San Francisco is easily one of the most gay-friendly cities in the United States. It is listed as having one of the largest LGBTQ+ communities in North America, with a diverse and vibrant LGBTQ+ scene to match.
It is little wonder then that this coastal Californian city remains at the top of many LGBTQ+ travellers bucket lists, and a warm welcome is certainly guaranteed regardless of where you choose to stay.
However, being such a gay-friendly city means that there are plenty of gay and gay-friendly hotel options to choose from. Here we have rounded up our top 20 gay-friendly hotel choices within San Francisco, and for ease listed across the various neighbourhoods.
Gay Friendly Hotels in San Francisco – Union Square
Union Square is one of the most popular choices for travellers choosing where to stay in San Francisco. Union Square itself is a 2.6-hectare public plaza, a famous landmark located right in the heart of downtown San Francisco.
Union Square is the epicentre of the shopping district, with some big-name designer brands lining the plaza itself, making this district a great choice for those looking to indulge in some retail therapy. However, the nearby streets are also home to countless upmarket hotels, so there is no shortage of accommodation options!
20. The Westin St Francis San Francisco – Union Square
The Westin St Francis was where we spent our first 2 nights during our visit to San Francisco, and we could not have had a better welcome! When it comes to knowing if a hotel is gay-friendly, there is no clearer sign than seeing 2 ginormous rainbow flags proudly flying above the front door.
The hotel is situated on Powell Street, one of the four streets bordering Union Square plaza, so location wise you could not possibly be more centrally located. In fact, whilst there are many hotels within the Union Square area, the Westin St Francis is the only hotel directly located on Union Square itself. Our room even had a view looking out over the entire plaza. We also loved being walking distance to so many great restaurants in the area.
This hotel is absolutely beautiful – the building itself is very grand and elegant yet the rooms have some great modern touches such as Smart TVs. We had a great first 2 nights here!
19. citizenM San Francisco – Union Square
citizenM is an upscale 4* hotel, and brands itself as ‘’affordable luxury.” Located just 400 metres from Union Square, this hotel is in a fantastic location.
The hotel is also walking distance to some great public transport connections to explore the wider city, with attractions like Pier 39 and Coit Tower all being with 20 minutes to the hotel.
The hotel has a unique design in that all rooms are completely identical, so no need to waste time deciding between multiple room types.
citizenM is also listed as one of booking.coms ‘Travel Proud’ properties, meaning it is a Proud Certified property where guests are guaranteed a welcoming stay.
18. San Francisco Marriott Marquis – Union Square
Another of booking.coms ‘Travel Proud’ properties, the Marriott Marquis is a modern luxurious property just 4 blocks from Union Square. The hotel is also just a short walk away from both a cable car station and a metro station making it super easy to get around the city.
The rooms are stylishly designed, with some rooms even offering a panoramic city view.
Marriott is a hotel chain that has been widely recognized for their support of the LGBTQ+ community, so this is sure to be a popular choice for gay travellers to San Francisco.
17. The Clift Royal Sonesta – Union Square
The Clift Royal Sonesta is another excellent choice if you want to be close to the action of Union Square. Located just one block away, The Clift is walking distance to several iconic landmarks and attractions, such as The Museum of Modern Art, and the Ferry Building.
Newly renovated, the hotel has modern and stylish rooms, as well as onsite bars and restaurants, a shared lounge area, and a fitness centre.
And for LGBTQ+ travellers wanting additional reassurance they will be welcomed, The Clift was recognized by gaytravel.com as a “Gay Travel Approved” property just this year!
16. Hotel 32One – Union Square
Hotel 32One is a great choice for travellers who might be looking for a more affordable option, whilst remaining close enough to the action.
Hotel32One is located adjacent to the Dragon Gate in Chinatown but is still only a 5 minutes’ walk to Union Square.
The rooms are modern and stylish, and some offer a city view too. A nice touch is the free coffee and tea served in the hotel lobby, to grab and go before you head out exploring.
15. Staypineapple, An Elegant Hotel – Union Square
Staypineapple is a gorgeous 4* hotel just a few minutes’ walk from Union Square. It is one of the most highly rated hotels in the city, with over 5000 5* star reviews, winning the Travelers Choice Award 2023, as well as ranking within the top 10 of all hotels in San Francisco.
The hotel has some cute little touches, such as a coffee and treats reception at check-in, and a welcome drink. They also serve ‘Afternoon Delights’ – not what you think, it is a cup of coffee and their signature pineapple treat served every afternoon.
14. Hilton San Francisco – Union Square
Hilton is another brand that has always gone the extra mile to welcome their LGBTQ+ guests, they even have different initiatives and policies in place to guarantee that Hilton hotels are a place where everyone feels welcome.
Hilton San Francisco is in the heart of downtown San Francisco and is just a short walk to Powell Street subway station to explore the city.
The rooms are large and modern, and the hotel also offers a fitness centre as well as 3 onsite restaurants.
But perhaps the best feature is the beautiful outdoor courtyard pool, perfect to cool down after a day out walking and exploring the city.
Gay Friendly Hotels in San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the busiest tourist areas, with multiple landmarks and attractions bringing in countless visitors every day.
Fisherman’s Wharf is home to souvenir shops, world-class dining, it is the launch point for Bay cruises, there are historic shops to tour, and don’t forget to visit the sea lion colony!
Given there is so much to see and do at Fisherman’s Wharf, it is no surprise that many visitors to San Francsico choose to stay here.
13. Kimpton Alton Hotel – Fisherman’s Wharf
The Kimpton Alton Hotel is where we stayed for our second 2 nights in San Francisco, and it was great to see both a different property as well as a different neighbourhood at the same time.
We absolutely loved our stay here, especially due to its fantastic location. You are at the waterfront in minutes, and once at the waterfront, you can reach Pier 39 on foot very easily. Ghirardelli Square, home to multiple boutique shops and various eateries is also just a 5-minute walk from the hotel.
The rooms are beautiful and spacious, and come with fantastic amenities such as plush bath robes, Smart TVs offering streaming, and even record players with multiple records to choose from at reception.
We loved the little touches such as tea and coffee served in the lobby each morning, as well as the hosted evening social hour, with complimentary beer and wine (again in the lobby) and a local DJ.
Kimpton hotels are part of the wider IHG chain, another world-leading hotel brand when it comes to the support given to our community. This was definitely noticeable at the Kimpton Alton Hotel – we immediately felt welcomed upon arrival as soon as we saw that all the staffs name badges featured the rainbow logo. The hotel also has a dedicated ‘Pride’ page on their website, and along with the wider Kimpton group are supporters of the Trevor Project.
12. Riu Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf
Riu Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf is located close to Pier 39, one of the most iconic attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf.
The guestrooms feature all the usual mod-cons, and a bonus is that an American Breakfast is included in the room rate which is a rare find!
The hotel also has an onsite gym, and an outdoor pool.
Just a short walk from the hotel is the Powell-Mason cable car stop, which connects the hotel to the downtown area of the city.
11. Hotel Caza Fisherman’s Wharf
Hotel Caza is a great 4* choice in Fisherman’s Wharf, located just a short walk from the iconic Ghirardelli Square.
The rooms are spacious and modern, and some of the rooms even come with a sea view.
The hotel has an onsite fitness centre and an outdoor pool, as well as a garden and sun terrace. A nice touch is the complimentary bike hire for up to 4 hours – ideal for cycling along the waterfront to explore Pier 39 and the Embarcadero.
10. San Francisco Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf
We included Marriott Union Square due to Marriotts support of the LGBTQ+ community so it is only fair to include the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf too!
The Marriott is in an excellent location, just 5-minute walk from Ghirardelli Square, and between 10–15-minute walk to Pier 39.
Coffee is served complimentary in the lobby each morning – a perfect way to start your day before heading out exploring!
9. Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf
Just a 3-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf, the Hyatt Centric is highly rated for its excellent location. The cable-car station is only 2 minutes’ walk away from the hotel too, ideal for exploring other parts of the city.
Modern and stylishly decorated, the guestrooms come with all mod-cons, including Bluetooth media stations and iPods – perfect for some tunes whilst getting ready to go out on an evening!
And after a hard day exploring all San Francisco has to offer, take a dip in the heated outdoor pool before relaxing in the hot tub!
Gay Friendly Hotels in San Francisco – The Castro
The Castro district is the heart and soul of gay San Francisco. This gay-bourhood is full of gay bars, gay clubs, gay bookstores, cafes, and restaurants. This neighbourhood is synonymous with gay culture and history – especially given it was one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States.
The Castro is a bucketlist stop for any LGBTQ+ visitor to San Francisco, but why not take it a step further and stay here? It goes without saying that choosing to stay at any hotel in the gay district you are guaranteed an LGBTQ+ friendly stay!
8. Hotel Castro – The Castro
For our final night in San Francisco, we of course had to stay in the Castro district, and our accommodation of choice was Hotel Castro.
Hotel Castro is in the heart of the neighbourhood, with everything within walking distance. A small boutique hotel, it only has 12 rooms, and each one is uniquely decorated inspired by LGBTQ+ heroes both past and present.
The rooms all have floor to ceiling windows, and private outdoor terraces so you can step out and listen to the hustle and bustle of the vibrant neighbourhood.
Downstairs we enjoyed a cocktail in ‘The Lobby Bar’, before checking out the rooftop terrace with a great view of the neighbourhood – the perfect spot to have a drink before heading out to check out the gay nightlife.
7. Beck’s Motor Lodge – The Castro
Beck’s Motor Lodge is a charming boutique motel in the heart of the Castro, and so makes for an affordable choice to stay in this district.
The guestrooms have recently been renovated, and the motel also has a rooftop sundeck, as well as offers free parking – unheard of in San Francisco!
Beck’s Motor Lodge is also just minutes from the cable car lines, giving direct access to other locations within the city such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square.
6. Parker Guest House – The Castro
Parker Guest House is a boutique bed and breakfast hotel in the Castro.
The guesthouse has just 21 rooms, which have all been recently updated. The rooms come with cozy robes to relax in after a day exploring, as well as Smart TVs.
Of course, as a bed and breakfast hotel a fabulous buffet breakfast is included, as well as a complimentary wine social on an evening.
The central location means you will be just steps from restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as from the metro station to head elsewhere in the city.
5. The Willows Inn – The Castro
The Willows Inn is a fantastic option for travellers on a budget during their visit to San Francisco.
The property is located in a converted house within the Castro, built across two floors each with numerous bedrooms, along with shared facilities – bathrooms, kitchen, living room and dining room. Each of the floors can also be rented in full, which is perfect for large groups or families travelling together.
Breakfast is also included in the reservation.
Gay Friendly Hotels in San Francisco – Other Districts
As a city, each district and neighbourhood is very well connected by public transport, whether you choose to ride the iconic cable car (a must-do attraction in itself!) or by using the local metro.
Whilst the above-mentioned neighbourhoods tend to be the most popular choices for travellers to base themselves during their stay in San Francisco, you may also fancy one of the below gay-friendly hotels instead, and travel to explore the other regions.
4. San Francisco Proper Hotel – Market Street
San Francisco Proper Hotel is located in the heart of Market Street, in a historic flatiron building.
This is a luxury hotel choice, with stylishly designed rooms with some great technological features – HDTVs with Google Chromecast, Bluetooth speakers and also the Proper App – which connects guests to all the services provided by the hotel.
A key feature of the Proper Hotel has to be the rooftop terrace, overlooking the city where you can relax with a cocktail next to the fireplace to stay warm.
Whilst the hotel is classed as located Mid-Market, you will still be just minutes away from Union Square, as well as from public transport links to other parts of the city.
3. InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco – Nob Hill
We have included this hotel within our gay-friendly list as InterContinental properties are part of the IHG group, which we have previously mentioned as doing fantastic work when it comes to supporting our community.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins is in a historical landmark building on Nob Hill, but still just a 6-minute walk from Union Square, and 1.5 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf.
As you would expect from an InterContinental property, the rooms are modern and elegant with all mod-cons, and the hotel also a 24-hour fitness centre.
2. The Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square
We have listed this separately to Fisherman’s Wharf because the hotel is built atop Ghirardelli Square itself, whilst still only being a few minutes’ walk into the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.
Due to its high up location, the luxurious 5-star hotel has stunning views of San Francisco Bay. Rooms are apartment style with separate bathroom and fully equipped kitchen and feature exposed brick walls as a preservation of the original Ghirardelli Square Factory.
Taking the elevator from the hotel will bring you directly to Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop – pretty convenient! From here you can also access the many boutiques and restaurants of Ghirardelli Square.
1. Hotel Kabuki – Japan Town
As its location within San Franciscos Japan Town suggests, the Hotel Kabuki features traditional Japanese style décor throughout.
The rooms are also traditionally decorated yet feature modern amenities to enhance your stay such as a smart TV with streaming apps should you fancy an evening in, bathrooms with walk-in showers and cozy robes for afterwards.
In keeping with the Japanese theme, the bar serves Japanese whisky, sake and beer and snacks. The hotel also has an on-site fitness centre.
And there you have it, our top 20 gay and gay-friendly hotels in San Francisco. We are confident that regardless of where you choose to stay, you will enjoy your stay in this incredible city as much as we did! We are already thinking of our next trip back.