Northern California

Best-Value For Money: Top 6 Affordable Hotels in San Francisco​, CA

Spend the night without spending a fortune at these cool and cheap hotels

As one of the most popular cities in the U.S. and a business hub for nearby Silicon Valley, San Francisco can surprise visitors with hotel rates that soar as high as the Golden Gate Bridge. No matter if you’re traveling solo or with your family, you can still find a good value if you know where to look.

Go beyond the big name brands, and you’ll discover singular, boutique properties with loads of character and modest rates. Plus, San Francisco is defined by its many diverse neighborhoods, and many hide unique, oft-overlooked inns worth seeking out. And here’s a hint for bargain hotel hunters: Rates often dip on weekends when the city’s buzzing tech industry rests.

Regardless of when you visit, here are six accommodations in San Francisco where you can spend the night without spending a fortune. In all hotels on this list it’s possible to find rates below the average accommodation price in the city, which is $ 190* per night. Choose your favorite one and plan your next getaway!

*Average accommodation price on trivago for a double room in 2020, checked on June 2019.

Chic & Cheap Hotel in San Francisco

One step inside Hotel Emblem, and you’ll appreciate the sleek, stylish respite from busy Union Square, a buzzing city center crammed with shops and restaurants. Chic sensibilities carry through to guest rooms with fashionable touches—cobalt blue armoires, velvet settees, hip artwork—alongside perks such as plush bathrobes and 55 inch flat-screens. Plus, refillable toiletries and hallway water stations are thoughtful, eco-friendly offerings.

Each evening, guests enjoy complimentary drinks and nibbles such as sangria and cookies, but for more substantial fare, nab charcuterie plates and sliders at the Obscenity Bar & Lounge. In the morning, grab lattes and pastries at Bluestone Lane, a modern coffee shop awash in teal subway tiles.

Steps from the hotel, Union Square offers no shortage of shops and boutiques to fill your suitcase. You’ll find upscale stalwarts such as Tiffany’s and Neiman Marcus alongside local brands including Williams Sonoma and Gump’s. Or, stretch your legs with a hike up to adjacent Nob Hill, a tony neighborhood with historic mansions, hilltop Huntington Park, and the stunning interiors of Grace Cathedral.

Hotel Emblem San Francisco

San Francisco
8.4 Very good (1370 reviews)

A Tropical-Themed Hotel With Pool

The Hotel del Sol is a tropical-themed oasis in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, a former grazing ground for cattle now known for its boutiques and nightlife. The re-imagined motor lodge features bright, cheery decor and a sunny courtyard with palm trees, lounge chairs, and an outdoor swimming pool.

Overlooking the courtyard, the property’s 57 guest rooms mirror the beachy vibes with bold, vibrant colors plus amenities such as Google Chromecasts to stream your favorite shows. Hotel del Sol doesn’t include onsite dining, but you’ll have your choice of eateries on the lively stretch of Union Street located one block away. Play up the tropics theme with margaritas and Mexican fare at the open-air Flores, or Caribbean dishes and tiki drinks at the boisterous Palm House.

The hotel is a six-block walk to the Marina Green whose bayfront lawns offer expansive views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Stroll along the waterfront, and you’ll soon reach the Palace of Fine Arts, a dazzling remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition with soaring Beaux Arts architecture and a swan-filled lake.

Hotel Del Sol

San Francisco
8.1 Very good (1618 reviews)

Modern Rooms With Retro Charm and Free Parking

Set on a western stretch of Market Street, a wide boulevard graced by historic streetcars, Beck’s Motor Lodge offers clean, comfortable digs and an enviable locale. The restored, mid-century motor lodge features modern, renovated rooms while still maintaining its retro charm. There’s even a rooftop sun deck with seating to take in the action along humming Market Street. Perhaps the most surprising feature is the complimentary parking, a welcome anomaly in pricey San Francisco.

Yet, you’ll hardly need a car given the lodge’s proximity to the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Just a few blocks away, The Castro is a historically significant destination for the LGBTQ community with bars, eateries, and landmarks of the activist movements of the 1970s and 80s.

Also nearby, you can explore the trendy, upscale shops of Hayes Valley and the hip Mission District, arguably the center of the city’s celebrated dining scene. Plus, Market Street serves as one of the city’s primary arteries. Hop aboard one of its restored, vintage streetcars to reach other attractions including the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Beck's Motor Lodge

Top rated
San Francisco
8.6 Excellent (678 reviews)

A Cozy Affordable Hotel in San Francisco's Little Italy

The charming Hotel Boheme sits at the heart of North Beach, a European-like neighborhood that’s referred to as San Francisco’s Little Italy. Perched on the second floor, the cozy inn overlooks bustling Columbus Avenue with sidewalk bistro tables spilling out from its many cafes and restaurants. Yet, the inn maintains a serene air with homey elements that feel more like a private residence.

As its name implies, the property’s 15 guest rooms feature vintage, bohemian decor that reference the neighborhood’s legacy as a hotbed for mid-20th century writers and poets (North Beach was the birthplace of the Beat Generation movement). Rooms feature retro elements such as coral-collared walls, antique armoires, and tiled bathrooms, alongside modern amenities including comfy beds and free WiFi.

Immediately outside the front door, you’ll discover a lively neighborhood brimming with a mix of classic and contemporary restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Don’t pass up Italian pastries at Stella Pastry & Cafe or a slice from Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Plus, North Beach’s bohemian spirit lives on at old, beatnik haunts such as Caffe Trieste, City Lights Bookstore, and Vesuvio Cafe.

Hotel Boheme

San Francisco
8.2 Very good (531 reviews)

A Stylish Hotel Near the Stockton Tunnel

Located on the outskirts of Union Square, the Hotel Palihouse San Francisco is a stylish play to stay in a renovated, historic building. A 2020 remodel retained the century-old structure’s patina—exposed brick walls, ornate woodwork—but layered it with contemporary furnishings and a California-cool aesthetic.

The 82 design-forward rooms may run small, but are gorgeously outfitted with high-end linens and toiletries, creatively stocked mini bars, and comfy beds. Hidden on the hotel’s second floor, the Fisher Loft is a speakeasy-style restaurant and bar that dishes up American comfort fare and cocktails in an Instagram-friendly mix of vintage and contemporary decor.

Film noir buffs will appreciate the hotel’s proximity to the Stockton Tunnel, the site of a key scene in the Sam Spade thriller, “The Maltese Falcon” (behind the hotel on Burritt Street, hunt for a plaque commemorating the moment). The Stockton Tunnel also links Union Square to Chinatown, one of the oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. Stroll its busy streets and alleyways, popping into dim sum cafes for a pork bao or custardy egg tart.

Palihotel San Francisco

San Francisco
7.8 Good (1577 reviews)

Comfy Accommodation in Union Square Area​

You’d be hard-pressed a better deal than at The Mosser. Located within the larger Union Square area, the hotel offers pleasant, affordable accommodations and a central location. The minimalist, spic-and-span rooms are light on frills, but cover the basics with comfy beds, flatscreen TVs, and free WiFi.

Rooms are equipped with double-pane windows and ear plugs, but light sleepers should request a room away from busy Fourth Street. Note that most rooms feature a private bathroom, but you can save some cash by booking a room with its own sink and access to shared restrooms. In the morning, enjoy a simple, complimentary continental breakfast of coffee, muffins, and fruit.

Reasonable rates and friendly staff are welcome features, but The Mosser’s biggest perk is its central location. The property sits steps from Union Square’s assortment of shops and restaurants, as well as Yerba Buena Gardens, an urban park ringed by the highest concentration of museums and art galleries in the city.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Contemporary Jewish Museum each feature architecture that rivals their collections, while smaller venues such as the Museum of African Diaspora and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts shouldn’t be overlooked. And, during summer months, you can catch live music performances on the lawns of Yerba Buena Gardens. The Mosser is also a half block from downtown’s public transportation hub with numerous trains and buses that cover every inch of the city.

Hotel The Mosser

San Francisco
7.6 Good (3755 reviews)