Finding an inexpensive place to stay in San Francisco may seem like a daunting task, but it’s realistic and possible! Forget those cheap, bedbug-ridden hotels in undesirable locales. Hostelling International’s three San Francisco hostels are the best deal in town. They all offer private rooms as well as the ubiquitous backpacker dorms, so the clientele is a mix of travelers, families, even local Californians passing through. All three hostels offer low-cost tours and activities like walking tours or pub crawls with locals.
The San Francisco City Center hostel is newly renovated and occupies a former 1920’s hotel, it absolutely oozes character. You can get a clean, chic, private room from $79 and with private bath from $89. Some even have an iPod docking station. The dorms have a maximum of 4 or 5 beds and cost a mere $25-29.75. There’s a beautiful parlor-style café which serves free breakfast (and may soon be serving drinks) and the location is as central as it gets with Civic Center a few blocks away. Right on the edge of San Francisco’s Little Saigon, take your pick of some of the best Vietnamese and Thai food in the city (Mangosteen, Turtle Tower, and Sai Jai Thai come to mind).
For the cheapest room with one of the best views in town, head straight to the Fisherman’s Wharf hostel. Clear vistas of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz can be seen from the creaky, historic building. The dorm is larger here, but private rooms are also available. It feels a world away from the city, yet it’s a quick walk to the Marina and North Beach/Fisherman’s Wharf area. A National Park literally sits outside the front door; you won’t get that at the Super 8!
If you want to spend your money on Barney’s instead of bed, slumber down in the thick of the action at the HI Downtown hostel, one block over from Union Square. It’s slightly noisier; but, urbanites will love the convenience of stumbling home from the club or carrying armloads of shopping bags a mere few blocks. Pretty much any public transit including BART and MUNI is steps away as are some of the best museums in the city, like the MOMA and Yerba Buena Gardens. Really nice private rooms start from only $69 (!!!).
San Francisco has so much delicious food and stellar shopping worth sampling that it makes sense to cut corners on accommodation. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing a good night’s sleep when you stay at any of Hostelling International’s San Francisco hostels.
All photos courtesy of Hostelling International Golden Gate Council