Fisherman's Wharf is perhaps the tourist center of San Francisco, the place everyone seems to want to go, with a busy tourist scene. Hotel-wise, it also seems to be the place every major hotel chain wants to be. You'll find Hyatt, Marriott, Best Western, Holiday Inn, Radisson, Sheraton and Hilton, but few privately-owned or boutique hotels.
Discover more about visiting in the Fisherman's Wharf Visitor Guide. Nearby attractions include: Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square
What You May Not Know That Some Hotels Take Advantage Of
No matter what hotels around Fisherman's Wharf may try to tell you, none of them are on the waterfront. At best, they're a couple of blocks away.
Some may have a limited view, but most are only a few stories high and that view will be far from panoramic.
Pluses and Minuses
++ You'll notice from the list above that Fisherman's Wharf is close to a lot of attractions, but in San Francisco, nothing is very far apart and other areas are also convenient.
+++ Fisherman's Wharf is close to the trolley and cable car lines, making it easy to get to Chinatown, Union Square and other spots.
- - - - Room rates at Fisherman's Wharf are generally higher than in other areas of the city, and occupancy is high, so you'll seldom find a discount. In addition, Fisherman's Wharf hotels tend to cost more and get lower ratings than comparable lodging elsewhere in town.
- - - Only one hotel at Fisherman's Wharf offers free parking (Wharf Inn). Everywhere else, parking fees will add even more expense to your stay - and street parking or city-owned lots are not viable alternatives.
- - - If you want to get into San Francisco from the airport using public transportation, Fisherman's Wharf is a hard area to reach, requiring several changes to get there.
- - Nearby restaurants tend to be expensive, catering to tourists with advertisements and gimmicks while serving mediocre meals. People also complain that everything closes early in this part of town.
Mapping Fisherman's Wharf
We think of Fisherman's as the area centered around Jefferson and Taylor Streets, within a couple of blocks of the waterfront and roughly bounded by the gray lines in the map above. Others use different definitions, something to be keenly aware of when researching hotels online:
- Priceline and Tripadvisor define Fisherman's Wharf very much like the map above.
- Expedia extends Fisherman's Wharf to include lodging along Lombard Street, so far from the wharf that you couldn't hear even the noisiest sea lion barking.
- Kayak doesn't categorize hotels by area, but you can use their map-based search to find ones in the right area.
Where We Stay
We don't stay at Fisherman's Wharf very often preferring other parts of the city where it's quieter, but we have stayed at - and liked the Argonaut Hotel. Read our review of it here.
Finding the Perfect Fisherman's Wharf Hotel for You
We use Tripadvisor as an important tool in planning most of our trips and we're happy to share our secrets: How to use the same process we do to choose your hotel. Or just go straight to Tripadvisor and click on Fisherman's Wharf to start your own research.
Some hotel chains guarantee that you'll find the lowest published online rates at their websites. With them, you can save time in your search by going directly to their websites. Around Fisherman's Wharf, they include: