Learn About Attractions And Sights In San Francisco
Attractions in San Francisco can be overwhelming. You have numerous museums, walking tours, and historic sites to explore throughout the city. Regardless of how much time you have, be sure to squeeze in some of the classics, like:
- Take a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, which is not only a symbol of the city, but one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.
- Take a ferry ride over to Alcatraz, the infamous prison and a must-see if you are in San Francisco. The prison cells are open for tours, and you can also explore the island.
- Go for a quick drive along Lombard Street, a street you have most likely seen in the movies, but did not know it. It is, after all, a very famous street in the city.
- Take a boat tour while in the harbor and see the USS Pampanito, the Second World submarine or the SS Jeremiah OBrien, a ship that was part of the assault team on Normandy Landings.
An Iconic Lighthouse In Pigeon Point California
I know what youre thinking. First you want me to pretend Im a giant bird in a nest, now you want me to sleep in a f***ing lighthouse?! Are you insane?!
First of all, maybe, because both of those sound awesome to me.
Secondly, this lighthouse is the coolest hostel ever. Thats right: this lighthouse is a hostel. And you know how we feel about hostels .
Not only is this hostel in a lighthouse, but theres a cliff-side hot tub looking out over the ocean. Yup, you heard me right. A hot tub. Looking out over the Pacific Ocean. Sunset watching? Check. Falling asleep to the lulling sound of waves and barking seals? Check. Budget-friendly? CHECK!
A bed in a dorm room costs $31, or you can upgrade to a private room for $82.
Travel Tip: Book hella early. Like, many months early. If Pigeon Point is booked, check out this OTHER lighthouse hostel in nearby Montara, California.
- What to do in Pigeon Point: Whale watch, explore the coastal tidepools and beaches, hike the redwoods in Butano State Park, watch majestic elephant seals elegantly flomp around at Año Nuevo State Reserve, sample goat cheese at Harley Farm Goat Dairy, and grab a beer at Highway 1 Brewing Company.
- Cost: $31 for a dorm room, $82 for a private. Verdict: Bring a group of buddies to share the car and, if youre lucky, a whole dorm room with.
- Distance from the Bay Area: 1 hour | Website: Book on Hostelworld
Compare The Best San Francisco Hotels
The accommodation scene here is as innovative as the city itself, bursting with beautifully furnished boutique hotels, friendly-family inns and upmarket chains. There are top-notch San Francisco hotels dotted around the city, so where you choose to stay depends on your priorities, your tastes and your budget.
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For Just A Little Bit More
The Metro Hotel
319 Divisadero Street
I think this is one of the best cheap hotels in San Francisco. It’s highly rated, in the cute Alamo Square neighborhood, and close to several transit options.
While it is light on amenities, it’s a great place to stay if you want to see how the locals live.
This hotel was rated as a “Best Value” hotel by CitySearch and was featured in the National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
Why is it so cheap?Very few amenities. This is a small, locally owned hotel, so there are not a lot of frills. The front rooms face a semi-busy street and can be a bit noisy. It’s also not in the heart of the tourist areas, but there are several public transportation options.
Perfect for: Anyone who wants a real San Francisco experience the minute they step outside their door. Anyone who doesn’t mind taking public transit to get around the city. Those who don’t need a lot of fancy, modern amenities.
Other tips: There are several great restaurants and bars within a few blocks of this hotel, so make sure you take some time checking them out. Many of them are right on Divisadero Street. If you love seafood, then you need to visit the Alamo Square Seafood Grill. Little Star Pizza is also a local favorite and one of the best deep-dish pizza places in the city . The restaurant on the ground floor next to the hotel lobby has yummy Italian food, and you can find cheap beers at the Bean Bag Cafe about three blocks north of the hotel.
Find a room: The Metro Hotel
Near Golden Gate Bridge/the Presidio
Quite a lot of visitors to San Francisco assume that the Golden Gate Bridge is close to the rest of the city. Its not. Its way out of the way.
The area around the Golden Gate Bridge is called the Presidio, and its actually a giant nature park that used to be a military base. Its absolutely gorgeous and a wonderful place to go hiking or to watch the sun setting at Lands End.
But dont stay there if your goal is to explore San Francisco. Its quite out of the way and takes a long time to access on transit! Wed only recommend basing yourself here if you want peace, quiet, nature, isolation, and easy access to the
That said, there is one big plus to the Presidio: this is one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco where its not a major disadvantage to have a car.
- Where to Stay Instead: Honestly, anywhere else on our neighborhood list would be a better choice. If youre after Golden Gate Bridge views, you can find them all over the city if you stay in a high-rise building- but expect to pay more for the privilege.
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How To Lower Airfare When Visiting San Francisco
- Make use of weekdays. Most tourists visiting Francisco for business reasons travel on Mondays and Fridays, making midweek a cheaper time to enjoy great flight deals.
- Use Oakland Airport instead of San Francisco International Airport . Other than being as near downtown San Francisco as SFO, flights to the airport are cheaper than those heading to SFO and arrive faster.
- Check airfare offerings online from different airlines before booking a flight. It is advisable to visit these websites directly and check for rates to find those offering cheaper deals.
The low season is the best to visit San Francisco for cheap hotels. While the prices of hotels vary, depending on certain factors, May and December are the best months to find cheaper accommodation in the city. Visitors getting there by Wednesdays are likely to get better deals than any other day of the week. Sundays, being on a weekend, are the most expensive to try and get accommodation in the city.
Travelers should book accommodation at least 90 days before visiting the city to get the best hotel deals for their stay.
- The cost of a 3-star hotel in San Francisco: is $88 – $444
- The cost of a 3-star hotel in San Francisco during the weekend: From $99
- The cost of a 4-star hotel: From $185
- The average number of days to stay in San Francisco: 3 days
Can I Find Hotels For Families In San Francisco
Many of the hotels listed above are well suited for families , and offer amenities such as complimentary cribs, stowaway beds, and babysitting services. One standout is Omni San Francisco, where kids receive a backpack filled with games and goodies, including milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first evening.
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Cow Hollow Inn And Suites
Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers
On-site Amenities: Serta iComfort beds, in-room work areas, Wi-Fi
Pros: Rooms are comfortable, clean, and large, and reviewers love this hotel’s central location.
Cons: Rooms are basic and charming, but not luxurious or modern feeling.
Cow Hollow Inn and Suites is a centrally located hotel near San Francisco’s quaint Cow Hollow district, which is just over a mile to Fisherman’s Wharf and only slightly farther to Pier 39.
Comfortable and clean, rooms have a well-lit seating and work area with free internet, both wired and wireless. Covered parking is also complimentary, which is a rarity for this city and packs significant added value.
Travelers love the well-maintained and noticeably large rooms here, with coffee and tea-making facilities and large TVs. The location is also a prime one. Walk to the Palace of Fine Arts in 15 minutes, and easily reach many bars, restaurants, and other tourist-friendly attractions in a short walk.
COVID-19 procedures are available here.
One Day In San Francisco Travel Cost
San Francisco is a vibrant city with tons of culture, history, architecture, and popular seafood. Even though San Francisco is not a cheap city in the US, it still has ample cheap, even free things to do. Accommodation and restaurants both are pricey in most parts of the city. However, if you follow this guide and itinerary, you can still make it happen to visit San Francisco on a budget. Here is our suggested cost breakdown for a day in San Francisco trip.
Urban Street of San Francisco
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Is It Safe To Stay In A Hotel
The CDC’s current guidance advises that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically. Hotels by their very nature provide opportunities for face-to-face encounters with staff and other guests in common spaces like check-in desks, lobbies, and dining venues. Still, experts say guests who exercise proper precautions can stay safely in hotels. Of course, no travel is completely without risk and we recommend following CDC guidelines as well as all applicable local protocols.
A Luxurious Casino In Reno Nevada
You didnt think this list was going to be all cabins and wagons and roughing it, did you? No. We love luxury we just usually cant afford it.
Enter Reno: The Biggest Little City in America! Reno is low-key awesome, with a lot of charm to discover that seems to get overlooked despite being an excellent weekend trip from the Bay Area and next door to Lake Tahoe.
And when visiting Reno, you absolutely must stay in a casino. Not just because it rhymes. But because its Nevada, baby!
Staying in a plush casino in Reno is just a luxurious as staying in a casino in Las Vegas, except you get to keep more of your money and spend a lot more quality time outdoors.
Our favorite pick is Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. First of all, its totally affordable. Second of all, check out that freaking spa. Its legit one of the best casino spas in the world
And thirdly, because some dude from Redding said The Atlantis is an amazing place, if there is ever a zombie apocalypse it would be a great place to be. Like, this an actual quote on the website.
Sold, you guys. Sold.
You can thank us later, after your Milk and Honey Cocoon at the spa has transformed you into a heavenly goddess, youve tucked into a melt-in-your-mouth steak at the AAA Four Diamond steakhouse, taken a dip in the whirlpool , and won a few bucks at the slot machines .
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Bring The Past To Life
San Francisco has plenty of quality bars to choose from, one of our favourites is Shotwell’s Bar in the Mission area. Visiting Shotwell’s is like travelling back in time, it opened in 1891 and still retains original features such as the wooden bar. It serves local and international beers, with pinball machines adding to the retro feel.
If you’ve got children with you, you can still leave your city centre hotel in San Francisco and sample the bars with The Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley, perfect for a family treat. Using vintage soda pumps from the 1930s, this soda fountain serves up wonderful concoctions for kids and big kids alike.
Travelodge By Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
Address: 2755 Lombard Street
- 2-star hotel near the Presidio in the Marina District
- Great find for cheap hotels in San Francisco because of its free parking and easy access to public transit
- Wheelchair-accessible rooms
- Pets allowed with a $20 cleaning/pet fee
- This is a highly rated hotel but is a little further from Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. It will take you a little longer to get around, but worth it for the price
- It’s on a busy street, but the hotel itself is set off about a half a block back from the road
- Prices range from around $154 – $262 a night
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Best Discount Hotels In San Francisco
You can find a variety of awesome discounts available in San Francisco. Check out the The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square. Home to the historic Magneta Grandfather Clock, this luxury Union Square hotel is directly in front of a San Francisco cable car stop. Guests can chose from a variety of on-site dining options at this hotel. The Dragons Gate entrance to Chinatown is 7 minutes walk away.
If you want a hotel closer to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco offers great rates. Styled in modern décor, a Bluetooth capable media hub and an iPod docking station are featured in all rooms. Spa toiletries are included. A mini refrigerator, a coffee maker and laptop sized safe are also provided in each room. Just 3 minutes walk from Fisherman’s Wharf and the famed cable cars are within 2 minutes walk from Hyatt. Sweet treats are available at Ghirardelli Square 5 minutes walk. PIER 39 is 10 minutes walk away. Make Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco your ideal location for your personal or business trip.
Dog Friendly Hotels In San Francisco
If youre like us, traveling with your pup may be a mandatory requirement. And San Francisco is a uniquely dog-friendly city in fact, there are more dogs here than children! From the dog-friendly beaches to the dog-friendly bars, restaurants, and parks, you can pretty much bring your dog with you everywhere you go.
So if youll be bringing your pup with you on your trip, weve found some amazing places to stay:
- Hotel Argonaut: Located on Fishermans Wharf, this deliciously handsome eco-friendly hotel offers beautiful views across the San Francisco Bay. Watch the boats go by from your nautical themed room, with its exposed bricks and ship-themed touches. Take your pup for a walk by the water its right there!
- Hotel Nikko: Located in Union Square, Hotel Nikko goes a step further for your dog they offer pet-friendly rooms on the VIP Floor with dog beds, food and water bowls, and mats! You can even walk out on their Pet Terrace, which features an off-leash dog run for play time and city views. Besides pet offerings, they hotel is decoarted in modern blues and whites and has a glass-enclosed pool.
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A Breath Of Fresh Air
If youre keen for easy access to green spaces but still like to stay in the centre of the action, opt for the Embarcadero. This coastal strip faces the Bay Bridge and boasts some of the best views in the city.
Jog along the palm-lined promenade, picnic in Rincon Park or just admire the panorama from one of the waterfront San Francisco hotels. In contrast to other areas of the city, boutique hotels are in the minority here, with much of the accommodation based in modern skyscrapers.
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
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A Quirky Railroad Caboose In Dunsmuir California
4 hours north on the 5 from San Francisco, youll find Dunsmuir . Thou shant find Casterly Rock laid upon Dunsmuir, but in its stead, seek the Railroad Park Resort.
Yes, thats right. This place is called the Railroad Park Resort, and youll be sleeping in a freaking railroad car, like the Boxcar Kids only all grown up and with way better furnishings and a heated pool.
The resort is situated next to a babbling brook, which sparkles with the best water on earth and in front of the stunning facade of the Castle Crags, part of the Shasta Cascade .
You can even climb up the narrow little caboose stairs and gaze at the mountains from the little caboose roof If youre too good for a railroad car, you can book a Vintage Cabin instead, but like obviously stay in a railroad car, how cool is that?!
- What to do in Dunsmuir: Other than go choo-choo! a lot, you can hike the Pacific Crest Trail through Castle Crags State Park, take an awesome Instagram photo at the Wagon Creek Bridge, enjoy lakeside scenery at Lake Siskyou, oh and soak up the GIANT FREAKING SNOW-CAPPED MAJESTY of Mount Shasta from like, everywhere. There are so many rad hiking trails near Mt. Shasta, take your pick! Also, the town of Dunsmuir itself is super cute.
- Cost: $125-$130 for a Caboose. Verdict: Bring a romantic partner and split the bed/cost. You two can cuddle up and choo-choo together all night long.
- Distance from the Bay Area: 4 hours | Website: Railroad Park Resort