Saving money on lodging expenses while in San Francisco might allow you to stretch your vacation budget beyond one or two attractions and a ride on a cable car. Motels are plentiful in the city and strategically located near the more popular tourist sites, but budget accommodations do exist in neighborhood settings as well.
Lombard Street is a favorite stop as tourists navigate the “Crookedest Street in America,” on its steep, brick-lined, winding drop into North Beach. But the section between Fillmore Street and Van Ness Avenue is smooth, relatively flat and houses one of the higher concentrations of motels in the city. Lombard Street continues straight from Richardson Drive off the Golden Gate Bridge and provides good access to the Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploratorium, the Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Cannery. Motels in this part of town include the Buena Vista Motor Inn, Sea Captain Motel, Lombard Motor Inn and the Town House Motel.
San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf revels in its tourism magnet with a dizzying number of restaurants, sidewalk buskers, attractions and oddity draws such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Guinness Book of World Records showcases. It’s here that visitors gather for Alcatraz tours, buy up freshly caught and boiled Dungeness crab and take a tour of one of the founding sourdough bread bakeries. Two motels, the Super 8 and Columbus Motor Inn, offer standard amenities along with excellent proximity to this highly popular San Francisco neighborhood.
With iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpias across the bay and both Alcatraz and Angel Islands, the Marina remains one of the more picturesque areas of the city. Locals and visitors alike head to the open grass of the Marina Green to play Frisbee, fly kites, jog with their dogs and picnic along the waterfront while watching the sailboats and container ships navigate the waters. This part of town also hosts the Union Street neighborhood for boutique shopping, dining and gallery browsing. Three motels are located near the Marina: the Motel Capri, the Cow Hollow Motor Inn and La Luna Inn -- a boutique motel -- all of which offer free parking as part of their amenities, no small thing in this city.
A few motels settled around town could appeal to the business traveler, those looking for a more diverse experience or to seek refuge from the primary tourist bustle. The tawny Pacific Heights/Nob Hill area offers the Castle Inn and Nob Hill Motor Inn, both within walking distance of the cable cars, Chinatown and North Beach. Located in the Castro District, Becks Motor Lodge provides a rooftop patio, wireless Internet and two fireplace rooms. In the Mission District, where Diego Rivera Murals brighten city buildings, the Mission Inn provides select rooms with kitchenettes and free parking with room for RVs. Out near Ocean Beach, the Oceanview Motel and the Beach Motel offer budget accommodations within walking distance of the surf.
- San Francisco cityview image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com