The Best Hostels to Book in San Francisco

An increasing number of affordable, world-class hostels are popping up across San Francisco
An increasing number of affordable, world-class hostels are popping up across San Francisco | © Robert Harding / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of K Santos
10 November 2020

For budget travelers, world-class hostels are all across San Fransisco, from Downtown to Chinatown. Whether you’re after a hyper-social stay with loads of activities on offer or something with a boutique-hotel vibe, here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best hostels in the Golden City.

Green Tortoise Hostel, North Beach

Twin bunk beds with pink sheets at Green Tortoise Hostel
Courtesy of Green Tortoise Hostel /
A party hostel with a computer lounge, a sauna and a 24-hour fully equipped kitchen, the Green Tortoise Hostel is a great place for backpackers and budget-conscious travelers. The family-owned hostel in North Beach is also a great place for solo travelers who want to make some new friends, as it hosts group activities throughout the week, including pub crawls. Dinner – everything from pasta to curry – is available three times a week, and a filling, free daily breakfast includes bagels and eggs.

Amsterdam Hostel San Francisco, Nob Hill

The modern blue exterior of the Amsterdam Hostel with trees and stairs
Courtesy of Amsterdam Hostel San Francisco / Expedia
Steps away from Union Square, Chinatown and the Theater District, the Amsterdam Hostel is convenient if you want to explore on foot. Popular with a young crowd, it has a small terrace, free wifi and movie nights for when you don’t feel like joining the lively pub crawls. The place is older than other hostels in the city, but overall, it’s a great option for anyone on a shoestring budget.

FOUND Hotel San Francisco, Tenderloin

A double room at FOUND Hotel San Francisco with modern furnishings and a work desk
Courtesy of FOUND Hotel San Francisco / Expedia

This hotel offers wallet-friendly shared rooms so that you can have a hostel-style stay with hotel amenities, including free wifi and toiletries. If you’re hungry, you can visit the on-site restaurant, Mason House, which serves up some of the best burgers in the city. However, those on a shoestring budget can whip up a meal in the shared kitchen.

HI San Francisco Downtown

Hostel, Hotel
A double room at HI San Francisco Downtown has blue walls, grey furniture and city views
Courtesy of HI San Francisco Downtown / Expedia
Inside a former hotel dating back to 1909, this stylish modern hostel in San Francisco is as charming as it is central. Just around the corner from Union Square, the HI San Francisco Downtown organizes a load of cheap, often free, activities. From bike rides across the Golden Gate Bridge to pub crawls and walking tours, there’s no easier way to get to know San Francisco without weeks of pre-vacation planning.

Pacific Tradewinds Hostel, Financial District

Twin bunk beds at Pacific Tradewinds Hostel feature blue bedding and under bed storage
Courtesy of Pacific Tradewinds Hostel / Expedia
Communal game nights and movie screenings are regularly hosted in this cozy hostel in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District. With a shared lounge and kitchen, plus a continental breakfast, there’s a homey feel to Pacific Tradewinds. Step outside to find yourself surrounded by some of the city’s best parks, bars and restaurants, while Chinatown is just a few blocks away.

Orange Village Hostel, Downtown

The kitchen area at Orange Village Hostel is filled with modern furnishings, red stalls and a fully equipped cooking space
Courtesy of Orange Village Hostel / Expedia
Surrounded by restaurants, bars and shops, the Orange Village Hostel in San Francisco places you right in the center of San Francisco’s most exciting district. With good security and a 24-hour reception desk, you’ll feel well looked after, whether you stay in a spacious private bedroom or an excellent value male- or female-only dorm room. Meanwhile, the waffles served as part of Orange Village’s delicious continental breakfast are a hit.

Molly Codyre and Gethin Morgan contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on November 10, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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