| |

Where to Stay in San Francisco 2022

San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the United States. People come here all year round – the weather is favorable. We also love this city. It is in our USA top 5 list. Unfortunately, this popularity has led to citizens moving out of the city and skyrocketing prices for downtown accommodations. So, many people have a common problem – where to stay in San Francisco? Where is the best place to stay in San Francisco? And the answer is not that simple. That’s why we decided to create this short guide based on our years of experience.

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
san francisco skyline

When to book your stay in San Francisco?

California is one of the most visited states, and San Francisco is its most famous city, so book your accommodation ahead. The demand for hotels, motels, and apartments in San Francisco is the same almost all year round. So the answer is simple – book as soon as you know your dates. There’s no point in waiting because prices never go down. They can only go up. If you are not sure if you can go on the trip, it is better to book with a cancellation option. It’s still cheaper than booking last minute. If you are wondering where to stay in San Francisco on a budget, the answer is rather when to book.



Booking.com

Additional booking considerations in San Francisco

Due to the high prices and high demand for accommodation in San Francisco, it is usually not easy to decide and book. There are a few things you should consider before making a final decision.

Parking in San Francisco

Finding a parking space in San Francisco can be a challenge. They are costly, the number of places is limited. So, check if your hotel has a parking lot. Or get around the city on public transport. Most downtown hotels have no or very limited parking. At best, they have a parking lot, but it’s expensive. We recommend not driving to San Francisco. This city is much better explored on foot and by local transport. However, if you must take your car, check the rules and prices for hotel parking. Sometimes you need to reserve your parking space in advance. And sometimes, leaving your car on the street is not such a bad idea. It depends on the place.

Additional taxes and fees in San Francisco

Hotel prices in San Francisco as of 2022 consist of the following components:

  • Room price;
  • 14% Occupancy Tax (includes 8.5% of Sales Tax);
  • 0.195% California Tourism fee
  • 1.5-2.25% Tourism Improvement District assessment (depends on location)

Some hotels charge resort fees on top of that. They specify how much these should be and explain that they are for pool use, cleaning, etc. So make sure everything is included in the price before booking – you will not be disappointed when you check in. Some accommodations charge a damage deposit at check-in, which you get back at check-out if everything is in order. As a rule, we avoid such accommodations.

Location & Safety in San Franciso

Another important point is the location of the room. Which neighborhood and area are the best places to stay in San Francisco? Two factors matter to most people – distance to attractions and safety. San Francisco is generally a safe city – the crime rate is lower than many other cities like Las Vegas or New York. However, they are increasingly struggling with homelessness and car break-ins. And, of course, there are areas you are better off avoiding.

It would be best to be extremely careful when passing through such popular neighborhoods as the Tenderloin, the Mission, and sometimes even Union Square. Tenderloin is known for street drug dealing, so we recommend you be careful during the day and avoid this area at night. If you are out and about in the Mission or at Union Square, be especially wary of pickpockets. And also try to limit your walks at night.

However, if you are wondering how to stay safe in San Francisco, stick to the safest parts of the city. Walkthrough the fantastic Chinatown or Fisherman’s Wharf. That’s where the crime rate is lowest and the main attractions are not far away.

Hotel or Airbnb in San Francisco?

As you already know, hotels in San Francisco are quite expensive. Airbnb might be the cheaper option, but is not too supported by the city. It has put in place various restrictions on hosts that have resulted in a drop in the number of homes available. But still, it’s not a bad option. For starters, you can find some gems that offer amazing views or amenities that are not available in hotels. Also, there is a better selection of locations for Airbnb reservations. Very often, you need to book with Airbnb for a minimum stay of 2-3 days.

The average price for Airbnb is 100-150 USD+tax. But these cheaper apartments are in more remote locations. If you want to be in the center, you will have to pay 200-300 USD/night. Very often it is useful if you are in a bigger group and can share the apartment. Please make sure you pay attention to any additional fees such as cleaning or service fees, which are sometimes very high.

For hotels, the average price for a double room is 60-200 USD+tax, but can be 500 USD or more if you want to book closer to the city center. The price also depends on the quality, so of course the lowest prices are found in mediocre motels. If you add parking and fees, the city becomes very expensive.

TRAVEL TIP: If you are planning a few days in San Francisco, also check out our related articles to best spend your time: The Best Alcatraz Tours, Things To Do in Point Reyes National Seashore, Lake Tahoe Attractions & Bonsai Rock.

Special Events and Federal Holidays

If you plan to visit San Francisco, make sure your date does not coincide with a major event in the city (such as Oracle World or Cup America). There are so many people at these events that prices are rising rapidly, yet accommodation availability remains very limited. Please also keep in mind Federal Holidays while American citizens like to visit the city and prices also increase.

Where to Stay in San Francisco - Market Street

Best places to stay in San Francisco – Our Hotel Selection

Below, we have selected some of our favorite accommodations in the city and grouped them for those who travel by car and those who do not. We have also tried to give you an answer to the question of where to stay in San Francisco on a budget, or which hotel to choose in San Francisco. Since we are fans of motorhomes and caravans, we have also created a small guide for people who travel with a motorhome.

Where to stay in San Francisco with a car?

($) Economy Accommodation (<100$+tax/night)

At this price, you can usually find hotels in the city centre or in slightly more remote areas. Sometimes they have shared bathrooms and not the best reviews, but you can get something nice in the off season. Here you can find out how to stay cheap in San Francisco.

King George (rating 8.2) – Located in the heart of vibrant Union Square, an upscale shopping and dining global destination. Moscone Center is 10 minutes’ walk away. Fisherman’s Wharf is 3.2 km away. The Financial District and Chinatown are within 2.4 km of King George Hotel.

Coventry Motor Inn (rating 8.3) – Coventry Motor Inn offers accommodation between the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Free WiFi and free covered parking are offered to guests.

($$) Average Accommodation (100-150$+tax/night)

For this price you get your own bathroom, a much more comfortable stay in the city centre and the possibility to park your car in the hotel car park.

Orchard Garden Hotel (rating 8.8) – Located next to Chinatown, this eco-friendly hotel is 3 km from San Francisco Art Institute. It boasts a rooftop garden and patio. Parking rate is subject to change without notice and you have to add in on top of the bill.

Chancellor Hotel Union Square (rating 8.7) – This boutique Union Square hotel, located on the Powell Cable Car Line, is just 2 minutes’ walk from cafes and shopping at Tiffany’s, Macy’s, Niketown and other popular Central San Francisco stores. They can offer you a couple of different parking options, including secured parking, regular parking or garage.

($$$) Luxury Accommodation in San Francisco(>200$+tax/night)

At this price level, you can choose where exactly you want to stay and what view you will have from your room. If you book well in advance, you can find some real hidden gems here.

Hilton San Francisco Union Square (rating 8.0) – We had a chance to stay in this hotel on one of the top floors, and the view is impressive. The location is also high. However, we are not sure if all those things are worth paying so much money. The hotel offers you a valet parking garage that works really effectively.

Palace Hotel (rating 8.6) – We had a chance to stay in this hotel, and it’s our favorite. The pros of the hotel is the location just next to Market Street but also room and amenities quality. This place is a real gem, but you must pay a higher price. They also have a valet parking garage paid separately.



Booking.com

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Where to stay in San Francisco without a car?

($) Economy Accommodation (<100$+tax/night)

At this price, you will usually find hotels in downtown with a shared bathroom and low ratings.

Cable Car Hotel (rating 6.5) – This hotel is located next to the Cable Car path on California Street and close to the Nob Hill. If you have a chance to book a room here, you should catch the rare opportunity. The hotel is very classic from 1907 and has a perfect price/quality ratio. Usually you will have to share the bathroom.

Edwardian Hotel (rating 7.6) – This hotel is located on Market Street, not far from Castro District. In front of the hotel, you will have an F tram stop for convenient communication with the city. If you will book well in advance, there is a chance to find a room with a private bathroom at an affordable price.

($$) Average Accommodation (100-150$+tax/night)

For this price you get your own bathroom, a much more comfortable stay in the city centre and the possibility to park your car in the hotel car park.

Aida Plaza Hotel (rating 6.6) – This hotel is located in the crossings of 7th Street & Market Street next to the Subway Station what makes it an ideal choice if you don’t have a car. Complimentary doughnuts are available each morning from 07:00 until 09:00 and free coffee 24 hours a day.

Kensington Park Hotel (rating 8.4) – Situated 2 minutes’ walk from Union Square and a classic Cable Car stop, this San Francisco hotel is in the heart of downtown San Francisco shops, galleries and restaurants. Styled in white fine linens, each room features black out drapes, mahogany furnishings and a light-up mirror. Pets not allowed, but there is parking option paid separately.

($$$) Luxury Accommodation (>200$+tax/night)

At this price level, you can choose where exactly you want to stay and what view you will have from your room. If you book well in advance, you can find some real hidden gems here.

Powell Place Hotel (rating 9.3) – This hotel is dedicated to walking. Attractively set in the Nob Hill district of San Francisco, situated 400 m from Union Square, 1.2 km from Moscone Center and 1.2 km from Coit Tower. The property is around 1.9 km from Ghirardelli Square, 2.2 km from Oracle Park and 4 km from Alcatraz.

Argonaut Hotel, a Noble House Hotel (rating 8.7) – This is a hotel for the people that would like to stay in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. You will be walking distance to all of the most exciting attractions in the city. The hotel is eco-friendly, so if it is an essential factor book it immediately.



Booking.com

Where to Stay in San Francisco Cable Car

Where to stay in San Francisco with Motorhome or RV?

Since we are vanlifers and travel very often with different types of RVs, we would also like to share our experiences with this type of stay at San Francisco. And as you can imagine, finding a parking space in the city is not easy. It is even more difficult to find a place for an overnight stay.

Street parking

If you do not plan to stay overnight, you can park your RV in the street parking lot. Just make sure there are no signs prohibiting RVs. And remember to park 100 feet away from any intersection to keep visibility clear. Also, please plan your route in advance to avoid narrow and hilly roads. Believe us, it will be a challenge to navigate these with your RV.

RV Parking Lot

Finding a place to park your RV in the downtown area is not easy. Usually it’s a good idea to find something outside the center and take an Uber or bike there. There used to be a parking lot where RVs were allowed to park. It is located at Pier 48, owned by Impark and called Lot 39 Bus Parking – Lot #12 As of 2021 it is only available for baseball events. There are some spaces there for large RVs and the cost is $35/day. Unfortunately, this parking lot is on the east side of town (near Oracle Park), and you have to get downtown somehow. You can always try calling there and maybe they will give you an exception.

RV Overnight Camping

You will not find a place to stay in downtown San Francisco. But if you can drive a little south, you have 3 options to choose from (call ahead and ask if there are any places left and what the price is):

Candlestick RV Park ($$$) – They are located at 650 Gilman Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124. They offer 184 sites, all year, al ages. The maximum rig length accepted is 50 ft. You can choose from 36 pull thru and 165 full hookups. They have toilets, showers, propane, wi-fi, and laundry.

Treasure Island RV Park ($$) – They are located at 1700 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, CA 94080. This campground is even bigger and offers 300 sites. The maximum rig length is 50 ft, and they offer toilets, showers, and laundry. It is more residential-style than an overnight campground.

San Francisco RV Resort ($$$) – This campground is located on 700 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044, next to Highway 1. They offer 182 sites, and maximum rig length is 65 feet. You will find here the toilets, showers, dump station, laundry, wi-fi, cable tv, pool, and playground. You can try to book your oceanfront spot as well.

Rest Stops (Free) – If you don’t need a dump station, water, or electricity, you can try to stay overnight in one of the Rest Stops (in California, it’s allowed to stay 8 hours until signed otherwise). You will find one Rest Stop just north of the Golden Gate Bridge on your right – it’s called Welcome Center On 101, and you must use exit 442 to get there. You will find limited parking spaces here, but amazing view of the Golden Gate bridge.

Another Rest Stop that you can consider is close to exit 36 on Highway 280 (south of San Francisco). It has only 10 truck parking spaces and restrooms available.

You can try to find more spots like that using AllStays Camp & RV application for your mobile phone.

Where to Stay in San Francisco

Where to Stay in San Francisco Airbnb?

In this section, we found the most exciting places to stay if you prefer Airbnb. Not for everyone price, and the location is equally In this section, we have found the most exciting accommodations for you if you prefer Airbnb. Price is not for everyone, and location is just as important. For some people, design and style are key – they want to enjoy the atmosphere of the city and local architecture, or just experience something different. They are just bored of all the classic motels and hotels. For these people we have selected some interesting places. I hope you will find something here that you like. And this is also an excellent choice for those who are wondering where to stay in San Francisco with kids.

Delmar Street Guest Suite with a View ($$) – This is room with a fantastic view of the city and the rooftop. We love those hills and how you can spot details from the balcony. This room is even equipped with a telescope to have a better view. The apartment is located between charming Cole Valley, historic Haight-Ashbury, and within walking distance of Golden Gate Park and UCSF. Minimum stay 2 nights. Please check the prices and availability here.

Where to stay near San Francisco?

You may want to trade location for cost or luxury and not stay in the city center. This section is for you. We have compiled our experiences with the best accommodations near San Francisco where you can stay cheaper or better and commute comfortably.

Oakland

If you agree to commute to San Francisco from Oakland, you can find cheaper lodging there. Prices can be even 25-30% lower than in the town. It’s also easier to park your car, and usually, it will be free. From Oakland, you can travel with BART (depending on the route 4-10 USD) or ferry (from 7.2 USD/one way).

Bay Bridge Inn Oakland ($) – Bay Bridge Inn is an economy property in Oakland conveniently located 2 blocks from a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station, which puts it in easy reach of San Francisco and Berkeley. Check prices and availability here.

Imperial Inn Oakland ($) – This Oakland is located just 1 block from BART station that offers easy access to San Francisco City. Check prices and availability here.



Booking.com

Sausalito

We love this charming little town. Especially early in the morning, just after sunset, when fog spreads over the water and you can see San Francisco awakening from afar. Life in this small town is different, no one is in a hurry, and many people prefer to ride their bikes rather than drive. It’s a fantastic idea to have breakfast with a view. But it’s also a nice place to stay near San Francisco. Maybe it’s not as cheap as Oakland, but it’s certainly more original.

Mediterranean Home with a View ($$) – In this home, you can feel like in Italy. It is a 1930 vintage sunny home with water views from every room and 3 bedrooms/2 baths. It can accommodate 6 people very easily and is furnished with contemporary and antiques—a really lovely place for a family stay. Check prices and availability here.

Immaculate Vintage Airstream in Mill Valley ($$) – This fantastic place is located in Mill Valley – 10 minutes drive to Sausalito. Owner says: “Capture the spirit of 1960s American wanderlust in a gleaming Airstream trailer. The curvaceous interior has been painstakingly restored with period-correct decor. New appliances have been selected as much for their retro style as modern function.” – and we agree with this idea. If you like it as well, check prices and availability here, please.



Booking.com

20 Comments

  1. Love that you broke it down into places to stay if you don’t have a car!  We almost always rent a car when we travel but never in NYC or San Francisco!  Too difficult to park.  So that’ a great category of places to stay!

  2. This is a fantastic post and so informative.  Before COVID I was researching where to stay in San Fran and I couldn’t decide whether to stay in the main downtown core or the Wharf.  Your hotel recommendations gives me a great starting point.

  3. Love this guide! So helpfully broken down and I love your photos. I find big cities overwhelming I had no idea there was camping around as well. Looking forward to visiting one day!

  4. Even though Los Angeles and San Fran are in the same state, you couldn’t get two such polar opposite cities. We’ve driven up there multiple times, and flown a couple, and it never gets old. The city has so much charm and elegance, it retains its historic elements – like those fabulous cable cars, while also steaming ahead with progress.

  5. What a great work you have done with this post. you gave plenty of great information. 
    I have never been to San Francisco and who knows when we can start our travel plans to the USA again. 😰 😥 😓

  6. Very informative article. I like how you have highlighted the various places to stay with or without transportation. A fantastic resource for travellers especially first timers.

  7. Thank you for including city fees – I never know if the booking sites are legit with that haha.  San Francisco is probably my favorite city in the USA! 

  8. This is such a comprehensive list with lots of great tips! I stayed in an Airbnb in Van Ness when I was there and it was lovely. I miss this city!

  9. Your images of the skyline are
    gorgeous!  Hotel prices in San Francisco are
    quite high.  Great advice to book
    as early as possible. I like to choose a property close to a sightseeing bus
    stop. It makes getting around the city so much easier, especially with all the
    traffic. 

  10. Thank you for the good tip about avoiding traveling to San Francisco with the car. Also, I didn’t realize that the city frowns on Airbnb. The cable car hotel looks super cool, I think I might choose to stay there on my next trip to town.

  11. We have visited San Francisco a few times and always picked different parts of the city to stay in.  The first time we paid for parking and learned that lesson about the expensive parking.  And some hotels we found had a resort (or destination) fee on top of all those other costs.  Not a cheap spot to stay.  It is a good reminder about booking over holidays.  Some good options in different price ranges.  But if I had an RV I might find a parking lot on the outskirts for the RV and use public transit to get in and tour.  A good resource for when we head back again.

  12. Oh man! I think you really have to save money if you want to go to San Francisco and stay in the city. Even if you stay outside the city, you must calculate the transportation fee while visiting, that after you add it to your hotel fee, you might pay more than staying in the city. Math factor is really important if you want to visit SF. Haha..  

  13. Although visiting San Francisco will be ideally not be happening to me for the next 5 years, I believe it is one of the nice destinations not to missed in America. Staying in Airbnbs’ is the best option for accommodation. I would like to visit their Chinatown, coz I heard it is another best place in SF.

  14. One hell of a post, i must say. Truth be told, this post was a real eye opener for me, as i wasn’t aware about a lot of things, specially the taxes, and the amenities offered according to the budget. When i travel to a city, i always prefer to stay somewhere, that’s well connected via public transport, and usually at walking distance from supermarkets and restaurants. I have seen that usually in places like San Franciso, if one researches well, one can get a really good deal on AirBnB, however it only makes sense if you have others with you to share the cost.

  15. Oh wow! That’s super comprehensive guide on where to stay. Its interesting to know about hotels with shared bathrooms (which is almost like hostels, but are not hostels)! Since we usually travel without a car, we could be cool about the parking. Its good to know that there is one place that allows RV to be parked! Impressive. But as you said, it is perhaps a better idea to park the RV outside of the city and take an Uber or bike to the city centre. The free rest-stops are cool too to provide 8hrs of free parking!

  16. Your post is very helpful to select our stay in San Francisco. Being such a huge city and so many options, it is very confusing about where to stay. I am planning to visit this beautiful city next year and so saving your post. It is good you have classified the hotels with respect to parking facility. I would prefer a hotel with car parking. Also checking federal holidays before is a nice tip because I know at these times, hotels are always over priced.

  17. A very handy guide on all things SF! Am glad I came across this post for all my future planning, will save it. Quite a few insights on Air BnB vs hotel booking, time and season for visiting, I’d definitely like to check out the Argonaut hotel considering the location. Fisherman Wharf would be make for a delightful visit. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.