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Which Are the Best Hostels in San Francisco


San Francisco can be an expensive city, but your vacation here doesn't have to be! We have outlined the best hostels and cheap hotels in San Francisco to help you cut down on the cost of your trip. There are several different types of accommodation, including family hostels, party hostels, and budget hotels for business travelers. Read through these descriptions and reviews to decide which is the best for you! 

Getting from SFO to Downtown

San Francisco on a Budget

San Francisco Discount Passes


Best Hostels in San Francisco

Other Hostels in San Francicso

Cheap Hotels

Best Hostels in San Francisco

Though there are several different hostels in San Francisco, these 5 are our favorites. HI San Francisco and HI Fisherman's Wharf are part of the international HI Hostel chain. They can be a bit pricier than some of the others, but are always very clean and offer several outings for guests. USA Hostels is another large hostel that is one of the most loved in the city. They regularly put on events and offer a very nice free breakfast. Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is a very cute and quaint hostel that caters primarily to families. Green Tortoise Hostel, on the other hand, is very quirky and probably the biggest party hostel of them all. 


Best Hostels in San Francisco
Click here for full interactive map.


HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel -  312 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102

A friendly hostel located downtown, the HI San Francisco Downtown Hostel is part of the very popular HI international hostel chain. There are several locations in SF, including this one, Fisherman's Wharf, and City Centre, which are featured below. Its convenient location, comfortable common room, and impressive breakfast are all favorable characteristics of the hostel. The dorm rooms sleep 4-8 people and their private rooms come equipped with either a double bed, 2 twin beds, or a double bed with a twin bunk on top. Wifi, linen and towels, and hair dryers all come free with the room. 

Reviews of HI San Francisco Downtown

We're not the only ones who love HI San Francisco Downtown! It was recently voted the Most Popular Hostel for 2017. It maintains a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor, 3.5 stars on Yelp, and a 'Superb' rating on Hostelworld. Several reviewers rave about the buffet breakfast which is included in the price. Others also compliment the staff for being very friendly and keeping the hostel clean. However, though these are all major positives, the greatest feature of this hostel is its prime location in the middle of downtown. 

HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel -  240 Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123

HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf is another fantastic hostel located right on the waterfront near the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, and Marina District. Alcatraz is also just a short boat ride away, so this hostel is perfect for those interested in doing some sightseeing on the water. Breakfast is included in the price and there is a small on-site cafe that serves homemade, organic lunch and dinner specials, as well as local beer and wine. Free parking, Wi-Fi, and linens and towels.

Reviews of HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel

HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf is another highly rated hostel that boasts 4 stars on TripAdvisor, 4 stars on Yelp, and a "Fantastic" rating on Hostelworld. Many reviewers praise the hostel for its ideal location and friendly staff, as well as the clean dorm rooms. Some guests were so impressed with their stay that they actually returned for a second visit! Complaints are minimal and usually address minor inconveniences that happen when when staying in a hostel rather than a hotel, such as sleeping in a noisy dorm room.


Pacific Tradewinds Hostel - 680 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Described as a family hostel rather than a party hostel, Pacific Tradewinds Hostel caters to guests who still want some of the comforts of staying in a hotel but for a fraction of the price. The hostel is on the smaller side and extremely social, so expect to make a few friends if you stay here! They also host events and daily outings, so be sure to talk with the receptionist about what's happening while you're there. Though breakfast isn't provided, free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are available all day. 

Reviews of Pacific Tradewinds Hostel

Guests seem to absolutely love Pacific Tradewinds Hostel! They maintain an impressive 4.5 stars on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. Some of the recent reviews describe their experience as a "great stay with even greater people" and "incredibly welcoming." Another guest also notes their appreciation for the hostel being very queer friendly. Some reviewers thought the small size of the hostel made it feel cramped, but most seem to think that this made it easier to meet other guests. 


USA Hostels San Francisco - 711 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109

USA Hostels San Francisco is a very spacious hostel located right downtown. In addition to a large hang out room, it also features a 50-seat theatre, a yoga room, and a large kitchen and dining area. Dorm rooms are limited to just 4 single beds per room, so you can expect some privacy and quiet.  A large breakfast of fresh fruit, a variety of baked goods, all-you-can-make pancakes, and oatmeal is also included in the price. There is also free washing powder and hairdryers. 

Reviews of USA Hostels San Francisco

USA Hostels receives some of the highest ratings of any hostel in the city. They have a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, 4 stars on Yelp, and a "Superb" rating on Hostelworld. People seem to love the free breakfast and spacious common areas. Complaints are infrequent and usually limited to people who expected the hostel to have the same standard of cleanliness and privacy as a hotel. Otherwise, nearly everyone seems to love USA Hostels San Francisco! 


Green Tortoise Hostel - 494 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

Also located downtown, Green Tortoise Hostel is the best party hostel in San Francisco. In addition to hosting regular free pub crawls and free dinner 3 nights a week, they also offer free breakfast, wifi, linens, and toiletries. They also have a free sauna and ample space around the hostel to socialize. There is also a massive kitchen which comes fully stocked for those who wish to do their own cooking. If you're looking for a fun hostel where you are guaranteed to make new friends and have a late night out, then this is the one for you! 

Reviews of Green Tortoise Hostel 

Reviews of Green Tortoise Hostel are excellent across the board! It has a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor, 4 stars on Yelp, and a 'Superb' rating on HostelWorld. Some guests even describe it as the best hostel they've ever stayed in! Though they primarily cater to younger backpackers, a number of reviewers also compliment the hostel for being very family-friendly. Bad reviews are uncommon and usually date back several years. 


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Other Hostels in San Francisco

If one of the hostels listed above are unavailable or don't work with your schedule, then check one of these San Francisco hostels. 


Hostels in San Francisco
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HI San Francisco City Center - 685 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

Rating: TripAdvisor - 4 stars; Yelp - 4 stars ; HostelWorld - 'Fabulous' 

Amsterdam Hostel San Francisco

Rating: TripAdvisor - 3 stars; Yelp - 2.5 stars; HostelWorld - 'Very Good'

Orange Village Hostel - 411 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Rating: TripAdvisor - 3.5 stars; Yelp - 3 stars; HostelWorld - 'Fabulous' 

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Cheap Hotels

Not quite up for sharing a room with other dormers? Then check out one of the many budget hotels located around the city! These hotels offer greater privacy than the hostels listed above, but at a much cheaper rate than most other hotels in San Francisco.


Best Cheap Hotels in San Francisco
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Music City Hotel/Hostel

Music City Hotel/Hostel offers private hotel rooms as well as shared dorm rooms. Though there are common areas and places for guests to meet each other, the atmosphere is much more similar to a hotel than a hostel. Below the hotel are more than a dozen music studios, hence the name. Free wifi and linens are included. 

Reviews of Music City Hotel/Hostel

Music City Hotel/Hostels averages a 3.5 star rating on TripAdvisor and 3 stars on Yelp. Guests seem to love how clean and modern the rooms are. Also, many praise the hotel for being located in such a convenient area of the city. The only consistent complaint comes from those who were upset by the music they could hear coming from the studios below the hotel. However, it is called Music City Hotel, so don't be surprised if you hear some music during your stay! 


Union Hotel

Described as a "European-style property in the Mission District," Union Hotel is a great little place to stay in a fantastic location. Their 24-hour reception desk and free wifi make it very convenient for business travelers who need a quiet place to work, as well as backpackers who stumble back to the hotel after a late night out. Rooms can accommodate up to 2 people and all come with a single bed (1 twin bed) or a double bed (1 full bed), flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, dresser, table, sink, and hair dryer. 

Reviews of Union Hotel 

Though reviews are fairly limited for this newer hotel, they are all generally very positive. Union Hotel maintains 3.5 stars on both TripAdvisor and Yelp, and a 'Fabulous' rating on HostelWorld. Guests describe it as the 'perfect 2 star accommodation' and praise it for being so clean and conveniently located. Some were disappointed with the small size of the rooms, but unfortunately that's the price you pay for a cheap private room in San Francisco. 


Other Cheap Hotels:

Winsor Hotel - 20 6th StSan Francisco, CA 94103-1685

The Urban Hotel - 507 Bush StreetSouth San Francisco, CA 94108

El Capitan Hotel - 2361 Mission StSan Francisco, CA 94110-1868

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About The Author


Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city. A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.
Updated: September 27th, 2021
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