The Best Cheap Hotels and Hostels to Book Near Downtown San Francisco

Stay in a revamped traditional Edwardian building in the hip Mission District at 1906 Mission
Stay in a revamped traditional Edwardian building in the hip Mission District at 1906 Mission | Courtesy of 1906 Mission / Expedia
Photo of Judy Cogan
27 October 2021

San Francisco is not known for its affordability, but there are great deals to be found – even right in the center of the city. Downtown is close to buzzy locations such as Union Square, Coit Tower and the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. Try one of these pocket-friendly hotels and hostels nearby – now bookable on Culture Trip.

Ansonia Hotel, for Art Deco digs near Union Square

Ansonia Hotel lounge with grey and brown banquette seating and funky word art on the walls
Courtesy of Ansonia Hotel / Expedia
Everyone will love the location of this charming downtown hotel in San Francisco, a hop, skip and jump from Union Square. It’s also less than 10 minutes on foot from attractions such as the Regency Ballroom, Nob Hill’s Grace Cathedral and, for speedy hill walkers, the Cable Car Museum. There’s something for everyone, from four-person dorms with privacy pods, which include a handy reading light and privacy screen, to doubles, but everyone can enjoy the shared kitchen and spacious foosball lounge.

Music City Hotel – Home of the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame, for rock 'n' roll rooms near Haight Ashbury District

Music City Hotel and Hostel's Summer of Love suite with black, red and silver decor and a kitchenette
Courtesy of Music City Hotel and Hostel /
A music-themed hotel you say? Living up to its name, this brightly colored joint has a Janis Joplin room and a Summer of Love suite with a kitchenette. Not your bag? Pick the Green Day, Metallica and Grateful Dead rooms with rock memorabilia and queen beds. The SF Music Hall of Fame features 75 iconic artists photographed by former Rolling Stone photographer Robert Altman. The hostel section features cosy bunks. Check out the recording/jamming studio.

Cow Hollow Motor Inn, for home comfort near the Marina District

Cow Hollow Inn room in muted tones, oak furniture and carpeted floors with bay window
Courtesy of Cow Hollow Inn / Expedia
This homey Victorian-style hotel in San Francisco offers comforting rooms bathed in muted tones, oak furniture and hardwood floors with colorful rungs on Lombard Street, close to the waterfront. Equidistant from the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll be a skip and a hop from the Palace of Fine Arts and Chinatown and an easy stroll from the top-notch bars and restaurants peddling pasta, seafood and nifty nightcaps.

Signature San Francisco, for retro-modern near the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Signature San Francisco room with two double beds and brightly patterned feature wall
Courtesy of Signature San Francisco / Expedia
If you like the blend of classic Americana combined with mid-century modern, you’ll love the bursts of bold color and framed pop art (Prince features heavily) at this light, bright San Francisco hotel. Cozy doubles to family-sized with a king and bunks blend bold-colored buttoned sofas with woody accents and voice-activated Aavgo tablets. Youthful staff will happily help plan your stay from your base in the SoMa district, near the Mission. Neighborhood restaurants offer up every nationality, from Thai curry to Swiss fondue. A delicious breakfast is included.

1906 Mission, for eco-chic near Golden Gate Park

1906 Mission's breakfast lounge with wood banquettes and wood floors
Courtesy of 1906 Mission / Expedia
Built following the Great Earthquake of 1906, from the outside this powder-blue hotel appears to be a charming Mrs. Doubtfire-style building in the hip Mission District. Inside, you’ll find a calm sanctuary away from city noise: with quiet lounge areas and a peaceful patio. Seriously comfy beds aid sleep in light, modern, whitewashed rooms. Green initiatives include energy-efficient lighting, eco-friendly slippers and shared bathrooms with green toiletries. The continental breakfast kick starts a day of hilly pavement pounding.

The Grove Inn, for near refined relaxation near the Painted Ladies

Exterior of Victorian Grove Inn with wood siding facade on sloping street
Courtesy of the Grove Inn / Expedia
Sitting snugly on a quiet residential street, this family-owned Victorian property in San Francisco gives off the vibes of a nice and wealthy aunt’s home. You’ll be made to feel comfortable and welcome from the moment you check into standard queens, kings or a glorious suite. All rooms are spotless with luxury bedding, free snacks and private bathrooms. You’re around the corner from Alamo Square and the iconic Painted Ladies as well as quaint little bars and locally loved neighborhood restaurants.

Chloe Byrne and K Santos contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on October 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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