San Francisco Cheap Hotels in San Francisco

If you've never been to San Francisco, you are in for a real treat! If you have, then you know that this city can pull at your heartstrings in ways that you never thought possible.

Where do you want to stay?

When to visit based on price

Your best time to visit San Francisco is during the cooler winter months, between October and March, except during holidays.

Key attractions

A visit to the infamous island prison of Alcatraz on Alcatraz Island is not only a fun way to spend a day, but enlightening. Take a ferryboat out to the island, viewing the city and bridge from the water. Spend a few hours on a self-guided tour with headsets, and learn life in prison during the days of the gangsters. You get to see the actual cells of some of the most famous inmates, like Al Capone ad Machine Gun Kelly. Walk the grounds and famous “exercise area”.
Spend some time on Fisherman’s Warf, for some seaside shopping, and dining on the water. This is a relaxing environment, with some of the most excellent seafood restaurants in San Francisco. This is also a good place to look for those gifts for the relatives back home.
While in San Francisco, you just have to take the “Ronzoni” Powell Street cable-car ride up to the top of the hill and back. It gives you a whole new look at the hills of San Francisco.

Having fun

If you enjoy strolling the streets and popping into a pub or restaurant, then its off the Pier 39. Here you can shop until your drop in some really enjoyable shops, then take in one of the fourteen restaurants for a break. It’s all on the waterfront, and you can choose to sit along the dock and enjoy the symphony put on by area sea lions.
For something different, a visit to Chinatown is always a nice getaway from the town and waterfront. You can stroll the streets, shops and maybe if you’re a good cook, some of the Asian grocery stores for those hard to find items.


There are some different and interesting shopping areas in San Francisco. Starting with shops straight out of the “hippy generation”, Haight Ashbury Shopping District shops on even today. You will find as you stroll the streets, some higher-end stores mixed with clothing and jewelry from the 1960’s era.
When down by the waterfront, the Embarcadero District offers a wide range of stores for you, from famous eyewear, Ann Taylor to Banana Republic and more.
And then there’s the Fillmore Street District where you can find Paolo Shoes, Eric Trabert Jewelers, Betsey Johnson Clothing, Crosswords Trading Company, Kuraya Japanese Antiques and over twenty health and beauty stores.


The most popular day trip from San Francisco is the Napa / Sonoma Wine Country. Only an hours drive from San Francisco, you could easily spend a day or more in Napa / Sonoma County. The journey through the countryside alone is well worth the time. You can choose from several areas to visit some of the most famous wineries in the United States. Although most require a “tasting fee”, you will find it well worth the price, and many deduct it from the cost of wines you purchase.

The Napa / Sonoma area is home to many fine dining restaurants, as well as some smaller pubs type taverns for lunch or dinner. However, there is nothing quite like stopping in a t a local deli, and having them make you a picnic lunch. This is very popular, and most wineries offer garden setting for you picnic lunch in the vines.

The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square

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Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf

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Hyatt Regency San Francisco

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Civic Center Inn

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Handlery Union Square Hotel

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Hotel Nikko San Francisco

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San Francisco Marriott Marquis

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Parc 55 San Francisco - A Hilton Hotel

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Travelodge by Wyndham San Francisco Central

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The Park Central San Francisco

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The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

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Inn on Broadway

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Hilton San Francisco Financial District

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The Pickwick Hotel

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Hotel Whitcomb

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Omni San Francisco Hotel

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What’s Happening in San Francisco Spring 2017?

If you are looking at a springtime vacation in the San Francisco area this year, offers many excellent opportunities to you the vacationer. To begin with the weather is getting much better and warmer, and the blossoms are bursting with color on the cherry trees. Keep in mind that this is also “Spring Break” time of year, but you won’t have the craziness of New Orleans or Miami Beach.
Over the winter months the crowds on Fisherman’s Warf declined, but as spring pushes its way in, everyone comes out to play. If you’re visiting, get out and take a stroll along the pier. People Watching is a major sport on the pier, as is shopping and having waterside lunch or dinner with possibly a “happy hour” discount on that small plate and cocktail.

If vacationing with smaller children, a super place to hang out for a while is the Exploratorium, a totally “family-friendly” museum. You will find hundreds of interactive exhibits, demonstrations and many areas where youngsters can play and enjoy themselves, and burn off energy.
We have all heard and probably enjoyed “Six Flags Amusement Parks with their awesome thrilling rides. But how many of you know that San Francisco is home to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, a theme park with live animals. This theme park offers not only the thrilling rides, but also many animal encounters, including those from both sea and land. There’s plenty to see and do on this 135-acre fun experience park.
If you happen to be heading to the San Fran Warf on March 18th , and you’re a beer kind of guy or gal, are you ever in luck. That’s when the Bay Area Brewers Festival is happening on Pier 35. You have the opportunity to sample national as well as international brewers concoctions. The general admission costs under $50 and runs from 1-4 pm and 6-9 pm. There’s a special VIP area set up and available to “special people” from 1-4 pm for only $59.02. I wonder how they came up with that price?
Don’t worry about sipping beer without anything in your tummy, because you are certainly in luck. Some of San Francisco’s most famous gourmet food trucks will be on hand to feed you, but that’s not included I the admission fare.
On the same note, the San Francisco International Beer Festival is on April 8 from 7-10 pm. This is the 33rd Annual Beer Fest, and features over 100 breweries for tastings. This event is held in the Festival Pavilion in Fort Mason Center. Enjoy quite an impressive list of breweries, for only $75 per person.
Staying on that theme, how can we not offer a local wine festival for you to experience, especially if you don’t have time to travel to Napa/Sonoma?
San Francisco’s Uncorked Wine Festival is held on May 6, on Fisherman’s Warf within Ghiradelli Square. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to sip some California Red Zinfandel and nibble of Ghiradelli chocolate. You will enjoy food, wines and music, as well as on-site demonstrations and seminars. More than 50 local wineries will be on hand for your tasting pleasure. This event takes place from 1-5 pm, more than enough time for some sipping fun.
If you will be in San Francisco on the weekend of May 13th, and want to surprise your Mom or wife, why not surprise her with a morning Champagne Cruise on the bay. There are also sunset cruises and a special Mothers Day Dinner Cruise available on the Hornblower Cruise line.

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San Francisco like only a local can visit

Millions of visitors each year flock to the same old sights and sounds of San Francisco, basically tourist traps, crowded and expensive. Certainly there are sights that every native San Franciscan is proud of, and takes their relatives and guests to experience. But, there’s a big difference on where and how they experience them with people.
By far the Golden gate Bridge is a sight worth a visit and a few photo’s, but really, do you want to walk across the span just to take a photo or two, especially in the summer heat? No! Of course not. If you are a native, you might instead take your buddies to Chrissy Fields, one of San Francisco’s National Parks directly on the bay.
This is a local favorite for relaxing, strolling and or jogging along the waterfront, or as many locals do, drop fishing line and catch dinner. It’s also a perfect photo op for you where you actually can capture the entire bridge behind you.

San Francisco is quite a “drinking town” and has its share of quirky local bars to socialize in. If you really want to break out of the “tourist bubble” and rub elbows, and maybe clink glasses with friendlies, we have a recommend for you. The place is called appropriately if you were in Texas, The Bourbon and Branch, located at 501 Jones Street. This place is the bomb, quite literally, and you better make reservations ahead for dinner and or drinks ahead of time to get in. In Chicago mobster style, when you locate the solid wood door, push the intercom button, and you’ll be asked for the password, which is “books”. It’s a really special experience, even if you just hand out in the “Library Bar”, hidden behind a, bookcase.
If visiting San Francisco especially with children, I have an awesome destination for you that costs nothing, and puts you in a super “zoo moment”. Head out to the Golden Gate Bridge Park, and perhaps bring along a picnic lunch, bottle of wine, couple glasses and blanket. Your kids will be quite entertained by the herd of bison grazing there! That’s right, located near Spreckles Lake is a herd that has grown since the original pair were introduced in 1890. Not many visitors to this fantastic city even know they exist, but now you do.
Another awesome adventure worth a few pics and a lunch bag is the Presidio, which used to be the military base in San Francisco. There are trails, wooded sections, sandy beaches and more to discover. From April until October this is quite popular for both locals and visitors, with outdoor concerts and a line-up of food trucks.
Another “must do” experience is a visit to Monk’s Kettle, even if you aren’t a beer sipper for some unknown reason. Not only is this a great beer experience, with its greater than 200 beers available, but there’s also a very special treat for you. It’s called “Midas Touch”, brewed from a very ancient, like 2700-year-old beer recipe that was discovered in King Midas’s Tomb!
While visiting San Francisco, you really should get out into the neighborhoods. This is where locals hang, where they eat and enjoy life. They don’t go to the Warf, Alcatraz and such. The Mission District is a perfect place if you want to experience life like a local. This has become a very popular location for new businesses, especially restaurants, because of lower startup costs. Mission Street is great for strolling shops and bars, especially between 15th and 20th Street. If action and the hottest new bar are in the cards, you will totally enjoy Trick Dog, offering some of the most eccentric cocktails ever. Pair a couple with Scotch Eggs or house-made jerky.
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Everything you need to know for families vacationing San Francisco’s “Rock”!

Vacationing in San Francisco with children and deciding where to go when researching popular sites and National Parks can be difficult. When I think of San Francisco and the places I love to visit and spend time, most would be boring to children. But if I transport myself back in time, and think of visiting a site in San Fran, there’s one that stands out.
Taking a ferryboat out to a big island in the bay, where some of the most notorious criminals spend their lives would be on top! Visiting Alcatraz Island, commonly known as “The Rock” is a fantastic place to bring the kids for a day of intrigue, education and exercise. This is a dark, damp and definitely creepy experience for us, but for kids, what’s around the next corner is the excitement in their eyes.
First there’s the cruise out to the island, which if weather is in your favor, offers excellent photo ops of the San Francisco Skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Alcatraz began as a military fortress guarding the gates of this great city,
Did you know that the lighthouse on Alcatraz, still working today, was the first one on the entire West coast? It first started as a military post during the Civil War, when it began its life as a prison. The military abandoned it as a post in early 1900’s, but continued to increase the prison capacity .It soon became a “maxim security” prison during the Great Depression.
Over the years, some of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history were “guests” in the cellblocks. Names like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and of course the Birdman of Alcatraz.
Your family starts the adventure at the Embarcadero at Alcatraz Landing where you purchase tickets for the ferry ride and tour. It’s a fairly short ride to the dock on the island where a Ranger who talks about the island as you start your walk up the hill to the Cellhouse meets you. At the Cellhouse, you each get your own audio tour headset, and away you go at your own speed. The audio tour is featured in most of the popular languages. While taking the tour as you enter specific locations, like certain prison cells, you will hear actual prisoners and guards talking about what happened in the cells, and who was in them. You hear from their own lips about life and death in this tough prison.
If you decide to take the kids on the evening tour, keep in mind that creepy isn’t even close to the experience. That’s when rangers will give live demonstrations of how cell doors automatically open and close, as they invite you or your kids to step inside and see how it feels. This could be your chance for a little “free time” without the kids if you smile for the camera with rangers.
As you and the family investigate the cells and grounds of Alcatraz Island, it might be fun talking to them about want it might be like as somewhere their age, living on this island when it housed hundreds of dangerous criminals. The fact is there were prison guards that moved their entire families to the island to live. Kids living there played in the large gardens, chased the bird population and got schooling on the island. It’s amazing that parents never worried about the safety of their children on the island.
Families hitting the island, especially of a nice sunny day should give themselves at least three hours to tour and enjoy the island adventure. Take a lot of photos for yourself, as well as the kids so they can show their friends back home. If you decide to experience the night tour, be sure to make advanced reservations well in advance, and we mean months. Keep in mind that there is no restaurant on the island, so bring snacks for the kids. There is an area when you get off the ferry on the island that you could have a picnic lunch. Dad, know that you can’t bring that cooler and six-pack, because only bottled water is allowed on the island.

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San Francisco Vacation “on the cheap”, is it possible?

If you keep up with the most “un-affordable” places to live and or visit, then you know that the city of San Francisco is right there on top. If you plan to spend your vacation time there in 2017, vacationer beware, it’s a budget buster town. That being said, don’t get discouraged, it is possible to visit San Francisco, see the sites, and stay on a slim budget, if you plan right.

For instance, everyone visiting San Francisco should check out Chinatown, but you can easily spend some mega bucks in this now “tourist trap”. Restaurants are just waiting for you to pull out your credit cards. Instead we suggest you head to Chinatown on public transportation, and do some “people watch”. Cruise the main streets, and visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Get a tour of the process of making these “fortune telling” cookies, and get to sample them for free.
Another favorite place to spend money and see “native wildlife” is the San Francisco Zoo, but what the heck; most of us and especially kids just want to visit with a sea lion! So why not grab a coffee of soft drink and head down to Pier 39 and hang with hundreds of lions? There’s always a crowd of visitors listening to the “chorus” down in the water. The best part is, it won’t cost you a single penny!
Another one of the “must visit” sites in the city is Fisherman’s Warf, and you should too. However, we suggest that you eat a mega breakfast at your hotels free buffet before heading down to the Warf. Fight off the urge to dine in one of the waterfront restaurants, and instead find one of the smaller restaurants down one of the side streets, and spend a lot less.
Helpful tipping suggestions: You don’t need to kill that budget with tips for service, but in some cases it’s the thing to do. If your hotel concierge makes restaurant reservations for you, $5-10 is standard. Figure a couple $$$ for parking attendant at hotel. Taxi usually 10% and bell hop $1-2 per bag.
If one of your simple pleasures on vacation is visiting a spa for a massage, you can expect to spend $100-200 for a popular spa treatment and facilities. Instead, why not spend around $30 and a tip? WE certainly have the place for you to visit, called Kubuki Springs, located in the Kinokunita Building on Fillmore Street. This is a complete spa, offering showers, pools, steam and sauna. Pamper yourself for less, so you have extra money for other entertainment.
Another popular destination of course is Chinatown, and this is something we highly
Suggest visiting. However, don’t fight the crowds of visitor near Grant Street like others. Instead, we suggest that you land on Stockton Street, where the locals frequent. This is where all the action is, and it won’t cost you a dime to experience the medicine shops, great smells of exotic food, or buy live frogs or snakes.
If you want a bit calmer experience, and super photo’s, head to Waverly Place and tour the painted balconies once inhabited by the Chinese gangs, called “tongs”.
With all the focus on pirates these days, via Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean, why not get your “pirate on”? Located at 826 Valencia Street is “The Pirate Store” and is it ever! You can find everything from wooden peg legs to beard extensions and more. Not only is fun to browse about, but also any money you spend goes towards a fund to educate local disadvantages children.
Lastly lets talk public transportation, which basically is the BART System which covers everywhere you would want to go in the city. Everyone uses the system, which is safe and not hard to figure out. What you will pay will depend on the distance you travel, and there is no set fee.
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Enjoy a successful and fun family vacation in San Francisco

Whether you have visited San Francisco in the past, or this is your first vacation there, one thing is for sure. You will be playing that old song, “I left my heart in San Francisco” after leaving. There’s just something about this city, maybe the fact that it is a 46-square mile peninsula with rolling hills and awesome bay views. Perhaps it’s the seafood, or the fact that you find yourself bundling up and getting “cozy” often, even in summer months. For whatever reason, San Francisco will put a connection in your heart that connects you for life.
Very quickly you will realize that San Francisco is a food lovers paradise. In fact, it has the largest amount of restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States. Ethnic diversity contributes to that, with areas like Chinatown and Little Italy offering sweet choices in meals and menu’s.

One of the first things you need to understand before setting out on you vacation to this beautiful city, is pack lots of clothes to wear in layers. No matter what time of year you plan to visit, and yes, even Summer in California, you will need layers. San Francisco is captivated by “micro-climates” that can and do vary in temps from 15-20degrees at any given time. In fact, the entire California Coast can suffer from fog or “June Gloom”, and locals that are used to weather actually wear heavy jackets! If you head there in June, July and August thinking shorts and tanks will do, guess again, because the warmest months are actually September and October.
Families vacationing in San Fran have nothing to worry about as far as kids activities. This town offers over 180 playgrounds, tons of recreation centers and 60+ soccer fields to burn off energy. You can often find one for the kids to run about in while you sit back and relax at one of San Francisco’s 300+ coffee shops.
Of course there are the major family activities / tours to enjoy as a family, like the trip out to Alcatraz Island for a day. The cruise out offers spectacular photograph opportunities of the city as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. Children love the walking tout, self guided, with headsets providing the tour. What I enjoy on every visit, is hearing actual descriptions of life in this prison taped by prisoners who were jailed there when in operation. It provides hours of walking, again great for expending energy and having fun at the same time. If you have already taken the Alcatraz Tour before, you should at least take one of the Bay Cruises, especially during the evening when the city lights reflect off the waters.
A super place to spend a few hours, possibly with a planned picnic lunch is a visit to the Golden Gate Park. Like so many other parks in San Francisco you will find that’s one thing this city does right, their parks. This park boasts a thousand acres of greenery, the Stow Lake, waterfalls, a playground and merry-go-round, and even a herd of buffalo.
Whether or not you are old enough to remember the “Rice-a Roni” commercials and their San Francisco cable car theme or not, riding one is still thrilling for young and old. Pick up a cable car on Market Street or on Powell at the Warf, and take a ride. The “selfies” to family and friends is well worth it as well as the best photos of the city and bay below. If you end up on the Warf, be sure to check out the free San Francisco Railway Museum, with its historic streetcars and lots more for the train buff.
If you didn’t decide to stay in one of the hotels near Chinatown, head down there at least once on your visit. Check out the free tour in the fortune cookie plant, eat some authentic Chinese foods, and shop the marketplace where the unusual can always be found hanging in your face.
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Let’s take a Romantic Getaway for two in San Francisco

The historic city of San Francisco is jam packed with places to go and things to do, but lets face it, is touring the cells at the Alcatraz Prison very romantic? If you are planning a visit with a spouse or partner, we would love to show you some of the places to visit, where holding hands and sipping beverages, gazing in each others eyes, is perfect.
Depending on the weather there are several choices for walking the beachs, both public and more private and romantic. One of the most romantic beach spots enjoyed by locals is the old ruin of the Sutro Baths located below Cliff House.
There’s also Ocean Beach nearby or Baker Beach near the Presidio.
If you are so inclines, there are “clothing optional” adventures on the sands of San Francisco, located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which are federal lands without any law against public nudity.

For that “hand-in-hand” romantic walk, one of the best choices at sunset is the pathway along Crissy Field overlooking the Golden gate Bridge. The view is spectacular at sunset, as the city lights start to light up the night.
Of course, a sunset cruise on the bay can be totally romantic for the two of you, especially on a warm summer night. However, not so much during winter’s cold and foggy nights, unless of course snuggling in a blanket will work.
Another most awesome view of the city any time, but especially romantic is at the very top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel. The Top of the Mark bar offers you a complete 360-degree view of the city below and spectacular sunsets, all year long. What a splendid place for a glass of vino or cocktail, specifically their signature martinis.
If mixing fun, exercise and romance is sounding good to you we have something special for you. Why not rent a bicycle built for two from Bay City Bike and cruises over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and spends the afternoon in Sausalito. After a romantic dinner in town, end your day with a cruise back on the ferry.
Maybe just the two of you taking a stroll along lover’s lane in the historic Presidio works for you. There’s plenty of private trails, and views of the city and Golden gate Bridge along the way. Maybe even pack a picnic lunch and bottle of wine with glasses, and a blanket.
Now here’s a sweet deal for you, maybe as a surprise? Schedule a day at a local Spa for a “Couples Spa Day”. For instance, at the Nob Hill Spa you can have couples massages together, and before and after glass of champagne at the indoor pool or sun deck in nice weather. If you have never enjoyed a couple’s spa together, you are definitely missing a romantic opportunity.
During summer months scheduling a sunset catamaran cruise can be totally romantic, and a super way to wrap yourselves around each other, gazing at the Golden gate Bridge. You can pick up a voyage at the Pier 39 Dock L.
Our top suggestion for “happy hour” is at the 399 The Embarcadero Restaurant. Any time of year, sitting outside on the patio, sipping a glass of champagne while enjoying a iced plate of fresh San Francisco Bay oysters, is the way to go. The sunset views of Treasure Island, the Bay Bridge and City Skyline are the perfect Segway, along with those oysters, to a romantic evening.
We have a perfect suggestion for your romantic stay in San Francisco, and its private with awesome views of sunsets over the ocean. Located within the San Francisco Presidio is the Inn at the Presidio, which was built in 1903 as a home for unmarried officers. It was completely restored, and available for your private escape in a gorgeous environment. You can actually walk to shopping, dining and the bridge from the house.
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