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Situated on San Francisco's northern waterfront, the Marina District is the place to stay for uninterrupted views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco Bay. It is also ideally placed for trips to Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square, and the redwood forests, scenic outlooks, and historic military barracks of Golden Gate Park. SF's Marina District also contains a number of worthy attractions in its own right, including the Wave Organ (a popular beach area) and Fort Mason Park.
The main commercial area runs the length of Lombard Street, with retail outlets, restaurants, and hotels scattered along its length and on the surrounding streets. Accommodation options in the Marina District are largely simple motels and inns which offer superb value when compared to the flashier offerings in more touristy parts of the city.
With a convenient location and numerous attractions in the area, visitors traveling on a budget would be hard-pressed to find a better neighborhood to stay in this famously expensive city. Below, our favorite picks of the crop.
Best Overall: Marina Motel
Set around a stunning Mediterranean-style courtyard lined with cobblestones and filled with lush shrubbery and vivid murals, the Marina Motel offers a taste of European luxury in the heart of San Francisco. Boutique rooms and suites are full of antique charm with wooden furnishings and patterned bed linens adding a rustic air. While the hotel offers homey accommodations, do note that rooms don't come with modern amenities (sorry, no flat-screen TVs or complimentary Wi-Fi here). Each room does come with a private bathroom with a walk-in shower and a parking bay outside in the courtyard. Some rooms and suites also have kitchenettes with gas stoves, fridges, and dining tables if you're looking to self cater. There is also a business center with a PC and a printer in the lobby, and an outside dog run for pets accompanying their owners.
Best for Families: Hotel del Sol
This classic 1950s motel was converted into a fresh, funky property, that — at times — resembles an eclectic children's’ playground with accommodation attached. In the courtyard, a saltwater pool is surrounded by brightly-colored pavement, sun lounges, shade parasols, and flower-filled terracotta pots. A lawn area is shaded with lofty palm trees and comfy hammocks are strung between them. Hotel del Sol's interior is no less eccentric, with vibrant blocks of clashing colors in guestrooms and common areas. Guestrooms come in a variety of sizes, with interconnected rooms allowing space for families of almost any size. Rooms come with a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, luxury bath products, and complimentary breakfast. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the property. A generous pet-friendly policy ensures that no member of the family need miss out on the fun, and guests of all ages appreciate the milk and cookies provided in the afternoon. Just a block away from the hotel lies the grassy fields, arts center, and sandy beach of Fort Mason Park, so you'll have plenty to do offsite as well.
Best B&B: Marina Inn
Set within a historic townhouse dating back to 1924, the Marina Inn is a charming period B&B that welcomes guests with antique furnishings and homey comforts. Guestrooms come with polished wooden furniture, floral wallpaper, comfortable beds, cable TVs, private bathrooms, telephones, and hair dryers. Rooms also contain a guide to sites and restaurants around San Francisco, and helpful concierge service at the 24-hour front desk can assist with restaurant recommendations and reservations. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, and a hot breakfast is provided in the mornings. Breakfast also comes accompanied by a daily newspaper. The hotel offers excellent value for young families, with two children under 14 able to stay for free.
Best Rooms: Inn at Golden Gate
Set on a quiet street not far from Golden Gate Park, this inn offers stylish budget lodgings close in proximity to public transportation. Contemporary guestrooms are some of the finest to be found in this price range, with simple and tasteful furnishings which have a fresh and bright feel. Crisp bed linens line the king, queen, and double beds which are illuminated by soft bedside lamps. There is a work desk with an ergonomic swivel chair, a telephone line, and complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi for visitors wanting to stay productive. Microwaves, fridges, and coffee facilities also provide the necessary comforts. A flat-screen LED TV with cable channels offers entertainment, and the spacious bathrooms contain a shower/tub combo and towels, hair dryers, and bath products. Rooms rates also include a continental breakfast buffet and free on-site parking.
Best for Restaurants: Motel Capri
Set on Greenwich Street, in the heart of the Marina District, the Motel Capri is surrounded by a huge variety of restaurant, café, and bar venues. If you're hungry when you get in, casual but excellent pub grub can be found at Brazen Head, which is situated directly across the road. In addition, several major concentrations of dining and drinking establishments can be found within a few blocks of the hotel, including along Union Street to the south, Fillmore Street to the west, and Lombard Street to the northwest. Rooms and suites are full of retro fittings, including red faux-leather furniture, blown-glass bedside lamps, and green-tiled bathrooms. Accommodations come with a respectable range of amenities including large-screen LED TVs with HD channels, a coffee and tea maker, fridge, and microwave. Guests are also provided a complimentary breakfast, limited on-site parking, and concierge services from the 24-hour front desk.
Best for Singles: Buena Vista Motor Inn
Set in the center of Lombard Street, the Buena Vista Motor Inn has a number of restaurants and bars within blocks of the hotel and offers easy access to other dining and nightlife areas around the city. Guestrooms come with retro décor and modern amenities such as cable TVs, fridges, microwaves, coffee facilities, and hair dryers. Suites come with a separate living area and sofa beds, and some also provide views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel is equipped with high-speed Wi-Fi throughout, as well as ample (and free) on-site parking. A complimentary breakfast serves pastries, muffins, juices, and hot drinks to fuel guests up for the day. Afterward, you can relax in the courtyard garden or hit the rooftop deck (though it's best in evenings when you can watch, drink in hand, the sun set behind the Golden Gate Bridge). A 24-hour front desk means that friendly staff is on hand to help you with itineraries and welcome you back after long days out on the town.
Best for Golden Gate Park: Travelodge Presidio
Set right next to the green expanses of Golden Gate Park, Travelodge Presidio provides unparalleled access to the museums, theaters, cafes, and restaurants found within the famous parkland area. Comfortable rooms feature simple but functional furnishings (with a dated air) but come with flat-screen LCD TVs with HBO channels, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and hair dryers. Down in the 24-hour lobby, complimentary breakfast and daily newspapers help kick-start the day, and concierge service can help guests finalize their itineraries. There is a business center with a desktop computer and printer, and free Wi-Fi can be accessed anywhere within the property. The hotel is welcoming to traveling pets. There are also free parking bays, though there are less bays than rooms, which means that spots can fill up quickly.
Best for Fisherman’s Wharf: Van Ness Inn
The cheap and cheerful character of Van Ness Inn places it firmly within the more basic, value range of accommodations typical of the area. Although technically just opposite the road from the eastern edge of Marina District, its location means that the shopping, restaurants, entertainments and other tourist attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square are just a short walk away. The hotel is also close to Fort Mason Park, and there are several restaurants and bars within a single block of the hotel. Guestrooms come with king, queen, and twin double bed sizes, and offer amenities like cable TV, microwaves, fridges, coffeemakers, and hair dryers. Small but serviceable ensuite bathrooms contain a shower/tub combo and a vanity. Room rates include a continental breakfast and Wi-Fi access in all areas of the property. Other amenities include free parking, printing and fax services, and coffee and tea facilities in the lobby.
Best Hostel: HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Set in a favorable location in the center of Fort Mason Park, guests at the HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf are surrounded by grassy parkland with views over the bay toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Accommodations include private double rooms and dorms with between four and 24 bunks. A relaxed lounge features comfy faux-leather couches, a central gas-burning fireplace, and a piano for musically-inclined guests. A free-to-use billiards table and jukebox in the common room encourage guests to congregate in a fun and social environment, while the on-site café keeps them fuelled up with organic snacks, coffee, and local beers and wines. Other hostel amenities include a complimentary breakfast, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Friendly and helpful staff assist guests in exploring the city with a variety of complimentary walking tours, pub crawls, and trips to nearby museums.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular hotels in San Francisco's Marina district. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different hotels and read over 120 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.