California

Stay in San Fran: 9 Best Airbnbs in San Francisco, California

by K.C. Dermody

best airbnbs san francisco
Photo: Airbnb

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San Francisco is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with the iconic (and often fog-enshrouded) Golden Gate Bridge linking the city to the Marin Headlands.

There’s practically an endless list of things to do here, from exploring world-class cultural attractions to outdoor adventures and a thriving food scene. In fact, in 2015 Bon Appétit magazine named it “The Best Food City in the Country Right Now,” and if anything, it’s only gotten better since then. The climate is nearly perfect, rarely too hot or too cold, making it enjoyable to explore year-round. Throw in sea lions, all manner of amazing museums, and quirky neighborhoods with plenty of charm, and you’ll see why S.F. has people coming back for more – one trip is never enough

Of course, you’ll need a great place to stay to make the most out of your visit. So take a look below at the best airbnbs in San Francisco, from budget-friendly to luxurious options in the heart of the city. You’ll also find a few just out-of-town airbnbs for folks who want to stay a little bit removed from the city center.

November 2020 Editor’s Note: Many of these properties currently have a 30-day minimum stay to comply with current COVID-19-related regulations in the city. We expect many of these properties to revert to standard one- or two-night minimums once COVID is better controlled. 

1. Home SUITE Home

san francisco garden airbnb
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Quiet and stylish studio minutes from downtown and the airport.

  • Neighborhood: Silver Terrace
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 3 nights
  • Rates from: $135/night

Home SUITE Home is a cozy, charming studio space perfectly situated midway between the airport and the city center, close to public transportation. It includes a small kitchen with everything you need to prepare your own meals and a backyard garden space ideal for sipping your morning coffee while enjoying the fresh air.

Guests often highlight the incredible comfort level of the bed, the attractive decor, the outstanding cleanliness, and friendly, communicative host.

“Everything is really what it looks like in the pictures. I loved everything about it, it was very cute and homey.”

Zoe, Riverside, CA
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2. Secret Garden Studio

garden studio airbnb san fran
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Quiet, affordable space close to some of S.F.’s best sights.

  • Neighborhood: Russian Hill
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 30 nights
  • Rates from: $66/night

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better budget-friendly space this close Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach and many other top tourist spots than the Secret Garden Studio. You can walk just a few blocks to hop on the city’s famous cables cars,  making it easy to get to just about anywhere you want to go without getting behind the wheel. Just remember that Russian Hill is a hill, so you’ll be walking uphill to get home once you walk down to the water.

What also makes this place unique is that in 1990, “The Real World: San Francisco” was filmed in this very building. The space is sparkling clean and enjoys lots of natural light, while a sliding door provides access to your own private patio.

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3. Marina District Studio

airbnb san francisco balcony
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: An apartment in an upscale residential neighborhood with your own private roof garden.

  • Neighborhood: Marina District
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 30 nights
  • Rates from: $83/night

Enjoy a quiet setting just a half-block from the water and within walking distance from the marina, Crissy Field, beaches and the Presidio by staying at this private rooftop studio. You’ll also be steps from the outstanding restaurants, bars and shops on Chestnut Street. After a day of exploring, look forward to returning to a bright space with lots of windows, a full kitchen, and a washer and dryer. Of course, the highlight is the access to a rooftop deck, perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine or morning matcha.

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4. Charming Garden Apartment

san francisco airbnb near beach
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Hospitable hosts, great extras, and an awesome location.

  • Neighborhood: Ocean Beach/Sunset
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $150/night

This private in-law apartment is ideal for those who want to stay so close to the ocean that they can hear the waves while also being within walking distance from the zoo, Golden Gate Park, and its many attractions like the renowned California Academy of Sciences.

Located on the ground floor below the host’s apartment, you’ll have exclusive access to their backyard. There’s a bistro table in the private garden where you can enjoy sipping your coffee to the sounds of the surf. Special touches like a complimentary bottle of wine, coffee and tea are all included, too.

Simply a fantastic place and a better host. We will never forget our week in this incredible neighborhood!

Juan, San Francisco, CA
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5. Perfectly Located Castro Apartment

san francisco airbnb castro
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: A private stay one of the Victorian homes that define San Francisco architecture scene.

  • Neighborhood: Castro District
  • Sleeps: 1
  • Minimum stay: 1 night
  • Rates from: $79/night

Featured in Travel + Leisure as one of the most wish-listed Airbnbs in San Francisco, this private 1895 Victorian flat is ideal for a solo traveler seeking an outstanding value in one of the country’s most expensive neighborhoods. Make sure to note that this is a room in a home, rather than a totally private unit.

While it sits on a quiet street, it’s centrally located to everything, including buzzing nightlife. You’ll be under three blocks from the famous Castro Theater, near street cars, the Mission District, and Lower Haight. Foodies will appreciate having some of the city’s best within a short walk, including Tartine Bakery and BiRite Creamery, serving organic ice cream.

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6. Elegant 5-Room Condo

modern san francisco airbnb
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: The perfect place to crash if you’re spending days in fabulous Golden Gate Park.

  • Neighborhood: NoPa (North of the Panhandle)
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Minimum stay: 30 nights
  • Rates from: $140/night

This elegant five-room flat is located in a two-unit condo building in an area called NoPa that serves as the entrance to Golden Gate Park. You’ll be close to the park and the fabulous Haight-Ashbury District, along with numerous bakeries, coffee shops, restaurants, and brewpubs.

The ideal place to relax at the end of the day, it includes access to the shared garden with a table for al fresco dining surrounded by lush greenery like ferns and trees, along with seasonal flowers. A Weber BBQ grill is included on the patio for outdoor cooking.

“The Haight-Ashbury District is my favorite place in San Francisco. It’s definitely the part of the city that retained the 1960s counter-culture feel and has amazing shops, quirky bars, and friendly people. Love it.”

Suzie, Territory Supply editor
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7. Modern North Beach With Fantastic Views

north beach airbnb san fran
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: Comfortable, clean, and amazing views in a great neighborhood.

  • Neighborhood: North Beach
  • Sleeps: 3
  • Minimum stay: 30 nights
  • Rates from: $100/night

This North Beach apartment boasts some of the best views you’ll find in an any of the airbnbs in San Francisco as it faces downtown, the Bay Bridge, and the Embarcadero. Not only will you be able to appreciate them right from the window, but if you stay on New Year’s Eve, you’ll be able to see the fireworks that launch from the barges out in the bay.

Some of the best bars, restaurants, and cafes in the neighborhood are only a block away. And if you’re looking for a place where you can bring your furry best friend, this is one of the rare places in San Francisco where that’s possible. You’ll find plenty of dog-friendly cafes nearby, too.

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8. Spacious Home in Brisbane

family friendly airbnb san francisco
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: An affordable four-bedroom home just outside the city.

  • Neighborhood: Brisbane
  • Sleeps: 4
  • Minimum stay: 30 nights
  • Rates from: $134/night

If you’re seeking a larger, family-friendly accommodation or a place that provides easy access to both San Francisco International Airport and the city, this airbnb is ideal. An extra-spacious, very reasonably priced home, it’s just 10 miles south of downtown San Francisco (a 20- to 30-minute drive) and 10 minutes from the airport.

Enjoy beautiful views of the city and mountains, along with all the essentials, including a washer and dryer. Guests are especially impressed with the many amenities.

“This big beautiful house was a relaxing place to come home to each day after being at a conference all day in the city. The living room and master bedrooms were both good communal areas to hang out with my group of 4 with a glass of wine. Loved that there was even a gorgeous piano to play in the dining room! Lots of amenities made it easy to cook.”

Barbara, Carmel-by-the-Sea
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9. Sea Wolf Bungalow

oceanfront airbnb san francisco
Photo: Airbnb

Why you should stay: A bungalow literally on the coast with amazing views and tall cypress trees.

  • Neighborhood: Montara
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Minimum stay: 3 nights
  • Rates from: $495/night

Ideal for a romantic couples’ retreat or a solo traveler seeking time alone with a stunning view, the Sea Wolf Bungalow is just steps from the vast stretch of soft sand at Montara State Beach. Surfers will appreciate the swell and wildlife lovers can enjoy watching for whales that pass by. Look to see gray whales and orcas from December through May, humpbacks between May and November, and blue whales from July through October.

The cabin, built in 1911 and fully restored using the original wood and reclaimed materials from throughout the area, also has an interesting history in that author Jack London is said to have stayed here at one point. The stone fireplace is also original, made from stones gathered from the nearby tide pools. The cabin shares a yard with the main home but is otherwise entirely yours.

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Plan Your Trip to San Francisco

  • Indulge in a famous clam chowder-filled sourdough bread bowl, watch the sea lions hanging out on the docks. and enjoy great people watching at Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • Walk or bike the 1.7-mile span of the Golden Gate Bridge for magnificent views of the bay, the Pacific Ocean, the city skyline, and Alcatraz.
  • Capture a photo of the renowned bridge from Baker Beach, a mile-long stretch of sand just west of the Golden Gate.
  • Take a tour of Alcatraz, the formidable prison in the middle of the bay that once housed the likes of Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. After-dark excursions are particularly eerie, with numerous reports of hauntings.
  • Visit the Wave Organ, perched atop a jetty in the San Francisco marina. The “musical instrument” is played by the bay.
  • Embark on a historic cable car ride up and down the city’s precipitous hills. It’s the last manually operated cable car system in the world.
  • Explore the beauty, landmarks and museums in Golden Gate Park, including the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, California Academy of Sciences, and the De Young Museum.

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