A huge part of what makes San Francisco so rad is it’s many colorful and unique neighborhoods.
Every few city blocks the scene seems to change, sometimes just slightly and in some cases drastically. Even if you’re not too familiar with the city, you may have heard people talk about “Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pacific Heights, the Castro,” so on and so forth.
Those are all names of various neighborhoods within the city. For being a rather small city, square mileage speaking, there sure a ton of different places to stay.
Planning a trip to San Francisco begs the question – where should we stay?
Let us give you a few insider tips regarding this dilemma.
Check out our – where to stay in San Francisco – guide
Fisherman’s Wharf has the pros of being right by the bay, close to those super cute seals, tons of maritime history to explore and is within easy walking distance of ferries to and from Alcatraz and other similar excursions. Unfortunately, Fisherman’s Wharf also has some serious cons. It’s hugely trafficked by tourists. Of course there’s nothing wrong with tourists, we love our tourists! But Fisherman’s Wharf gets particularly crowded during the day making it feel a bit chaotic and claustrophobic at times. At night the Wharf seems to empty out, making it feel a bit eerie to walk around. There aren’t as many readily accessible public transportation hubs here either.
This is hands down the best neighborhood to stay in if you’re a foodie, and intend on doing all foodie things during your trip. SoMa stands for South of Market, Market being a particularly long diagonal street. Right now the dining scene here is at the top of its game. It’s had an influx of new establishments, many of which are very innovative and unique. SOMA is also quite close to Union Square and the Mission District. If either of those neighborhoods interest you, you could easily get to them, or even stay in those areas and then traverse over to SOMA.
Perched up high on a hill, hence the name, Nob Hill provides spectacular views – which is the big pro here. The big con is that it’s perched on top of a hill – meaning walking anywhere involves more than minor exercise, particularly when making your way back up to your hotel. It’s slightly secluded from the neighborhoods featuring dense dining options, and from public transit. Keep in mind – San Francisco is small and dense so nothing is that far away. But there are neighborhoods that offer convenience on many levels, Nob Hill isn’t one of them, but it is extraordinarily pretty.
The Marina is a more young and lively neighborhood these days. Pro’s being that it has plenty in the way of nightlife, it’s close to the pretty marina which is stocked with picturesque sailboats. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from the marina, another pro. Cons – many of the hotels are glorified 1950, and later, motor inns. Some have been updated, but there are few options in this neighborhood. Another con – the Marina isn’t centrally located within the city itself, but it does have a fair amount of public transit hubs.
One of the more iconic neighborhoods, Union Square features the main city plaza, as well as the most designer and brand name shopping in the city. Before we get into the pros, let’s start with the cons. Cons of the staying in Union Square – parking. There really aren’t any other cons other than parking. Because Union Square is so popular, space is in high demand, which is why the parking expenses, especially overnight, are rather high. Now let’s get into the pros: central to everything – plenty of dining, shopping and culture (i.e. museums). There are lots of people out at a night creating a fun and exciting ambiance, not to mention a general feeling of safety. All of the major public transit lines have hubs in Union Square – Muni, Bart, the Cable Cars, etc.
So what then is the exact conclusions on the subject of where to stay in San Francisco? Not that we’re biased or anything, but the top choice is Union Square. If you don’t stay in Union Square will you still have a lovely trip? Yes, probably, we hope so.
We’re just messing around, of course you’ll have a wonderful trip no matter what because San Francisco is incredible. Staying in Union Square is just the cherry on top. If you want to add some sprinkles to that cherry, then you should stay at Hotel Zelos San Francisco.
Because Hotel Zelos is not only located in Union Square, but it also happens to have a urban chic ambiance and is located in a quintessential classical San Francisco building. Let’s add in that the hotel is staffed by a team of spectacular locals who know the ins and out of the city, and are more than willing to go the distance to help make your stay marvelous! Hopefully we’ve convinced you, but if you’ve still got a question or two, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Stay cool this Summer, and always travel safe!
Check out the Dirty Habit (located at Hotel Zelos) for Happy Hour!