The Best Budget Hotels in San Francisco

The boutique Galleria Park Hotel has the best location, value, and service

USA, California, San Francisco, Bay Area, View from North Beach

 

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The Rundown

Home to tech tycoons and Michelin-star dining, fog-wreathed San Francisco is hardly associated with cheap getaways, but some of its best hotels prove you can see the city on a budget. San Francisco has a long history of attracting creatives, revolutionaries, and big thinkers, from its hippie heydays to its big tech scene. As it turns out, the city itself is just as inspired and diverse as its inhabitants.

Whether travelers seek a quiet stay close to the parks and beach, or a modern boutique property with walkable restaurant and nightlife options, finding the perfect hotel doesn’t have to break the bank. The following hotels top their categories based on accolades, customer reviews, location, service, value, and more. Read on to discover the best places to call home in the City by the Bay when you’re booking on a budget.

01 of 07

Best Overall: Galleria Park Hotel

Galleria Park Hotel

Galleria Park Hotel

Why We Chose It

A luxury boutique feel, excellent service, and central location make this hotel an all-around people pleaser.

Pros
  • Close to public transit options

  • Renovated interior (2018)

  • Luxury feel on a budget

Cons
  • Small rooms

  • Some visitors noted street noise

Ensconced in the city’s Financial District, Galleria Park is well-suited to travelers who want to be in the heart of the action. Some of San Francisco’s best shopping and eateries are within walking distance, and for guests who want to venture further, a BART station is a block away, as are the city’s famous trolleys. Helpful staff will be more than happy to assist families or solo travelers plan out the details of their stay.

At this historic, 100-year-old hotel, an interior remodel in 2018 lends an elegant feel without the price tag of more upscale boutique properties. A cozy foyer with a large crackling fireplace and lounge-style seating sets the tone for a comfortable stay in stylish accommodations. Rooms are decorated in a bright, neutral palette and bathrooms feature mosaic tile and a rainfall shower.

Notable Amenities

  • Valet parking
  • Pet-friendly
  • Fitness center
  • In-room Illy espresso machines
  • Jonathan Adler bath products
02 of 07

Best for Families: Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr

Why We Chose It

At this waterfront hotel, a game room, social spaces, and bold, graphic interior design appeals to the kid in all of us.

Pros
  • Kid-friendly activities on-site

  • Pet-friendly

  • Central Fisherman’s Wharf location

Cons
  • Service can be hit-or-miss

  • Some rooms could use an update

Families who want to be immersed in all that Fisherman’s Wharf has to offer, but also not have to wander far from the hotel to keep the kids entertained, should consider the colorful Hotel Zephyr. The hotel pays homage to the neighborhood with its “shipyard-chic” design aesthetic, integrating recycled cargo containers and repurposed nautical objects into its bright look. Right around the hotel are an array of fresh seafood restaurants and quaint shops.

But there’s fun to be had right at the hotel. An 8000-square-foot outdoor play area is outfitted with tons of games, including shuffleboard and foosball, as well as four outdoor fire pits where parents can relax with a glass of wine while keeping an eye on the kids. Guests can bond over a game of ping pong, a round of pool, or interactive art at the indoor game room.

Notable Amenities

  • Coffee shop on-site
  • Fitness center
  • Game room and billiards
  • Business center
03 of 07

Best for Solo Travelers: Hotel G

Hotel G

Hotel G

Why We Chose It

For solo or business travelers who prioritize location and accessibility, Hotel G is an easy, affordable stay. 

Pros
  • Spacious rooms

  • Good location

  • On-site bar

Cons
  • Older building

  • Occasional noise from adjoining rooms

Once known as The Fielding Hotel, this building dates back to 1906 and has undergone various incarnations over the years. In 2014, it reopened as the 153-key Hotel G, a minimalist, stylish budget option in the city. Union Square’s shopping and dining options are right out the front door.

Rooms are modern and monochromatic with mid-century modern decor touches, and a fitness center caters to travelers looking to squeeze in a quick, pre-meeting workout at the start of the day. Solo travelers who want to connect with others can cozy up at the hotel bar over a craft cocktail. Guests looking to make their stay a bit more luxurious can book a G Terrace Suite featuring airy, light-filled spaces with bespoke furniture and decor, a fireplace, and a city-view terrace.

Notable Amenities

  • Valet parking
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Fitness center
  • Laundry/dry cleaning service
04 of 07

Best for Creatives: The Phoenix

The Phoenix

The Phoenix

Why We Chose It

A long-time hangout for artists and musicians, the laid-back, retro vibe of The Phoenix is perfect for creatives—or those looking for a good selfie backdrop.

Pros
  • Fun, colourful atmosphere and retro motor lodge style

  • Heated outdoor pool

  • Courtyard on-site

Cons
  • Music in the evenings can make for a noisy stay

  • Rooms aren’t soundproofed

  • Edgy Tenderloin district may not be everyone’s taste

This iconic property was built during the 1950s and opened as The Phoenix in 1987. Since then, it’s played host to traveling creatives and visiting musicians. Located on the fringes of the Tenderloin district, the area retains some of its original grit and edge, home to underground art galleries, live music bars, and concert venues such as the Great American Music Hall.

The mid-century motor lodge is enlivened with a retro, Palm Springs-style outdoor pool dotted with palm trees and lush tropical plants, string lights, and pops of ‘70s-inspired orange. Rooms are simple, painted with Crayola colors and unique touches like neon accent lighting and kimono-style robes. A bar and restaurant, as well as a lobby stocked with late-night snacks, makes this property all about good vibes on a budget. The bright pink room keys remind guests that rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay.

Notable Amenities

  • Free parking
  • In-room coffee
  • On-site restaurant and lounge
Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Best Historic: Chateau Tivoli

Chateau Tivoli

Chateau Tivoli

Why We Chose It

This Victorian-era bed and breakfast is filled with antique furnishings and rich San Francisco history.

Pros
  • Historic Victorian building

  • Breakfast included in stay

  • Warm, personalized service

Cons
  • Some rooms could use updates

  • Some street noise

This 1982 private home was turned into a hotel almost a century later, and still retains much of its Victorian style. Polished mahogany, crystal chandeliers, antique lace, and stained glass lend a cozy, slightly gothic atmosphere to this bed and breakfast inn. Nine rooms and suites feature canopy beds, Bradbury wallpaper, and Persian carpets.

A continental breakfast is included in the stay, and guests can also have afternoon tea in the drawing room. But returning guests come back for the inn’s rich history. Mark Twain graced the hallways, and the inn was once owned by Ernestine Kreling, owner of the Tivoli Opera House, the first place where opera was sung on the West Coast. The property has hosted countless singers, performers, and socialites throughout the years, and some of the furnishings come from the estates of the Vanderbilts, Charles de Gaulle, and J. Paul Getty.

Notable Amenities

  • Complimentary afternoon tea and welcome drink
  • Free WiFi
06 of 07

Best for Couples: Hotel Zoe

Hotel Zoe

Hotel Zoe

Why We Chose It

An intimate restaurant and cozy outdoor spaces make this Fisherman’s Wharf hotel a great romantic escape while leaving budget to explore the rest of the city.

Pros
  • Valet parking

  • Great restaurant and bar on-site

  • Romantic atmosphere

Cons
  • Location can be noisy

  • Overpriced amenities

A cheery, fresh facade and modern lobby greet guests at this Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel. Ideal for couples discovering the iconic neighborhood for the first time, it’s a short walk to the waterfront, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39’s sea lion colony, and the Maritime National Historic Park. A famous cable car turnaround is just steps from the front door, but couples can also grab a couple of the aqua-hued cruiser bikes that sit outside the entrance and explore the area on two wheels.

Airy rooms are decorated in an elegant cream palette with plush white bedding, and guests can request a room with a fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine in-room. For dinner, although the area is peppered with excellent restaurants, couples can dine on traditional Italian cuisine on-site at Pescatore Trattoria, and Bar Zoe hosts a happy hour as well as frequent live music. A secluded, open-air courtyard with lounge-style seating has fire pits lit from 4-10 p.m. as well as food and drink service from Hotel Zoe.

Notable Amenities

  • Valet parking
  • Complimentary cruiser bike use for guests
  • Pet-friendly
  • Business center
07 of 07

Best Value: Hotel Del Sol

Hotel Del Sol

Hotel Del Sol

Why We Chose It

This funky, 1950s motor lodge is kid- and pet-friendly and comes with breakfast, providing good value in the Marina District.

Pros
  • Kid- and pet-friendly

  • Heated outdoor pool on-site

  • Breakfast included in stay

Cons
  • Sometimes noise can be heard from adjoining rooms

  • Cleanliness can be hit-or-miss

An open-air courtyard with hammocks, a sparkling outdoor pool, and towering palms make this retro motor lodge a little oasis in the heart of the Marina District. The hotel welcomes kids and pets, comes with breakfast, and on-site parking is inexpensive, all making this the perfect home-away-from-home for budget-conscious families or couples who want to streamline their San Francisco vacation.

Bright turquoise and aqua rooms offer no-frills comfort with personality. But guests will likely want to be out exploring for most of their stay. Within walking distance from the hotel is the Presidio—a 1500-acre park with forest trails, a golf course, and scenic ocean outlooks—the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, and eclectic Chestnut Street which is home to quirky shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. 

Notable Amenities

  • Off-site fitness center nearby for guest use
  • Laundry/dry cleaning on-site

Final Verdict

Whether travelers are looking for a historic Victorian bed and breakfast, a rock ‘n’ roll motor lodge hangout, or an elegant couples’ getaway, these hotels show it’s possible to enjoy the Bay Area on a budget. And staying at a hotel that’s easy on the wallet means there’s more room to live it up in the city, whether that’s shopping, enjoying live music, or splurging on dinner at one city’s acclaimed, celebrity-chef restaurants. Not sure where to start? Book a room at Galleria Park Hotel for the best value, accommodations, and service.

Compare the Best Budget Hotels in San Francisco

 Hotel  Resort Fee  Rates  Rooms  WiFi
Galleria Park Hotel Best Overall $32  $$  177  Free
Hotel Zephyr Best for Families None  $  361  Free
Hotel G Best for Solo Travelers $29  $$  153  Free
The Phoenix Best for Creatives None  $$  44  Free
Chateau Tivoli Best Historic None  $$  9  Free
Hotel Zoe Best for Couples $35  $$  221  Free
Hotel Del Sol Best Value $18  $  57  Free

Methodology

We evaluated over two dozen different budget hotels in San Francisco before choosing the ones that offer the best value. We considered various elements such as the property’s reputation and quality of service, design, dining options, and notable amenities (e.g. free/fast WiFi, on-site restaurants, pools, concierge services, etc.). In determining this list, we read numerous reviews for each hotel and considered whether the property offers a first-class stay on a budget.

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