The Line Hotel
The Line Hotel is along Market Street in the heart of San Francisco. Credit: Chase Daniel

The Best Area to Stay in San Francisco

Whether you’re a foodie, a health nut, a shopper or just into the classics, we have the perfect hotel for you in San Francisco.

We always get the question, "What's the best area to stay in when visiting San Francisco?" Our answer: everywhere. However, depending on what kind of trip you are making and who is coming along, there may be neighborhoods that align better with your plans. This is our attempt to answer in a unique way that burning question we get all too often. Whether you're a foodie, coming up for an event like Pride, visiting with your family, or for any other reason, you'll find a different one in each part of the city.

The Best Area to Stay If You Want to Shop: Union Square

Are you in the mood for some serious shopping? Then this is the perfect neighborhood to shop for the major retail brands. You'll have your pick of the litter as most of the city's hotels reside here. Another great reason to stay in Union Square: it's a transportation hub, so it's easy to get everywhere else.

Popular hotels in the area include: Hilton San Francisco Union SquareSan Francisco Marriott Marquis Union SquareHotel Nikko San FranciscoGrand Hyatt San FranciscoAxiom HotelThe Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union SquareClift San Francisco, the Beacon GrandHotel Zetta San Francisco and Hotel G San Francisco

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The Best Area to Stay If You're a Foodie: SoMa

San Francisco's dining scene is at the top of its game. To maximize the delicious meals per block metric (it's science), look for a hotel room in SoMa. An acronym for South of Market, this neighborhood has had an influx of new and innovative eateries open up in the past year. It also has great access to the Mission District, the undisputed king of delicious meals with moderately priced entrees.

Nearby hotels include: W San FranciscoInterContinental San FranciscoSt. Regis San Francisco, the Hotel Via and Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma.

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The Best Area to Stay for the Museum Maven: Yerba Buena

Sometimes you'll hear people use "Yerba Buena" and "SoMa" interchangeably. In this case, think of Yerba Buena as a neighborhood within a neighborhood—and one that has more institutions of art and culture per square inch than, well, just about anywhere! Whether you want to explore human history at the Museum of the Africa Diaspora or boundary-breaking contemporary art at SFMOMA, Yerba Buena is where you'll want to stay for great museums.

Popular hotels in the area include: Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SomaW San FranciscoSt. Regis San Francisco.

The Best Are to Stay for Sports Fans: Mission Bay

Two of the nation's best venues for professional sports are less than a mile apart, and close to some excellent hotel options. Whether you want to cheer on the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park or the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center, Mission Bay is the perfect place to unpack your Steph Curry jersey or orange-and-black hoodie (hey, night games are cold!).

Popular hotels in the area include: Hyatt Place San Francisco DowntownHotel Via, and LUMA Hotel.

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.

Nearby hotels include: Hotel ZephyrRiu Plaza Fisherman's WharfKimpton Alton HotelArgonaut HotelHyatt Centric Fisherman's Wharf San FranciscoHotel Zoe San FranciscoSan Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf, Hotel Caza and Marriott Vacation Club Pulse.

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The Best Area to Stay for Families: Noe Valley

Stay like a local at Noe's Nest Bed and Breakfast, a charming Victorian house centrally located in the heart of the Noe Valley. Located right in the middle of San Francisco, this primarily residential area has ample sidewalks and a pedestrian-friendly layout that encourage the admiration of classic San Francisco townhomes while its position in town reduces the amount of fog that rolls in.

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The Best Area to Stay For Italian Vibes: North Beach

Welcome to Little Italy. If you have a driving need for pasta, gelato, espresso or the many other culinary delights introduced by Italian Americans, this area will fill your stomach as soon as you step foot in the neighborhood.

Nearby hotels include Washington Square InnHotel BohemeSan Remo Hotel and Green Tortoise Hostel.

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The Best Area to Stay for Pride: Castro

Castro is a vibrant LGBTQ neighborhood that offers a new experience every time you visit. Try new restaurants, attend the many community events and talk a walk through this high energy part of town.

Nearby hotels incluide: Beck's Motor Lodge and Parker Guest House.

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The Best Area to Stay to Experience Chinese Culture: Chinatown and Richmond

Head through Chinatown's Dragon's Gate and prepare yourself for 24 blocks of Chinese restaurants, food markets, street food vendors and locally owned shops.

Nearby hotels include: Orchard Garden HotelGrant Plaza Hotel and Royal Pacific Motor Inn.

Richmond is sometimes referred to as the second Chinatown, as many Chinese-Americans call this area home. Several museums are also nearby in the neighborhood.

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The Best Area to Stay If You Are a Health Nut: Embarcadero

It's not about having access to a gym, but access to great outdoor spaces that will elevate your heart rate. Hotels along the Embarcadero give you that and a gorgeous morning view of the Bay Bridge. Get up to see the sunrise and work out like a local by running along the Embarcadero by the Ferry Building to PIER 39 and back again. 

Nearby hotels include: 1 Hotel San Francisco, Hotel Via, and the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

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The Best Area to Stay if You Want a Classic San Francisco Experience: Nob Hill

Visit one of the original seven hills of San Francisco in the Nob Hill neighborhood. The Fairmont Hotel, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins and Stanford Court are a few of the luxury hotels that position this area as one of the most affluent in the city.

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The Best Area to Stay If You Want the Classics: Civic Center

If you're into the classics, this is the neighborhood. You can hear the San Francisco Symphony, go see the Opera or Ballet (Dec.-May) and drop into a Jazz session at SFJAZZ Center. And if you're looking for more beauty, including magnificent Beaux Art architecture, go to the Asian Art Museum and view one of the most complete and renowned-collections of Asian art in the world. These are all within Civic Center.

Nearby hotels include Cova HotelHotel EPIK and Phoenix Hotel.

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The Best Area to Stay To Catch a Show: Hayes Valley

Do you love old houses, especially Queen Anne and Edwardian? Walking along this neighborhood lets you appreciate the fine quality that goes into these townhouses. The SF JAZZ Center puts on plenty of performances that have you dancing in your seat, and high-end boutiques satisfy any shopping needs.

Nearby hotels include Inn at the OperaHayes Valley Inn and Days Inn Civic Center.

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The Best Area to Stay for Peace, Love and Happiness: Haight-Ashbury

Come to where it all started for the hippie movement and see the influence of the 1960s counterculture. Victorian houses are decked out in bright, cheerful colors and you can find vintage shops, thrift stores and other businesses harking back to the area's hippie roots. Stay at the historic Stanyan Park Hotel. Built in 1883, this boutique hotel is one of the oldest hotels on the border of Golden Gate Park.

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The Best Area to Stay If You Have a Car: Marina

Honestly, we don't think you need a car while you visit San Francisco. It's easy to get around the city without one. However, if you do have a car, the best area in San Francisco to stay would be in the Marina. Within this neighborhood, hotels with free or low-cost parking dot the northern part of Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street. With the Golden Gate Bridge within eyesight, this is a great neighborhood to start and end your day.

Nearby hotels include: Cow Hollow Inn and SuitesSeaside InnCoventry InnMarina Motel and Lombard Plaza Motel

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The Best Area to Stay for Bay Views and Gorgeous Parks: Pacific Heights

Get world-class views of San Francisco when you wander through Pacific Heights. This is a residential neighborhood that's home to many influential and famous people and dotted with gorgeous parks.

Popular hotels include Hotel Drisco and Laurel Inn.

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The Best Area to Stay if You Love Jazz: Fillmore

Fillmore's diversity shows through in its range of businesses. Locally owned shops sit alongside well-known chains, countless ethnic cuisines offer a restaurant experience perfect for variety-lovers and jazz clubs are commonplace throughout the area.

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The Best Area to Stay to Experience Japanese Culture: Japantown

Enjoy the oldest Japantown in the United States when you come to San Francisco. Stay at the elegant Hotel Kabuki, just steps from many Japanese shops call this area home, such as the Kinokuniya bookstore. The Japan Center is a mall that lets you journey through the sheer variety here.

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Jaw-dropping Views!

Best Area to Stay for Nature and Bridge Views: Presidio

Head to the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge to explore Presidio. This neighborhood was formerly a military base but has been turned into the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

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The Best Area to Stay if You're Bringing Your Best Friend (a.k.a Your Dog): Nob Hill and Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco is a city for everyone, even the furry ones in our lives. We know how important they are to you, so if you're bringing your pets with you on your trip, you'll want to stay in Nob Hill or Fisherman's Wharf. These two neighborhoods in the heart of San Francisco give you and your pet a spectacular view and access to the bay breeze.

Popular pet friendly hotels include: Hotel Zephyr San FranciscoInterContinental Mark Hopkins San FranciscoArgonaut HotelFairmont San FranciscoHotel Zoe San Francisco and San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf

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The Best Area to Stay for Surf Culture: Sunset

If you're coming to San Francisco for the beaches, the Sunset District is calling your name. It's got the surf culture you want – to the point of being called Beachtown by many people.

Nearby hotels include: SeaScape Inn and Rodeway Inn & Suites Ocean Beach.

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The Best Area to Stay to Explore the Arts: Bayview

You get a very literal neighborhood name with Bayview. It has a massive artist colony, which allows you to explore the latest in the San Francisco art scene.

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The Best Area to Stay to Enjoy the San Francisco Skyline: Treasure Island

This artificial island sits in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Public art and multiple wineries make this neighborhood the perfect place for a leisurely afternoon.

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The Best Area to Stay for Great Weather and Trendy Restaurants: Mission

View a living piece of history by visiting the oldest building in San Francisco, Mission Dolores. You get great weather, many art galleries and the trendiest restaurants in town when you head to this corner of SF.

Popular hotels include: Nineteen 06 Mission, and Inn San Francisco.

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Dan Rosenbaum Headshot
Dan Rosenbaum

Dan is the Vice President, Global Marketing, at San Francisco Travel. San Francisco has been his home for over a decade (that makes him a local, right?). On the weekends, you can find him with a cup of craft coffee in hand, a playlist of good vibes, a growing list of books to read, or out at the city's hottest new restaurant or bar.

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The Golden Gate Bridge at sunset with a multicolored sky and the San Francisco Bay in the foreground.
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