About San Francisco

trolley riding up San Francisco city street

Located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, San Francisco is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west, San Francisco Bay to the east, and the Golden Gate to the north. Internationally known for its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, steep hills, and blankets of fog, San Francisco is a city of rich international culture with small-town flavor.

The San Francisco-City Center hostel is located near San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza, a tree-lined area that features some of the city’s largest government and cultural institutions, including City Hall, as well as the Herbst Theatre and Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, the permanent home of the San Francisco Symphony. Also nearby is the Asian Art Museum; with its collection of more than 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years of history, the museum is one of the largest in the western world devoted exclusively to Asian art.

The San Francisco-Downtown Hostel is located just a block from Union Square, the city’s central shopping, theatre, and hotel district. Located in Union Square is the Metreon, a four-story entertainment shopping center, as well as the Yerba Buena Gardens, which are two blocks of public parks with public art installations, museums, and entertainment. One highlight of the Yerba Buena Gardens is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, with one of the largest fountains on the west coast. To the north of Union Square is San Francisco’s Chinatown; established in 1850, it is the oldest of North American Chinatowns. One don’t-miss Chinatown event is its annual Chinese New Year Celebration, the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia. Event highlights include the Chinese New Year parade, one of the last surviving lighted night parades in the U.S., as well as a community street fair, flower fair, and the Chinese New Year Spectacular, a live performance of ancient Chinese traditions. Because the Chinese New Year is dictated by the moon’s phases, the dates for the week-long festival change every year, but it usually takes place between late January and early February.

The San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf hostel is located near the historic waterfront and popular tourist destination of Fisherman’s Wharf, known for its excellent fresh seafood, most notably its Dungeness crab and chowder served in sourdough bread bowls. Street performers line the area, and nighttime brings live music, dancing, and more. Fisherman’s Wharf is located near Alcatraz Island, the site of the infamous federal penitentiary known for its inescapability. Visitors are welcome to tour the abandoned prison and learn its history first-hand. Points of interest The Golden Gate Bridge The Golden Gate Bridge was an engineering masterpiece when it was built in 1937, and continues to be impressive to this day. Bikers and hikers can cross the bridge’s 4,200 foot span from the east entrance. And check out the spectacular photo lookout points on the bridge’s northeast and southeast ends.

Japanese Tea Garden Escape the excitement of the city for a little while in this traditional Japanese style garden. Check out an authentic pagoda, a monumental Buddha and a miniature waterfall.

Fisherman’s Wharf Providing a mix of fresh seafood, souvenir shops, and street vendors, Fisherman’s Wharf has long been a top destination for tourists visiting San Francisco. Locals may dismiss it as a tourist haven, but if you’re going to San Francisco, check it out and decide for yourself!

Ghirardelli Square Along with Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square is among the top San Francisco destinations. Its a great place to grab a bite to eat, pick up some souvenirs from the gift shop, and of course sample some of the famous Ghirardelli chocolate.

Alcatraz Tours Alcatraz had a long history as a military outpost and fort, but its best known for the years it served as a legendary prison in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

Lombard Street The Lombard Street hill was designed with a series of eight switchbacks to help cars navigate the sixteen precent grade down to the bottom. The best way to see it now is probably on foot, though, as it takes quite a white to descend in a car.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a collection of over 15,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs from artists like Henri Matisse, Dorothea Lange, Paul Klee, Cindy Sherman, and many contemporary artists.

Cable Cars No visit to San Francisco is complete without a ride on the world famous cable cars. If you’re headed to Fisherman’s Wharf, take the Powell-Mason line. The Powell-Mason line has the best views. It ends on the east side of Fisherman’s Wharf.



SF Sketchfest The San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festival takes place in January, and features a variety of sketch comedy groups as well as standup comedians in a number of venues around the city.


Chinese New Year San Francisco’s Chinese New Year celebration is one of the longest running in the USA, and one of the last night illuminated parades in the country.


San Francisco International Film Festival The San Francisco International Film Festival runs for two weeks and celebrates film as an art and as an agent for social change.


Bay to Breakers As the name implies The Bay to Breakers is an annual footrace that takes runners from San Francisco Bay, through the city to Ocean Beach. Everyone ends up at the beach for a concert at the end of the race.


Pride Week LGBT Pride Week caps a month of awareness with a two day celebration and the famous Pride parade.

Noise Pop Noise Pop started out as an indie rock festival, and has grown to include film and art exhibits.

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Hostels in San Francisco

front entrance of HI San Francisco Fishermans Wharf

HI San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf

Since you’re visiting the “City by the Bay,” why not stay right on the waterfront? Located in historic Fort Mason, HI San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf hostel is surrounded by National Park land on one side, and by the San Francisco Bay on the other. Just outside the hostel, take in breathtaking views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, then take an easy stroll to nearby...

HI San Francisco Downtown lobby with hostellers lounging

HI San Francisco Downtown

HI San Francisco Downtown hostel offers a first-rate location and top-notch amenities at traveler-friendly prices! This hostel is at the center of everything: cable cars, Chinatown, Museum Row, Union Square, and plenty of world-class shopping, restaurants, theaters, and bars. On site, we’ve got plenty of perks to keep travelers happy, including free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, a fully...

aerial view of HI San Francisco lounge with hostellers

HI San Francisco City Center

Vintage character, retro cool, and modern amenities – HI San Francisco City Center’s got it all. The City Center hostel started life in the 1920s as a boutique hotel, and while period details like a marble-tiled lobby and mahogany-railed mezzanine still remain, it’s the 21st century amenities our guests love most. Connect to fast, free Wi-Fi throughout the building; grab some...