Do you know which are the best areas to stay in San Francisco ? if you choose one we recommend you to go to Union Square, Marina District, Russian Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, North Castro, the Financial District or SOMA.We explain you why. San Francisco is one of the great cities of California in the U.S. It was founded by the Spanish in 1776, the year of the country’s independence.
The Gold Rush of 1848 and the San Francisco Earthquake were two turning points in the history of the city that the city was able to fit in, to grow and to rise from the rubble.
The hills , which form such a characteristic urban landscape of this great Californian city, were also a point of defense in the times when the western lands of the United States were a border.
If the primitive San Francisco settled on seven hills -like Rome- the 44 hills that today serve as support to its urban fabric represent a challenge for its citizens, for the transportation, for the services and for those who visit it, although, it must be said, they have their charm. Paradoxically, the roller coasters that form its street style have become a tourist attraction.
According to wellness statistics, San Francisco is the second city in the United States for quality of life after Honolulu in Hawaii, something that does not say much, because it says it all.
The best areas to stay in San Francisco
Union Square, Marina District, Russian Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, North Castro, the Financial District and SOMA share the cake of the great attractions of the city of San Francisco, and we choose them as the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco.
Each one with its own atmosphere , with its history, with its unique offerings.districts that offer a variety of accommodations and experiences to choose from alone, with a partner, with friends or with family.
The Financial District area is perfect for sleeping in San Francisco on a business trip , the Union Square area in downtown has a great and varied offer to stay, being the center of all .In the Marina District , the hotels are all grouped in practically the main avenue, being easy to find accommodation .
On the other hand, the areas of the SOMA, Chinatown, North Beach and Haight-Ashbury are ideal for those who want to stay in neighborhoods with history, dynamic , to integrate among the San Franciscans during the time of the stay or simply because are in fashion .
It is worth mentioning that in the SOMA and the Haight-Ashbury district is where you can find the greatest variety of establishments for to sleep in San Francisco , at all levels.
To discover this very special Californian city, these are the key districts to stay in San Francisco, one by one:
Union Square is downtown San Francisco , kilometer zero of the city, a preferential environment as it is the historic center of San Francisco, is formed by the square of the same name and the avenues and streets around it.
The great square is just over an acre and is located in the northeast center of San Francisco just over a mile from the area of El Embarcadero and the seafront.Between the Chinatown districts and the Financial District .
In Union Square, you can find hotels for stay in San Francisco in a wide range of prices , especially affordable are those that are accommodated in the side streets of Union Square Sutter Street, Powell Street, Post Street or Grant Avenue.there is much to choose from.
An urban ecosystem perfect for finding restaurants themed and gourmet restaurants from around the world and shops to buy souvenirs of a trip to the West Coast of the U.S. Hairdressers, upscale boutiques, art galleries and department stores abound
Union Square is named after the place where Union supporters gathered during the American Civil War.For that reason, the square was declared a California Historic Monument.Union Square, as the main urban center, is a very well connected area with the city’s transportation.
– Union Square Accommodations
Marina District is a small neighborhood located north of downtown San Francisco .It was the place chosen for the San Francisco Universal Exposition of 1915 with which the city wanted to send a message to the world, its firm commitment to be reborn after the earthquake of 1906.Marina District is one of the most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco .
It is a area of expensive hotels but, a few, only a few, have prices in an acceptable mid range to stay in San Francisco and enjoy the city independently (you have to find those hotels).
Marina District has an incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge and walking to it is one of the recommended walks in the area (walking or bike rental) especially when the weather is good.Marina Boulevard, Fillmore Street and Cervantes Street are the streets where you can find boutiques, souvenir shops and restaurants .
The best restaurants, the ones that offer terraces at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, are the ones where you can order sourdough bread, a very characteristic sour taste of the city, which is a good mid-morning snack.
The bus lines guarantee mobility and connect Marina District with the rest of the districts of the San Francisco Bay.The bus lines that pass through Marina District are 80 and 22 (red), 51A and C (green). There is also a BART bus stop , a rapid metro system that crosses the bay
– Marina District accommodation
Russian Hill is a neighborhood also located north of San Francisco, just at the entrance to the bay and a short distance from Fisherman’s Warf, North Beach, attached to Chinatown and a stone’s throw from the water in the area of Embarcadero.
It is a hillock neighborhood , like almost all, cut at a square by the system of straight streets.The name of Russian Hill comes from the place of a cemetery found by the first settlers who settled in this part of California and which was the burial place of the sailors of the Russian whalers who died during the fishing seasons.
A plaque placed by the Russian Government in Vallejo Street reminds us of the location of the already disappeared cemetery.With the passing of time, Russian Hill has become one of the most elegant neighbourhoods of the city of San Francisco.
The views from the heights of the city are exceptional and more if you take the cable car to Hyde Street. The cafes, restaurants, boutiques and antique shops along Polk Street or Columbus Avenue, the main streets of Russian Hill, give the neighborhood a European and bohemian touch that reminds those who visit the district.
But the most popular attraction in the area is Lombard Street a winding, very iconic street, seen in hundreds of movies and TV shows.
This peculiar street was created in 1922 to overcome the 27º slope of the hill, the worst thing is the queue that forms every day to go down it by car in an evocative route in the middle of houses of the period .
We recommend seeing Rivera’s paintings in the Art Institute of San Francisco (800 Chestnut Street), the Ina Coolbrith Park , a small but charming urban park (between Vallejo and Taylor streets).
Columbus Avenue is a typical place to eat and to find places of nightlife .In its best restaurants, you should order the typical San Francisco crab dishes: dungeness crabs or crab cioppino.
Getting around on Russian Hill is easy with the bus system in the city.The key lines are 45 (to Safeway and Whole Foods Market), 28 (to Crissy Field) and 73 (to Oakland Airport). There is a rapid metro BART stop to cross to the other side of the bay and beyond.
– Russian Hill Accommodations
Chinatown, the Chinatown of San Francisco, is the oldest Chinatown in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside of the Asian country.
The district occupies an area of about two square kilometers between Montgomery Street, Columbus Avenue and the Financial District to the east, and Union Street and North Beach to the north.To the southeast, Chinatown is bounded by Bush Street and Union Square.
The neighborhood is dominated by narrow streets , so the few free areas are prominent places to meet, such as Portmouth Square where you can see many neighbors practicing tai chi and older people playing chess .
About what to see in Chinatown, a photo stop at the famous Dragon Gate is a must.Three references: in Stockton Street , the oriental atmosphere is even more striking, you should not miss either the night market of the neighborhood, nor, of course, the museum of the Chinese Historical Society of America that tells in a very reliable way the historical process that the Chinese communities in San Francisco and California lived.
Chinatown is a preferential place that should be on the roadmap of those who want to make original purchases in San Francisco.the neighborhood is very well connected with the city’s combined transport system which, on the other hand, is accessible for people with reduced mobility.
The accommodation in Chinatown is very varied , for all kinds of pockets and is characterized by its strong typology.
– Accommodation in Chinatown
Fisherman’s Warf is the waterfront of the North Beach neighborhood .It is a district formed by a few blocks also on the edge of the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, north of the historic city center The neighborhood runs from Ghirardelli Square and Van Ness Avenue eastbound to Pier 35 and the surrounding Kearny Street.
It is a very, very touristy area The highlight of Fisherman’s Wharf is the popular Pier 39. The Pier 39 is a new pier in the area (1978) opened as a shopping center and oriented to families with children.
There are shops, restaurants, a Marine Mammal Interpretation Center , and the Bay Aquarium An unforgettable experience is the direct observation of sea lions, seals and walruses in the vicinity.The views of Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge are also part of the natural attraction of the place.
In the cafeterias or in the same restaurants of Pier 39, you can order the classic It’s-it a kind of ice cream sandwich with buttered dough inside that is all covered with chocolate.And for hot days, there is the popsicle , ice pops with a lot of flavors also typical of San Francisco.
Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 can be reached by bus on lines 27 (to and from the Golden Gate), 38 (red) and 80 (green), or by the BART subway line, but the experience of getting to Fisherman’s Wharf (with family) is a great one if you take the historic city streetcar , the F Market & Wharves.
Other attractions in the area include the Musée Mécanique , a permanent exhibition of automatons and the Wax Museum.on Pier 45, there is a small chapel that recalls the memory of the fishermen who disappeared at sea in the San Francisco area and in Northern California.
Not a particularly suitable environment to stay in, if you are looking for peace and quiet.But, if it’s to stay in San Francisco on the site of its most popular tourist attraction, then the place is perfect.
– Accommodation at Fisherman’s Wharf
North Beach is the Italian neighborhood of the city of San Francisco, where the Italian immigrant population settled since the second half of the nineteenth century.North Beach is located northeast of the city center, right next to of Chinatown’s
North Beach is also known as the Little Italy and is a favorite place to enjoy the nightlife of this California city.One of its highlights is the set of Victorian style houses built in the 1920s after the 1906 earthquake.
We highly recommend the hotelitos and the hostels installed in these typical houses, very home-style accommodations that can turn stays into unforgettable memories.
Despite the fact that the population of Italian descent has fallen steadily since the 1980s, the Latin identity is still perceptible in this district.Whether it’s in its shops or at its festivities such as the Father’s Day Parade or Día de la Raza (which runs from Columbus Avenue to Aquatic Park), two of the most important on San Francisco’s calendar of mass events.
A reproduction of the Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi is located in the neighborhood. For culture and book lovers, 261 Columbus Avenue , is the City Lights Bookstore, a world famous independent bookstore.Buses 2, 10, 12, 41, 45 and NL connect North Beach with other parts of the city.
– Accommodation in North Beach
7.North Castro and Haight-Ashbury
North Castro, in the Castro district, is located southwest of Union Square in the interior of the peninsula where the old part of San Francisco lies.It is an architectural spectacle, especially its chapel (between Dolores Street and 16th Street).
In the neighborhood you can also enjoy the picture of the Victorian houses very representative of the city and that go down – or up – by the steep streets of the district.
The gay community of San Francisco has a reference space and centers of social activism in the district, between Market Street and Castro Street and up to 19th Street. The Pink Triangle Park remembers the homosexuals who died in the Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.
Castro’s name comes from the neighborhood of José Castro (1808-1860), Mexican governor of San Francisco and firm opponent of the integration of the territory of California into the United States.
The urbanization of this area began in 1887 when the city’s tramway extended its network to this area, which was then far from the city centre. The traditional San Francisco tramway, the F Market passes through Castro Street and 17th Street, making it a perfect way to get to know the neighbourhood and connect with other areas of the city.
Castro Street Fair, the Dyke’s March, Halloween, the Pink Saturday and the San Francisco International LGTB Film Festival are all events that are very popular and marked in the city’s calendar that you should take into account when you travel to San Francisco and want to know its culture and participate in a social immersion in this destination.
Not far away, right next door, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is another popular district in San Francisco. Haight-Ashbury is the birthplace of the beatnik movement fifty.A counter-cultural and rebellious lifestyle .
Haight-Ashbury is a very good area to find accommodation in San Francisco with charm (hostels, apartments or small city hotels) and at really interesting prices.
– Accommodation in North Castro and Haight-Ashbury
If you are interested in this article about where to stay in San Francisco you will probably be interested in taking a look at the following: Where to stay in Los Angeles, where to stay in Las Vegas, where to stay in New York
The Financial District is the financial district of the city of San Francisco, popularly known as the ‘FiDi’ .It is located between Union Square and Sacramento Street south of North Beach and Chinatown, across from El Embarcadero in northeast downtown San Francisco.
Financial District was the first port in the San Francisco area during the Spanish domination, a support for the nearby colony of Presidio, although the wetlands gave many problems to the managers of the pier.
In the modern Financial District, the office towers dominate , with the tallest buildings at 555 California Street, the Trans American Pyramid (an icon of the city), 101 California Street and 345 California Center.
These are the official or territorial headquarters of banks, finance companies, large real estate companies , as well as law firms. In the Financial District, you can also find some of the most important shopping areas in San Francisco such as the Crocker Galleria, the Embarcadero Center, the Ferry Building and the Rincon Center complex.
Financial Street is very well connected with the rest of the city’s neighborhoods through its integrated urban transportation system (BART, buses 80, 51A, 5R, 31BX, 7, 28, 54, H or NL, in addition to the classic San Francisco streetcar).
In the Financial District, you can find luxury hotels but also other sleeping accommodations in San Francisco more modest and even hostels open to all pockets.
– Accommodation in the Financial District
SOMA is the acronym for South of Market , another of San Francisco’s popular neighborhoods.
Also because nearby, on Fourth Street (corner of King Street), is located the San Francisco Train Station which guarantees total connectivity with any location in California and other states for long train (or bus) routes.
The SOMA is located northeast of the historic city center.In the area, you should check out , the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art , and keep an eye on its exhibition calendar.
We also recommend enjoying the gardens of Yerba Buena Island , connected by a bridge over the San Francisco Bay, a perfect place for a family picnic.
Best area to stay in San Francisco
San Francisco is much more than the iconic Golden Gate , the old streetcars going up the steep streets and the cinematic Alcatraz prison. San Francisco is a mix of the history of a pioneering West Coast city, and the modernity of Silicon Valley .Each neighborhood of San Francisco has its own personality and appeal. San Francisco is sea, with its beautiful bay and its mythical Pier 39 , and also is mountain with its magnificent views from Twin Peaks .
Downtown is home to the best and most valued hotels in the city, making it the best place to stay in San Francisco for either a leisure or business visit.The Union Square , is the central point of San Francisco. Union Square gives name not only to the square but to all its surrounding area known for its shopping, hotels, theaters and art galleries.walking from Union Square you have access to the famous San Francisco streetcar and Chinatwon .
If you don’t want to stay in the center, there are several alternatives: you can stay in the fishermen’s neighborhoods of Fisherman’s Wharf or North Beach if you want to be by the sea, in The Castro if you want to mix with the LGTB community or in Chinatown if you want to enter another world.
Union Square, downtown San Francisco
On streets near Union Suare like Post, Geary, Powell and Stockton you will find the best for shopping , whether you are looking for some of the famous American stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom or some of the more exclusive shops like Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Dior.
If you are looking for culture , staying in the center you will have within a kilometer the Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cartoon Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Grace Cathedral.The area’s gastronomic offerings are also notable, from cafes and bakeries to upscale restaurants, Union Square offers food for all budgets.
The square, which gives its name to the entire neighborhood, is so named because during the U.S. Civil War it was used for meetings and, for the same reason, is now listed as a California Historic Landmark.The area is perfect to stay in, since from here you can easily reach any part of the city and even the airport.
Union Square can be reached by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) -which would be the equivalent to commuter trains-, Metro (MUNI), bus and car.In addition, there are other important areas just a few steps away, such as the famous Chinatown, which attracts more tourists each year than the Golden Gate Bridge.
The hotel offer in the Union Square area is the widest in Sant Francisco, with a predominance of 3 and 4 star hotels.
Other neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco
This is the most visited seafront neighborhood in the city, whether you want to take a walk on the famous Pier 39, eat at one of the old seafood restaurants or take the ferry to visit Alcatraz, this is a must-see area of San Francisco.
Pier 39 is the most famous spot on Fisherman’s Wharf, as its sea lion colony attracts thousands of tourists, but there’s much more to do on the harbor, which from 1850 to 1950 was one of California’s most important marine fish distribution centers and is now home to restaurants and shops.
At Fisherman’s Wharf you can also find the Bay Aquarium with more than 20,000 sea animals or see the USS Pampanito, the most visited historical ship in the United States.The island of Alcatraz, known informally as The Rock, is surrounded by many legends, however, few know that it was originally used as a military fortification by the Spanish and even used as a refuge for Native Americans from different tribes.
Alcatraz is best known for having housed highly dangerous criminals such as Al Capone when it served as a federal prison. It is now Golden Gate National Park and you can visit inside the prison and learn how the prisoners lived in what was known as the safest prison in the world and from which it was impossible to escape.
The accommodation available at Fisherman’s Wharf is very limited to about fifteen hotels and a couple of motels.
Neighbor to Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, the North Beach neighborhood is the Italian neighborhood of San Francisco, the equivalent of Little Italy in many U.S. cities.Not only does it have the best Italian restaurants and cafes in the city, but it also hosts some of the best nightlife in the world, including the Sanctuary of Francis of Assisi, after which the city is named.
As with Fisherman’s Wharf, there is very little accommodation in North Beach.Only 5 hotels, and some hostels and tourist apartments.
San Francisco is known for being a Gay Friendly city and it is in the Castro area where you can find a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.Also known as Eureka Valley, this neighborhood has a lot of history, it is a reference point in the vindication of the rights of the LGBT community, a struggle that was led in the 1970s by the activist Harvey Milk.In fact, at 575 Castro Street is the building where he lived and had his photo shop Milk. In the area there is also the memorial to homosexuals persecuted in Nazi Germany, the Pink Triangle Park.
If you visit the area do not forget to check their calendar of events, as during the year there are important events such as the Castro Street Fair, the Dykes March, Halloween, Pink Saturday and the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival.
The lodging offer in The Castro is also very scarce with only 2 hotels and few alternatives in other types of accommodations.
The famous Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco hosts the oldest and largest Chinese community in the United States.If you stay in this area you will not only be in one of the most central areas of San Francisco, but you will also be immersed in the culture and traditions of this Asian country.The Dragon Gate and Portsmouth Square with the replica of the Statue of Democracy are some of the main attractions within this area.
In China Town there are no hotels so if you can’t find an apartment or a room rented by a private person forget about staying here, we recommend the central area around Union Square as the best area to stay in San Francisco.