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Where to stay in San Francisco

Choosing where to stay is key to getting your San Francisco vacation off to a good start. Use this guide to help you decide the best neighborhood for choosing your San Francisco hotel.

Popular neighborhoods in San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf

Good for
  • Sightseeing
  • Markets
  • Shopping
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Fisherman’s Wharf can be experienced in many ways, with bikes, sailboat charters, and bus tours all available. The waterfront is jammed with souvenir stands, wax museums, and historic ships, and those wanting to escape the bustle can take a boat from Pier 39 to Forbes Island, a floating restaurant that offers fresh Dungeness crab and underwater dining. Book ahead for a tour of Alcatraz, the world’s most notorious prison, where you’ll sail off to click-clack down the same darkened hallways as Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly. No one ever escaped, officially, but 5 inmates are still mysteriously unaccounted for.

Hotel prices in Fisherman's Wharf

3 stars
from
$229
4 stars
from
$206
5 stars
from
$599
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South of Market

Good for
  • Museums
  • Theater
  • Nightlife
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South of Market is a sprawling district with a downtown vibe—its post-industrial streets are dotted with art galleries, internet start-ups, and booming nightclubs. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is an impressive complex with a waterfall and park, and hosts some of the most exciting exhibitions in the city. Families can wander over the center’s footbridge to reach the Children’s Creativity Museum. SoMa is also home to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which features pieces by Duchamp and Koons, and it’s easy to catch an independent theater performance or a Giants game in nearby South Beach.

Hotel prices in South of Market

3 stars
from
$180
4 stars
from
$181
5 stars
from
$345
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Marina District

Good for
  • Nightlife
  • Dining
  • Shopping
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The Marina District is nestled between the pier of Fort Mason and the Presidio, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Crissy Field stretches along the waterfront towards the Golden Gate Bridge, and offers one of the best jogging spots in the Bay Area. Pack a picnic and relax on its small beach, or take in a concert at the Palace of Fine Arts, known for its beautiful colonnade and lake. Buzzy local restaurants serve up everything from Pan-Asian fusion to high-end vegetarian cuisine, and well-heeled clothes horses will be thrilled at the multitude of boutiques. Union Street is the center of the district’s nightlife, and thrums with the music of dive bars and dance clubs.

Hotel prices in Marina District

2 stars
from
$148
3 stars
from
$221
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Theater District

Good for
  • Theater
  • Entertainment
  • Dining
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The Theater District is home to a number of fantastic venues, including the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), a Tony Award-winning institution that’s the largest theater company in San Francisco. For a festive holiday experience, catch a production of A Christmas Carol in their Beaux Arts-style theater, and then take a stroll to nearby Union Square, where natives flock to see the magnificent Christmas tree and ice-skating rink. The Theater District offers plenty of options for fussy gourmands and laid-back chowhounds alike, and visitors can grab a Show Dogs hot dog on Market Street or a 4-course meal from Sons & Daughters.

Hotel prices in Theater District

2 stars
from
$99
3 stars
from
$170
4 stars
from
$165
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Chinatown

Good for
  • Culture
  • Dining
  • Sightseeing
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Chinatown’s main artery is Grant Avenue, and taking a walk down it is like stepping into a beautiful parallel world—a land where paper lanterns light our way, windows burst with flowers, headless ducks are de rigueur decor, and we’re all guided by the whims of plastic good luck charms. It’s a tourist hotspost to be sure, but it demands a visit. Chinatown offers plenty of pleasant diversions, and literature lovers might fancy a stroll down colorful Waverly Place, known as “The Street of Painted Balconies”, where Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club unfolded. An unremarkable door at 125 Waverly leads to the Tien Hau Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in America.

Hotel prices in Chinatown

3 stars
from
$134
4 stars
from
$176
5 stars
from
$389
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