San Francisco might be just one of the most incredible cities in America. It’s a city of tech start-ups, cultural diversity, and iconic bridges, and it only seems to get better with age.

The location puts it between some of California’s most beautiful forests, mountains, and bays, making it the perfect stop over for a road trip. If you like hiking, trail running, and swimming, you’ve got plenty of national parks to explore.

But while San Francisco has a lot to offer, it also comes with a price tag. If you want to stay somewhere budget-friendly and authentically American, look no further than these motels in San Francisco. Not only are they comfortable, but you can save your cash for the incredible restaurants and shopping.

A motel is a fun way to experience the city’s vibe without spending everything you have. They are also perfect for those on a road trip. But, if you’re not sure where to look or if a motel is right for you, read on to learn more about San Francisco motels…

In a Hurry? Here’s Where to Stay in San Francisco for One Night

FIRST TIME IN SAN FRANCISCO

Pacific Heights Inn

Just a short walk from Union and Polk Street, Pacific Heights Inn is a comfortable inn with spacious family-sized rooms. The motel offers free parking and is open 24 hours a day.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:
  • Fort Mason
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Union and Polk Street

Is this amazing San Francisco motel booked for your dates? We’ve got your back with our other favorite properties below!

Staying in a Motel in San Francisco 

SoMa ttd San Francisco

Motels have an unfortunate rep because of horror movies, but don’t let the movies scare you, they’re actually much more comfortable in real life. A motel is really just a more affordable version of a hotel and a great way to save money.

You can find some motels centrally located in the heart of San Francisco, right around the corner from some of the top attractions in the city. They are also located near to major road links, which makes stopping by on a road trip a breeze, and if you’re backpacking San Francisco, you can relish in the affordable price tag.

Underneath the iconic red ‘Vacancies’ sign, you’ll find retro accommodation with all the necessities you might need for a short stay or an extended visit. Some motels are luxurious and come with swimming pools and restaurants, while others have just a vending machine.

To make the most out of your stay, here’s what to look for…

What to Look for in a Motel in San Francisco

Ferry Building, San Francisco

Motels might be one of the more basic and affordable types of accommodation, but that doesn’t mean they fall short of comfort and convenience. 

Location is an essential factor when choosing the best motel in San Francisco. Some motels are located just outside the city center near the airport or major highways, which is great for road trippers, but not so easy for you to get from A to B on your San Fran itinerary.

However, if you’re spending some time exploring the city, you can always find a motel in the downtown neighborhood of San Fran which makes it easier to see attractions.

San Francisco can be a nightmare when it comes to parking, and most roads require a residential permit to park overnight. When choosing a motel, make sure you choose a motel with available complimentary parking. 

You should also check what facilities it has such as laundry facilities. You should also consider food. While some motels have a restaurant, some only have a vending machine. Some rooms come with kitchenettes so you can make snacks, but this is not always the case. Make sure there are restaurants nearby in case it doesn’t have any way for you to get food.

Best Overall Value Motel in San Francisco
Pacific Heights Inn
Best Overall Value Motel in San Francisco

Pacific Heights Inn

  • > $$
  • > On bus and tram lines in the famous Pac Heights neighborhood
  • > Free on-site parking
  • > Suites feature two rooms in one
Best Budget Motel in San Francisco
Geary Parkway Motel
Best Budget Motel in San Francisco

Geary Parkway Motel

  • > $
  • > In the residential Richmond neighborhood
  • > Rooms with microwaves and refrigerators
  • > A five-minute drive to the Golden Gate Bridge
Best Motel for Couples in San Francisco
Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio
Best Motel for Couples in San Francisco

Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio

  • > $$$
  • > On the border of the Presidio National Recreation Area
  • > Free breakfast served daily
  • > In-room coffee machine and refrigerator
Best Motel for a Group of Friends in San Francisco
Royal Pacific Motor Inn
Best Motel for a Group of Friends in San Francisco

Royal Pacific Motor Inn

  • > $
  • > Between Chinatown and North Beach in Little Italy
  • > A short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • > Views of the city skyline
Over-The-Top Luxury Motel in San Francisco
Beck’s Motor Lodge
Over-The-Top Luxury Motel in San Francisco

Beck’s Motor Lodge

  • > $$$$
  • > On the tramline in the colorful Castro neighborhood
  • > Rooftop terrace
  • > Free parking available
Best Motel for Families in San Francisco
Lombard Plaza Motel
Best Motel for Families in San Francisco

Lombard Plaza Motel

  • > $$
  • > On the iconic Lombard Street in The Marina
  • > A short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • > In-room mini fridge and microwave, free onsite parking
Best Motel in San Francisco for Backpackers
Greenwich Inn
Best Motel in San Francisco for Backpackers

Greenwich Inn

  • > $$
  • > Close to bars and restaurants on Steiner Street
  • > Free parking and Wi-Fi across the property
  • > A short drive from the Marina Green Park and local beaches

The 10 Best Motels in San Francisco 

And with that, are you ready to dive into San Francisco’s most loved motels? I’ve added a spot for all sorts of travelers on this list, from those with families to solo backpackers. Go take a look…

Best Overall Value Motel in San Francisco – Pacific Heights Inn

Pacific Heights Inn
  • $$
  • On bus and tram lines in the famous Pac Heights neighborhood
  • Free on-site parking
  • Suites feature two rooms in one

Located in the hearts of Pac Heights, Pacific Heights Inn is an affordable and comfortable motel in San Francisco suited to families, couples, or solo travelers. Choose from double rooms with two queen-sized beds or go big on a ‘suite’ for your family, which is two conjoined rooms.

When you stay here, you’ll be a short tram ride from major attractions and just a stroll away from the famous Union and Polk shopping streets. The motel offers one free parking spot per room, which is a great asset for those visiting on a California road trip, especially in this central part of town.

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Best Budget Motel in San Francisco – Geary Parkway Motel

Geary Parkway Motel
  • $
  • In the residential Richmond neighborhood
  • Rooms with microwaves and refrigerators
  • A five-minute drive to the Golden Gate Bridge

Situated in a local residential neighborhood of Richmond just outside the hustle and bustle of the city, the Geary Parkway Motel is an excellent spot for those on a tight budget. The motel features non-smoking rooms only with warm wooden furniture and updated finishes. 

You’ll be within walking distance of the exquisite Golden Gate Park and only a short bus ride from the heart of the city. If you bring along a car, the motel offers free parking as well as facilities for disabled guests.

Budget Tip: Dorms in San Francisco start from $10USD per bed. They’re the cheapest accommodation in the city. Search for hostels in the area!

Best Motel for Couples in San Francisco – Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio

Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio
  • $$$
  • On the border of the Presidio National Recreation Area
  • Free breakfast served daily
  • In-room coffee machine and refrigerator

Motels in San Francisco might not have the reputation of romance on their side, but they certainly shouldn’t be ruled out as an option for couples on a budget. So, if you’re looking for a more classy spot, this Travelodge by Wyndham perfectly blends the cost of a motel with the amenities of a hotel.

This property has clean and comfortable rooms decorated using neutral tones and linens. The bathrooms have been refurbished with marble counters and are stocked with complimentary toiletries and fluffy towels. This motel even offers a simple breakfast served each morning.

Best Motel for a Group of Friends in San Francisco – Royal Pacific Motor Inn

Royal Pacific Motor Inn
  • $
  • Between Chinatown and North Beach in Little Italy
  • A short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Views of the city skyline

If you’re traveling with friends, why not book a few rooms at the Royal Pacific Motor Inn? The inn is located in the heart of the city center, on bus and tram lines. Built in 1962, this classic mid-century motor inn has a retro vibe. 

The double queen room has two queen beds suitable for four guests. After a restful night, guests can stroll down to the iconic Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square, just a 15-minute walk away.

Feel free to use the coin-operated laundry facilities, free parking, and luggage storage facilities at this motel in San Francisco.

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Over-The-Top Luxury Motel in San Francisco – Beck’s Motor Lodge

Beck’s Motor Lodge
  • $$$$
  • On the tramline in the colorful Castro neighborhood
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Free parking available 

It is hard to believe that this gorgeous accommodation is a motel. Beck’s Motor Lodge offers luxurious contemporary accommodation with hotel-like amenities in the vibrant Castro neighborhood. The area is also San Francisco’s most inclusive neighborhood, making this an excellent spot for LGBTQ+ guests. 

Visitors can spend an afternoon soaking up the sun from the rooftop terrace, which is furnished with plants and comfy seating. The motel offers single and double rooms suitable for between two to four guests.

Best Motel for Families in San Francisco – Lombard Plaza Motel

Lombard Plaza Motel
  • $$
  • On the iconic Lombard Street in The Marina
  • A short walk to Fisherman’s Wharf
  • In-room mini fridge and microwave, free onsite parking

Not only is the Lombard Plaza Motel perfect for families, but it’s also one of the homiest motels in San Francisco. The motel features cozy bedrooms with warm lighting, wooden interiors, plush linen, and an ensuite bathroom.

The two-bedroom suite has a view of the inner courtyard. It features a master bedroom with an extra-large double bed and a second bedroom with two double beds, suitable for six guests.

Perfect for families with children, this motel is just a short walk from all the top places to visit in San Fran such as the vibrant Fisherman’s Wharf and Exploratorium museum.

Best Motel in San Francisco for Backpackers – Greenwich Inn

Greenwich Inn
  • $$
  • Close to bars and restaurants on Steiner Street
  • Free parking and Wi-Fi across the property
  • A short drive from the Marina Green Park and local beaches

The Greenwich Inn is ideally located between some of San Francisco’s best shopping and dining streets in the Marina District. Battle the hills with a walk to the famous Ghirardelli Square for some fresh chocolate, or choose to take the tram into the center of town. 

The motel has been furnished with contemporary interiors and has modern bathrooms equipped with complimentary toiletries.

There are two room options at this motel in San Francisco: The first is ideal for solo backpackers and can sleep a maximum of two guests, and the second option has two double beds suitable for up to four guests.

Motel in San Francisco with the Best Location – Presidio Parkway Inn

Presidio Parkway Inn
  • $
  • In the Marina District near the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Facilities for disabled guests
  • Airport shuttles are available at an extra cost

The Presidio Parkway Inn sits in a peaceful residential Marina neighborhood between all the main attractions you might want to visit. It’s just a short drive to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, and Chrissy Fields Beach, where you can view the iconic Alcatraz island in all its glory. 

The motel offers free parking for guests with cars and an airport shuttle service for those without. Free Wi-Fi is available in all areas of the property, and this spot even has rooms suitable for disabled guests.

Best Motel in San Francisco for Long-Term Travelers – Marina Motel

Marina Motel
  • $
  • In the Marina District, close to Pac Heights and Cow Hollow
  • Lush gardens on site, pet friendly
  • Full self-catering facilities

The Marina Motel is one of the most unique motels in San Francisco, which is precisely why I rate this spot for an extended visit. It is set in a Spanish-inspired building with a central courtyard overflowing with fresh flowers.

The motel has all the amenities of a self-catering vacation rental, with a fully-equipped kitchen, dining area, and free garage parking. Make yourself at home at this family-run motel, which includes daily housekeeping and will even welcome your dog.

Best Airport Motel in San Francisco – The Atrina Hotel

The Atrina Hotel
  • $$
  • In San Mateo, a 10-minute drive to SFO
  • Updated interiors with a contemporary flair
  • Sunny rooftop terrace

Are you popping past San Francisco en route elsewhere? If so, a night in this comfortable motel outside the international airport will exceed your expectations. Although it is a motel with virtual check-in services, the rooms feel like an upmarket hotel.

Each room has been designed with modern interiors with luxurious white linen and memory foam mattresses. The hotel offers high-speed internet, free parking, and a mini-fridge ideal for a short stay. It’s also just a short drive from great restaurants and shops in San Mateo, located south of San Francisco.

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Final Thoughts on Motels in San Francisco

And that is the end of my list of the top motels in San Francisco. You might have noticed many of these motels are mostly located in the Marina District. This vibrant neighborhood overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, with easy transport connections into the rest of the city. Perfect for sightseeing!

Whether you’re looking for a more homey environment or just a basic room to rest your head, San Francisco has some great motels and inns to choose from.

If you’re visiting one of the best motels in San Francisco from overseas, do your future self a favor and organize travel insurance before you arrive.


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