Swimming pool, on-site restaurant and boutique
  • Website

Hotel Bijou

Housed in an ornate building that dates back to 1914, with art deco interiors, Hotel Bijou is a charming but no-frills sort of place on the Tenderloin and Union Square border. Movie-themed rooms feature framed images from iconic San Francisco films, writing desks, and TVs. A small theater with old-time movie seats serves as a private screening room for complimentary double-feature movies (popcorn included); a buffet-style continental breakfast is also included in the rate. There are also plenty of places to eat nearby, as it’s a three-minute walk from the Powell Street BART and seven minutes from Union Square.

  • Room: From $209 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Trendy budget
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for older)
  • Amenities: Pet-friendly, valet parking, concierge
  • Website

Where to stay in the city center in San Francisco: SoMa

South of Market (SoMa), San Francisco

A former industrial zone turned arts and entertainment district, South of Market, affectionately known as SoMa, is popular for its museums, trendy bars—like steampunk Alchemist Bar and Lounge, which has no shortage of tinctures and house-made infusions—and Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Benu, which is renowned for its tasting menu. A short walk or cab ride from Union Square, SoMa features top San Francisco attractions, such as SFMOMA, the Museum of African Diaspora, and Oracle Park—the San Francisco Giants' home stadium. The neighborhood has some "seedier" sides, though; it’s best to avoid the north and west areas after dark.

Highlights

  • See art at SFMOMA
  • Catch the San Francisco Giants play at home in Oracle Park
  • Make reservations at culinary hot spots, like Middle Eastern–concept Barcha

San Francisco Proper

On the border of mid-Market, San Francisco Proper is one of the hottest stays—not just in SoMa but in all of San Francisco; the Kelly Wearstler-designed rooms and swanky rooftop bar, Charmaine’s, help seal the deal. The historic, flat-iron style building has a lobby that is photo-op gold, as are the tapas and aperitivos at on-site Barcelona-inspired La Bande.

  • Price: From $296 per night for a double
  • Vibe: High-end boutique
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Bathrooms with rain showers and Aesop products, Italian Bellino fine linens, fitness studio with Peloton bikes, pet-friendly rooms, multiple on-site dining options
  • Website

Hyatt Regency Downtown SOMA

Following a landmark reimagination priced at more than $70 million, this sleek 36-story tower hotel is one of the newest to open in San Francisco just one block from SFMOMA and the Moscone Convention Center and within walking distance of Union Square. There are 686 guestrooms and suites, including city and bay view rooms with artwork by Academy of Art University students in public spaces, the executive corner, and presidential suites. Helmed by executive chef Alexandre Viriot, modern fine dining brasserie La Société offers classic French dishes; the on-site restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner and carries an extensive list of regional and European wines.

  • Price: From $426 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Art-focused
  • Wifi: Yes (included in the destination fee)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: 24-hour fitness center with Peloton bikes, 24-hour front desk, chef-driven restaurant, Pharmacopia bath and body products, Regency Club for Hyatt members
  • Website

Where to stay for nightlife in San Francisco: The Mission 

Mission Dolores Park, San Francisco

Named after Mission Dolores—an 18th-century Spanish-California mission and the oldest building in San Francisco—this district is one of the city’s most eclectic, with a mix of old-school taquerias and bodegas, trendy cafés and craft cocktail bars, and live music and comedy clubs. Look for the street art murals along Balmy Alley, or chill out in Mission Dolores Park by day; by night, bar hopping is obligatory.

Highlights 

  • Sip cocktails at Victorian salon Wildhawk
  • Do a taco crawl through the neighborhood’s top spots (e.g. La Taqueria and El Farolito), or for bar bites, funky cocktails, and modern-Mad-Men vibes, stop by ‘60s-themed The Beehive
  • Listen to hip-hop at Double Dutch or indie at Brick & Mortar

1906 Mission

Cheap and cheerful, 1906 Mission has bright but basic rooms with comfy beds and flat-screen TVs. Shared bathrooms and showers are down the hall, and they come with earth-friendly Terranova toiletries. The bed-and-breakfast is a two-minute walk to the 16th Street Mission BART, handy for anyone traveling without a car.

  • Price: From $130 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Budget
  • Wifi: Partially (free Wifi available in the lounge)
  • Kid Friendly: Yes (better suited for older kids)
  • Amenities: Garden with barbecue and picnic area, complimentary slippers
  • Website

Noe’s Nest Bed and Breakfast

Delightfully off-beat, this classic Victorian on the border of Noe Valley and the Mission is within walking distance of nearby attractions, including Mission Dolores Park. Rooms are individually named and decorated—such as Sheila’s Chapeau Room, which features a private deck with views of the garden and city skyline. A generous breakfast buffet is served every morning from 9am-1pm. Pets are welcome here, too, and the peaceful garden—which has fountains, several lounge chairs, and bistro tables—is available for guests to enjoy until 10pm. Street parking is free on weekends but requires a permit during the week until 4pm.

  • Price: From $345 per night for a double
  • Vibe: Classic Victorian
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Kid Friendly: Yes
  • Amenities: Private garden, in-room tea and coffee makers
  • Website

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Keri Bridgwater

Keri Bridgwater

Freelance Writer

Originally from England, Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer who swapped Cornwall for California over a decade ago. When not on the road, happy places include the Mojave Desert and spending time at home with her boyfriend and their cats.

Published November 29, 2023

Last updated January 3, 2024

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