Where to Stay in San Francisco: Family Hotels + Neighborhood Guide
If you’ve ever been to San Francisco, then you know how different the city can be from one part of town to the next.
From beatniks to techies, San Francisco is home to quite the eclectic group of people. You’ll find little pockets throughout the city with their own unique neighborhoods that reflect this diversity. From swanky Pac Heights to the hipster-filled Mission, San Francisco offers a little something for every type.
But with all this diversity, it’s no wonder that so many families are left scratching their heads as to which San Francisco neighborhood will be best for them. Throw in skyrocketing housing prices, and finding an “affordable” place to stay in San Francisco for a family can be a challenge.
So where’s the best place to stay in San Francisco? Let’s break down 6 of our favorite San Francisco neighborhoods and why they’re perfect for the traveling family:
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The Russian Hill neighborhood is an obvious first choice for many families. It’s home to famous Lombard Street and some awfully beautiful Victorians, and while it boasts a close proximity to Fisherman’s Wharf, it’s easy to stay away from the chaos by heading inland a few blocks. It’s central location makes it an ideal base and, as an added bonus, multiple cable car lines pass through the neighborhood for a fun excursion.
To Do In/Near Russian Hill | Lombard Street, Ghirardelli Square, Ride a Cable Car
Family Hotels in Russian Hill
Pier 2620 Hotel ($$)
I know what you’re thinking. “Really, North Beach?” Just hear me out.
While not necessarily a neighborhood where families would want to live, North Beach is a bustling neighborhood in the heart of the action. Sandwiched between Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, North Beach may be rough around the edges, but offers a diverse mix of people, independent bookstores, and Italian food for days! Stick to the edges in Telegraph Hill or near the Embarcadero, and you’ll miss the late-night bar crowd.
To Do In/Near North Beach: Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, Chinatown, Exploratorium
Family Hotels in North Beach
Hotel Zephyr ($$)
Less touristy for sure, the Sunset area is great for outdoorsy families wanting to see a different side of San Francisco. Staying here means you’ll be close to Golden Gate Park and all that it has to offer, as well the beach. You’ll also get more bang for your buck, saving those extra pennies to be spent on more sightseeing or tasty treats. A car can be helpful when staying in the Sunset District, but the Judah light rail will also connect you to the more touristy areas of the city.
To Do In/Near Sunset: Golden Gate Park, California Academy of Sciences, Japanese Tea Garden, Ocean Beach, 16th Avenue Tiled Steps
The Marina District neighborhood is known for brunching and bar hopping, but by day it’s a great base for families, only steps away from the bay. With plenty of open green space and waterfront bike trails, you’ll find a tranquil respite here in the Marina. Bonus: you’ll be all but guaranteed some great Golden Gate Bridge views (so long as Karl the Fog stays away).
To Do In/Near the Marina: Crissy Field, The Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of the Fine Arts, the Wave Organ
Family Hotels in the Marina District
Hotel del Sol ($$)
Cow Hollow Suites ($$$)
The Mission may be a little rough around the edges, but with vibrant street art, some of San Francisco’s best restaurants, and the amazing Dolores Park, it’s the perfect place for alternative families to feel right at home. Though it’s increased tremendously in popularity over the past few years, you can still find some affordable gems here in the Mission. And fret not, while it might appear to be far removed from the city, it’s quite well connected by both the MUNI and BART.
To Do In/Near the Mission: Balmy & Clarion Alley, Dolores Park, The Castro Theater, Twin Peaks
South of Market (SoMa)
For families seeking a more urban city experience, SoMa is the ideal place to be. High rise apartment rentals and hotels are plentiful here, and the shopping at Union Square is just a hop, skip and a jump away. And with almost all of San Francisco’s public transit lines running through SoMa, you’re sure to be a quick MUNI or BART ride away from almost anywhere in the city.
To Do in/near SoMa: Union Square, Museum of Modern Art, Ferry Building Marketplace, AT&T Park
Family Hotels in SoMa
Hotel Griffon ($$)
Hotel Zelos ($$)
W San Francisco ($$$)
What do you look for when deciding where to stay with family? Something quiet and removed, or right in the action?
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