3 Best Hostels in San Diego, USA
Photo by Frank McKenna

3 Best Hostels in San Diego, USA – Daily Events for Solo Travelers Minutes from the Beach

No doubt your USA adventure is well in the making if you’ve landed here. It’s time to discover the best hostels in San Diego!

Over on the Pacific coast of California beautiful beaches, green parks and a warm climate awaits.

To top it off, there is a great San Diego hostels selection to choose from.

The consistently high reviews in this collection really say it all!

Your Shortcut:

  1. California Dreams Hostel - best for backpackers
  2. Gaslamp Hostel - best for solo travelers
  3. HI San Diego Downtown Hostel - best for female solo travelers

Any questions about hostels in San Diego?


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Enjoy beach locations and access to some great surf. Backpackers will love this destination.

Heck, this guide wouldn’t be complete without a fun party hostel San Diego has to offer. Keep scrolling!

This guide is perfect for YOU, when …

  • tired of bad and crappy hostels
  • want to avoid the “young party kids”
  • happy to spend 1-2€ for a better experience

Eager for more fun hostels in California? Check out:

Here are all the best hostels in California in one complete guide.

Go wild and discover our collection of the 45 best hostels in the USA here.

If you are looking for some adventure, you can also check the best yoga retreats in California.

What we cover in this article?

You can find all 5 Star Hostels here with Hostelgeeks and all guides to “Best Hostels In” here.

Quick Introduction to San Diego

Average price for a bed: Hostels in San Diego cost 20€ – 28€ per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room starts from 54€ up to 100€ per night. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.

Prices always depend on season and holidays. Please always check exact rates on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

🎁 New to Hostels? Read our guide to staying in a Hostel for the First Time here. We especially recommend reading:

The 3 Best Hostels in San Diego are …

Let’s jump right into the coolest hostels in San Diego.

  1. California Dreams Hostel – best for backpackers
  2. Gaslamp Hostel – best for solo travelers
  3. HI San Diego Downtown Hostel – best for female solo travelers

These are our favorite hostels in San Diego. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.

We put all three accommodation on the map, you will find the map at the end of the article.

Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

🦸 Solo Traveler: Gaslamp Hostel
🙎‍♀️ best for Female Solo Traveler: California Dreams Hostel
🥳 Party Hostel:Lucky D’s Hostel San Diego
👩‍❤️‍👨Couple Hostel: HI San Diego Downtown
👨‍👩‍👦 Family Hostel: HI San Diego Downtown
👩‍💻 For Digital Nomads: Gaslamp Hostel
🎒 For Backpackers: California Dreams Hostel

1. California Dreams Hostel

To kick start, we have a fantastic hostel that offers so much you might feel a bit dizzy from trying to cram it all in.

At California Dreams Hostel it’s all about creating that memorable stay for adventurous backpackers.

Looking to surf the day away? This is the best place for you!

Schedule a surf lesson if you’re a newbie, or rent all the necessary gear from the hostel and walk out the door. The locals’ favourite surf spot is just 100 metres away.

The team here really want to encourage you to get outside and make the most of the surroundings.

So much so, that they offer organised activities such as:

  • A trip to local markets
  • Bike tours (+ bike rental)
  • Beach volleyball
  • Jogging & hiking nearby

But we get it; you don’t necessarily always want to be outdoors.

In which case, you’ll appreciate the board games, movies nights and spacious common lounge.

Moving on swiftly to the room options.

To continue the social vibe of the place, dorm rooms come in larger sizes of 10 and 14-beds.

For the ladies: there is a 10-bed female only dorm with your name on it.

There is also a double room with a shared bathroom on offer.

Though this is a budget accommodation, they don’t skimp on room amenities. Each dorm bed comes with a privacy curtain, linen, reading light, shelves and oversized head space – phew.

And to add the cherry on top; breakfast is free!

Location: Just 20-minutes from the airport, downtown and the city’s main attractions. It’s in the middle of Pacific Beach, surrounded by bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Only 2-minutes from public transport and a handy supermarket.

This is one of the best hostels in San Diego for

  • Backpackers
  • Surfer dudes
Book California Dreams Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

California Dreams Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA California Dreams Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA California Dreams Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA

2. Gaslamp Hostel

Gaslamp Hostel is housed in a charming, historic 1880s Victorian-style former brothel (you’ve read that correctly). We think this is the best hostel in San Diego for solo travelers.

Here, you’ll find:

  • A shared lounge
  • A shared kitchen
  • A laundry room
  • All-gender toilets and showers
  • A decent continent breakfast

There is a bit of an odd tale around this hostel, as it is home to many ghost stories and is said to be inhabited by five resident ‘spirits.’ So get ready for amusing and harmless paranormal activities.

This is a very social hostel in San Diego as the whole space is designed to promote interactions between travelers, and the staff organizes activities during the evening for their guests (think Taco Tuesdays, beer pong, or ghost tours).

They also provide parking passes that travelers can rent if they have a car, as parking is quite costly in the area.

Location: A short stroll away from the waterfront. Nearby points of interest include the Padres stadium, the San Diego Zoo, Seaport Village, Midway Naval Museum, and SeaWorld. The area is a very popular nightlife district.

Note that the signage that leads to this hostel isn’t very obvious, as it is located inside a doorway between two restaurants (ask for pictures or look them up on Google Maps!).

This is one of the top hostels in San Diego for

  • Solo Travelers
Book Gaslamp Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

Gaslamp Hostel Dorm Gaslamp Hostel Lounge Gaslamp Hostel

3. HI San Diego Downtown Hostel

Let’s now go and explore HI San Diego Downtown Hostel and find out why it has won so many awards.

Before you do anything else, put your bags down and have a go on the swings in reception!

The team here will sort you out with a free breakfast and take you out on tours and trips in the area. Jam session in San Diego’s hip-hop community, anyone?

We’re a big fan of the overal design. High ceilings and air-con make for spacious and cool spaces you’ll enjoy spending time in.

Looking to have a fun time? Definitely make use of the

  • Games rooms
  • Old-school arcade games
  • Surrounding nightlife in lively Gaslmap Quarter

There is also a ton of practicalities within these four walls.

Enjoy an amazing shared kitchen, beanbags, bicycle hire and a reception that is at hand 24/7.

The rooms choices are superb, too – every traveller type has been considered.

From female-only and mixed dorms, to male dorms, double, twin and quadruple privates that come with a private bathroom.

Each come with fresh sheets, towels and storage lockers.

Location: Within the historic Gaslamp Quarter which is the nightlife hub of the city. Great rooftop bars, cafes and art galleries surround you here. The Greyhound bus terminal is a short 15-minute work.

This is one of the best hostels in San Diego California for

  • Female solo travellers
  • Couples
  • Small groups
Book HI San Diego Downtown Hostel here

Check prices at:
Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

HI San Diego Downtown Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA HI San Diego Downtown Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA HI San Diego Downtown Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA

What about Cheapest Hostels in San Diego?

Of course, there are always cheap hostels. Forget hotels in San Diego!

We think, it’s not worth it to go with the cheapest hostel out there.


The difference is usually 1-2€ ($1-2) per night, and a lot of amenities are not included. This can be breakfast or linen.

However, if you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you wanna save every penny, there are ways to find the cheapest places in San Diego.

  1. Open Hostelworld San Diego with full list of budget places to stay in San Diego
  2. Order the listing by price

Simple as that.

Read: 15 hacks for booking hostels

Make sure you use then the other filters and rank per price.

Also keep a close eye on the ratings, especially the “extreme ratings”. Meaning, the best and worst. These ratings can give great insight on what to expect.

Best Hostels in San Diego for Solo Travellers?

What is seriously the best hostel in San Diego for solo-travellers?

It would seem the hostel scene in San Diego is built for solo travellers.

We haven’t included any hostel in this guide that would not suit a social solo traveller. In fact, solo travellers of all kinds are sorted.

Alongside our top 3 hostels, we’d like to include a few more options.

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel

As the name highlights, ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel is all about surf and beach.

Passionate about community, the team bring travellers together.

Fill your belly with free pancakes and then join in daily activities. From float days at the beach, to sunset yoga and family dinners.

The common spaces are great for working, socialising and enjoying some alone time.

Warning: you might spend your entire day on the private outdoor deck in a hammock. We wouldn’t blame you.

Location: Right on the sand of Pacific Beach. Popular bars are within walking distance.

Book ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA

ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego

Looking to be located in a little Italy hostel San Diego? Book your stay with ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego.

Like its sister hostel, this one is all about that community vibe.

Look forward to:

  • Variety of outdoor spaces
  • Evening social events
  • Dorms, female rooms & private options
  • Homely kitchen/dining area

This hostel really has a home-from-home vibe.

It’s easy to enjoy great nightlife and some of San Diego’s top activities from here. Just use your feet!

Book ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

ITH Adventure Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA ITH Adventure Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA

Party Hostels in San Diego

Looking for the best party hostels San Diego has to offer? We have you covered!

As already mentioned, you could opt for California Dreams Hostel which offers daily outdoor events & close to bar.

But wait, we have one more super cool San Diego party hostel option!

Get on down to Lucky D’s Hostel San Diego for weekly pub crawls and more nightly social events.

It’s a colourful hostel with basic dorm rooms and a free breakfast to get you going for the day.

Rent a bicycle by day, join a nightclub excursion by night.

Once you’re ready to ‘hit the hay’, enjoy air conditioning and the no curfew rule.

Book Lucky D’s Hostel San Diego here

Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Lucky D's Hostel is one of the best party hostels in San Diego, USA

How to book?

We recommend using Booking.com or Hostelworld for your reservations.

Hostelworld is the most popular website when it comes to hostel bookings.

Read: step-by-step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

On both platforms your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

We included the handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

Here is the overview:

  1. California Dreams Hostel: Booking.com | Hostelworld
  2. Gaslamp Hostel: Booking.com | Hostelworld
  3. HI San Diego Downtown: Booking.com | Hostelworld

We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible!

All of San Diego best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish hostels, secure your room or bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

Any Discounts?

Currently, we have no special hostel discounts in San Diego. I know, it’s a pity. You can subscribe to our newsletter to receive our newest hostel discounts always to your inbox.

You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here.

All 3 Hostels put on a Map + Sights

Let us have a look at the map. Below we list all three best San Diego hostels on a map.

Personally, we love to plan our trips with a map having all sights and potential hostels on it. We thought this map will help you with planning your trip too.

We also included the main tourist attractions you’ve to know in this list:

  • Balboa Park
  • San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • San Diego Old Town
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • USS Midway Museum

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Our Favorite Hostels in San Diego put on a map + sights

Any questions about hostels in San Diego?


Join our Facebook Group and TikTok here!

Ask all your questions and connect with like-minded wanderers 🔥

Flights to San Diego?

We enjoy Skyscanner, Omio.com, and Kiwi.com to find cheap flights all over San Diego.

This new website has super cool features, like a so-called radius search. Just draw a circle over North America and find the cheapest rates for the area.

Here is our review of Kiwi.

Cheap Flights around the world


Alright, you should have found your accommodation already. Below we list all the frequently asked questions. Have a look.

What are the best hostels in San Diego?

You've landed on the right page! In case you skipped straight to this section, here is a quick review:

What are the best hostels to stay at in San Diego and Ocean Beach?

We suggest you check out California Dream Hostel. It's in a great location right by Pacific beach and offers surf lessons.

Are hostels safe in San Diego California?

Yes! All of the hostels in this guide are safe for travellers. If you're ever in doubt, check Hostelworld and booking.com for honest review left by people that have stayed there.

Read our Are Hostels really Safe? 13 Tips guide.

Should I vacation in Los Angeles or San Diego?

Have a look at our full guide to the best hostels in Los Angeles and compare with this one. Let us know which destination appeals to you more!

What is the cheapest way to stay in San Diego?

Staying in a hostel works out cheaper because of all the inclusions such as breakfast, events and a great location with easy walking distance to sights. Save money, meet people and have fun!

Is it safe in San Diego?

Generally speaking, San Diego is a safe area. Like anywhere in the world: be smart. Keep you belongings close and don't give pickpockets a reason to pick on you.

Read: Long-Term Travel Insurance? A step-by-step Guide

More guides

Alright, this is your answer to where to stay in San Diego.

You can find all of the 45 best hostels in USA here.

We did the leg work for you and bring you more hostel guides to destinations in USA:

You can find all our new and updates articles for Best Hostels in here.

We also created a huge guide to hostels. Here we cover how to build lifetime friendships in hostels, the perfect packing list and more.

Over to you

Right then reader, which San Diego hostel will you choose?

Was this useful? Do you have any questions, doubts?

Then please please leave us a comment. This list of awesome San Diego hostels should be as informative and useful as possible.

Your question will help me to understand what I have missed to mention.

Therefore, drop us a comment, we are keen to help you!

Last note: Our commitment

This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter and find the best place on a budget! We ONLY recommend places we know you will enjoy, no matter what.

At Hostelgeeks we will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. Our promise is to only share with you places we also recommend to our best friends and family!

Enjoy this fine hostel selection and all 5 Star Hostels around the world.

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A complete guide and overview to the best hostels in San Diego, USA for backpackers and solo travelers

#2 CLOSED: USA Hostels Ocean Beach

If you manage to struggle finding USA Hostels Ocean Beach, we’ll be impressed (and slightly worried about you).

The exterior is something to behold – look out for the huge peace sign and psychedelic colours!

Alongside a wonderful hippie design effort, the staff here has also gone to great lengths to make their guests welcome.

How do you like the sound of a wide range of hostel events, solo travellers?

We think this is the best way to get to know other travellers and explore the surroundings – fast.

Get ready for:

  • Yoga classes by the beach (donation based)
  • Beach bonfire 2x a week
  • Cowles Mountain hiking trip
  • Pub crawls
  • Weekly beer pong tournament
  • Sunday shuttle to San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, downtown & airport

You’ll be set to get involved in plenty after filling up on a FREE bagel and fresh fruit breakfast.

If you fancy surfing on the nearby beach, ask staff about a discounted price on lessons. They also rent wetsuits and boards.

Good to know: there is a 14-day maximum stay limit.

The best place to hang out in the hostel has to be the courtyard round back, and the seating that overlooks the street.

Grab a boardgame, watch some TV or simply relax in a hammock on the patio. There’s also a fully-equipped kitchen.

Dorm rooms are super cosy, with 4, 6 and 8-beds.

Solo ladies can opt for a 6-bed female dorm with a private bathroom for added luxury.

No matter which you choose, you’ll have a locker, shelf, bed light and power outlet.

Note: instead of privacy curtains, each bed has a small screen in the corner.

Couples will surely be pleased with the queen-sized bed and ensuite bathroom in the private rooms.

Location: Yet again, this hostel is just 2-minutes from the beach. Old Town San Diego is around 6km away. Bars, shops and great nightlife surround the place. Make use of the free shuttle service to explore main attractions and sights. It’s also the closest hostel to Point Loma.

USA Hostels Ocean Beach is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA
USA Hostels Ocean Beach

#3 CLOSED: USA Hostels San Diego Downtown

USA Hostels San Diego – Downtown is a quirky and fun, with Victorian décor and a dash of hippie style thrown in.

In fact, this 1880s building originally housed a brothel!

These days, stepping through the door will be like joining a big family.

This hostel offers some fun social activities, but it isn’t as full on as the others in this guide. It’s ideal for people looking to entertain themselves a bit more.

Having said that, there is a weekly pub crawl and happy hour tour to join, if you fancy it.

Otherwise, enjoy more relaxed family dinners, sunset walking tours and a good old fashioned movie night.

What else?

  • FREE breakfast
  • FREE WiFi
  • Games room & lounge
  • Fully fitted kitchen
  • Bike rentals & discounts on tours

We’re pretty impressed with the mixed and female-only dorm rooms.

Everyone gets a backpack-sized locker (charge point inside), shelf, bed light and power outlet. There is also a privacy screen on each bed.

There is also a queen sized private and twin room which is good for friends. Every room shares a bathroom with others.

Location: Situated in the historical Gaslamp Quarter, surrounded by restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s also an easy 20-minutes to the airport. It’s a top choice for that San Diego city vibe.

USA Hostels San Diego Downtown is one of the best hostels in San Diego, USA

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