San Francisco's temperate climate doesn't fluctuate as much as many U.S. cities do, so there are few bad times to visit. Summer is the most popular season for travelers, which tends to drive hotel prices sky-high. The temperature is also quite changeable, so you might not always get the beach vacation you expect. However, summer is the time to enjoy the San Francisco Pride and the North Beach Festivals, both in June.
Experts say the fall months of September to November are ideal for traveling to San Francisco. The summer crowds have all gone home, so hotel prices are reasonable, and the weather's still nice and warm. In fact, it's often warmer in fall than it is in summer. The San Francisco Jazz Festival runs all season long, and you can also catch the San Francisco Fringe Festival in September. Spring is another good choice if you don't mind a chill in the air. Spring also brings some of San Francisco's most exciting events, including the San Francisco International Film Festival from April to May and May's Carnaval San Francisco.
Winter is also a good choice, as San Francisco doesn't get as cold as many parts of the country. Many tourists tend to stay away, so it's a great time to find a bargain room. Just remember to dress in layers to be comfortable during your stay. The local event calendar isn't quite as crowded in winter, but SF Sketchfest Comedy Festival from January to February should tickle the funny bones of anyone braving the chill.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in San Francisco, CA:
San Francisco by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean nightly cost patterns by star rating class in San Francisco, CA. You can use these illustrations to evaluate the most cost effective dates to make a reservation in San Francisco for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in San Francisco
4 Star Average Prices: $248.66
San Francisco has a number of luxury hotels for travelers who enjoy the finer things in life. Whether you want to stay in the glamorous Theatre District or enjoy enviable views of San Francisco Bay, San Francisco has an upmarket hotel to suit your needs.
Established in 1875, the Palace Hotel was San Francisco's first luxury hotel offering. It retains its historic charm, with three ballrooms and iconic beaux-arts styling. New additions, such as a high-tech business center, fitness center with the latest gym equipment, and high-speed Internet, have brought the Palace into the 21st century. Three restaurants and 24-hour in-room dining give guests plenty of eating options.
The Marker hotel puts the entertainment venues, restaurants, and retail stores of San Francisco's Theatre District right outside your door. It's easy to relax in this opulent boutique hotel, with in-room spa services, yoga mats and accessories in every room, and a nightly wine reception. Its BDK Restaurant reinterprets the classic pub, with an innovative menu making the most of San Francisco's acclaimed produce. Pet lovers needn't leave their pooches at home either; The Marker welcomes furry guests, too.
Few hotels offer the views of Loews Regency San Francisco. Rising high above the city skyline, rooms in this Financial District hotel offer enticing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. All rooms were redesigned and refreshed after Loews Regency assumed the hotel, formerly the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco. When you're not spending time in your room, make use of the hotel's 24-hour fitness center, spa services, and on-site restaurant, Brasserie S&P.
For a more exclusive kind of stay, book a room at the Inn at the Presidio. This San Francisco hotel has just 22 rooms, so guests enjoy personalized service. Choose from a spacious one-bedroom suite, with a separate sitting room and gas fireplace, or a generous deluxe bedroom.
The Inn at Presidio's European-style continental buffet breakfast is the ideal morning pick-me-up while the wine and cheese reception each evening will help you wind down after a busy day of sightseeing. With an outdoor patio with a gas fire pit and a well-appointed reception lounge area, there are plenty of places at The Inn at the Presidio to relax and meet your fellow guests.
Affordable Hotel Options in San Francisco
3 Star Average Prices: $200.24
While San Francisco knows how to pamper visitors with cash to splash, it also caters to tourists on tighter budgets. Hostels allow you to stay close to the action without spending a lot of money. While the rooms are quite simple, the central locations of hostels like the Green Tortoise Hostel, USA Hostels San Francisco, and Amsterdam Hostel can't be beat. Many also provide complimentary extras such as breakfasts, tea and coffee, and Internet access.
Alternatively, you could consider staying a little outside the city center. You'll pay less at family hotels with shared toilet and bathroom facilities, such as Hayes Valley Inn in the trendy Hayes Valley and San Remo Hotel in North Beach. Both offer friendly service and rooms as low as $65.
2 Star Average Prices: $127.61
San Francisco, CA Hotels with Discounts
Several San Francisco hotels offer great discounts to special groups. You can save a significant amount on your rate at the following establishments.
The Comfort Inn by the Bay rewards AAA and AARP members with discounts on most bookings. Present your AAA card for up to 25 percent off your stay. AARP discounted rates vary and are subject to availability.
Hilton San Francisco Union Square also offers a 5 percent discount to AAA, AARP, and CAA members. In addition, AAA and CAA members can take advantage of the Hilton's Family Fun Package. In addition to the discount, families can enjoy a complimentary breakfast for four and premium Wi-Fi access. Active and retired military service people and their families can save even more with 10 percent off stays at this hotel.
If you're traveling with a group, several San Francisco hotels will offer you a discount. Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf, Hyatt Regency San Francisco, and The Kimpton Buchanan will happily negotiate a special discounted rate for large parties.
Best Value Options in San Francisco
To make your dollar go further, consider boutique hotels outside the city center. These hotels tend to be more affordable than comparable chain hotels and come with some interesting extras. Many are steeped in history, with features that will make your stay more memorable.
For example, Nob Hill Inn is a restored Victorian townhouse in San Francisco's upmarket Nob Hill neighborhood. Rooms start from a little more than $100 and feature four-poster beds, wood furniture, complimentary breakfasts, and tea and sherry in the parlor every evening.
The Inn on Castro, in San Francisco's colorful Castro neighborhood, is another value-packed option. The inn features just eight rooms, so personalized service is guaranteed. Each room is decked out with bright walls and modern art. The free breakfast each morning is generous, and the living room with a fireplace is the ideal place to unwind. Make your dollar go further by choosing a room with a shared bath.
Enjoy authenticity in the historic Japantown area when you stay at Hotel Kabuki. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling shoji screens, and the bathrooms have separate washing and soaking stations. Relax by the hotel's koi pond, and enjoy free Japanese tea service, on request, from Wednesday to Sunday. Your accommodation also includes complimentary entry to the Kabuki Springs & Spa two blocks away. Double rooms cost a little more than $100 a night.
For something a little closer to downtown, try the Herbert Hotel. It's another antique building, although extensive renovations make it feel much more modern. Its rooms are small but functional, with a chic minimalist style that should appeal to contemporary travelers. Double- and triple-adjoining guest rooms are ideal for families. The Herbert Hotel's location on the Powell Street cable car line, just off Union Square, should attract anyone who wants to stay near San Francisco's most popular attractions.
Getting Around San Francisco
San Francisco is a very tourist-friendly city that's easy for everyone to navigate. Don't bother renting a car; there are more scenic and affordable ways to get around this California city. On arrival, the Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter rail will take you from the San Francisco International Airport to the heart of the city.
San Francisco's neighborhoods are very flat and compact, with many tourist attractions within walking distance of the city center, so you might simply want to get around on foot.
When traveling further afield or after dark, most tourists prefer to use public transport. The Municipal Transportation System, dubbed the Muni, operates buses, streetcars, and San Francisco's famous cable cars. If you're making several trips, a Muni Passport, which offers unlimited rides for one-, three-, or seven-day periods is great value. A ferry ride is a scenic way to travel between Market Street or Fisherman's Wharf and the nearby communities of Sausalito, Tiburon, and Larkspur. Children and seniors are eligible for discounts on all local public transport.
San Francisco, California, is a diverse city with excellent hotel options for everyone from frugal travelers to luxury lovers. Do your research before arrival, and book early to secure the best rate on your San Francisco stay.
Travel overview of San Francisco, CA
San Francisco may be small with a land area of just 49 square miles but its amenities make the city larger than life. Whether you are a cultural traveler, a thrill-seeking adventurer or merely looking for a place where you can indulge yourself, nothing will beat SF. It has the perfect balance of contemporary conveniences and historical districts, making it a must-visit town. It houses the world famous landmarks like Golden Gate Bridge and Mission Dolores. Take a cable car ride, which is the country's only national historic landmark that moves, at the Fisherman's Wharf. Art lovers will feast in Fort Mason Center where museums and art galleries showcase Italian, African-American and Mexican art. If you want some action, the Golden Gate Park is the place to be. Play tennis, go hiking, hit the Stow Lake with paddleboats or ride your way to the beach. At the end of the day, savor the moments while you are being pampered in numerous spas around the city. There are plenty of restaurants that will serve you the best of the world's cuisines prepared by no other than famous chefs. With all the city has to offer, it's not surprising that you will be looking forward to your next visit.
'Knowing is not enough, we MUST apply.
Thinking is not enough, we MUST do!'
These words of wisdom are often attributed to Bruce Lee, a famed MMA expert and global superstar, who was born and raised in the mean streets of Chinatown, San Francisco.
The city of San Francisco is known by many names, from the City by the Bay of Pacific to the City that Knows. As far as its historic heritage is concerned, it was also among the first west coast cities to be inhabited by European settlers.
For tourists, of course, the permanently itched global image of San Francisco is that of the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge entrapped from below in a shroud of thick fog that creates a mesmerizing visual. San Francisco has also featured in a number of popular movies, from Rain Man to 500 Days of Summer.
So, if you are planning on making a trip down to this city of immense warmth, you need first be congratulated on your fine taste in tourism. Next comes looking for hotels in San Francisco, and that is exactly the point of this write up.
Budget Hotels in San Francisco
San Francisco is among the most neatly planned and developed cities in the United States, ranking much higher than big players like New York City and Los Angeles. Somehow, San Francisco has managed to maintain that look of dignity, morality and most of all, education that other big cities in the US seem to lack. It comes as a no surprise then, when one learns that San Francisco regularly ranks in the top 5 places in the lists of best cities in the world to live, or the happiest cities in the world.
With all those accolades, however, come prices to pay. And that's no metaphor. San Francisco also happens to be among the most expensive American cities to live in, and hence, finding cheap hotels here can be a mammoth ask.
But if one still has to put their mind to it, there are certain San Francisco hotels that can be squeezed into this category, albeit with extra liberties being taken while defining what 'cheap' really means.
Among all the potential candidates, however, one hotel consistently stands up to the tall expectations of global tourists, Nob Hill Inn. It is a restored property (a former townhouse, built over a century ago) that still evokes the charms of the early 20th century. Moreover, it's located very conveniently from tourism point of view and doesn't cost a lot in comparison with other hotels in San Francisco.
Grant Plaza Hotel is another perfect hotel for those who do not wish to spend a lot on accommodations. Touchstone Hotel and San Remo are another similar establishments that have been in operation for over four decades.
Letting it Loose in SF
It's easy, when you look at it in a liberal sense of opinion, to spend a lot and live in luxury, if you have enough budget available.
And if you are willing to spend, San Francisco will open her arms wide open for you, as there are over four dozen top-notch luxury hotel and establishments that embezzle the neighborhoods of this city.
Among these, Lowes Regency is a supreme hotel that incorporates luxury and convenience (at a formidable price, though). Another property that luxury hotel lovers can find worth a visit is the Omni San Francisco Hotel. Located in the heart of the downtown, Omni is a perfect blend of luxury, style and elegance. Hyatt has made their mark in this beautiful city with the royal Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf that allows its guests to wake up to beautiful vast expanses of San Francisco Bay, and spend their evenings in the surreal company of Pacific sunset.
San Francisco Tourist Attractions
As mentioned earlier, San Francisco tourist attractions list just aren't complete without a mention of the Golden Gate Bridge. This imposing feat of architecture and engineering has come to define the city that San Francisco has shaped up to be in last one hundred years.
Among other things to see in San Francisco, the Exploratorium takes the top place. It's a lot more fun than most other museums you will ever visit, and a trip there makes for some quality family time, especially if you are taking your children along. Another unmissable place in San Francisco is the famous AT&T Ball Park that has witnessed some truly historic moments in the game that America fondly calls their own.
San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Park are worth a visit, preferably early in the day, as it can get really humid out there past noon.
For pop culture lover, a trip to Alcatraz Island can be a great memory, particularly because of all the hype that has always surrounded this place.
Finding Hotels Near SFO
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is a busy airport that acts as a central operational base for United Airlines. It is one of the busiest airports in the country and handles visitor traffic in excess of 50 million every year.
Tourists from Europe, Asia and Oceania often arrive in San Francisco via SFO. The airport is located at a short distance (approx. 15 miles) from the city space and hence, is easily reachable via road. Many buses operate with good frequency, shuttling passengers to and fro between the airport and the downtown San Francisco.
Finding cheap hotels along this way is not really a good prospect, as there aren't too many establishments present in this stretch.
Local Transport in San Francisco
The best way to travel in and around San Francisco is to hire a private cab for the day, or rent a car and drive it around yourself. If you are a foreign national, you are best advised to hire an experienced cab driver and a local guide to show you around. Most San Francisco hotels do arrange for cabs and guides at a nominal fee.
In essence, San Francisco is a city that's best enjoyed, rather than merely visited!