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San Francisco City Center Hostel is the newest of three Hostelling International hostels located in San Francisco. Easily accessible by public transport, its location is ideal for exploring all that this city has to offer. The building itself is smart and clean. Facilities available include a well-equipped kitchen, dining area, common area with comfy sofas, internet access with printing available, snack vending machines and luggage storage. The small dorms (4 beds) are ensuite with a bath and towels are provided, which is a real bonus. If you want to get out and about with people from the hostel, a range of tours are organised weekly to places in and around the San Francisco area.
The Tenderloin district in which the hostel is located has a reputation for being a bit unpleasant and there are a few odd characters walking the streets outside. However, the hostel itself is perfectly safe inside and with bus-stops just one block away it is not a problem to get out and about and feel safe at the same time. It is just a short walk down to Market Street where you can find the Visitor Center, a huge range of shops and public transport connections to most places by bus, streetcar, train and cable car. Alternatively, the number 38 bus stops just one or two blocks up (depending on which direction you are travelling), providing a frequent service to and from places such as Union Square and the Transbay Terminal (Greyhound bus station).
This truly is a great place to stay and needs very little improvement. However, a laundry would be a useful addition (although a public laundromat can be found one block away).
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Verified Reviews by our Community
I love this place and location, clean and nice! The breakfast deal is awesome!
Best hostel like ever
I stayed here for two months last year when I studied english in San Francisco and seriously folks the place is awesome. Sure, the neighbourhood is not the best but please, it's not as bad as people describe it. I never felt scared walking alone, the homeless are nothing but harmless. The hostel is of course amazing. I'm just not used to such high standards for a hostel, not that I have that much experience from hostels in general but it is without doubt the best I've ever stayed at. Interesting and nice staff, great breakfast (you can have pancakes for one dollar every morning if you like). The lounge upstairs is a great place to hang with comfy sofas and armchairs and there are both movies and boardgames to borrow. It's just a friendly place with a great cultural and genuine atmosphere. I felt so at home there with music playing every morning in the diner room. Loved it. It is also very close to everything, half an hour walk to Fisherman's wharf, top ten minutes to get uptown and parks and green areas within walking distance. The rooms are clean with great facilities. For cooking a huge modern restaurant-like kitchen is available. There's really nothing more to ask for. If I ever revisit San Francisco I'm definitely staying here. Even if I'm rich by then and can afford the biggest suite at the freaking Savoy this is where you'll find me. Just go here already!
Nice hostel, TERRIBLE location
The hostel itself is very nice -- en-suite bathrooms, good complimentary breakfast, and really friendly staff. But I couldn't stay -- the neighbourhood is extremely downtrodden and scary. My first night coming home (at only 9pm!) I saw a hobo fight and a guy peeing who started talking to me in a suggestive way. This was within 1 block of the hostel! San Francisco itself has a huge homeless problem, but the neighbourhood of this hostel is much worse than in other parts of the city. If you're traveling alone DON'T STAY HERE because you'll never want to walk around outside, especially after dark.
had several different experiences while here. I will say from the start it was not that bad. First off my T-Mobile cell phone won't pick up a signal well at all. I called T Mobile they said they would look in to it. A larger TV room would help there is seating for five. A laundry room would also be nice. I guess my biggest gripe would be I was in a coed room. I am a guy in my mid forties. It was ok until a couple (man and woman) shared the same bed. I was very uncomfortable when this happened and I am sure that the two girls who stayed in their respective beds were also. I realize the staff had no control of what happens in the rooms. However if a couple wanted to stay in the same bed they should get a private room.
Really nice -- just a shame about the neighbors
The place is comfortable, modern, and clean. You can't really fault it in that respect. The free breakfast is nice (although don't expect it to keep you full for very long) and free wifi is cool. The neighborhood though is pretty dodgy and feels unsafe after dark. Homeless people are common in SF but Tenderloin has hundreds of them and they're pretty crazy (quite literally, in many cases). Something to keep in mind.
EXTREMELY CLEAN. Very private. Shower in every room. 4 per room. Staff is ok & boring. People aren't very party people. Located in the ghetto so if you come back at night, you might feel insecure. Overall, it's a good place, food in the morning. Ghetto a bit. Recommended if you just want to stay at a place and get bored at night.
A deceivingly good hostel considering the neighbourhood. Takes a couple of days to get used to the characters outside, but they're harmless enough (just don't video tape them, they get a bit narky about that). Staff are great -- Ewan is a legend! Both HI hostels organise an activity every night (from sightseeing walks to pub crawls) which are quite fun and cheap, if not free. Small complimentary breakfast each morning is a good way to start a day walking as well.
The only problem would be that the neighborhood is not trusty (drug dealers, strange guys). So, don't travel alone by night there. Otherwise, the hostel is amazing! Staff is nice and the place is clean, welcoming -- the atmosphere is charming and totally great!
Built as a hotel, City Center features dorm rooms (4-5 beds) and private rooms each with private full bathroom. On site programs include weekly dinner, free walking tours and other events. Large communal kitchen has dishes, cookware and two large commercial stoves. Our staff prides itself on friendly and professional service. We welcome everyone to City Center.
Location and Contact
685 Ellis Street, Downtown, San Francisco,
HI - San Francisco, City Center Hostel is listed on the following booking sites: