Southern California

From Downtown to the Bay: Top 6 Affordable Hotels in San Diego, CA

These cheap hotels are so nice you won't believe your wallet

History buffs, beach bums, and inspired foodies alike flock to San Diego for its bountiful offerings and near-perfect weather. From families flocking to  Sea World and the world-famous San Diego Zoo to business travelers, California‘s second largest city is perennially popular but a bit pricey for residents and visitors alike.

Fortunately, there are still a surprising number of cheap hotels in San Diego that you can book without needing to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Superior service, artful design, trendy hotspots and top-notch cuisine are just some of the boutique perks you’ll find for bargain rates at these six best-value hotels in sunny San Diego. In all hotels on this list it’s possible to find rates below or at the average accommodation price in the city, which is $ 160* per night. Curious?

*Average accommodation price on trivago for a double room in 2020, checked on June 2020.

Cheap Hotel With San Diego Bay View

A haven for the nautically-inclined, the Bay Club Hotel & Marina in Point Loma lets you dip into the swanky side of a seafaring life. Snugly situated in the Shelter Island neighborhood, surrounded by San Diego Bay, the hotel offers tranquil water-views framed by the downtown skyline, Point Loma hills and myriad masts bobbing in the property’s private marina.

Recently renovated rooms outfitted in aquatic tones of cool blue and gray each come with a balcony or patio to maximize indulgence in the serene setting and are ideal for admiring swaying palms silhouetted by vibrant sunrises or sunsets. When you’re inspired to get your toes wet, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool or slip into the marina-view hot tub for a moment of escape.

Take advantage of Bay Club’s proximity to Liberty Station, where you’ll find an abundance of waterfront restaurants, galleries, and shops crowned by NTC Park. Consider this the town square of San Diego’s future, combining commerce, history, and culture with plenty of space for outdoor recreation and perfect people-watching. It’s all just a few minutes from the hotel by car or an easy half-hour walk if you’re looking to burn some vacation calories.

Bay Club Hotel and Marina

Top rated
San Diego
8.6 Excellent (2842 reviews)

Boutique-Hotel Service for Affordable Rates

Floor-to-almost-ceiling windows and occasional bursts of bold textiles energize the soothing vibe of Hotel Indigo San Diego-Gaslamp Quarters sophisticated escape just outside the city’s cultural hub. Sleek furniture, dark wood floors, and cheeky statement pieces ranging from quirky pillows to eye-catching art create the sense of a successful, young creative’s big-city apartment in a vibrant neighborhood filled with dining, art, and nightlife options.

If you’re a culture hound, you’ll love saving big on a boutique-hotel-feel, boosting your budget for the Quarter’s best meals and entertainment. The rates here are slightly higher than others on this list, but the minor difference is well worth the considerable lifestyle upgrade for a memorable weekend getaway.

If you’re more into the Major League than major artists, Hotel Indigo’s proximity to Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, will be your favorite perk. Just one block away, you can actually see the field inside the stadium from some vantage points within the hotel; request a park-view room if you’re trying to catch a free game while in town.

After the game, head up to Level 9 Rooftop Bar for grilled salmon tacos and the local favorite, spicy loaded fries. Pair your apps with a seasonal craft cocktail by the fire pit before heading out for a night in the busy Gaslamp Quarter.

Hotel Indigo San Diego - Gaslamp Quarter

Top rated
San Diego
8.9 Excellent (3251 reviews)

A Family-Friendly Hotel With Pool on Mission Bay

It’s a family affair at The Dana on Mission Bay, where the kids and pups are as welcome as the stately boat in the hotel’s private slips. Couples looking for more of a romantic getaway should opt for the Water’s Edge rooms with wet bars and private balconies or patios along the shore of Mission Bay. Families will get more value from any of the centrally-located Marina Cove rooms, particularly the ground-floor Lanai Rooms with easy access to and from the pool. You won’t spend much time indoors either way.

For adult time, enjoy local microbrews by the Bayside Pool with infinity-edge views of the bay, and nibble on bites like chips and guac with hot carrots and fried chickpeas or a Dana club sandwich with turkey and Manchego from Firefly’s all-day to-go menu. Alternatively, the family-friendly Tropical Pool in Marina Cove is a heated oasis surrounded by lush palms and banana trees and the setting for a nightly “dive-in” movie best enjoyed on a pool float or lounge chair with a creative cocktail.

Take the family out on a rental boat for an afternoon of aquatic adventure (the more active may prefer the kayaks, and the adrenaline-seekers will want the wave runners), then rent a bike from The Dana and ride about 10 minutes to San Diego’s famous sunset cliffs for a quintessential city ritual of colorful skies quietly giving way to dusk. If you’re equally as interested in what’s under the waves, hop on the hotel’s free Sea World shuttle.

The Dana on Mission Bay

San Diego
8.3 Very good (6162 reviews)

Vibrant & Cheap Hotel in San Diego

Bright, light, and white best describe the airy rooms and suites at Hotel Republic, but don’t mistake this for a cookie-cutter property. While the private spaces are understated and calming, the public areas are packed with personality—think architectural chandeliers, carved woods, polished metals, and patterned tiles. The vibrant lobby level is home to a trendy bar and a glass DJ booth, drawing a typically younger clientele to the space both for entertainment and accommodation.

If you’re in town for business but looking for fun, too, Hotel Republic’s central location in Downtown will keep you close to any meetings or the convention center without sacrificing a social scene; there’s one swirling within its own walls, and plenty more in the nearby Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, and Broadway Pier.

While there’s plenty to see downstairs, be sure to head up to Topside Terrace Kitchen & Bar (but don’t go too far up—it’s billed as a rooftop bar, but it’s on the third floor terrace) for a dinner of fried Brussels sprouts leaves followed by Alaskan salmon. Or maybe just cozy up to the whimsical fire feature with a bottle of wine and a California cheese and charcuterie platter. If you’re staying through the weekend, you’ll definitely want to join the city’s stylish set for brunch here.

Hotel Republic San Diego, Autograph Collection

San Diego
8.3 Very good (1563 reviews)

A Party Hotel for a Fun Weekend Getaway in SoCal

Known for its parties and devil-may-care atmosphere, particularly on weekends, The Lafayette Hotel offers Hollywood-style buzz at rates you won’t find anywhere else in Southern California. The Lafayette is an affordable option year-round, especially considering it priceless jet-set holiday vibe.

Renowned for its beloved pool designed by Olympic-swimmer-turned-original-Tarzan, Johnny Weismuller, The Lafayette centers most of the action around the Pool Club, hosting legendary parties and boasting coveted private cabanas for the ultimate indulgence. Wherever you park yourself for the day, order poolside drinks and snacks like margherita flatbread and a Caesar salad from Hope 46, and consider heading inside for a proper dinner later, too—it’s a favorite restaurant among San Diegans, and you won’t even have to leave your hotel to experience it.

Those looking to take the party off-property will appreciate the North Park location, home to hipster bars, craft breweries, and the festival crowd, but most come to the hotel for its own diversions.

The Lafayette Hotel San Diego

San Diego
8.0 Very good (3567 reviews)

Minimalist Rooms With European Vibe

Stay out shopping, eating, and drinking as late as you want in bustling Little Italy, where Urban Boutique‘s intimate rooms offer instant escape with an unrivaled location inside one of San Diego’s most beloved neighborhoods. Upon arrival you’ll pinch yourself over the hotel’s winning address surrounded by dozens of delicious eateries and bars, but you’ll soon realize that its top attribute is a seriously customer-centric ethos.

The European approach of Urban Boutique’s design (yes, that means smaller, minimalist rooms more focused on function than frills) inspires the communal conviviality of an Italian village with al fresco terrace tables and bocce ball courts. It’s the perfect introduction to the city’s most Euro of neighborhoods, punctuated by its own piazzas and fountains.

Still, it’s the human element that brings back most of the hotel’s repeat clientele with stories of above-and-beyond assistance in times of need and personal recommendations perfectly suited to each individual guest.

Urban Boutique

San Diego
8.0 Very good (4219 reviews)