It's expensive to stay here, but you can still find some great, cheap hotels in San Francisco. Below is a list of recommendations for hotels with some rooms starting at $100 or less. You will also find a second list with recommendations for the best cheap SF hotels with some rooms that start at $150 or less.
Every SF lodging option on my list is highly rated by its guests and offers a clean environment. At the same time, each one has a reason why it's less expensive (i.e., few amenities, location or shared bathrooms).
Make sure you read the details below carefully, so you know what to expect from each of these cheap hotels in San Francisco.
All of the cheap hotels in San Francisco on this list have at least some rooms starting at or under $100 a night.
I think this is one of the best cheap hotels in San Francisco. It's highly rated, in the cute Alamo Square neighborhood and close to several transit options.
While it is light on amenities, it's a great place to stay if you want to see how the locals live.
This hotel was rated as a "Best Value" hotel by CitySearch and was featured in the National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
Why is it so cheap? Very few amenities: This is a small, locally owned hotel, so there are not a lot of frills. The front rooms face a semi-busy street. It's also not in the heart of the tourist areas, but there are several public transportation options.
Perfect for: Anyone that wants a real San Francisco experience the minute they step outside their door. Anyone that doesn't mind taking public transit to get around the city. It's also perfect for those that don't need a lot of fancy, modern amenities.
Other tips: There are several great restaurant and bars within a few blocks of this hotel. Make sure you take some time checking them out - many of them are right on Divisadero Street. If you love seafood, then you also need to check out the Alamo Square Seafood Grill. Little Star Pizza is also a local favorite and one of the best places to find deep dish pizza in the city (their thin crust is also very delicious). The restaurant on the ground floor next to the lobby has yummy Italian food and you can find cheap beers at the Bean Bag Cafe about three blocks north of the hotel.
Find a room: Metro Hotel
2. Park Hotel
325 Sutter Street
You'll find the Park Hotel in the city center just a few blocks from Union Square and Chinatown. This one star hotel offers free high-speed internet access and TVs.
Why is it so cheap? Shared Bathrooms: This hotel offers both shared and private bathrooms, but the best deal is for rooms with a shared bathroom.
Perfect for: It's perfect if you don't spend much time in your room and/or aren't too concerned with amenities. They do have free high speed internet access, but that's about it. It's also perfect for anyone that wants to be in the heart of the action, but is still looking for one of the best cheap hotels in San Francisco with a clean, friendly environment.
Other tips: Don't stay here if you have a car. There is a parking garage, but it's a couple of blocks away and will cost you anywhere from $35 to $40 a day. Driving in Union Square and/or downtown San Francisco is also difficult if you aren't used to the traffic. If you can, leave the car at home and get familiar with SF's great public transit system.
Find a room: Park Hotel
3. San Remo Hotel
2237 Mason Street
The San Remo Hotel is a European style pension hotel. This is another one of the cheap hotels in San Francisco that offers clean, budget friendly accommodations with shared baths in a great central location.
Why is it so cheap? Shared Bathrooms: None of the rooms at the San Remo Hotel have private bathrooms. This allows it to offer good rooms at a decent price. Even though they are shared bathrooms, they are cleaned meticulously every day. Rooms also do not include phones or TVs.
Perfect for: Couples or solo travelers looking for a low key hotel experience. It's also great if you are traveling without a car and want easy access to Fishermans Wharf, North Beach and other busy SF neighborhoods.
Other tips: Even though they don't have parking, there is a reasonably price parking lot just a block away. Ask at the front desk for directions when you arrive. Also, ask for a room with a sink, so you can at least brush your teeth in your own room. Only some of the rooms have windows, so you will need to request a room with a window if you love checking out the weather when you first wake up.
4. Coventry Motor Inn
1901 Lombard Street
The Coventry Motor Inn is another affordable option in San Francisco. It's on the northern side of town in the Marina District.
This two and a half star motel offers free parking and free high speed internet access. You can choose from a room with one king, two queens or two double beds. Each room also has a small area where you can work.
Guests rave about the size of the rooms and the cleanliness of this motel.
Why is it so cheap? Few amenities/location: It's only a 2.5 star hotel so there is no restaurant or bar on-site. There is no fitness center. The hotel is also located on a busy street. It's not right in the heart of the tourist attractions, but most are a quick bus ride away.
Perfect for: Anyone that has a car and is on a budget. You can not beat the free parking at this hotel and for the price of the rooms, it's a steal.
Other tips: Even though there is not a restaurant or bar on site, this hotel is right next to a number of restaurants and bars. Head two blocks north to Union Street or one block south to Chestnut Street and you will find your pick of places to eat or grab a drink. If you are a light sleeper, request a room that is away from Lombard Street.
Find a room: Coventry Motor Inn
5. Pacific Tradewinds
680 Sacramento Street
8. Cow Hollow Motor Inn & Suites
2190 Lombard Street
9. Hayes Valley Inn
417 Gough Street
10. Casa Loma Hotel
610 Fillmore Street
Read recent guest reviews and find the best prices for these cheap hotels in San Francisco on TripAdvisor.
Attractions & Events in SF
Admission to Top SF Attractions
If you are able to add just a little to your budget, then you will want to check out the cheap hotels in San Francisco on this list.
1. Ocean Park Motel
2690 46th Avenue
The Ocean Park Motel is a charming art deco beauty. It's a hidden gem just steps from the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Zoo.
This historic 1930s motel has free parking, free internet and allows dogs. It's a great find if you are looking for one of the quiet, cheap hotels in San Francisco that is away from the action.
Why is it so cheap? Location: This motel is clean and affordable. However, it's out by the ocean, so it will take about 30 to 35 minutes to get to downtown SF. The L-Taraval train is right next to the motel, so it's an easy ride, but this hotel is not in the heart of the action. It's also in the fog belt, so it gets very little sunshine during the summer months. Internet is free, but the signal is sometimes hard to reach in some of the rooms.
Perfect for: It's quiet and serene here, so perfect if you want to get away from the chaos of the city. It's great for anyone spending a lot of time at the ocean, the SF Zoo or Golden Gate Park. It's also perfect for those that plan on driving, since parking here is free!
Other tips: If you are a light sleeper, ask for a room in the back. The L-Taraval train runs right next to the hotel. This train is the perfect way to get downtown quickly, but not great if you are a light sleeper. This is one of the few cheap hotels in San Francisco with a full kitchen. Ask for a room with a kitchen if you plan on making meals ($10 to $25 extra a night for a fully equipped kitchen). You will also find several places to grab dinner and/or a drink within walking distance from the motel. My favorites include Brother's Pizza, Old Mandarin Islamic (mostly spicy Chinese food) and John's Ocean Beach Cafe (a hearty breakfast/brunch option).
Find a room: Ocean Park Motel
This all suite hotel is just steps from all of the Fishermans Wharf attractions. Rooms include a large living room area and either one or two bedrooms. Each one also offers a full kitchen and a full, private bathroom.
Some of the rooms offer beautiful views of the bay and a few have balconies. There is also a gorgeous rooftop deck, so even without a balcony, you can head upstairs to soak in the views.
Why is it so cheap? Few amenities: There are very few amenities here and the feel is more like apartment living than a hotel. There is no air conditioning in the rooms, which is quite common for cheap hotels in San Francisco. The city is cool and windy, so it's very comfortable with the windows open in most rooms. There is no breakfast and no free parking (there are a few parking spots here, but they are an additional fee).
Perfect for: People traveling together that need separate bedrooms and enjoy a shared living room. Families with children. Anyone wanting to defer meal costs by making a few simple items in the kitchen. Anyone that is spending most of their time in Fishermans Wharf.
Other tips: If you don't mind a little street noise, then ask for a room with a view. If you are a light sleeper, ask for a quieter room in the back. The third floor rooms are right below the roof top deck, so at times you might be able to hear the people and chairs up there in your room.
Find a room: Suites at Fishermans Wharf
3. Baldwin Hotel
321 Grant Avenue
This two-star hotel sits within walking distance to both Chinatown (gates are right across the street) and Union Square. The furnishings are cute, it's clean and the location is perfect for those on vacation.
Guests rave about the friendliness of the staff.
Why is it so cheap? Few Amenities: The biggest reason the rates here are affordable is that this hotel offers very basic amenities both in the rooms and for the overall hotel. The rooms are clean and offer the basics such as comfortable mattresses, small ensuite bathrooms and free wifi. That's about it. The loud street noise can also be heard inside the rooms from the lower level, front rooms.
Perfect for: Anyone wanting to be close to the action and isn't spending much time in their room.
Other tips: If you are a light sleeper, request a room in the back or on a higher floor. You will still hear some of the noises of the city, but it is a little quieter here. The rooms don't have air conditioners. Instead you will find a ceiling fan in each room. This usually isn't a problem as San Francisco is cool all year around, but might be an issue for some people.
Find a room: Baldwin Hotel near Union Square
4. Golden Gate Hotel
775 Bush Street
Another great find for cheap hotels in San Francisco is the Golden Gate Hotel. This hotel is in the Lower Nob Hill area - which is just a few blocks away from Union Square.
Included with the room price is a basic breakfast of pastries, juice and coffee. They also offer their guests afternoon cookies and tea.
Why is it so cheap? Older hotel/Some shared baths: While the rooms are clean, the hotel itself is a little older. The elevator is old and you can hear it running from the adjacent rooms. The rooms are small. There are both shared and private baths. Those without a private bathroom are less expensive.
Perfect for: Couples that don't plan on spending much time in the room. Anyone wanting to be close to the action, but okay with walking a little or taking public transit.
Other tips: Their WiFi is free, but is spotty on the upper floors. If you need reliable WiFi during your stay, request a lower room or look at other hotel options on this list. There is also a cat that has free reign of the hotel. If you are allergic to cats, then you will want to look at alternative hotels.
5. San Francisco Travelodge at the Presidio
2755 Lombard Street
6. Metro Hotel (see posting above): Even if you add a little money to your budget, this hotel still comes up on the 'best of' list. See the posting above.
7. Columbus Motor Inn (see posting above): As with the Metro Hotel, this motel shows up on both of my lists.
8. Hotel Mayflower (see posting above): Another hotel that makes both lists.
9. Phoenix Hotel
601 Eddy Street
10. Redwood Inn
1530 Lombard Street
Read recent guest reviews and find the best prices for these hotels on TripAdvisor.
These are just a few of my favorite cheap hotels in San Francisco. Here are some other hotel pages that might interest you:
*Hotel rates vary based on number of nights, time of year and day of week. Before booking, please confirm current pricing to ensure accuracy. Starting prices do not include taxes or other hotel fees.