Best Area To Stay In San Francisco – We love San Francisco, where we met, married and have been close for ten years. It’s a unique collection of neighborhoods, all with their own unique style and vibe.
For example, in Marina you will find new twentysomethings from the fraternity, while Sunset is a beach town.
Best Area To Stay In San Francisco
There are so many neighborhoods in San Francisco that it’s hard to keep track of them all, even locally. How can anyone expect a long weekend visitor?
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When people ask us where to stay in San Francisco, we have a great idea. We lived in San Francisco for years before we traveled the world full time, and we’re here to give you the inside scoop on the best places to stay in San Francisco on your trip.
Why don’t you listen to us? We’ve been in San Francisco (literally in the city) for over seven years – Alisha was there for almost ten years (CRAZY). One of our favorite things to do is explore San Francisco’s best neighborhoods on foot, finding coffee shops, cafes, and fun things to do and see. We said, “Hey, Saturday, let’s do Castro,” and we went out to explore. We’ve been to every location listed in this book and we know the facts about each area below.
Don’t stay at the Fisherman’s Wharf. This point alone deserves acceptance. That’s understandable.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, such as hotel links, are affiliate links, which means we earn a small amount of money if you click and book at no extra cost to you. That being said, we will never ask you for anything without standing behind you 100%.
Boutique Hotels San Francisco
Where you choose to stay while in San Francisco will have a big impact on how you travel. In this guide, you will find different neighborhoods to choose from according to your style. We want to connect you with the perfect home to explore San Francisco so you’ll love it as much as we do.
Here are six neighborhoods we recommend staying in for the best San Francisco experience. The criteria we use to evaluate them are:
Read on for a detailed guide to our picks for the best places to stay in San Francisco.
Look, we might be biased on this one. We were lucky enough to call Nob Hill home together, and even though we missed it, we still recommend it. Hear about why it’s a great place to stay in San Francisco.
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The town has beautiful tree-lined streets, a wide variety of great restaurants, bars and activities, and both cable car lines run through it. It is centrally located with easy access to all areas of San Francisco and has panoramic views of the financial district and the Bay Area.
This amazing combination is the perfect place to live in San Francisco, which is why I’ve lived in Nob Hill for years.
It’s up a hill, so consider that if you have mobility issues. However, you can always call Lyft or Uber. Parking is very difficult, so it’s best to visit Nob Hill without a car if you can (you don’t need to rent a car in SF anyway).
Pros: You’ll be centrally located and can walk to Fisherman’s Wharf (if needed), Lombard Street, North Beach, Embarcadero, and more. Plus, it’s a great neighborhood, with amazing views of San Francisco all around. Polk Street is lined with bars, restaurants, shops and more.
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Cons: The biggest problem with Nob Hill, aside from the steep hill section, is that there really aren’t many places to be. And most of these are expensive for what you get. The southern end of the neighborhood, known as “Lower Nob Hill”, is basically the Tenderloin, not a nice part of town. Parking is a nightmare – don’t stay here if you have a car.
Here are some things we need to check in our neighborhood. For the purposes of this book, Russian Hill and Nob Hill are combined. Because it’s close enough
Here are places to stay in Nob Hill that we think you’ll love, but be prepared for the price. This is one of the most beautiful areas of the city and the prices here reflect it.
After leaving town, we decided to take a quick detour back to our old Nob Hill haunts.
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We chose the Petite Auberge because, along with its sister hotel next door – the White Swan Inn – it seems to be the best hotel in the area.
In fact, it is much closer to a bed and breakfast than a hotel. They describe it as a bed and breakfast, a boutique hotel, which seems to be true in terms of experience.
This guesthouse is conveniently located on Bush Street, a short walk to Polk Street and many bars and restaurants, a short walk to the Financial District and the Ferry Building, and a short walk to BART.
Next door is one of the best pizza places in town – Del Popolo – which actually serves Petite Auberge. Up the block in the bush is one of our favorite cocktail bars in town, Peacekeeper.
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But what about the rooms? They are very French, with floral patterns and wooden furniture. Some rooms have fireplaces which we really enjoyed. The rooms are also quite large, which is surprising for a city like San Francisco known for its small apartments.
Like many buildings in San Francisco, this building is dated. You can hear the people above you (though, strangely, not next to you) as they walk around, and the pipes are blaring. But nothing too crazy.
Another great thing about this place is that it has a variety of items – breakfast and coffee from Equator Coffees and Easter, free wine during happy hour, and tea, coffee and bottled water all day. There is a nice outdoor patio where you can enjoy free drinks, although it was closed when we were there and we had to go to the White Swan Inn next door.
However, parking is expensive, upwards of $50 per day (valet only), so we recommend avoiding bringing a car here if possible.
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We used to live about five blocks from Stanford Court, a boutique hotel in Nob Hill, and I used to walk over it on California Avenue to catch the bus that runs (or take the cable car!).
At least in our opinion, this is the best hotel in San Francisco. The location couldn’t be better – right at the top of Nob Hill, and next to California Avenue, one of the main roads into the city. San Francisco’s most famous car park is right outside the door.
They took 2020 and early 2021 to completely revamp it, and it looks great. Rooms are equipped with modern amenities – including USB chargers! – And all rooms have a mini fridge in the room. Plus, you’ll get a chance to tone your muscles (actually surprisingly good with Peloton bikes), and you can rent real bikes for free (a great opportunity to get somewhere other than the top, of course. For Nob Hill riders).
You will have the best coffee from Ecuador in your room with Mighty Leaf Tea. Both have some of the best coffee/tea making facilities I’ve ever had in a hotel room.
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Last but not least, they accept pets. But there is a $50 pet gift that includes a goody bag of food and dog toys.
The White Swan Inn is the sister hotel of the Petit Auberge above. It’s right on the border of Nob Hill and Union Square on Bush Street, but we’re including it here mostly because it’s much closer to the beauty of Nob Hill than you’d find in Union Square.
Like the Petite Auberge, you’ll find plenty of amenities here: free Wi-Fi, breakfast, evening wine, and a fireplace in the room. The amount of food these two places give you for free is great.
If you’re looking for a popular hotel in Nob Hill, stay at the Fairmont Hotel. It’s crazy, but it’s beautiful and the place is really beautiful. Alisha went on to become famous here – she used to organize a non-profit project at the Fairmont.
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Plus, the cool (and decidedly touristy) tiki bar Tonga Room is in the basement, so you can drink seven tiki cocktails and head upstairs.
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