Although downtown San Francisco hosts some of the most luxurious and historically fascinating hotels in the world, it is also a hectic area that is packed with tourists, shoppers and madness every day of the year. Staying a small San Francisco inn or bed and breakfast is great alternative to the downtown scene, as these much more relaxed - and often more romantic - accommodation options are tucked away into the city's residential neighborhoods, where you can enjoy the city like a local.
1. The Red Victorian
Image Courtesy of the Red Vic
A cafe, art gallery, world peace center and historic Bed and Breakfast all rolled into one true San Francisco icon, the Red Vic is a landmark of the Haight-Ashbury
neighborhood. The 18 guestrooms are each individually themed around a different aspect of world peace: the Flower Child Room features posters from the peak of the Hippie era
that was centered in the area while the Earth Charter Room is dedicated to current movements towards world peace. The Red Vic also hosts a variety of community events throughout the week, including tango classes on Thursdays and a meditation group on Sundays.
1665 Haight Street, (415) 864-1978 www.redvic.com
2. The Parker Guest House
Image Courtesy of the Parker Guest House
Located on pleasant Church Street on the edge of the Castro District
, the heart of San Francisco's gay community, the Parker Guest House is a tranquil oasis in the big city. A colorful garden sports outside seating for guests, the perfect place to mix and meet other travelers over the complimentary evening wine, while the 21 guest rooms are furnished with luxurious amenities. The Parker Guest House is also just a short walk from the historic Streetcar
- which goes downtown and to the waterfront - and is just a couple blocks away from sunny Dolores Park and the hip Mission district.
520 Church Street, (415) 621-4139 parkerguesthouse.com
3. The Washington Square Inn
Image Courtesy of the Washington Square Inn
Enjoy European style comfort, including nightly California wine and cheese tastings and freshly brewed Italian coffee with your buffet breakfast in the morning, in the middle of the city's most romantic neighborhood: North Beach. Step right out the door to enjoy the area's many Italian restaurants
and cafes and take advantage of the location, right in the center of the neighborhood's red-hot nightlife options
, to enjoy a night out on the town. Some rooms have awesome views of Coit Tower
, which is brightly lit up at night.
1660 Stockton Street, (415) 981-4220 www.wsisf.com
4. The Union Street Inn
Image Courtesy of the Union Street Inn
Located just steps from some of the best upscale shops and boutiques of the Marina District
, this renovated Edwardian house sports a lush garden, turn of the century styled room furnishings and a full breakfast in the mornings. Guests are just blocks from the San Francsico waterfront, which leads east to Fisherman's Wharf
and its bustling tourist sights or west to the Presidio National Park, which holds miles of hiking and biking trails as well as the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge.
2229 Union Street, (415) 364-0424 www.unionstreetinn.com
5. The Chateau Tivoli
Image Courtesy of the Chateau Tivoli
This 1892 mansion once housed writer Mark Twain and now sports nine lavishly furnished bedrooms, each flush with period details. Located near Alamo Square park and the famous postcard row, the Chateau Tivoli is a splendid example of San Francisco's famous Victorian architecture
in its own right. The inn is within walking district of the Fillmore street jazz district, the alternative bars and cafes of the lower Haight area and the colorful streets of the Haight-Ashbury district.
1057 Steiner Street, (415) 776-5462 www.chateautivoli.com
6. The Hayes Valley Inn
Image Courtesy of the Hayes Valley Inn
Tucked into the fashionable Hayes Valley neighborhood, which is just a few blocks away from the San Francisco City Center
, this inn is a great option for those who do want to stay downtown but want to stay in a small and friendly hotel. Enjoy the complimentary breakfast, walk to all of San Francisco's sights and then enjoy the trendy cocktail bars and fusion restaurants of the area or take in the San Francisco Opera or Symphony, both located just down the street.
417 Gough Street, (415) 431-9131 www.hayesvalleyinn.com
7. The Nob Hill Inn
Image Courtesy of the Nob Hill Inn
Built in 1907 as a posh private home in San Francisco's most exclusive neighborhood, Nob Hill
, this four-story town home now boasts 21 guest rooms and suites in one of the city's most scenic locations. Catch the cable car
right outside the doorstep and enjoy the fine dining and panoramic city views that the neighborhood offers while staying in this historic San Francisco inn.
1000 Pine Street, (415) 673-6080 www.nobhillinn.com