Best Area to Stay in San Francisco for the Holidays
If you're looking to stay in the city for holiday festivities, you will want to book your room in advance, as November and December feature the best hotel rates of the year.
Best Area to Stay for the Ghirardelli Square and PIER 39 Tree Lightings: Fisherman’s Wharf
Each November, PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Square host their tree lighting celebrations to welcome the holiday season. And while details are still being planned, you can always count on plenty of holly-jolly magic and merriment for the whole family. Stay within walking distance of the Wharf to catch the lighting of these two majestic trees and other festivities. Hotel Zoe and San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf are both chic and comfortable options close to all of the action.
Best Area to Stay for the Holiday Concerts: Civic Center
Love a good show? Every year, the San Francisco Symphony offers a festive lineup of concerts, performances and musical events for all ages to enjoy. Centrally located on Market St. is the San Francisco Proper Hotel, boasting gorgeous décor and the spectacular rooftop bar, Charmaine's. Yotel San Francisco blends the charm of the restored 1905 Grant Building with high-tech amenities, such as self-check-in kiosks, signature SmartBeds and super-fast Wi-Fi.
Best Areas to Stay for Gingerbread Houses: Union Square and Nob Hill
Every year several Union Square and Nob Hill hotels, including the Fairmont San Francisco create one-of-a-kind gingerbread houses and castles decked out with colorful ornaments, elaborate gift boxes, candies and trees. It’s sure to be a sight to see. There are dozens of other excellent hotels in these areas including The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, which features the legendary Top of the Mark sky lounge and a scenic panorama of the city and bay, The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, the city's only AAA Five-Diamond hotel, Hotel Nikko and Grand Hyatt San Francisco.
Best Areas to Stay for Ice Skating: Embarcadero
While there will be plenty of holiday cheer taking place around Union Square, you can always count on the Embarcadero Center to brighten the holidays with their annual Building Lighting Ceremony & Carnival. Ice-skating enthusiasts can skate to their hearts content under the sun and stars along the beautiful waterfront at the largest outdoor rink in San Francisco. Hotel Vitale is a short walk to some of the best food and entertainment venues in San Francisco. Situated on the Embarcadero waterfront across from the Ferry Building, the rooms at Hyatt Regency San Francisco offer breathtaking vistas of the bay.
Best Areas to Stay for Nightlife: SoMa
The SoMa neighborhood is located South of Market (hence the name) and is arguably the cultural hub of San Francisco. Many of San Francisco's popular museums are located in SoMa, and the nightlife here — from trendy restaurants to buzzing nightclubs — is among the best in the city. There are numerous boutique options, including the hip and modern Hotel VIA and fashion-forward Hotel Zelos.
Best Areas to Stay for Relaxing: North Beach
If you're looking for a more casual neighborhood, North Beach is a strong option. Within walking distance of both Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, North Beach offers a relaxed atmosphere, as well as a thriving "Little Italy." For an affordable place to stay with boutique charm, try Hotel Bohème’s centrally located accommodations with retro ‘50s décor.
Hotels Beyond San Franciso
There are many excellent accommodations just a short drive from the city. If you’re headed north to wine country, the Napa Valley Marriott & Spa is centrally located and features a resort-style swimming pool and full-service spa. The nearby Napa River Inn is an upscale boutique hotel overlooking the scenic Napa River. Head farther north to Fort Bragg in Mendocino County for a stay at the Inn at Newport Ranch and enjoy oceanfront accommodations with proximity to sandy beaches, redwood forests and 20 miles of private trails. If you’re traveling south of San Francisco, the retro-chic Dream Inn is located on Santa Cruz’s historic boardwalk within walking distance to surfing, beach sunsets and restaurants with fresh seafood.
Best Areas to Stay for New Year's Eve
If you're looking to come to San Francisco for New Year's Eve, here are our recommendations.
Looking for a place to stay elsewhere? Check out these guides:
Best Areas to Stay Near San Francisco International Airport
Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco for Foodies
Best Areas to Stay for San Francisco Carnaval
Best Areas to Stay for San Francisco Pride
Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco for Bay to Breakers