Where to Stay in SF

San Francisco Cable Cars on California Street at sunrise

bluejayphoto / Getty Images

There are a lot of hotels in San Francisco—and we’re not even counting the endless apartments for rent on AirBnB. Wading through that swamp of options can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve simplified it for you with our top choices for where to splurge, where to save, and where to spend just the right amount throughout the city. A quick note: the cost of a room in San Francisco varies wildly depending on time of year and whether there's a convention in town, so plan accordingly.

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SPLURGE—Rates from $200/night and way up

Courtesy of Fairmont San Francisco

Neighborhood: Union Square
335 Powell Street
Telephone: (415) 397-7000

Right the middle of Union Square, this luxury hotel offers glamorous city views right from your bed. Be sure to take a ride in the glass elevators to get a whole new perspective on San Francisco’s shopping district.

Fairmont San Francisco
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
950 Mason St.
Telephone: (415) 772-5000

When a hotel gains landmark status, it becomes transcendent. Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the Fairmont will live up to all of your 5-star hotel dreams. Perched on the top of Nob Hill with décor that harkens back to San Francisco’s Gilded Age, this 1906 earthquake survivor also boasts one of the sweetest penthouses in the city. Don’t forget to stop by the tiki-themed Tonga Room for cocktails and a reoccurring indoor rainstorm

Hotel Zelos San Francisco
Neighborhood: SoMA
12 Fourth Street
Telephone: (415) 348-1111

For easy access to the city’s museums, shopping, and transportation, book a stay at downtown's Hotel Zelos. This centrally located space features stylish rooms and a laundry list of amenities, including complimentary wifi and a morning newspaper for those who like to keep up with the times. Make sure to stop by their rooftop bar Dirty Habit for a cocktail at happy hour.

Palace Hotel
Neighborhood: SoMA
2 New Montgomery Street
Telephone: (415) 512-1111

Nothing beats staying in a place that feels like a legit palace--especially one that serves high tea). Ornate chandeliers light up the dining room and around the holidays, you can expect to see a gingerbread masterpiece on display. But year round, this hotel offers pristine service and recently remodeled quiet bedrooms that now feel more like private apartments. Fun fact: Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso was staying at the Palace when the 1906 earthquake occurred, prompting him to vow never to return to San Francisco.

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SPEND—Rates from $150-$300/night

The Playroom at Hotel Zetta

Hotel Zetta

Hotel Zetta
Neighborhood: SoMA
55 5th Street
Telephone: (415) 543-8555

Consider this fun downtown hotel a playground for adults. Centrally located with access to some of the neighborhood’s best restaurants (and just a few minutes walk from the SFMOMA), this hotel prides itself of design and play. The upstairs playroom (it’s really called a playroom) boasts a billiard table, shuffle board, Nintendo Wii and plenty of board games.

Phoenix Hotel
Neighborhood: Tenderloin
601 Eddy Street
Telephone: (800) 248-9466

A pool, some rock stars and a great bar to boot, this boutique hotel has plenty to draw in guests. Modeled after a mid-century motor lodge, the Phoenix often hosts bands in town for gigs and a younger hotel crowd, keen on hanging with the luminaries. Just keep your wits about you in the surrounding neighborhood.

Beck’s Motor Lodge
Neighborhood: Castro
2222 Market Street
Telephone: (415) 621-8212

This remodeled boutique motel is a great spot for exploring the vibrant Castro neighborhood. Clean room with stylish décor, and a sundeck give this hotel a 60s appeal with the prices to match. It’s a great spot to stay for SF's annual Pride Parade in June.

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SAVE—Rates from $100-$200/night

Courtesy of Chelsea Inn

Rodeway Inn & Suites 
Neighborhood: Outer Sunset
1234 Great Highway
Telephone: (415) 731-6644

If you’re coming into town for Outside Lands, or just want to explore the Western side of the city, this is your spot. The motel recently underwent a refresh and is under new ownership—plus, it’s only one block away from Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. There’s free wifi and a complimentary continental breakfast for those looking to save an extra little bit of cash.

Chelsea Inn
Neighborhood: Marina
2095 Lombard Street
Telephone: (415) 563-5600

With a location smack dab in the middle of the Marina action, this inn is a great place for anyone wanting to explore. It’s less than a mile to the Marina Green and, another half mile after that, Crissy Field. The neighborhood is also a great place for restaurants and bar hopping.

For more budget hotel options, check out our post on the Top 9 Budget Hotels in the City. 

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