San Francisco is hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Balancing its hippie roots with its modern, techie scene, it’s a fantastic and energetic place bursting with history and tons of delicious food. It also has tons of breathtaking sceneries and architecture! Artsy, eclectic, stunning, San Francisco is many things. But one thing it isn’t is cheap! If you want to keep costs down, you should look for the best hostels in San Francisco CA, or else your wallet will be empty before you know it. The good thing is, San Francisco has a growing hostel scene, so you won’t have a hard time finding budget-friendly accommodation. Today, we’re going to show you some of the best low-cost hostels that can make your trip a pleasant one. From the best hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf to the hostels in San Francisco Bay Area, here are our top picks!
Table of contents
- European Hostel
- ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
- Green Tortoise Hostel
- Amsterdam Hostel
- Orange Village Hostel
- Music City Hotel – Home of the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame
- Adelaide Hostel
- HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel
- Samesun San Francisco
- Ansonia Hotel San Francisco
- HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel
- Where to Stay in San Francisco
- Recommended Restaurants / Bars in San Francisco
- Recommended Activities in San Francisco
Let’s kick off this list with one of the most affordable hostels in San Francisco CA, the European Hostel. This simple but comfy accommodation is set only a couple blocks away from Union Square and all the shopping malls as well as restaurants. Meanwhile, less than a five-minute walk are the Asian Art Museum, the City Hall, and the Symphony Hall. Can’t walk too far? Relax, as the subway and bus stops are only a stone’s throw away from the hostel. Are you searching for the best hostels in San Francisco with parking? Congrats! You can park your vehicle at this hostel for free!
Depending on the room you get, the dorm room can accommodate up to 8 people. The dorm rooms aren’t the biggest, but we appreciate how clean and comfy they are. There are also private rooms, which are perfect for those who dare to spend a few extra dollars and want some privacy. As with other hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, this hostel boasts a shared kitchen so you can learn new recipes from fellow travelers. There’s also a sun terrace, free Wi-Fi, and a shared lounge area. Don’t forget to join the hostel’s activities like walking tours and pub crawls.
ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
Our next pick is the ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel. Considered one of the best hostels in San Francisco CA, this independent hostel offers many free perks for budget travelers, including ramen, and is community-focused! Plus, the staff are extremely friendly and make sure the hostel is always a delightfully sociable experience. They’ll also help you organize events like pub crawls and trivia nights, so it’s more than easy to meet new people. Not to mention, the hostel is near the subway so getting around is nothing but a breeze.
With a shared lounge and kitchen, plus a continental breakfast, there’s a homey feel to this affordable hostel. The beds are surprisingly comfortable, and they don’t shake! Apart from that, there are also free earplugs and free Wi-Fi (duh!). We love the laid-back vibe of each room, which is perfect for backpackers and solo travelers. When you have the time, step outside and you’ll be surrounded by some of the city’s best parks, bars, and restaurants!
Green Tortoise Hostel
The Green Tortoise Hostel is easily one of the best hostels in San Francisco CA! This family-run hostel holds free communal dinners three times each week, perfect for getting to know your fellow travelers over a good feed. Speaking of which, there’s also a shared kitchen where you can whip up your culinary masterpieces too! Oh, breakfast is included each morning to knock any hangovers into touch. Apart from free food, there’s also free Wi-Fi, free luggage storage, a free map, and, best of all, a free sauna! This hostel sure knows how to pamper guests without breaking their wallets.
Set in the historic North Beach, this hostel is only a few steps to San Francisco favorites like Chinatown and Little Italy. It’s also just a quick walk away to Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. After participating in the hostel’s nightly activity, such as Pub Crawl or Beer Olympics, you can get comfortable in the funky dorm or cozy private room. If you have the time, you can also check out the tours offered by the hostel at the front desk. They’re seriously worth joining.
Welcome to the Amsterdam Hostel, one of the best hostels in San Francisco CA. This beautiful property features abundant common space great for meeting other travelers and group gatherings. One of our favorite amenities is the shared kitchen and dining area, where you can cook a delicious meal and share it with other fellow travelers. This hostel also boasts a spacious terrace, a mini cinema, and an on-site internet cafe to make sure you enjoy your stay. Aside from that, there are also heaps of handy freebies, including Wi-Fi, round-the-clock tea and coffee, as well as luggage storage.
With plenty of opportunities to work, rest and play, this is arguably among the best hostels in San Francisco CA, for digital nomads. It’s an excellent alternative if the business hotels in San Francisco are too pricey. Once you’ve hit those deadlines, feel free to grab a city map and hop on a rented bike to explore San Francisco! This hostel is only three blocks off Union Square, San Francisco’s central location and home to great shopping, famous restaurants and bards, and many of the city’s best sights. Oh, don’t forget to come back on time to join the pub crawl!
Orange Village Hostel
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the Orange Village Hostel is a wonderful place to stay for travelers looking for a budget-friendly, community stay. It’s one of the cheapest hostels in San Francisco CA! This hostel is conveniently situated within walking distance of San Francisco’s major metropolitan area, known for Union Square, unique boutiques, and one of the world’s premier shopping districts. Apart from that, we also love how friendly the staff is. They’re available 24 hours a day, and you can go to them whenever you need any help or have any questions.
There are a variety of rooms available in this hostel, from shared dormitory rooms to private bedrooms. Like other hostels in San Francisco Bay Area, the dorm rooms are equipped with bunk beds and twin-size mattresses. Bed linens, blankets, pillows, and small towels are provided for free. Meanwhile, backpack-sized lockers are also available in all rooms for securing your belongings. But if you’re willing to spend a bit more for extra privacy, you can opt for the private bedroom instead. It comes with a cable TV, small fridge, microwave, electric fan, and basic toiletries. Other amenities include a shared kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and discounted tours.
Music City Hotel – Home of the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame
A tribute to the iconic musical history of the Bay Area, this music-themed hostel is much loved amongst artists and creative travelers alike. There’s nothing like the Music City Hotel – Home of the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame. Here, you can jam in your room or in a music studio that’s free to use for hostel guests. You can also choose a free loaner instrument to be delivered to your room! There are dorm rooms and private rooms in this hostel, and both of them are comfy. The dorms can accommodate up to six people at once, and they’re the perfect place to make new friends. Some even come with private bathrooms.
Like other hostels in San Francisco Bay Area, dozens of varied and excellent food, beverage, and entertainment options are all within steps of this hostel. Tourist attractions and neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Union Square, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Mission District are only a short ride away! If you’re too tired to leave the hotel, you can admire the on-site art galleries. Don’t forget to connect your phone to the free Wi-Fi so you can upload the beautiful arts to your socials!
The Adelaide Hostel is one of the quieter and more laid-back hostels in San Francisco CA. This hostel is on a side street just two blocks from Downtown. That way, you can get the convenience of being centrally located without all the noise. On top of that, the staff here are fantastic too, and they can help you make the most of your trip. You can ask them about tours, bike rentals, and more. Want to visit Union Square? Perfect! This hostel is only a five-minute walk from it! Other nearby attractions include Geary Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Oracle Park, Pier 39, Golden Gate Bridge, and more.
This hostel is a cozy haven for weary travelers that love freebies. Here, you’ll have complimentary breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free luggage storage. What a deal! There are also free meals throughout the week, so connecting with other travelers is easy. If you want to cook your favorite meal, you can do it in the fully-equipped kitchen. The bedroom is pretty spacious, and the bed is surprisingly comfy. There are privacy curtains too, so you can get a decent night’s sleep, something that we appreciate.
HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel
If you love the hostels in San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll also love this waterfront hostel. As one of the best hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, this hostel is sure going to give you a memorable trip. The HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel is surrounded by National Park and San Francisco Bay on the other. Step outside of the hostel, and you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is one of the top tourist attractions in the US. Then, you can take an easy stroll to nearby Pier 39 or the posh Marina district. To explore the rest of San Francisco, simply hop on a MUNI bus. Or, you can join in on free or cheap hostel activities like pub crawls, walking tours, and museum visits.
However, if you want to relax at the hostel, that’s okay too! Here, you can relax on the sun deck, watch a movie in the theater-style cinema room, or curl up in front of the gas stove in its cozy communal lounge. Like other hostels in San Francisco Bay Area, this one also offers complimentary continental breakfast, including organic fruit and fair-trade coffee at the on-site Cafe Franco. Later in the day, it serves homemade, organic lunch and dinner specials. If you prefer to cook your meals, a nearby supermarket makes it easy to take advantage of the hostel’s shared kitchen. Are you looking for hostels in San Francisco with parking? You’re looking at it! Even better, the parking is free!
Samesun San Francisco
Well located in the Marina District, the Samesun San Francisco is only a short walk away from Fisherman’s Wharf, making it one of the top hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf. This means you can have fun sampling some world-famous sourdough bread and fresh seafood. Then, hop on a cable car to Union Square to find some souvenirs for your pals. After that, walk back through Chinatown, visiting the home of the fortune cookie and continuing into North Beach, San Francisco’s Little Italy, and the home of the Beat Generation. Staying at this two-star hostel means you’ll never run out of exciting things to do in San Francisco.
Back to the hostel, it boasts spacious dorms as well as private rooms. They feature large en suite bathrooms, and many of them offer balconies too, where you can start your morning enjoying the sun. Each room has an air conditioner for your comfort, and we love how plush the bed is. Of course, free Wi-Fi is available on-site so that you can stay in touch with your close friends. Want to make new friends? Grab some drinks from the vending machine and socialize at the shared lounge area! Other notable amenities include a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage. Lastly, this is one of those hostels in San Francisco with parking!
Ansonia Hotel San Francisco
The myriad facilities and freebies at the Ansonia Hotel San Francisco make it one of the best hostels in San Francisco CA. It may be a bit pricier than other hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, but the complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, walking tour, luggage storage, and discounted tours save you way more in the long run! Even better, this San Francisco hotel is only a five-minute walk away from Union Square. Besides, staying here also means you’ll have easy access to buses and cable cars.
We’re not joking when we say that this hostel is one of the coolest! Whether you want to relax and chill or be a social butterfly and mingle, this hostel caters to all. Here, you won’t just find a shared kitchen, dining, area, and lounge, as there’s also a yoga room where you can sweat it out with other travelers! Meanwhile, dorms have lockers, and the pod beds provide plenty of privacy when it’s time to get some shut-eye. The maximum dorm size is four people, which massively reduces the chances of being stuck with a snorer!
HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel
Are you looking to meet fellow travelers? The HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Francisco CA that allow you to do so! This hostel is perfect for solo travelers with both single-gender dorms and mixed rooms. It’s housed in a renovated 1900s hotel building and has retained much of the impressive grandeur. We love this accommodation compared to other hostels in San Francisco CA, because it offers complimentary breakfast, which is superb for budget travelers. Apart from that, there are also discounted airport shuttles and discounted activities such as pub crawls and walking tours. That way, you can enjoy San Francisco without making yourself broke!
Furthermore, each spacious room in this hostel has large windows and is decorated in cool tones and modern furnishings. The bed is surprisingly comfy, and there’s a lot of storage space so you can lock your stuff up and keep it safe at all times. Some rooms even have an en suite bathroom! Love to cook? You’ll be thrilled to know that there’s a fully-equipped shared kitchen too! Of course, free Wi-Fi is available on-site, and laundrette is also present.
Where to Stay in San Francisco
For first-timers, we recommend staying around Union Square. With its central location, it has a wide variety of options for accommodation, including affordable ones. There are also tons of restaurants and shops. Staying here means it’s easy to get to other parts of the city as you can use BART and the bus system.
Another great neighborhood that you can consider is South of Market or SoMa. It’s one of the best places to stay in San Francisco if you’re on a budget. Many hostels are located in this area, and it’s also close to Union Square. Trendy and diverse, this large neighborhood is home to a variety of attractions and leisure options.
Up next is Fisherman’s Wharf. There are many hostels in San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf worth staying in, and many of the city’s popular attractions are around this area. Here, you can take a stroll on the pier, check out the local sea lions, watch street performers, and many more. Plus, this area has fresh seafood available almost right on your doorstep.
Lastly, you can stay in the Mission district. You’ll love staying here if your idea of an ideal night out is getting right into the local scene and hopping between cheap and cheerful dive bars. It’s one of San Francisco’s edgier districts, perfect for those who enjoy the nightlife.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in San Francisco
- Rooster & Rice – This restaurant is many people’s go-to place for something yummy and cheap. The men here is short and sweet, and the star attraction is the Thai poached chicken and rice dish known as Khao Mun Gai. It comes with a generous portion of chicken, chicken fat-infused rice, a side of broth, and a tangy-savory dipping sauce! There are vegetarian meals too!
- Hot Sauce and Panko – This popular wing-slinger is a takeout and delivery-only restaurant, with a retail shop selling hot sauce for when you pick of your wings. These are some of the most flavorful wings in town, available in a range of internationally-inspired sweet, savory, and spicy varieties.
- Angel Cafe & Deli – Here, you can sit, hear the vibrancy of the city, and feel the sun on your face as you eat a cheap but yummy breakfast. Best of all, there’s nothing on the menu above 10USD!
Recommended Activities in San Francisco
- San Francisco: Golden Gate Bay Cruise – Sail along San Francisco’s breathtaking waterfront, under the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and around notorious Alcatraz Island. You’ll also have the chance to discover the city’s history via an award-winning audio commentary!
- San Francisco Hop-On Hop-Off: Classic, Premium, or Deluxe – Have fun seeing the sights of San Francisco at your own pace from the top deck of a double decker, hop-on hop-off bus! You can choose from a Classic, Premium, or Deluxe ticket and marvel at the city’s amazing monuments.
- Aquarium of the Bay: General Admission Tickets – Explore the magic and beauty of San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay! You’ll get access to the three main exhibit halls, showcasing the rich marine life that live beneath the surface of San Francisco Bay and its surrounding waters.