Where to stay in San Francisco: the best areas and neighborhoods

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Do you know Where to stay in San Francisco? If you choose one, we advise you to choose Union Square, Marina District, Russian Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, North Castro, the Financial District or SOMA. We explain why? San Francisco is one of the largest cities in California in the United States. The population arose around the Mission of San Francisco de Asís, hence the name.

The Gold Rush of 1848 and the San Francisco Earthquake were two turning points in its history that the city knew fit to grow and to resurrect from its rubble. The city of San Francisco was founded at the bottom of its closed bay because of the advantages it offered for navigation. Keep reading: 21 tricks for traveling cheap: How to go around the world spending little?

The hills, which form an urban landscape so characteristic of this great Californian city, were also a point in favor of the defense at a time when the western lands of the United States were frontier.

If the primitive San Francisco was based on seven hills – like Rome – the 44 hills that serve today as support for its urban layout represents a challenge for its citizens, for transportation, for services and for those who visit it. Although it must be said, they have their charm. Paradoxically, the roller coasters that make up their street style have become a tourist attraction.

According to welfare statistics, San Francisco is the second city in the United States for the quality of life after Honolulu in Hawaii. Something that does not say much, because it says it all.

Where to stay in San Francisco?

Where to stay in San Francisco

Union Square, Marina District, Russian Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, North Castro, the Financial District and SOMA share the cake of the great attractions of the city of San Francisco, and we choose them as the best neighborhoods to stay in San Francisco.

Each one with its environment, with its history, with its unique offers. Districts offer very varied accommodations and experiences to choose alone, as a couple, with friends or as a family.

The Financial District area is perfect for sleeping in San Francisco on a business trip, the Union Square area in the downtown area has a great and varied offer to stay, being the center of everything. In the Marina District, the hotels are all grouped in practically the main avenue, is easy to find lodging.

For its part, the SOMA, Chinatown, North Beach and Haight-Ashbury areas are ideal for those who seek to stay in dynamic, dynamic neighborhoods, to integrate with San Franciscans during their stay or simply because they are fashionable.

Note that in the SOMA and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is where you can find the largest varieties of places to sleep in San Francisco, at all levels.

Set to discover this extraordinary Californian city, these are the key districts of San Francisco to stay in San Francisco. Let’s know Where to stay in San Francisco one by one:

  1. Union Square

union square san francisco

Union Square in downtown San Francisco, the zero kilometers of the city, a preferred environment to be the historic center of San Francisco. It is formed by the square of the same name and the avenues and immediate streets around it.

The large square is just over one hectare in size and is located in the northeast center of San Francisco, just over a kilometer from the El Embarcadero area and the seafront. Between the districts of Chinatown and the Financial District.

In Union Square, you can find hotels to stay in San Francisco at a wide range of prices, especially those that are accommodated in the side streets of Union Square Sutter Street, Powell Street, Post Street or Grant Avenue. There is a lot to choose from.

A perfect urban ecosystem also to find restaurants thematic and cuisines from all over the world and shops to buy souvenirs to the west coast of the United States. Hairdressers, luxury boutiques, art galleries and department stores abound.

The name of Union Square comes to the place because it was the point at which the supporters of the Union met during the American Civil War. For that reason, the plaza was declared a Historical Monument of California. Union Square, as the main urban center, is an area very well connected with the city’s transport.

  1. Marina District

marina district san francisco

Marina District is a small neighborhood located north of downtown San Francisco. It was the place chosen for the Universal Exhibition of San Francisco in 1915 with which the city wanted to send the world a message; it’s decided commitment to be reborn after the earthquake of 1906.

The district sits on land reclaimed from the sea, and its waterfront is the Yacht Harbor, the yacht harbor, and the East Harbor. Marina District is one of the most expensive and exclusive neighborhoods in San Francisco.

It is an area of expensive hotels but, a few, only a few, have prices in an acceptable average range to stay in San Francisco and enjoy the city independently (you have to find those hotels). In any case, as mentioned, all the hotels are grouped in the same area.

Marina District has incredible views of the Golden Gate Bridge and walking to it is one of the recommended walks in the area (on foot or by bicycle) especially when the weather is nice. Marina Boulevard, Fillmore Street, and Cervantes Street are the streets where you can find boutiques, souvenir shops, and restaurants.

The best restaurants, those that offer terraces at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. In any of them, you have to dare to ask for sourdough bread, bread with a sour taste very characteristic of the city. It goes well as a snack for mid-morning.

The bus lines guarantee mobility and connect the Marina District with the other districts of the San Francisco Bay. The bus lines that pass through Marina District are 80 and 22 (red), 51A and C (green). There is also a BART stop, a rapid subway system that crosses the bay.

  1. Russian Hill

Russian Hill san francisco

Russian Hill is a neighborhood also located north of San Francisco, just at the entrance to the bay and within walking distance of Fisherman’s Warf, North Beach, attached to Chinatown and a stone’s throw from the water in the Embarcadero area.

It is a neighborhood lined, like almost all, cut square by the rectilinear streets system. The name of Russian Hill comes to the place of a cemetery that found the first settlers that settled in this part of California and that was the burial place of the sailors of the Russian whalers who died in the fishing seasons at sea.

A plaque placed by the Russian Government on Vallejo Street reminds us of the location of the cemetery that has now disappeared. With the passage of time, Russian Hill has become one of the most elegant neighborhoods in the city of San Francisco.

The views from its heights of the city are exceptional and more if you take the cable car that goes to Hyde Street. The cafes, restaurants, boutiques and antique shops that are spread across Polk Street or Columbus Avenue, the main streets of Russian Hill, give the neighborhood a European and bohemian touch reminiscent of those who visit the district.

But the most popular attraction in the area is Lombard Street, a meandering street, very iconic, seen in hundreds of movies and television series. It is said to be the most inclined street in the world.

This peculiar street was created in 1922 to overcome the slope of 27º of the slope. The worst, the queue formed every day to go down on an evocative journey in the middle of vintage homes.

It is recommended to see Rivera’s paintings at the Art Institute of San Francisco (800 Chestnut Street), the Ina Coolbrith Park, a small but charming urban park (between Vallejo and Taylor streets).

Columbus Avenue is a typical place to eat and to find places for nightlife. In its best restaurants, you have to order the typical dishes of San Francisco based on crab: Dungeness crabs (boiled crabs) or crab cioppino (crab soup).

Getting around on Russian Hill is easy with the city bus system. The key lines are 45 (to Safeway and Whole Foods Market), 28 (to Crissy Field) and 73 (to Oakland Airport). There is a quick BART metro stop to cross to the other side of the bay and beyond.

  1. Chinatown

chinatown san francisco

Chinatown, the Chinatown of San Francisco, is the oldest in North America and one of the largest Chinese communities outside the Asian country. The neighborhood began to be built in the 1840s and today is a very important tourist attraction for the Californian city.

The district occupies an area of about two square kilometers between Montgomery Streets, Columbus Avenue and the Financial District to the east, and Union Street and North Beach to the north. To the southeast, Chinatown is bounded by Bush Street and Union Square.

The neighborhood is dominated by narrow streets, for that reason, the few free zones are outstanding places to meet. That is the case of Portsmouth Square where you can see many neighbors practice tai-chi and older people playing chess.

On what to see in Chinatown, a stop to take a picture at the famous Dragon Gate is a must. Three references: on Stockton Street, the oriental atmosphere is even more striking, do not miss the night market of the neighborhood, or, of course, the Museum of the Chinese Historical Society of America that tells in a very reliable the historical process who lived the Chinese communities in San Francisco and California.

Chinatown is a preferred place that should be on the roadmap for those who want to make original purchases in San Francisco. The neighborhood is very well connected to the city’s combined transport system, which, on the other hand, is accessible for people with reduced mobility.

  1. Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf san francisco

Fisherman’s Warf is the waterfront of the North Beach neighborhood. It is a district formed by a few blocks also on the edge of the entrance to the bay of San Francisco, north of the historic center of the city. The neighborhood runs from Ghirardelli Square and the Van Ness Avenue area east to Pier 35 and the surroundings of Kearny Street.

It is a very, very tourist area. The highlight of Fisherman’s Wharf is the popular Pier 39. The Pier 39 is a new pier in the area (1978) opened as a shopping center and geared to families with children.

There are shops, restaurants, a Marine Mammal Interpretation Center, and the Bay Aquarium. An unforgettable experience is the direct observation of sea lions, seals and walruses in the vicinity. The views of Angel Island, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge are also part of the natural attraction of the place.

In the cafeterias or the restaurants of Pier 39, you can order the classic It’s-it, a kind of ice-cream sandwich with butter inside it that is all covered in chocolate. A delicacy And, for the hot days, there is the popsicle, ice pops with a stick of many typical flavors also from San Francisco.

The neighborhood of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 can be reached by bus with line 27 (to and from the Golden Gate), 38 (red) and 80 (green). Also with the BART metro line. However, the experience of reaching Fisherman’s Wharf (with the family) is round if you take the city’s historic tram, the F Market & Wharves.

It is not an environment specially indicated to stay if what is sought is tranquility. But, if it is about staying in San Francisco at the foot of the site of its most popular tourist offer, then the place is perfect.

  1. North Beach

North Beach san francisco

North Beach is the Italian neighborhood of the city of San Francisco. In it, the Italian immigrant population settled since the second half of the 19th century. North Beach is located northeast of the city center, right next to the Chinatown.

A North Beach is also known as Little Italy and is a preferred place to enjoy the nightlife of this Californian city. One of its most outstanding charms is the set of Victorian houses built in the 1920s after the 1906 earthquake.

Very recommendable are the little hotels and the hostels installed in these typical houses, very home-style accommodations that can turn the rooms into unforgettable memories.

Although the population of Italian descent has fallen steadily since the 1980s, the Latino identity in this district is still perceptible. Whether it’s in your shops or your parties like the Father’s Day Parade or the Columbus Day Parade (with tracks from Columbus Avenue to Aquatic Park), two of the most important in San Francisco’s calendar of mass events.

In the neighborhood, a reproduction of the sanctuary of San Francisco de Asís is located. For lovers of culture and books, at 261 Columbus Avenue, is the City Lights Bookstore, a world-famous independent bookstore. Buses on lines 2, 10, 12, 41, 45 and NL connect North Beach with other neighborhoods in the city.

  1. North Castro and Haight-Ashbury

North Castro and Haight-Ashbury

North Castro, in the district of Castro, is located to the southwest of Union Square in the interior of the peninsula in which the old part of San Francisco extends. In North Castro, the foundation of the Franciscan Mission that gave origin to the city is located. It is an architectural spectacle, especially its chapel (between Dolores Street and 16th Street).

In the neighborhood, you must also enjoy the stamp of the Victorian houses that are very representative of the city and that go down -or up- through the steep streets of the district. A place to see them is at the corner of 20th Street and Castro Street.

The community of San Francisco has a space of reference and centers of social activism in the district, between the streets of Market Street and Castro Street and up to 19th Street. The Pink Triangle Park remembers the killed in the Nazi concentration camps In the Second World War.

The name of Castro comes to the neighborhood of Jose Castro (1808-1860), Mexican governor of San Francisco and the firm opponent of the integration of the territory of California in the United States.

The urbanization of this area took place from the year 1887 when the tram in the city extended its network to this space then away from the urban center. The traditional streetcar of San Francisco, the F Market passes through Castro Street and 17th Street, being a perfect way to get to know, get closer to the neighborhood and connect with other areas of the city.

Castro Street Fair, Dyke’s March, Halloween, Pink Saturday and the LGBT International Film Festival of San Francisco are very popular, well-marked events on the city’s calendar that must be taken into account when traveling to San Francisco and they seek to know their culture and participate in a social immersion in this destination.

For its part, not far, just next door, the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is another popular district of San Francisco. Haight-Ashbury is the cradle of the fiftieth beatnik movement. A creative style and countercultural and rebellious life.

Haight-Ashbury is a very suitable area to find accommodation in San Francisco with charm (hostels, apartments or small urban hotels) and at really interesting prices.

  1. Financial District

financial district san francisco

The Financial District is the financial district of the city of San Francisco, popularly known as the ‘FiDi.’ It is located between Union Square and Sacramento Street south of North Beach and Chinatown, opposite El Embarcadero in the northeast of downtown San Francisco.

Financial District was the first port in the San Francisco area during Spanish rule. Support for the nearby colony of Presidio, although the marshy lands gave many problems to those in charge of managing the pier.

In the area of the modern Financial District, the office towers dominate. The tallest buildings are those at 555 California Street, the Transamérica Pyramid (an icon of the city), 101 California Street or the one that stands at 345 California Center.

In them, are the official or territorial seats of banks, finance companies, large real estate, as well as law firms? In the Financial District, some of San Francisco’s most important shopping areas are also located, such as the Crocker Galleria, the Embarcadero Center, the Ferry Building and the Rincon Center complex.

Financial Street is very well connected to the other neighborhoods of the city through its integrated urban transport system (BART, buses 80, 51A, 5R, 31BX, 7, 28, and 54, H or NL, in addition to the classic tram San Francisco).

In the Financial District, you can find luxury hotels but also other accommodations to sleep in San Francisco more modest and even hostels open to all pockets.

  1. SOMA

soma san francisco

SOMA is the acronym for South of Market, another of San Francisco’s popular neighborhoods. Ideal to find cheap accommodation and a variety of formats to put a stone to places to remember in San Francisco.

Also because nearby, on Fourth Street (corner of King Street), the San Francisco Train Station is located, which guarantees total connectivity to any location in California and other states for long rail (or bus) routes.

The SOMA is located northeast of the historic center of the city. In the area, you have to sign up to see the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco and be attentive to its exhibition calendar.

It is also recommended to enjoy the gardens of the Yerba Buena Island, connected with a bridge over the San Francisco Bay. A perfect place to have a family picnic. And if it’s about family and children, the Children’s Creativity Museum allows you to interact with the principles of the sciences (at 221 Fourth Street).

San Francisco is an atypical urban travel destination in the United States, as much as this city is a mixture of cultures, decidedly countercultural, that has the ocean, Asia, and the East as very close horizons. If you like our guideline where to stay in San Francisco, don’t forget to share. You might also read: http://semestatravel.com/2018/05/06/safety-tips-when-traveling/

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