Stunning beaches, top notch nightlife, affordable prices and quick access to Mexico makes San Diego one of America’s most under-the-radar cities.

But while San Diego’s best hostels are awesome…. there aren’t many. Which is exactly why we put together this ultimate list of the best hostels in San Diego. 

Like most American cities, San Diego isn’t cheap, and it’s difficult to travel on a budget.

That is why if you are trying to travel San Diego on a budget you need to book a hostel.

Doing so will not only enable you to meet other awesome travelers, but to also take advantage of the low costs and high value that some of the best hostels in San Diego provide.

With the help of our insider guide of the top hostels in San Diego, you’ll know exactly which hostel in San Diego best suits your travel-style, so you can book quickly and ensure that you are saving money in this American paradise!

Let’s jump into the best hostels in San Diego, and we’ll fill you in on exactly how we came up with this list…

Quick Answer: The Best Hostels in San Diego

 
Best Hostels in San Diego
San Diego has an awesome (but small!) hostel scene – be sure to book ahead of time!

The 12 Best Hostels in San Diego

Our process for picking the best hostels in San Diego was designed with one thing in mind – help YOU find and awesome hostel that best fits your travel style. Cuz like we said, San Diego is not cheap.

It’s true, but don’t worry – this guide will help you save a ton of money.

To accomplish this, we’ve done tons of research to find you the very best hostels in San Diego.

First, we’ve only included the top-rated hostels in San Diego. No poorly reviewed hostels here, only the cream of the crop made our list.

then, to take our list a step further, we’ve split the best hostels in San Diego into different categories too, making it easy to see here’s great for you with a glance.

From the best hostel for solo travellers in San Diego to the best party hostel and San Diego’s best hostel for digital nomads, we’ve got you covered. Travelling on a budget? Don’t miss the best cheap hostel in San Diego.

This is all designed to help you book your hostel quickly, and confidently!

Things DO go missing sometimes…

lock iconPsst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!

Overall Best Hostel in San Diego – ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego

ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego best hostels in San Diego
Neat Zoo-theme and a ton of activities make ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego the best hostel in San Diego
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Games Room
  • Tour Desk

A combination of low prices, great facilities, awesome freebies, cool events, and comfy beds makes ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego our winner when it comes to the overall best hostel in San Diego in 2020. Plus, the zoo theme is pretty cool. A top hostel in San Diego for people looking to socialise, you can enjoy a range of activities by day and by night, including free sailing tours, visits to waterfalls, the beach, and breweries, pub crawls, art nights, movie nights, and more. The lounge couldn’t be much more welcoming, with comfy seats, games, iPads, a TV, and a pool table, and there’s not only a kitchen where you can let your cooking skills shine but you’ll also get free breakfast and free pizza!

Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in San Diego – Hi San Diego – Downtown

Hi San Diego – Downtown best hostels in San Diego
Great facilities and vibes, Hi San Diego is the best hostel for solo travelers in San Diego
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Bike Hire

Located in the lively heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp district, Hi San Diego – Downtown is well connected by public transport and close to many places of interest. It’s our choice for the best hostel for solo travellers in San Diego, thanks to its location, affordable prices, quality facilities, sociable vibe, and free or budget activities. Bond with other travellers in the games room or swap cooking tips in the kitchen. From swing seats and beanbags to regular tables and chairs and sofas, there are plenty of spots for you and the crew to chill. Free Wi-Fi and computers at this recommended hostel in San Diego make staying in touch with home easy. The weekly schedule of events includes pub crawls, walking tours, restaurant trips, beach outings, and more. Dorms are single gender and can sleep between four and ten.

Best Cheap Hostel in San Diego #1 – Hostel on 3rd

Hostel on 3rd best hostels in San Diego
Cheap but not lacking in value, Hostel on 3rd is our pick for best budget/cheap hostel in San Diego for 2020
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Games Room
  • Tour Desk

Not only is Hostel on 3rd the best cheap hostel in San Diego but they also have great freebies too. Tuck into a free brekkie each morning and surf the free Wi-Fi. You can also save money on transportation costs, as this San Diego backpackers hostel is located within walking distance of the Gaslamp district’s vibrant nightlife. Chill in the large common room, complete with a pool table, TV, and book exchange, bang out a tune on the piano, cook something tasty in the kitchen, and sleep well in the comfy dorms and twin rooms.

Best Cheap Hostel in San Diego #2 – USA Hostels San Diego

USA Hostels San Diego best hostels in San Diego
Second on my list of best cheap hostels in San Diego is USA Hostels.
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Lockers
  • Tour Desk

A colourful and cheerful youth hostel in San Diego, USA Hostels San Diego is truly unique. It’s the coolest hostel in San Diego, housed in a historic building in the Gaslamp district. The building was previously used as both a brothel and a children’s home and there are rumours of it being haunted! An all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast is served each morning and you have full use of the kitchen and large TV lounge. Pub crawls, cheap dinners, and shuttles to major attractions are more bonuses. There are power outlets in the lockers, meaning you can charge your devices without worrying. It’s definitely one of the best hostels in San Diego for 2020.

Best Cheap Hostel in San Diego #3 –R.K. Hostel

R.K. Hostel best hostels in San Diego
R.K. is another one of the best cheap hostels in San Diego.
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Tour Desk
  • Laundry Facilities

Located in Little Italy, R.K. Hostel is a top youth hostel in San Diego for active travellers and people who love to be out and about exploring. The free breakfast is designed to be eaten on the go, with granola bars, fruit, pastries, and more. After a day of sightseeing, come back for an evening of Netflix, a session on the Xbox 360, or a good old natter in the comfy common area. Pop open a beer on the terrace and toss some meats on the BBQ for the perfect laid-back evening. You can also cook up your favourite dishes in the kitchen.

Best Hostel for Couples in San Diego – HI San Diego – Point Loma

HI San Diego – Point Loma best hostels in San Diego
A kick ass hostel, we recommend HI San Diego – Point Loma for all travelers, but love the private rooms especially for couples
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Games Room

HI San Diego – Point Loma is the best hostel for couples in San Diego. There are cosy double rooms (with shared bathrooms) as well as the dorms, and you’re close to the beach, nightlife, and many restaurants, cafes, and shops. Sporty travellers can borrow surfboards for free, and there’s tons of stuff to make beach trips sweet, like seaside games, towels, etc. Wanna mingle? Join the weekly taco tours and chill in the sociable TV lounge or on the courtyard, which has a BBQ and fire pit.

Best Party Hostel in San Diego – Lucky D’s

Lucky D’s best hostels in San Diego
Pub crawls, beer pong and game nights make Lucky D’s the best party hostel in San Diego
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar
  • Laundry Facilities

Shout out to all party-loving travellers! Lucky D’s is the best party hostel in San Diego and you’re all but guaranteed to have a time to remember here. Funtivities at this top hostel in San Diego include pub crawls, beer pong tournaments, quiz nights, poker playoffs, and more. Plus, you’re just a short walk from the pumping nightlife of the Gaslamp quarter and there’s a bar right onsite! Knock your hangover into touch with the free breakfast and tea and coffee, available all day, cook comfort foods in the kitchen, rejuvenate and get in the mood in the sociable common room, and repeat it all again. Dorms sleep four and have lockers.

Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in San Diego – ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel best hostels in San Diego
An awesome hostel in San Diego for all travelers, ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel is also a great hostel for Digital Nomads in San Diego
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Mini Market
  • Laundry Facilities

ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel has everything you’d expect from an awesome youth hostel in San Diego: spacious mixed and female-only dorms with lockers, private rooms, clean bathrooms, a sunny deck with a BBQ, a covered courtyard common area, a comfy lounge with a TV and books, a kitchen, laundry facilities, and more. There are diverse social events and you can rent surfboards and wetsuits onsite. With heaps of calm spaces to work, desks in dorms, and free Wi-Fi, this is our choice for the best hostel for digital nomads in San Diego.

Best Hostel with a Private Room in San Diego – Hostel Habibi

Hostel Habibi best hostels in San Diego
Looking for peace and quiet? Hostel Habibi is the best hostel with a private room in San Diego.
  • $$
  • Bike Hire
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Lockers

The gay-friendly Hostel Habibi has six-bed mixed dorms and private rooms for one, two, and four. It’s quite swanky inside, with bright colours, funky artwork, and interesting ornaments. Making good use of space, the hostel features built-in bunk beds and a compact kitchen, which is complete with washing machines. There are social spaces inside and outdoors. With airport transfers available, there’s no need to stress about finding a San Diego hostel near the airport.

The BEST Travel Backpack?!

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite travel backpack is the Osprey Aether (comes in 55 – 85 litre sizes).

View on Osprey View on REI

More of the Best Hostels in San Diego

Don’t worry if none of those has really grabbed your attention; here are even more of the top hostels in San Diego to make sure your stay is perfect.

USA Hostels Ocean Beach

USA Hostels Ocean Beach best hostels in San Diego
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Laundry Facilities
  • BBQ

A recommended hostel in San Diego for beach bums, surfers, and water babies, the award-winning USA Hostels Ocean Beach is just a short stroll from some excellent beaches. Days at the seaside are made even better with the free use of beach chairs, towels, mats, parasols, and coolers, and you can get discounts on surf lessons, wetsuits, and surfboards. It’s not all about the beach life, though; the hostel provides regular shuttle services to major San Diego attractions, yoga classes, pub crawls, weekly farmers’ market trips beach bonfires and more. Other reasons to stay at this San Diego backpackers hostel? Breakfast is free, there’s a kitchen, terrace, and common room, there are laundry facilities, Wi-Fi is free … and the list goes on!

California Dreams Hostel

California Dreams Hostel best hostels in San Diego
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Café
  • Bike Hire

Located in Pacific Beach, or PB to those in the know, the laid-back California Dreams Hostel is an ideal San Diego youth hotel for people who love to soak up the rays, swim, and surf. A cosy home from home, you’ll find a well-equipped kitchen, modern bathrooms, and various lounging areas for relaxing and socialising. Don’t worry about coming back covered in sand—there are laundry facilities. The tour desk and bike hire services make visiting San Diego a breeze.

ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego

ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego best hostels in San Diego
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Games Room

ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego, located in Little Italy, is loaded with awesome amenities and facilities. There are common areas for leisure, lounging, working, chilling, eating, and cooking and the diverse program of events makes meeting others easy. The free city tour helps you get your bearings. Keep in touch with family and friends with the free Wi-Fi and iPads. Dig into free breakfast each morning. Sleep well in comfy dooms. Have a great San Diego stay to remember!

Best Hotels in San Diego

If you feel like staying somewhere else in San Diego that’s NOT a hostel, here are our three favourite hotels to suit any budget.

Best Budget Hotel in San Diego – Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle Near SeaWorld

Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle Near SeaWorld best hostels in San Diego
  • $
  • Swimming Pool
  • Fitness Centre
  • Restaurant

The Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle Near SeaWorld might cost more than your average hostel but as a budget hotel, it certainly goes all out when it comes to facilities and comfort. From the swimming pool and Jacuzzi to the modern fitness centre and onsite burger joint, there are plenty of things to enjoy without even stepping foot outside. Rooms are all en-suite and come with a TV and telephone, a safe, free Wi-Fi, a wardrobe and seating area, and basic self-catering facilities including a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in San Diego – Kings Inn

Kings Inn best hostels in San Diego
  • $$
  • Restaurants & Bar
  • Swimming Pool
  • Fitness Centre

Kings Inn is a modern, comfortable, and classy hotel in San Diego’s Mission Valley. The nostalgic rooms have a 1960s theme and all have a private bathroom and modern conveniences like free Wi-Fi, a fridge, and a TV. Treat yourself to something tasty at the onsite restaurants and enjoy a nightcap in the bar. Relax and sunbathe by the large pool, keep up with your workouts in the gym, and book a range of tours onsite. Laundry services are also available.

Best Splurge Hotel in San Diego – La Valencia Hotel

La Valencia Hotel best hostels in San Diego
  • $$$
  • Spa
  • Business Centre
  • Restaurants

If you really want to go all out and spoil yourself, La Valencia Hotel is a stylish and sophisticated San Diego hotel. Located just a couple of minutes from the beach in up-market La Jolla, the Mediterranean-themed hotel has two tempting restaurants, a fitness centre, an outdoor pool, a business centre, and a spa for the ultimate in pampering. The gorgeous rooms are all en-suite, with free toiletries and bathrobes. Each room also has a minibar, TV, and free Wi-Fi.

What to Pack for your San Diego Hostel

We don’t often travel without these essentials.

Universal Adapter

1. Universal Travel Adapter: This universal travel adapter charges your devices in (pretty much) every country – definitely a lifesaver when travelling around the world. The plug also regulates the power output depending on which device you’re charging. No more fried hair dryers or electric razors!

Active Roots Water Bottle

2. Active Roots Water Bottle: Sturdy and durable, the Active Roots water bottle survives the roughest adventures while keeping your drink cold or hot for at least 24 hours. Vacuum-sealed and made from stainless steel, the bottle can fit 25oz, which is plenty to keep you hydrated. Super cool bonus: the bottle isn’t just super useful, it helps to reduce the single-use plastic waste – save the planet by filling up your bottle.

Travel Pillow

3. TRTL Travel Pillow: Nothing is worse than a sleep-deprived and grumpy backpacker. Do yourself a favour and get some decent rest with this comfortable TRTL travel pillow. The ergonomic design (fancy!) makes it possible to sleep upright, which can be a real struggle with normal neck pillows. Having this cool pillow makes long bus rides or flights way more enjoyable – and who knows, maybe you’ll even be looking forward to it next time. If so, leave those guys a good review.

AR Towel

4. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Having your own towel on your travels is a game changer. The Active Roots Microfiber Towel is perfect for travellers who are looking for a lightweight, quick-drying and extremely soft option. The antibacterial material is super water-absorbent and resists odor buildup because of its antimicrobial material. Ain’t technology cool?

Travel Pocket Soaps

5. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: Soap can be very useful on long travels, but it’s hard to carry around. It might get taken off you at the airport or leak in your backpack. This Sea to Summit Travel Soap is the perfect solution for every backpacker with a thought for hygiene. The dry soap is super handy, and it definitely won’t leak (there’s nothing to leak). One box contains 50 leaves of soap, making sure that you’ll be clean, even on longer adventures.

Playing Cards

6. Playing Cards: These waterproof cards are essential kit for every backpacker. Play by the pool, beach or at your hostel after a long day with travel buds, without your cards breaking or getting soaked. And once you pull out those cards, the chance that you’ll be the hero of the night is pretty high (no promises though).

Why you should travel to San Diego

The best hostels in San Diego are all awesome, and will help you save money and have a better experience in this epic and beautiful American city.

We know that this insider guide will help you easily identify a cool hostel, so you can book quickly and focus on what matters – getting your tan on.

And just a final reminder, if you are having a hard time picking one, you should definitely book  ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego. It’s our pick for the best hostel in San Diego for 2020.

ITH Zoo Hostel San Diego best hostels in San Diego
ITH Zoo Hostel rocks and is one of the best hostels in San Diego

Travel Safety Tips for San Diego

And don’t forget Travel Insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

More Epic Hostels in USA and North America

Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to San Diego.

Planning an epic trip all across USA or even North America itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around North America, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in San Diego has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure! Once you’ve booked your favorite hostel, plan your trip using our multi-day San Diego itinerary!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

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