Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco
Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco

Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco

Telegraph Hill
1,685 Reviews
Digital Nomads Party Hostel Solo Traveller
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Green Tortoise Hostel Reviews

This is a hostel that is perfectly suited for San Francisco. It has a strong young/bohemian vibe. There are a few cracks in the ceiling and the paint isn't fresh, but if you're looking for a sterile environment this isn't the right place for you anyway.

There is a very large common room with high ceilings, a pool table, some tables and chairs, and a TV. It was a little smoky, but they say they're installing a heavy duty ventilation system and this won't be a problem any longer. It's a friendly social hostel and there are almost always people around. There's also a full kitchen and computers for internet access.

It's located in the heart of the city in the middle of a street with several strip clubs. But it's still a safe area and it's within walking distance of some of the best bars and restaurants. Locals aren't allowed, and if you don't have a passport you need proof that you live somewhere else.

Update from the Owner: "There are several things that have changed since the review was written and should be corrected. We have repainted the interior of the hostel and refinished our famous International Ballroom- it looks absolutely different and fabulous now. The picture of the exterior of the hostel is no longer accurate- since the photo was taken we have repainted it twice as well as refinished the ground level entrances. Our ventilation system is in place and working very well and we instituted a policy that allows smoking only in one small part of the hostel and only at times when no meals are being served."
Hostelz Staff Reviewer

Super clean, Super fun roomies, Great free food.

It was a pleasant experience staying here, bed was very comfortable, bathrooms clean, good free food, cool roomies from different countries, what more would anyone expect?

Age 25 | India

Great location, party hostel? Not sure if that applies anymore.

This is a giant hostel, previously a restaurant, hotel, and for a time a brothel. Abandoned for many years, in the 70s cleaned up and turned into a hostel. Still needs some restoring in the ballroom but overall in good condition. Fairly clean although small bathrooms (be careful of leaving window open, people can see in from hallway) this is no longer the sex party place, they have cleaned that up. It is a respectable and safe hostel now.

Age 45 | USA

A lively hostel, with a grand, beautifully decaying dining hall that used to be a fancy Italian restaurant, Green Tortoise Hostel is a top choice for your budget stay in San Francisco. Everything you could possibly want in a hostel is here at your disposal. Sure, it's not as modern and clean as some newer hostels, but Green Tortoise more than makes up for that with a personality all its own that you'll find incredibly endearing.

The Location

You'll be right amongst it all in this North Beach location -- famous as the hangout for the Beat Generation counter-culture literary movement of the sixties, and also the many strip clubs and busy bars. It can get very noisy at night, especially on the weekends. Don't forget your earplugs! There is a bit of a dodgy feel -- this is the Red Light District after all, but it seems fairly safe to walk around at night as long as you don't loiter. It's a fifteen-minute walk from the BART train station, but best to get a taxi rather than wrestle with your suitcase and those San Francisco hills (just avoid peak hours, as the traffic downtown gets insane). You can hire bikes from the hostel. It takes twenty minutes to walk to Fisherman's Wharf (featuring the cruise boat to Alcatraz and a million other touristy things). You can also get discounts on some excellent historical walking tours dedicated to different districts.

Rooms and Bathrooms

Rooms are very basic, but fine. You'll get two keys -- one each for your room and your locker. It can be a challenge to find and unused bathrooms in the morning, so make sure you factor some extra time into your morning routine if you have an early tour booking. Bathrooms are old and get cleaned twice daily; sometimes they can be a bit dirty but they're nothing terribly gross. If you have a booking for a five-bed dorm, and are assigned the bed built into a bay window overlooking Broadway Street, you'll have an interesting experience -- there are no barriers on the windows, so you could roll out of bed onto the sidewalk! Don't forget to shut the windows before bedtime!

Common Spaces

The dining hall is a huge space, great for socialising or using your laptop. Breakfast is free -- there's even eggs supplied if you want to cook some. Dinner is also free three nights a week. And it's actually pretty good. If you help cook, you get a free beer and can jump to the front of the queue to get dinner first. There's another smaller lounge area with computers (usage is free). Green Tortoise organises a lot of pub crawls and cheap local dinners, plus they also run their own tour company, which offers lots of great deals for travels to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Las Vegas in a unique sleeper bus.


Green Tortoise Hostel consistently gets the thumbs up, and for good reason. Although not as swanky as some hostels (and the occasional odd smell can permeate), it has an excellent overall vibe, making for a memorable stay. The sister Green Tortoise hostel in Seattle also has the same energy. If you're looking for a bit more interaction than the standard hostel, and some community spirit, this is the best hostel, especially for solo travelers.

Kristy Sullivan

Fab accommodation, atmosphere and service!!!

Couldn't be better: clean, good value and friendly. Breakfast included eggs, bagels, porridge, fresh fruit and more. Reception books the Airporter Shuttle for you, organise tours. About 1/5 of the price of the hotel I stayed at on the first night in San Fran (no breakfast included). This is such a bargain, am coming back, or going to one of their other branches. Stay here!

Age 33 | UK

Convenient location next to China town; unique indoor design

I was traveling with my friends for a road trip and we basically only wanted a clean and comfortable place to stay (at a fair price, of course). Green tortoise felt into our hostel list when we did our hostel haunt. I am glad we chosen here because overall it provides discounted parking, free wifi, free breakfast, and the most important is the location. We didn't realize how insanely expensive the parking is in SF until we parked. Here, it offers the visitors with the overnight parking fare at $20-30. If you stay longer, you can bargain for a better price. First problem, checked! Public transportation such cable car is within walking distance about 10 minutes. Don't want to walk? Don't worry. They also provide you with bicycles. Like most hostel you share bathroom with other travelers. The only difference is with limited space it only allows one person using bathroom at a time. It's almost like you have your own bathroom and don't have to worry about running into a naked person. It's so important for people who need privacy during showering. I know, I know, you have been waiting for the catch. The only reason I took one star from five is the space. We got a pretty compact room for three people, which reminds me of the hotel I stayed in HongKong. It's not a big problem, but I did wish I had had a bigger room. Overall, I recommend staying in green tortoise.


Awesome hostel

Haven't been to any other hostel in SF but this I'm sure is the best. Sauna, huge lounge with free amazing buffet (including eggs and bagels) all the tea/coffee you want all day, great people and super friendly staff, very clean overall too! Stay here, you'll love it!

Age 27 | Mexico


What a fantastic hostel in the heart of San Francisco! The minute we arrived we were 'welcomed home' by one of the staff and given a tour by another staff member which gave us an insight into the friendly, fun, chilled out vibe of the hostel from the moment we stepped in the door. The free food was unreal and the ballroom was a great venue for making new friends and hanging out. We loved this hostel so much we extended our stay. DONT STAY ANYWHERE ELSE IN SAN FRAN!! Green Tortoise is THE place to be!


The Green Tortoise is definitely a hostel that has been created with travelers in mind! The great facilities, free breakfast and internet, and the occasional free dinner ensure that it is a great deal. Organised activities, very helpful staff, the large communal area, and the location right in the middle of a bustling area of San Francisco will make your stay tons of fun.

The Location

At first glance the hostels location may seem a little suspect to say the least. The hostel's located amid the flashy lights of the nude dancing scene -- dont be shocked if it seems a bit sleazy. However, it's right near the busy restaurants, bars, and nightlife of Chinatown and Little Italy -- the area is bustling, safe, and fun. There are plenty of side streets to explore, full of interesting shops and places to eat and drink. Its about a twenty-minute walk to Fishermans Wharf and the Financial District (but the hills here aren't famous for nothing, so be warned). Alternatively Columbus Avenue is a fairly busy bus route, which is always nice for the way back. The bus is probably the best and cheapest way to get here when you arrive and they have a pretty thorough directions section on their website.

Rooms and Bathrooms

From our experience the rooms were a lot quieter and larger than expected. However, we can see how some of them could potentially be a bit louder and more cramped. That being said they were some of the best thought out rooms that we have stayed in. Solid wooden bunks ensure no wobbling or squeaking when others move around at night. There are separate reading lights, plenty of hooks, large lockable storage under the beds, and a basin in the room -- all that you really need.

The very clean bathrooms, which seem to have been redone recently, are plentiful on all the floors but are often all full at the busy times of the day -- so you may want to plan your shower times accordingly. Despite this, the wait is never too long.

Common Spaces

The socializing centres around either the computer area or the large ballroom. Free and fast internet is available on a large number of computers -- some with Skype -- so even at really busy times there is only a short wait. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the hostel. The ballroom is where breakfast and the occasional suppers are served, bands play some evenings, and the movie and game nights are held. There is also a pool table, vending machines, and plenty of tables and chairs around the room.

The environmentally conscious kitchen is clean and well equipped with everything that you'll most likely need. Breakfast is sufficient -- bagels, toppings, fruit, and juice and coffee are available to start the day. The free dinners that are three nights a week are a bonus and the food is plentiful and delicious (you can help cook if you want). The staff are friendly and helpful and seem to be in touch with what travelers need (and need to know). They organise activities in the hostel for guests as well as a pub crawl for cheap drinks in spots around the area. They also ask everyone that comes in to show their key. The lockers in the rooms and in the ballroom mean your stuff should be safe.


Overall its a great hostel with a good atmosphere to meet other travelers and we would definitely recommend it.

Mark Hosking
South Africa

More reviews...


Location and Contact




Address: 494 Broadway, Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, California, USA

Green Tortoise Hostel is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at Not listed at HostelsClub


Website Green Tortoise Hostel San Francisco
Phone Number: +1 (415) 834-1000
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Digital Nomads

Party Hostel

Solo Traveller



City Tours

Luggage Storage


Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Airport Pickup

Bike Rental

Lockers in Lobby

Pub Crawls

Safe Deposit Box

24 Hour Security


Board Games

Book Collection/Exchange

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking



Hair Dryers

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Meeting/Banquet facilities

Pool Table


Wheelchair Accessible

Checkout: 11:00 (11 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 24 Hours


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