An inexpensive bed in San Francisco in a safe, quiet neighborhood that’s walking distance from major tourist attractions. It sounds too good to be true. But the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel at Fort Mason is all those things.
The hostel perches on the edge of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. From the hostel windows you glimpse Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. This is the perfect place for runners and bicyclists to stay, conveniently located near the foot and bike paths of the Marina Green just down the hill from the hostel.
Many people still think American hostels are rule-heavy places for youth only. But on a recent visit to the Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel, many visitors were north of 40, and a few gray heads were spotted. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day so you can come and go as you please. And visitors are no longer required to do morning chores as they were in the old days.
The hostel building was built during the Civil War and later was used as a World War II era hospital. A historic display near the reception desk lets you determine what hospital function your room served.
If you require the amenities of the Ritz, you probably won’t like staying at a hostel. But if you don’t mind a plain room and a shared bathroom, the hostel has many advantages. Your lodging includes breakfast – bagel or toast, oatmeal, organic fruit, organic coffee and orange juice – and the opportunity to join free city tours and to see nightly free movies in a basement theater. The spacious common area boasts a fireplace and traveler’s library. You’ll rub shoulders with visitors from around the world. Solo women travelers might feel safer at this hostel than they would at one of the city’s inexpensive hotels.
Light sleepers should bring earplugs, as nights can be a bit noisy. And not all rooms have electrical outlets, so you’ll need to charge your phone in the common area or ask the staff do plug you in behind the front desk.
The Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel has a special deal worked out with Lorrie’s shuttle service. If you’re flying into SFO, they’ll drive you straight to the hostel door for $14 one-way. This is way cheaper than a taxi and not much more than you’d pay for public transportation. If you’re arriving at night and/or hauling suitcases, you can’t beat this deal.
Dorm beds start at $30, private rooms at $75.