Looking for the best hostels in San Francisco? You’ve come to the right place!
Not all San Francisco hostels are created equal. If you don’t do your research you could be in for some nasty surprises when you arrive. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the research for you. We’ve compiled a list of the best San Francisco hostels to make life that little bit easier for you! You can thank us later.
Located in Northern California, San Francisco is a bustling hub of music, art, cuisine, and nightlife. The city has a fascinating story, from the infamous prison island of Alcatraz to the countless earthquakes which have shook its streets for centuries.
Affectionately known as “The Golden City” San Francisco’s nickname derives from its role in the California Gold Rush. However, nowadays it seems to be more associated with the stunning golden sunsets that often illuminate the city’s 43 hills.
Some of the city’s must-see attractions include the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, it’s many museums, and the winding streets that look straight out of Europe. The fantastic nightlife, international cuisine, and breathtaking scenery make San Francisco stand out as one America’s most tourist-friendly cities.
San Fran can be daunting to visit a city on a budget. It IS one of the most expensive places in all of the United States. That said, staying in a hostel can certainly help keep costs down.
We have put together this list based on what we personally expect out of a great hostel in San Francisco. Clean rooms, comfortable dorm beds with power outlets, secure luggage storage, friendly atmosphere that encourages interaction (but doesn’t force it), and a communal kitchen are all super important aspects in our eyes, and we prioritize them when suggesting a place to stay. All of these are factors when it comes to making our selection of the best hostels in San Francisco, California.
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The Best Hostels in San Francisco, CA
Please note – Some of our selections contain affiliate links. These allow us to earn a small percentage every time you make a booking. Using our links enables us to provide all the information found on this site free of charge.
HI San Francisco – Downtown
HI San Francisco Downtown is one of the best hostels in San Francisco for travelers seeking quality accommodation without a hefty price tag. Offering all the amenities guests might need for an enjoyable stay, the Hosteling International team never fail to deliver quality services for travelers on a budget.
HI San Francisco Downtown was voted as the top San Francisco Hostel in 2017 and 2018. Situated right in the center of the city, this San Francisco hostel is in the ideal spot to begin exploring the Golden City. You’ll be right in the middle of all the San Francisco action: Chinatown, Union Square, the famous cable cars, Museum Row, and countless shops, entertainment, bars, and restaurants to keep you entertained, satiated, and well fed during your stay in San Fran.
The hostel itself is a budget backpackers dream! It’s not often you find a hostel which ticks all the boxes, while being right in the center of the city. Dorm rooms for backpackers are stylish, spacious, and comfortable. They offer rooms for up to 8 people, as well as female only dorms and private rooms. You’ll have everything you need to ensure you feel right at home in HI San Francisco Downtown. Each guest has their own secure locker, power outlet for charging electrical devices, and a super soft mattress for resting your adventurous heads.
Guests of this San Francisco hostel have access to an ENORMOUS fully equipped kitchen. Why not test your cooking skills and prepare your own meals to save a few bucks – eating out every night can put an unnecessary dent in your budget. You’ll also get a delicious free breakfast every morning!
This San Francisco hostel is great place to meet fellow travelers. The friendly team organize weekly events such as pub crawls, walking tours, and bike tours to ensure guests always have something to do. The central location means that you’re within walking distance of all of San Francisco’s main attractions, as well as well connected to transport links that’ll take you around the city. If you’re looking for a budget San Francisco hostel then HI San Francisco Downtown definitely ticks all of the boxes!
Green Tortoise Hostel
Green Tortoise Hostel can only be described as a gift that keeps on giving! The list of free facilities and services offered by this fabulous San Francisco hostel is endless! If you’re looking for one of the best hostels in San Francisco to ensure you have yourself a memorable trip to the Golden City, then Green Tortoise might just be the one for you!
The hostel is in the historic San Francisco neighborhood of North Beach. The area can become quite loud during peak season, with locals and tourists reveling in the streets and nightclubs until all hours of the morning. So if you’re looking for a peaceful and serene environment – this probably isn’t it. You’re close to all of the major San Francisco attractions, and surrounded by restaurants, cafes, shops, and nightlife. You don’t have to stray too far from home for anything at this hostel! Just a few stops on public transport will take you to some of San Francisco’s prime spots such as Union Square or Chinatown, or Little Italy.
This San Francisco hostel offers dorm rooms for 4 or 8 people, both female and mixed. Rooms are simple and comfortable. Each guest is provided with their own secure locker to keep valuables well looked after, as well as 4 power outlets for charging multiple devices at the same time. Guests are treated to a free breakfast, where you can energize yourself for the day ahead with delicious bagels, oatmeal, eggs, and fresh fruits. You can also keep yourself caffeinated throughout the day with free coffee and tea 24/7!
Green Tortoise Hostel is one of the best party hostels in San Francisco, so if noise and a lack of curfew isn’t your thing then you can skip this one. One of the things guests of this San Francisco hostel love most is the amazing atmosphere facilitated by the hostel and encouraged by the staff. This is a great place to socialize, drink, and dance until the sun goes down! Every night guests are welcomed to take part in an activity such as a pub crawl or beer pong content, and they even host free dinners 3 nights a week. Other facilities featured in this all-inclusive hostel include free access to a sauna (yes, you did read that correctly), discounted bike rental, a computer lounge, a fully equipped guest kitchen, all hours access, and a giant common room. Try and tell us that isn’t getting your money’s worth!
Another cool feature of Green Tortoise Hostel that makes it stand out as one of the best hostels in San Francisco is Green Tortoise Adventure Travel, which will take you on group excursions to some of the best spots in the country. Ask the friendly staff about tours to incredible locations like Yosemite, the California Coast, Alaska, and Burning Man Festival.
Best Hostels in San Francisco – Music City Hostel
An unbeatable location, friendly staff, and affordable prices are just some of the reasons why Music City Hostel is one of the best hostels in San Francisco for backpackers. Music lovers will feel right at home in this San Francisco hostel. Their aim is to pay homage to the musical legacy of San Fran by preserving the city’s amazing artistic heritage, while at the same time nurturing its present and future.
Music City Hostel’s rooms are stylish, modern, and comfortable. You can choose to stay in a dorm room (4 or 6 bed, with a female only option), or one of the stunning private rooms (which are still super affordable!) Each room is musically themed, featuring laser print photos of some of history’s most celebrated musicians from the Bay Area. Each guest has access to their own locker for keeping valuables safe while you’re out exploring, as well as a power outlet for making sure you camera never runs out of battery!
One of the coolest things about Music City Hostel is that beneath it you’ll find 15 rehearsal and recording studios. Guests can head down and check out the local musical talent, where bands are always practicing their new tunes or preparing for upcoming gigs. You can even test them out yourselves if you’re musically inclined! You don’t need to worry about being kept awake at night as the studios close at 11:30pm, so you can enjoy an undisturbed sleep every night. Be sure to ask the friendly staff about any concerts or gigs happening in the local area and check San Fran’s lively music scene!
This San Francisco hostel is a great place for meeting fellow travelers. They host a free pizza and movie night, as well as free walking tours to help you explore the city. It’s central location is yet another selling point. Situated within the vibrant Polk Gulch neighborhood, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment options to keep you busy during your stay in the Golden City. It’s within walking distance of all of San Fran’s major attractions such as Union Square, Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman’s Wharf. If you’re looking for one of the best hostels in San Francisco to make the most of your stay, then Music City Hostel is a sure win!
USA Hostels San Francisco
USA Hostels San Francisco ticks all the boxes in regards to what a wonderful hostel should be! Whether you’re in San Francisco to relax, meet new people, party, or enjoy some time alone – this extraordinary San Francisco hostel is the place for you.
All of the dorm rooms at USA Hostels San Francisco are for up to 4 people only, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in one of those overcrowded and smelly dorms often found in big cities! There are female only dorms and private rooms available if you prefer. One thing that makes this hostel stand out as one of the best hostels in San Francisco is its privacy pod dorm beds. When you’re sleeping in a room with strangers, it can be hard to find any kind of privacy. At USA Hostels San Francisco, their privacy pods mean that you’ll feel like you’re in your own room – almost. Each bed/pod has a reading lights, shelf, and charging facility. Guests all have their own lockers which even feature power outlets inside, so you can charge your devices safely while you’re out exploring.
USA Hostels San Francisco focuses on providing its guests with the best experience of their hometown as possible. The friendly staff are always willing to go out of their way to help guests, and host a variety of events throughout the week to keep you entertained. You’ll find plenty of spaces to hang out and socialize with fellow travelers, such as a large lounge room, dining room, and a guest kitchen. There’s also a yoga room – something you don’t find in many hostels! So start your day with some mindfulness before setting off to explore this amazing city.
Some of the activities hosted by this San Francisco hostel include free dinners on Monday and Friday, billiard tournaments, and karaoke nights. If you’re searching for a social hostel which provides all the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay, then USA Hostels San Francisco is definitely one of the best hostels in San Francisco, and will provide a more than memorable stay without breaking the bank!
We love how this San Francisco hostel goes out of their way to ensure guests have the best experience possible.
HI San Francisco – City Center
HI San Francisco City Center is one of the best hostels in San Francisco for budget travelers looking for a social atmosphere and great facilities. Although this San Francisco hostel isn’t located in the most touristic areas of the city, it’s still close and surrounded by great transport links to ensure you’re always well-connected. Situated between the city center and the edgy Tenderloin district, there’s plenty of culture, cuisine, and history to be found in the surrounding area.
A modern hostel with a vintage feel, HI City Center began its life as a fancy boutique hotel in the 1920s. They’ve managed to retain some of the gorgeous period details, such as the marble-tiled lobby and mezzanine, which add to its retro character. The hostels modern amenities make it stand out among the best hostels in San Francisco, with private bathrooms in every room (even the dorms!), a delightful on-site cafe, and plenty of space for socializing.
HI San Francisco City Center offers mixed and female only dorm rooms for up to 4 people. Rooms are spacious, modern, and comfortable, and provide you with everything you need for a good night sleep in this bustling city. Each guest has access to their own security locker and charging facility, and can enjoy breakfast on the house every morning! You will also have access to a large and fully equipped guest kitchen for practicing all of your culinary expertise!
The hospitable staff are always organizing some kind of social activity, whether it be social dinners, pub crawls, or museum visits to keep their guests entertained. We highly recommend this San Francisco hostel for backpackers looking to meet new people and experience the magic of the city while on a budget.
Hi San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf
Hostelling International hostels are always renowned for their fantastic facilities and quality service, so it’s no wonder that 3 of San Francisco’s HI hostels have appeared on this list! Our final addition is HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf, which is more than deserving of the final spot on our list of the best hostels in San Francisco. Here are just some of the reasons why:
HI-San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf’s rooms are modern and affordable. Dorm rooms are available for 4, 6, 8, 10, and 24 people. They also offer female only dorms if guests prefer. This fabulous San Francisco hostel provides everything needed for a memorable hostel stay, including a comfortable mattress, charging facility, and a secure locker. Guests can enjoy a free breakfast every morning, and take advantage of the fully equipped guest kitchen to save a few dollars. There are plenty of communal areas to hang out and socialize in, including a cosy lounge, cinema room, and a sun deck.
Located in the historic area of Fort Mason, HI Fisherman’s Wharf is right on the waterfront, making it one of the most ideal locations in the Bay Area.
You can explore San Fran by joining in with the many activities organized by the hostel. Join a pub crawl, walking tour, or museum visit and explore the city with fellow travelers. If you want to venture further afield, make sure to chat with the reception staff about organizing tours to Yosemite, Muir Woods, and more.
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