The Best Cheap Hotels to Book in Oakland, California

Explore the best of the Bay on a budget with a stay in Oakland
Explore the best of the Bay on a budget with a stay in Oakland | © Michele Falzone / Alamy Stock Photo
Rikki Ward

Oaktown, the Town, the Bright Side of the Bay – call Oakland what you will. But you could never call it anything but dynamic, funky-punky, artsy, urban-woodsy and proudly Californian. Oakland was even recently voted the most diverse city in the United States. In this sunny port city you can stroll the waterfront, check out amazing galleries, bars and restaurants downtown, and be humbled by giant redwoods hiking through the huge network of parks and trails. Plus, San Francisco is just 10mi (16km) west. Here are some cheap hotels in Oakland to base yourself in as you explore the Bay, bookable on Culture Trip.

1. The Marina Inn on San Francisco Bay – for unbeatable bay views

Budget Hotel, Hotel

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Courtesy of The Marina Inn on San Francisco Bay / Expedia

Located in the city of San Leandro, five minutes south of Oakland Airport, this sweet hotel offers a bayside experience without the typical Bay Area price tag. Enjoy balconies and bay views from the deluxe rooms, double queens and junior suite – complete with four-seater couch. Take a refreshing dip in the marina-side heated outdoor pool and hot tub, before toweling off and getting cozy by the lobby’s gas fireplace.

2. Moxy Oakland Downtown – for getting your groove on

Hotel

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Courtesy of Moxy Oakland Downtown / Expedia

This place may be the coolest cheap hotel in Oakland. The high ceilings and roll-up doors give the lobby an industrial vibe, but plush furnishings like yellow velvet chaise lounges, vintage movie theater seats and every variety of colorful pillow keep it cozy. Settle in with your complimentary check-in drink and strike up a conversation with a fellow traveler. Who knows where the night will take you? You’re in the heart of the arts and entertainment district, so there’s plenty to do – or you could simply press play on a classic flick on your 55in LCD TV from the comfort of your bed. Whatever floats your boat.

3. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina – for sittin’ on the dock of the bay

Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina / Expedia

Oakland’s neighbor to the north, Berkeley is known for its progressive politics and for the University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley also has a lovely marina, where you’ll find this awesome hotel deal. Enjoy a private balcony from your room, or take in the scenery from the panoramic windows in the fitness center and indoor pool. Hungry? The Berkeley Boathouse restaurant – and its harbor-side patio – is open daily for breakfast and dinner. Eggs benedict or seafood curry always tastes better when you’re dining al fresco on the water.

5. Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel – for value-adding amenities

Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel / Expedia

At this cheap Oakland hotel, you get ambience and comfort for great value. Spiral staircases and colorful paintings in the lobby welcome you back after a long day exploring Oakland’s cultural offerings. Dine on a meal of local salmon in the Lounge restaurant, bag a room with a balcony or look out at sunset over the water from the hotel’s outdoor heated pool and hot tub: it’s a magical way to end the day.

6. Holiday Inn Oakland Airport, an IHG Hotel – for a pre-flight checkin

Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of Holiday Inn Oakland Airport / Expedia

Got an early flight out of Oakland? This hotel is just 1mi (1.6km) from Oakland Airport, and offers a 24-hour complimentary shuttle service. King-size beds have triple sheets for extra comfort, and your room has a mini-fridge and microwave to save those extra bucks. If you feel like a fun evening, the on-site Diamonds Sports Bar offers a pretty extensive menu – nachos, mozzarella sticks and even ribeye steaks.

7. Oakland Marriott City Center – for inner-city sophistication

Chain Hotel

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Courtesy of Oakland Marriott City Center / Expedia

Located in the Old Oakland part of town, this flatiron-style hotel is close to Chinatown – a 10-minute walk away – and Lake Merritt, 20 minutes’ walk. Should you want to explore the greater Bay Area, you’re only two blocks from 12th Street BART Station. The modern, sophisticated and creative decor in the rooms – we’re talking lots of black accents, lights on chains and street art-esque paintings of the cranes at the Oakland Port – further adds to the sense that you are in the heart of the city. Iron & Oak, the equally urbane on-site restaurant, serves up tasty eats and drinks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try Walter’s tortilla scramble or the carnitas and eggs for a delicious start to the day.

8. Hampton Inn & Suites Oakland Airport-Alameda – for an easy ride

Chain Hotel, Budget Hotel, Hotel

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Courtesy of Hampton Inn and Suites Oakland Airport-Alameda / Expedia

This Alameda hotel is practically on the front steps of Oakland Airport, and boasts free transportation to and from the terminals. Rooms are clean and comfortable, with lovely laundered white sheets, so you’ll get a good night’s rest before your flight. When you wake up, fill up at the free hot breakfast, including belgian waffles. If you have time, squeeze in a workout in the outdoor pool, fitness center or rent a bike to explore the adjacent paved trails near the Bay.

9. Sonesta Emeryville – for soaking up the Bay

Hotel

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Courtesy of Sonesta Emeryville / Expedia

The blues, grays and pops of yellow in the lobby decor are a pleasing reference to the Bay. This Emeryville hotel, right between Oakland and Berkeley, even has the Bay Bridge visible from some windows. Admire it from your comfy armchair in the morning with a coffee from your coffee maker, or imagine you’re swimming in the Bay – and that the Bay is actually warm – as you enjoy the indoor heated pool and whirlpool.

10. Waterfront Hotel, part of JdV by Hyatt – for having it all

Hotel

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Courtesy of Waterfront Hotel, part of JdV by Hyatt / Expedia

At this astonishingly charming yet cheap Oakland hotel, you’re in the middle of Jack London Square, so fabulous food and drink are just steps away. We’d recommend Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, a National Historic Landmark which opened in 1884, and still uses its original gas lighting. When you come back after a night of indulgence, treat yourself to a bath with fancy toiletries by Jonathan Adler, or tuck into your luxe linens. As you might expect of a hotel on the water, a nautical theme abounds in the rooms. Plus, there’s a heated harbor-side pool with cheerful parasols, a copper fireplace in the lobby and the hotel is pet friendly. What more could you ask for?

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