The streets surrounding Union Square’s 1-block open-air spot are crammed with department stores, hotels, and tourists.
Nob Hill is where San Francisco’s railroad and mining barons once lived and modern barons stay during their visits. A few very steep blocks away from Union Square, it’s also where most of the city’s finest hotels are perched.
SoMa, which starts only a few blocks away from Union Square and stretches for several long blocks toward the Mission District, offers an eclectic mix of lodgings, from some of the highest thread counts in the city to budget motels. Hotels are generally located near the Moscone convention center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and AT&T Park.
North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf
North Beach is the birthplace of the Beat Generation, where Little Italy meets and mixes with neighboring Chinatown’s Big China. It’s home to a few boutique hotels, family-run restaurants, and a lively nightlife scene, including bustling bars, restaurants, cafes, and a half-block of topless clubs. Fisherman’s Wharf is the heart of all the tourist action. You’ll pay more to stay in this neighborhood, because it’s where many visitors want to be.
The Marina/Pacific Heights/Presidio
The Marina is a young, lively neighborhood full of 1950-and-later motor inns that have been updated for the modern traveler. Pacific Heights boasts old-moneyed mansions (Getty, Danielle Steel), quiet streets, and outrageous views. And for the nature-lover, the Presidio will make you forget that you’re mere minutes from urban hustle.
Japantown & Environs
If you’re staying in or near Japantown, it might be because you found a lodging deal you couldn’t pass up. Though a few miles from the typical tourist sights, this historic neighborhood is centrally located, providing a good launching pad to tourist destinations and lesser-known gems.
This is another one of those locations where you get more bang for your buck. However, the area has a large homeless population, as well as drug addicts and dealers. But there is safety in numbers; with the Asian Art Museum, the opera, ballet, symphony, brand new SFJAZZ venue, and tons of up-and-coming bars all close by, you’ll rarely find yourself alone.
Most businesses here cater to LGBT customers, but everyone is welcome in this lively neighborhood. Though located a few miles from most of the tourist action, the Castro is centrally located for visiting local-favorites, such as the Mission and Hayes Valley, and public transportation makes for an easy ride straight to the visitor meccas of Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Ferry Building. Another perk of this area is that while most of the city is blanketed in fog, chances are it’ll be sunny and warm(er) in this sheltered, walkable neighborhood.
San Francisco’s summers of love are long gone, but open-minded folk wanting to escape the tourist scene and embrace eccentricity will dig the Haight.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.