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Top San Francisco Hostels

The Best Backpackers Hostels in San Francisco


Although the most expensive city in the United States (even beating out NYC in a recent study) San Francisco is also the favorite city of international backpacker travelers and boasts the highest number of hostels of any city in the country. Staying at a hostel is more than just a way to save money on lodging, the communal nature of hostels means that making new friends from around the world is easy and most backpackers havens also host a full range of included activities and perks, from free breakfasts to walking tours of the city.

1. The Adelaide

Photo by Ocean Malandra
Hidden away down tiny Isadora Duncan Lane, the Adelaide Hostel is the Union Square area's best kept lodging secret. With a plush and open shared living space full of sofas, a large community kitchen serving free coffee and breakfast everyday and well kept dorm and private rooms, it's no wonder that the Adelaide has been voted one of the top ten hostels in the country by several online publications. A slew of fun activities including bar crawls and open mic comedy nights make meeting other travelers easy and pleasant and the overall vibe of the Adelaide is warm and homey.

5 Isadora Duncan Lane, 1-877-359-1915 adelaidehostel.com

2. The Green Tortoise

Photo by Ocean Malandra
A true San Francisco classic that also offers low-cost adventure tours all over the world, the Green Tortoise is the only backpackers hostel located in the North Beach area. The historic building sits right on bustling Broadway, just steps from the cafes, nightlife, Italian restaurants and bohemian bookstores that the city's most charming neighborhood offers. Inside, a giant ballroom turned dining area is the place to meet other globetrotters and the hostel offers a huge range of amenities including free breakfasts, pool and foosball tables, a free sauna and in-house parties and dinners throughout the week. The famous Green Tortoise Bus takes guests to popular California destinations like Yosemite and the Wine Country, making this hostel a one stop full service budget travelers paradise.

494 Broadway, 1-800-867-8647 www.greentortoise.com

3. HI Fisherman's Wharf Hostel

Photo by Ocean Malandra
Much smaller than the other two Hosteling International hostels in San Francisco, HI Fisherman's Wharf is a hidden gem that is actually just outside the bustling Wharf area. Perched high on the cliffs of Upper Fort Mason, the hostel is surrounded by verdant tranquility, sports excellent views of bay sights like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge and is home to Cafe Franco, a European style bistro that offers free breakfasts to all guests. From here it is also an easy walk down into the upscale Marina District, where several sights, great dining, waterfront parks and excellent nightlife await.

Building 240 Fort Mason, (415) 771-7277 sfhostels.com

4. USA Hostel San Francisco

Image Courtesy of USA Hostels

Young and fun, USA Hostel's San Francisco outpost is located on lower Nob Hill just blocks from Union Square and Chinatown. Part of a small chain of backpackers hostels, that also has locations in Hollywood and San Diego, USA Hostel offers guests a great line-up of activities including walking tours, pub crawls and an all you can eat pancake breafast every morning.

711 Post Street, 1-877-473-2950 www.usahostels.com


5. Pacific Tradewinds Hostel

Image Courtesy of Pacific Tradewinds Hostel
Located a block off of the Cable Car line and just outside of San Francisco's famous Chinatown, the Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is a small and friendly place that caters to budget travelers. A communal kitchen, free coffee and tea 24 hours a day and an action packed calendar of events that focus on taking visitors to San Francisco neighborhoods and immersing them in the real life of locals make the hostel a unique experience.

680 Sacramento Street, (415) 433-7970 www.san-francisco-hostel.com

6. Amsterdam Hostel

Situated about halfway up Nob Hill from the Union Square area, the Amsterdam Hostel is a European style backpackers haunt that is short on space but long on guest activities. Daily do-it-yourself all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts kick off the mornings while evenings features films in the onsite movie room. The hostel staff can get you discounted bike rentals or city tour rates at the front desk.

749 Taylor Street, (304) 268-8981 www.amsterdamhostel.org

7. HI Downtown Hostel

Photo by Ocean Malandra
This massive six-story hostel has one of the best locations in the city, just a block from Union Square and steps from the public transit hub at Market and Powell. Although a bit less intimate than the other hostels on the list, the numerous public areas make meeting other travelers pretty simple at the Downtown HI hostel. Free continental breakfast, a theater style TV room and close proximity to the red-hot downtown nightlife scene all make this hostel one of the city's top choices.

312 Mason Street, (415) 788-5604 sfhostels.com

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