Nob Hill Chinatown And North Beach
On Day 3, check out the center of the city with a cable car ride up California Street to Nob Hill.
Peek into beautiful Grace Cathedral and gape at the gorgeous and elegant hotels hugging the hillside.
Hop off at the gates to Chinatown and do some shopping.
Kids will love the stores stuffed with Chinese wares, and many of the restaurants are kid-friendly with family-friendly pricing.
Eat a lunch of dim sum or sushi, then take a bus to North Beach for a dessert of gelato.
If you have book lovers in your family, seek out City of Lights Bookstore, where Jack Kerouac held court.
If you enjoy shopping, ride next to Union Square for all the top-end shops.
If not, your time will be better spent on the other side of Market at Yerba Buena Gardens.
Kids will love the rooftop playground and older kids will be interested in the avant garde offerings at the Museum of Modern Art.
Eat dinner at a San Francisco food truck along Market, or do as we did and catch a ball game at Candlestick or AT& T Park.
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Best Places To Stay In Nob Hill
Fairmont San Francisco Set inside a wonderful historic building, this grand, historic hotel provides a high level of service for a supremely comfortable stay. The rooms come with heritage features like high ceilings, big windows, and balconies with incredible views across the city. On-site, youll find a restaurant that serves up Polynesian food, as well as a selection of other bars and restaurants to choose from. Catching the cable car from here to the Downtown district is easy, but its also close to the Grace Cathedral and other sights.
Huntington Hotel This iconic 5-star hotel takes as much inspiration from Singaporean Chinese heritage as it does from high-end fashion. The rooms are spacious and quiet for a comfortable and peaceful nights sleep. Theres a relaxed atmosphere here, plus a romantic bar onsite. There is also a spa for even more relaxation and a hot tub, too. The Cable Car Museum is close by, so are Union Square, Curran Theatre, and a whole lot more in terms of San Francisco sights.
Being My First Time As A Last Minute Trip For A Concert And
Being my first time as a last minute trip for a concert and only being in downtown, it was nice. I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted to but it was enjoyable. Has similarities to L.A. and D.C. but had it’s many differences. Amidst the C-19, there were a lot of cool and vibrant shops open.
- From £97 per night8.2Very good1,380 reviews
The location close to Cable Cars & Union Square. The staff were helpful friendly and efficient. The issue we experienced with the room was dealt with quickly and we were moved to an alternative and larger rom. Breakfast places just across the street and next door. Car parking located across the street but expensive. There is a small 7-11 type convenience store on the same side street as the hotel. Tea coffee provided in room and in the bar area in the morning. bar on site small but serves beer!!
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The Best Area To Stay If You Want Fresh Seafood: Fisherman’s Wharf
You’re almost obligated to include Fisherman’s Wharf on your San Francisco travel itinerary. This popular tourist attraction puts you right on the water, where you get to see the fishing fleet, walk along Pier 39 to hear the calls of the sea lions, taste the freshest seafood you’ll ever put in your mouth and explore maritime history.
Great Airbnb Neighborhoods In Sf
- The Mission: By far, one of the best areas to stay in San Francisco. The Missions vibrant streets are like a cross between of your Latino uncle and Sergy Brin. You can find illuminating street art, dinosaur-sized burritos and its home to two of the best bookstores in SF.
- Potrero Hill: A quiet residential neighborhood hipped up with artsy warehouses. Take a tour of the Anchor brewing distillery and then eat local at one of the restaurants on 18th street.
- Castro Valley: Ground zero for being out and proud. You can catch films, fests and drag queens at the Castro theater and explore SF queer history at the GLBT History Museum.
- Noe Valley: Strollers, yoga and coffee fill the 24th street corridor in Noe. The strip has something for everyone including cute book stores, a craft brewery, a dive bar, some cute clothing shops and designer togs for the discerning toddler.
- The Haight/Cole Valley: Its been fifty years since the Summer of Love but the hippie vibe lives on in the Haight. They still sell vinyl at Amoeba records and you can purchase Grateful Dead gear, tie-dyed socks and, err, other paraphernalia.
- North Beach/Chinatown: The AirBnBs in this neighborhood offer all of the benefits of the downtown hotels, but with more hills! You can spend most of your allowance money buying books at the City Lights bookstore and then spend the rest on mysterious vegetables and dried fishes in Chinatown.
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San Francisco Travel Tips
Before we dive into our San Francisco neighborhood guide, here are a few quick tips that youll need to know before you start planning your trip.
Weve got some more helpful and only mildly helpful tips for visiting San Francisco in our guide to things nobody tells you about San Francisco!
If your check-in and check-out times dont sync up with your need to roam the streets and you need a place to store your bags check out LuggageHero, a service that helps you find a safe place to keep your luggage while youre running around! Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
Now that weve got that out of the way, lets dive into which areas to stay in San Francisco!
The Mission & The Castro Where To Stay In San Francisco For Nightlife
The Mission and The Castro are the best areas to stay in San Francisco for people interested in nightlife and partying all night long these are also the most famous LGBTQ+ neighborhoods in the entire country, by the way!
I have again combined two areas that are extremely close to each other for your convenience. The Mission and The Castro are not that big by themselves, but theyre very interesting and similar, catering for almost the same needs.
But just because these two areas come to life during the night, this doesnt mean youll get bored during the day either for example, you can have a picnic in Dolores Park, admire Mission Dolores , or just explore the area and its multiple vintage shops. Plus, youll have tons of ethnic restaurants and coffee places to choose from, as this area has strong Hispanic roots!
If you feel like these are the right areas for you, here are the best hotels that you can choose from:
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A Sunlit Shanti Cabin In Mendocino California
This adorable little cabin on an adorable little farm serves up quintessential northern California vibes. Its so chill, yall.
Theres an outdoor shower so you can embrace your eco-goddess, a delicious and beautiful organic garden right outside your tiny little cabin door, and you can co-create food with the friendly host!
We stayed in the rustic Shanti cabin in 2015 and fell in love with Mendocino! Weve since returned multiple times and created a whole guide to things to do in Mendocino.
- What to do in Mendocino: Eat an amazing breakfast and watch wild quails and bunnies at Circa 62, take a guided sea cave tour and view wildlife from atop a kayak, catch the sunset at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, go hiking at Van Damme State Park, explore the tidepools at MacKerricher State Park, go wine tasting in Mendocinos famous vineyards! Read our complete guide to Mendocino.
- Cost: $72 per night. Verdict: Bring an adventurous romantic partner to cozy up with on your quirky weekend getaway. But maybe first check and see how they feel about outdoor showers.
- Distance from the Bay Area: 3 hours | Book on AirBnB:Sunlit Shanti
Watch The Giants At Oracle Park
It’s time to root for the home team, and in San Francisco, that means cheering on the Giants at Oracle Park. The World Series Champions play their games at the waterfront stadium, which offers stunning views of the water right from the stands. Seriously, this is where sitting in the nose bleeds can really pay off. Just be ready to catch a foul ball if you need to.
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The Civic Centre And Downtown
- The Hotel Zetta is a great value offering in a top spot – this time right by Union Square. The design is modern, but there are some nice reclaimed-vintage touches and a lively games room, restaurant and bar. Their 116 rooms start from around $170 per night.
- Clift is an historical landmark hotel renovated to modern luxury with art and furniture being a big feature. Rooms are large with great views of the San Francisco skyline.
- The Galleria Park is a chic city hotel set between Union Square and the Financial District. The original design of the building is Art Deco, but the rooms are contemporary and theres a colourful, hip and happening vibe.
- Palace Hotel is a lavish property with classically designed architecture. An elitist, rich and stylish look. Gorgeous and smart guest-rooms feature 11-foot high ceilings, marble bathrooms and opulent bedding.
- The Taj Campton Place in Union Square is an elegant hotel known for its hyper-attentive service and Michelin starred restaurant.
Other Places To Consider
In addition to these two best places to stay in San Francisco, you will find smaller hotels in other districts around town. These are great for those looking for more of a local feel or those wanting to try something different.
Here are a few other places to look:
- Civic Center & Hayes Valley: This district is close to City Hall and SF Opera, Ballet, & Symphony Shows. If you are a foodie, you will also find many of the best new restaurants in Hayes Valley. Find details here.
- Haight Ashbury: This district was home to the “Summer of Love” and other 60s events. Today, you will find local shops, vintage clothing, and a funky, colorful vibe. Tips to visit.
- Nob Hill: Head up the steep hills from Union Square and you will find the Nob Hill District. This area offers both high-end hotels and some great local gems. Get tips to visit this district and my recommendations on where to stay.
I’ve also created some recommendations based on type of hotel. These are great if you are on a tight budget, traveling with pets, or want a quaint boutique hotel.
- Cheap Hotels: My list includes clean, comfortable inexpensive options. Find my recommendations
- Pet Friendly: If you decided to bring along your four-legged friend, then you will find plenty of places to allow dogs all around town. Discover my list here.
- Boutique Options: Boutique hotels typically offer a more personalized experience. They offer fewer rooms, so you feel more at home. Here are some of my recommendations.
The Best Places To Stay In Sfs Financial District
The Financial District has a cluster of four-star chain hotels catering to the business traveler, but the location is also good for the leisure traveler because of its central location. There are some great bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, especially at the Ferry Building, and its easy to access public transportation to anywhere in the city.
- Pros: Central location and access to public transportation.
- Cons: The hotels are typically pricier and many dont offer much flair. Quieter at night.
3 Fun Things to do in the Financial District
The Garden Court of the Palace Hotel, photo courtesy of the hotel and Jason Dewey Photography
Historic Icon: The Palace Hotel
You will get a taste of what royalty must feel likeThe Palace was built in 1875 as San Franciscos first premier luxury hotel. They have a stunning ballroom and lobby and they offer old-school services such as a signature tea and brunch.
4 Star chain hotel: Hyatt Regency Embarcadero
Great lobby, great room, spectacular interior designThe Hyatt is notable for its huge vaulted lobby and comfortable bar space. The hotel is attached to the Embarcadero shopping mall and there are quite a few good restaurants within a few blocks.
Financial District One Of The Best Areas To Stay In San Francisco
The bustling mix of fast-paced big business, cultural and landmark venues, shops, bars and eateries make this district one of the most enlightening and enjoyable neighborhoods to visit and to stay in San Francisco.
At Pier 15 in the Financial District, you can visit the acclaimed Exploratorium with its fantastic panoramic views of both the city and the bay and to experience the wonders of the 650-plus hands-on exhibits displayed in this fascinating museum setting.
This facility is recently renovated using sustainable materials and designs and is among the most innovative areas in San Francisco.
This district is also home to the popular Hornblower Cruises & Events featuring delicious food and beverages while you enjoy spectacular Bay Area water scenes. You will be dazzled and delighted by the marvelous food, entertainment and cruise ship decor.
When you visit the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, you will sample the most distinctive and delicious wines imaginable, many from smaller elite vineyards and wineries. This wine merchant is focused on providing wine education and engaging wine tasting experiences.
At Hardie Place in this neighborhood, Gingers is a popular and relaxing venue for enjoying beer, wine and cocktails while you take a break from sightseeing.
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An Isolated Lookout In Plumas National Forest California
Looking to get away from the rat race? Want to feel like youre above it all? Look no further than Black Mountain Lookout.
The tiny one-room ranger station is the only accommodation youll find in Plumas National Forest. It literally towers over the park and you can see nothing but nature and stars for miles and miles around you.
Youll feel blissful serenity and isolation . The lookout cabin is a step up from camping: theres electricity, a fridge, a stove, and actual bathrooms.
But, there isnt any water so bring some. Its just you and the bald eagles, buddy.
- What to do in Plumas National Forest: Um, hike. Look at stars. Birdwatch. Read a book. Contemplate existence. Look, this isnt Reno, theres no nightlife. Dont go to an isolated ranger station expecting to be entertained.
- Cost: $60 per night Verdict: If total aloneness isnt your thing, bring a low-stress companion who is down to just exist and chill and gaze at stars and think about like, life.
- Distance from the Bay Area: 4 hours| Website: Black Mountain Lookout
Which Area Should You Choose
First of all, here is a map of San Francisco neighborhoods so you can better visualize the areas Ill be talking about in this post:
Even though the city is not that big, it is divided into 5 different districts: Downtown, Richmond, Upper Market, Sunset and Bayview. Each one of these is then divided into smaller neighborhoods, each with its own charm and unique advantages.
Okay, but how can you choose? All of them are so different from each other! Well, in order to help you out, I have created a list of personalized recommendations that you can check out below:
- Where to stay in San Francisco for luxury: Downtown San Francisco
- Best area to stay in San Francisco for budget travelers: Marina District
- Where to stay in San Francisco for families: Fishermans Wharf
- Where to stay in San Francisco for nightlife: The Mission
Now that you understand a bit more about how the city is organized and which are the best areas for certain needs and preferences, let me tell you everything you need to know about each of these areas:
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Top 10 Things To Do In San Francisco
San Francisco is a large city with lots of things to see and do. These are my top 10 things to see and do during your stay in San Francisco.
The Fairmont San Francisco Nob Hill
The Fairmont is another historic hotel that captures the essence of the city of San Francisco.
The property offers rooms that can sleep up to four people but connecting rooms can also be requested.
For an added fee, you can get cribs or rollaway beds, as well as babysitting services.
If you want room service, you can also ask for customized picnic lunches. Otherwise, the restaurant has a childrens menu to keep the kids happy.
Keep an eye out for the Nutcracker themed events in December.
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