HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel, San Diego

Gaslamp Quarter
2,147 Reviews
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HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel Reviews


This hostel is not safe at 521 MARKET STREET. Why? The workers at the checkin counter let anyone check into this hostel -- wackos, nutjobs, druggies, and weirdos, you name it. Plus this hostel needs a very good cleaning -- it's very dirty!

Karen Weaver

In the dead center of the hottest nightlife in town, HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel is the choice location for many who are looking to enjoy a social experience in an active place. The wacky, bright color coordination on the walls creates a positive, friendly atmosphere.

The Location

The location couldn't be better if you are looking for action during your stay. The Gaslamp district of San Diego is teeming with activity all hours of the day. Sleep can be somewhat hampered by the noise of the neighborhood, but a good set of earplugs should cut out the majority of the offending noises.

The hostel is easy to spot: There is a big sign saying "Hostel" near the roof of the building in huge blue lettering. The hostel is less than a fifteen-minute walk from the greyhound station, the trolley station, and many bus stops going in every direction. In addition, the Transit Center (a store that sells monthly passes for the Metro Transit System as well as giving out information to help you find your way) is only a short walk away as well.

The parking situation at the hostel is abysmal at best. There are no parking spots designated or owned by the hostel, and all of the parking lots around are overpriced per-hour parking. Guests usually park on the street if they have a car and generally make sure to wake up by 8 a.m. to pay for parking at their designated parking meter.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The rooms are clean and well-maintained. The doors are locked automatically and entry can only be gained by use of a card key with a magnetized strip (similar to credit card technology). If a card key happens to be lost or stolen, the staff can easily make you a new one, therefore disabling the previous one.

There are various room sizes available, the lowest end (and cheapest price) being a ten bed dorm. The beds in the dorm rooms are typically aluminum-frame, twin-sized bunk beds. Private rooms are available for higher prices. These rooms are quite large and typically have wooden queen-sized bed frames. Not all private rooms have their own restroom.

There are mid-sized lockers available for free in the room -- one for each bed. You need to bring your own lock. In dorms, some of the lockers available are aluminum frame, but some are wood, and seem similar to cabinets than lockers. The wooden lockers do not give a very good sense of security for your items as they seem easy to break into.

Some of the dorm rooms have showers and bathrooms affixed to them. The restrooms available in-room are typically small (but not cramped) with a toilet and shower. The showers are long and quite roomy. The water is always hot. The showers are typically clean in the dorm restrooms, although in the common restrooms, there are often small amounts of mold forming.

Sinks are available in each room. They are industrial-size and typically have three shelves on the wall behind them. There is neither soap nor a dish for soap in the rooms -- each guest must bring their own. There is a paper towel dispenser next to the sinks, which works on typical crank design.

Common Spaces

The hostel has one very roomy kitchen. The kitchen is equipped with two consumer-grade stoves, each with four burners on top for cooking. There is a industrial-sized refrigerator available for use by guests, providing they fill in a supplied label with their name and room number and affix it to their food package. A full cutlery set is available. Large and small knives, forks, spoons, plates, coffee mugs, and water cups are available in large quantities for guest use. Pots and pans are also provided. The kitchen is cleaned every day by an in-house housekeeping staff of three or more and is usually cleaned around noon each day.

Adjacent to the kitchen, there is a large seating area with two large dining room tables as well as couches provided. Down the hall, a TV room can be found. Four couches are provided for lounging. This room has a restroom in it as well as a small computer terminal for paid internet access. In every hallway, three couches provide enough seating for every guest. Board games and reading material can be found at each of these locations. The free Wi-Fi provided makes it easy to get work done or communicate with friends online, but don't expect to find a quiet space to work, as there isn't one.

A pack room is located in the lobby area, where guests can store larger backpacks for the duration of their stay. Guests are also permitted to store their packs for one day after checkout. Only staff are given access to this room.

This hostel is friendly for any age, and many languages, age groups, and nationalities seem to be very well respected and represented. The atmosphere in the mornings and evenings is very social. Joining the other guests for free pancakes (you make them yourself) in the morning provides a perfect opportunity to sit down and meet someone new. Generally the people staying are friendly, though a few guests can typically be found engrossed in their laptops, not in the mood for discussion.

No smoking, alcohol, or drugs are allowed inside the hostel (everyone is required to go outside to smoke), therefore there is no tobacco residue or scent.


This hostel is great and the staff are friendly -- they will do whatever they can to help you or guide you in the right direction. The location makes it a perfect place to stay to experience the hustle and bustle of downtown San Diego. The close proximity to the transit stations provides quick and easy access to the rest of the city. It's definitely a top-notch hostel that tries hard to give a good experience -- and succeeds!

Christian Holmes

Good location, nice pancakes

I really enjoyed staying at this hostel. Can't speak for the shared rooms, but the private room that we had was comfy and clean. The staff that I talked to had really good advice and there seemed to be a lot of information about things to do and how to get around. The hostel also organizes a lot of excursions that looked like a fun way to meet people if you are traveling alone. I also liked the idea of the pancake breakfast, where they provide the batter and you make your own. The kitchen was large with lots of space for eating and socializing. Overall, I think it is a great place to stay in San Diego. The only problem we had was an issue with the booking the second time we went to stay there, but it could have been the fault of the website we booked with. Fortunately, they still had a room and we had a place to stay.


Overall good

The facilities were great, en-suite bathroom in my dorm was cool. Free pancake breakfast in the morning was outstanding and the location is pretty cool. I'd stay there again, only one downside -- can be noisy on a friday or saturday night (unless you out enjoying the noise).

Ben H

Comic con folks -- use this hostel

I had a decent time here. I go to comic-con every year and usually I stay at the hostel down the block. I changed it up this year and I feel dumb that I never used this hostel. It's bigger, cleaner, and more comfy. Everything about it is better -- better kitchen, better rooms, better bathrooms. They invited me to an ice cream social as soon as I got there and they were all gung ho about people staying for the convention. I felt very welcome and like I was at home. At HI, everyone's there for the con so it's easier to socialize. Check in was horribly long, as was check out, since it was very busy, but that was a small price to pay for being comfy and paying such a low price.


Nice building, but the staff don't know what they are doing. I still have not received my HI points for my stay, as the staff did not know how to use the computer. The hostel let bag people and complete fruit loops stay there. I did not always feel safe, but the management did remove one nutter as it appears several people complained about her behavior. The location is great but it was so noisy even with my earplugs in. Lots of crime in the streets. The hostel did some communal meals, which were good value and we managed to get free tickets for a symphony so it was not all bad. I do not think I would stay here again.

Shelley Cherry, globetrotter

The hostel itself is pretty nice, structurally, but the staff are so pathetic. The head of the hostel clearly doesn't care about her employees or the local volunteers, and that attitude trickles down to how the guests are treated. I was there before this person was hired, and the atmosphere was completely different. When I returned, it was as if THEY were doing US a favor by taking our money and letting us stay there. Not a good place for relaxation.


+ The location is great if you like bars (like I do :-)) and the hostel is located within walking distance of all the downtown attractions, including the harbor and Balboa Park.

+ The staff were really, really nice and helpful.

+ It was pretty clean (for a hostel).

+ Free breakfast.

+ Lockers for every bed in the dorm (but they charge a quarter every time you lock it).

- Parking is a big problem. "Park on Market" is 9 bucks per day. There are free spots, about 5-10 blocks away in a pretty shady neighborhood.

- The bathroom in our 10-bed dorm was locked and out of order (but there was a "public" bathroom on our floor and two upstairs).

- Some guys were partying in the dorm (but that's not the hostel's fault).


More reviews...

HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel Reviews from the Web

The hostel was like an elderly care home, me and my sister are in our 20s and we were the youngest people there. The beds were uncomfortable and the hostel was quite dirty. There was a lady in our 4 bed dorm who was coughing and sneezing all night. However, the location is very good and San Diego is a super cool place!


Soulless but in a great location. The bunks are also pretty miserable for a dorm-style hostel.


Out of all of the hostels I've visited so far, in San Diego, HI has been the best overall!

Easy checkin.. nonrigid policies... flexible and understanding.. very nice and reassuring!.


Elevator broken. Water turned off. Toilet in room broken. Staff was nice but felt like the place was falling apart around them. Location was good but SO loud. Not normal street noise, but banging of drums and yelling outside until 2am. If youre going to party nearby Im sure its great.


The location is very good, right in the heart of the district with the restaurants and the bars. Could've used some more bathrooms. Quite a decent hostel overall.


i stayed one night at the hostel during 4th july weekend so there was a great atmosphere in the city! people in the hostel were friendly too. the communal areas are really great, nice sofas, books everywhere, a pool table and a big kitchen! the only downside was the shower, it was like a trickle! but perhaps i just chose a bad bathroom.


Stay at this hostel if your desire is to vacation within close proximity to sites in Downtown San Diego. You may consider staying here and then staying at a hostel near the water if you do not have access to a vehicle. Public Transportation will exceed your expectations and is an adventure in of itself.


Perfect location in the Gaslamp Quarter (Party district). My one complaint is that it's highly difficult to charge your phone at night if you have a top bunk bed. There are very few power outlets in the rooms


This is not a good hostel for young solo travelers. The location is great but this hostel does nothing to foster community among guests. Most of the staff members are rude and act like they cant be bothered to help guests. They do have a large kitchen/dining space but they do not hold events or provide breakfast. Many guests are older 40+. Ive stayed in ~30 different hostels, this was one of the dirtiest. Lights were constantly flickering and dorm aircon barely worked. Stay at Gaslamp Hostel.


I stayed at the HI Hostel for two days. I got there early before my room was ready and was able to drop my bags off and start exploring. They gave me a map and some tips on local transport. The room and rest of the facilities, including bathrooms, were clean. I felt very safe in the neighborhood and would stay there again.


I had an amazing time with my wife for our anniversary. The location was amazing right in the heart of the Gas lamp quarters. Which is the historic region of San Diego. In addition, it is walking distance from the train station, beach, and Balboa Park. The atmosphere of the Hostel was a vibe. Super artistic, well put together, and Instagram perfect. Would definitely stay here again.


The hostel had a great location near a lot of nightlife and I met a few fun people there, but the elevators were out when I got there which required walking outside around the corner to the side entrance. This wouldn't have been a problem except the key cards stopped working for multiple guests I talked to in the middle of the trip, which necessitated emergency trips around the corner to the front desk.


Great space. Very close to highway and bars. Parking can be tricky if you are driving but otherwise a wonderful time. Would stay again.


I was on the third floor, only heard loud music at night from the streets once. The ceiling fan was very helpful! Found out there's a much nicer bathroom on the second floor. The elevator was never fixed for the 5 days I was there. If you want a decent sleep go here, if you want fun vibe go elsewhere. It was dead silent in the hostel. Location wise it was easy to get anywhere but it takes an hour to get to the beaches.


Location was excellent - very central to bars and restaurants. Hostel was let down by the fact that the elevator wasnt working and a back door had to be used which was at times left open and didnt feel very secure. Multiple bathrooms on the floor were not in service at the time and those that were available werent always clean.


I stayed here for three nights mid-June and am sorry not to recommend this place. I stayed in a quad room, which was smelly. The bed and bedsheets were not the cleanest, but the weirdest thing were white flakes I kept finding. The elevator and most of the restrooms on my floor were broken during the stay, and the person in the bed above me was this older dude, who was only showing up in the night, shaking the whole night and then disappearing in the morning. Truly weird experience.


I stayed here for 5 nights in an 8-bed male dormitory. The facilities were clean, the kitchen area upstairs is spacious, the staff are very friendly. Unfortunately for me, I am moving towards an age where hostels are not for me but as far as hostels goes, it gives you what you need. The best part is location, you are very close to bars and restaurants and the busy-ness of downtown San Diego. Of course, it can be rather loud in the hostel on a Saturday night, though.


This was a really good hostel to stay in. There were great cooking facilities and a fun common room area to meet people. Some dorms are louder than others to sleep in because the hostel is situated on a main street with bars. The location was in downtown San Diego which has loads of nice restaurants and bars around and a short walk to the harbour with lots of shops.


This was an awesome hostel, could not be more perfectly located in the Gaslamp district. The front desk staff were super knowledgeable and kind, made me feel welcome as soon as I checked in. I got to make friends with the other girls in the hostel right away which was awesome! Would definitely recommend!


My bed and room was very comfortable. Nice staff to!



We’re here to help you with the most central and accessible hostel in San Diego. Let our award winning staff ensure you receive the most comfortable and enjoyable hostel stay you’ve ever had. We offer several free tours, movie/video game nights, happy hour group outings, pub-crawls, group dinners and more. Not sure what you want to do in San Diego? We’ll gladly help you plan an amazing time. Everyone here is a local expert and we love to share information about local hotspots and hidden treasures you won’t find in the brochures. We’re just a short bus or car ride away from the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and all of America’s finest beaches. On top of that we are within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center, the Amtrak station, and the Greyhound station, plus a short bus or cab ride to the Airport (Approximately 10-15 minutes). The icing on the cake: our Tempur-Pedic® mattresses were recently rated most comfortable out of all Hostelling International Hostels in the U.S.A. So join us and enjoy a wonderful and relaxing excursion in Sunny San Diego.
-Pancake Breakfast Everyday
-Linens and Towels
-Coffee, Tea, and Hot Chocolate
-Bicycle Parking
-Storage upon Check-in or Check-out
-Events, Tours and Activities

IMPORTANT – Check-In/Reservation Policies:

-Foreign travelers must show a valid foreign passport at check-in.

-United States citizens must show a valid state issued Identification Card or Driver's License with photo upon check in.

-We do not rent to residents of San Diego County.

-U.S. passports, Foreign Identification and Driver's Licenses, Military Identification and Student Identification cards are not accepted.

-Reservations must be cancelled by Midnight the day before check-in to receive a refund. Any cancellations or no-shows after this point will be charged for the first night of the intended stay.

-Guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. No one under the age of 12 may stay in a dorm room.

-We have a maximum allotted stay of 14 nights in a 365 day period. Any bookings made for longer than this cannot be accepted.

-A $3 Non-Member Fee will be added per night for guests who are not Hostelling International members. Memberships are available at front desk upon check in.

Location and Contact


• Directions By Car: From Hwy I-5: Take Front St. exit, turn left on Market. Hostel is at corner of 5th and Market
• Directions By Bus: Walk East to 5th. Go South 4 blocks to Marke
• Directions By Airport: take bus #992 to 5th Ave. and Broadway. Walk South 4 blocks to Market.
• Directions By Train: Take Bayside Trolley to Convention Center. Walk North 3 blocks on 5th to Market



Address: 521 Market Street, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, California, USA

HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at Booking.com Not listed at HostelsClub


Website HI - San Diego (Downtown) The Metropolitan Hostel San Diego (if you know the URL of their website, let us know and we'll add it)
Phone Number: +1 (619) 525-1531
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Family-Friendly Hostel

Groups (10+ people)

Solo Traveller



City Tours

Luggage Storage


Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Bike Rental

Lockers in Lobby

24 Hour Security


Air Conditioning

Board Games

Cable TV

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Currency Exchange


Entirely Non-Smoking


Hair Dryers

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Pool Table


Wheelchair Accessible

Max. Age: All Ages

Checkout: 11:00 (11 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 24 Hours

Size: Very Large (100+ beds)


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