That is why we’ve put together this useful article just for you! So instead of you spending time researching where to stay in San Francisco, you can focus on your travels – and we do the leg work for you.
This SF guide is perfect for YOU, when …
tired of bad and crappy San Francisco downtown hostel
want to avoid the “young party kids”
happy to spend 1-2€ for a better experience
We condensed it all to the 3 coolest hostels in San Francisco.
Average price for a bed: A bed in a dorm can be as cheap as 20€ up to 38€ per night. This is a rough average 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.
San Francisco Tourism Tax: Unfortunately there is a high tax in San Fran. Daily bed rates of $40 or more are subject to a 15% tourist and hotel tax if you stay in San Francisco hotels. Bed rates of less than $40 are taxed only a 1% tourist tax, per city regulations.
Taxes are usually added at check in so bare this in mind.
Parking in San Francisco: Most hostels in the city do not offer any free parking, but HI San Francisco Hostel does! For sure the hostel staff will do their best to help you find the easiest local parking option. Currently the cheapest parking downtown is around $25 overnight.
For those of you travelling as part of a big group, you’re in luck.
Adelaide Hostel can accommodate groups of up to 60 people, wow!
Group Booking Tip: Just make sure you call in advance first so you don’t give the reception a heart attack.
What else makes this a super cool hostel in San Francisco?
Free Wi-Fi + computers
Dorm beds have a privacy curtain, power points + lamp
Lockers under every bed
Large fully equipped kitchen
There’s also a large lounge to collapse in after a big day exploring the sights.
The staff really want you to have a good time here. They know their stuff and will happily hand out insider information.
San Francisco is a great city for cycling, so definitely rent a bike and explore ‘til your heart’s content. Be aware though that the city is extremely hilly. Before heading out for a ride it’s probably a good idea to ask the staff about the hills on your planned route.
In the lounge area, there’s a notice board highlighting all of the upcoming events. It’s not compulsory to join, but we really recommend it if you’re keen to meet new people.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a mere 8km away. Fisherman’s Wharf can be reached in 10-minutes by car.
Check out the Exploratorium, a science museum located right on the water
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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 Francisco for solo travellers?
Adelaide Hostel is the best for solo travellers. Adelaide Hostel is perfect for female solo travellers because they offer four-bed female dorm room.
Are hostels in San Francisco safe?
Overall, most San Francisco neighborhoods are not dangerous. But if you want to be sure you’re sticking to the safest areas, make sure to research neighborhood of your hostel choice.
We will do our best to give you information about the hostels’ neighborhood so make sure to check out Hostelgeeks.com. You can find safe hostel with top ratings! Keep a close eye on the overall ratings on booking platforms!
If you are not secure, you can also send us an email and ask us!
What are the best hostels in San Francisco?
Our personal favorites are the hostels that we feature in this article!
Go through the gates of Chinatown to find one of the largest Chinese immigrant populations in the United States.
This neighborhood has been home to the Chinese community for generations.
Chinatown is a great place to get cheap souvenirs such as t-shirts and key chains, as well as other knick-knacks.
If you’re feeling hungry, you can’t go wrong with any restaurant in this neighborhood (and there are a lot of them).
For some desert, check out Great Eastern Bakery on Grant Avenue (a few blocks from the gates).
Be advised that many of the restaurants and some of the stores in Chinatown are cash-only.
Chinatown is an easy walk from the Financial District, Nob Hill, or North Beach
2. North Beach
If you’re a lover of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and the other Beat Generation writers, then it is will worth a trip to North Beach to see the Beat Generation Museum and the places they frequented.
Even if you’re not into the Beat Generation thing, North Beach is definitely an area to check out.
Browse City Lights Booksellers, grab some Italian food, and–if you don’t mind a steep walk–head to Coit Tower for a beautiful view of the Bay, especially in the early evening.
This neighborhood features great restaurants and bakeries – I recommend Stella Pastry and Café–at a variety of price levels from tasty and cheap fare at Taqueria Zorro to fine dining at the Stinking Rose, a garlic themed restaurant.
North Beach is less than a 10-minute walk from Chinatown or Nob Hill, and a 20-minute walk from Fisherman’s Warf.
3. Financial District
In San Francisco’s Financial District you will find Union Square, Westfield Shopping Centre, and many of the city’s designer clothing stores as well as the headquarters for companies such as Twitter, which are located on Market Street.
If you’re hoping to ride the cable car, you can catch it in the Financial District at Powell and Market Street (there is always a crowd so you can’t miss where to go).
This neighborhood tends to feature higher prices, because it is catering largely to the tech-start-up crowd.
If you are looking for a treat to walk around with, I recommend Boba Guys, a popular bubble tea spot on Stockton Street.
Don’t be scared off by the line, it’s only because the shop is very small (and extremely popular) wait times are very short.
If you’re looking to eat cheaply near the Financial District, checkout Chinatown, or head down Market Street to the Embarcadero and grab a bite at the Ferry Building.
4. Mission District
The Mission has been the traditional home San Fran’s Latin-American community, and is a great place to get Mexican food and see some amazing street art.
As far as affordability goes, this tends to be one of the cheaper parts of the city to grab a bite to eat.
Poetry lovers should check out the 16th and Mission Slam Poetry circles where local performers bear their uncensored hearts to a supportive crowd outside the 16th and Mission BART station every Thursday at 9pm.
The Mission District is near to Haight-Ashbury and Bernal Heights Park.
To get to the heart of the Mission District it is best to set out from the 16th and Mission BART station.
The Summer of Love was one of the defining moments in the recent history of San Francisco, and Haight-Ashbury is where it all took place.
This is a great neighbourhood for finding some funk hippie San Fran threads and one of the many vintage clothing stores, and a short walk from the Painted Ladies.
This neighborhood is the perfect place to go if you are looking for a nice café, wanting to browse a used bookstore, or get breakfast.
Polk Street will provide you with plenty of options at generally reasonable prices, for food and coffee.
Most of the restaurants cater to the breakfast crowd and can fill up around brunch time on weekends.
If you’re hoping to check out Russian Hill at night, I recommend getting a drink and a bite to eat at Nick’s Crispy Tacos.
The bar/restaurant is set up so that someone looking for a quiet night with friends or to meet new people can have a good time.
Food is cheap and very good.
Russian Hill is about a 30-minute walk from Nob Hill and can be accessed easily by taking the 1 bus towards 39th and Geary to Sacramento and Polk Street.
As a tourist, this may not be a part of the city you want to frequent, but it is worth knowing about.
Located between Nob Hill, the Financial District, and Russian Hill, the Tenderloin covers a square that roughly runs along Geary Street between Grant Avenue and Van Ness Avenue, and down to Market Street.
This is where you will find the majority of San Francisco’s sizeable homeless population.
This area tends to be one of the less safe parts of the city.
If you are interested in learning more about the area, the Tenderloin Museum is worth visiting, the museum offers tours of the neighbourhood with guides who will explain the history of the area, how it functions, and how it came to be what it is.
Safety tips for San Francisco
Is San Francisco safe?
By and large, San Francisco is a fairly safe city, and most of the crimes that tend to take place are unlikely to impact tourists.
However, there are some things that are worth keeping in mind when visiting downtown San Francisco.
This city has a large homeless population, many of whom unfortunately suffer from mental illnesses and are unable to afford their medications.
The homeless population can primarily be found in the Tenderloin and on Market Street, but you are likely to see large numbers of homeless in many parts of the city.
When walking in areas with larger numbers of homeless people, it is important to keep your eyes open and be aware of the people around you.
Female travellers are very likely to experience catcalling and other verbal harassment when walking around, regardless of whether they are solo, with a partner, or in a group.
My best suggestion is to not respond and keep walking.
It is extremely unlikely that anyone will try and make any form of physical contact with you.
Trying to tell them off or engage with the person will likely escalate the interaction.
If you are eating or walking, particularly in a tourist area, keep your possessions close to you.
When sitting at a restaurant, it is a good idea to keep your purse on you lap where it is out of sight and you are holding it, and you should take it with you when going to the washroom.
Avoid putting valuables like your phone or wallet on the table if you are sitting outside at a restaurant on Powell or Market Street.
In my experience, I have seen many car windows smashed in the portion of Van Ness Avenue that borders the Tenderloin, so if you are staying in that area, or end up parking on the street there overnight, you should avoid leaving anything valuable in your car.
This is just a quick overview on how safe San Francisco is. As always, ask the hostel if there’s anything special to know about SF in terms of safety.
Our number one hostel is super friendly and welcoming. It is also one of the cheap San Francisco hostels.
In fact, it’s the down to earth staff that really makes USA Hostel San Francisco what it is.
It’s a perfect place for relaxing, partying, socialising and acting like a hermit.
No really, this hostel is designed for every type of traveller. Whether you are looking for a backpackers hostel or a cool place just to hang and sleep cheaply, make it this hostel.
We really enjoyed our time here, especially the free dinners and pancake days. YUMMY!
USA Hostels is one of the most awesome San Francisco youth hostel.
Here you can choose between dorms and private rooms.
What’s great is there is a maximum of 4 beds per dorm. This way you’ll surely get to know all your room mates.
Would you like a towel with that shower? It’s free alongside bed linen!
The backpack-sized lockers also have a power point inside so you can securely charge your gadgets. Don’t forget your padlock.
There are so many freebies, it’s easier to make a list:
FREE dinner every Monday + Friday
FREE daily breakfast inc. Pancakes
FREE luggage storage after check out
FREE laundry powder + hairdryers
Good to know: there is a 14 day stay limit here!
As for the social aspect, it is doubtful that you’ll find yourself getting bored here.
Free city walking tours can be arranged, and you’d be crazy to miss out on the weekly pub crawls.
After a restful night, grab a bike and join the crew to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge.
If you prefer chilling at the hostel, guess what?
There’s an actual yoga studio on-site for the guests! Just make sure you allow time to hang in the large lounge, too.
By the way, this is the only hostel in the city that offers privacy screening on dorm beds.
If you stay in this SF hostel, all the exciting sights of San Francisco will be surrounding you – bonus!
Discounts for Hostels in San Francisco
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Your Smart Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should always carry in your backpack.