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If you’re foggy about the many reasons to love San Francisco, let us clear your head. Its counterculture cred is solid, its techy trend is a new kind of Gold Rush, and its embrace of art, culture, diversity, food—basically the good things in life—will always be its silver lining.
The city is an ever-moving kaleidoscope, so experience the changing rainbow as often as you can. Think you can’t afford it? Your pot of gold is last-minute hotel deals in San Francisco. But a sweet hotel is just one jewel in the crown. San Francisco is bursting with hidden gems, and the city shines bright like a diamond in all its facets.
San Francisco’s aura can take on any color at any time. We’ve broken down the must-dos by the hue they most exude in a quick-hits guide.
Red-Orange: This color set embodies SF staples like rooting for the orange-clad Giants at Oracle Park to crossing the famous Dragon Gate into Chinatown. Its lantern-lined streets and warm-toned Peking ducks drying in windows will leave you seeing red in the best way. Go quintessential San Francisco and take a red and gold cable car, then walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Yellow-Green: When warm sunshine breaks through a gray day, find yourself a patch of green. Park life is best at prime zones like Mission Dolores Park and Golden Gate Park, which brim with energy on bright days. The Mission District is as colorful as they come, but focus on salt-rimmed, limey margaritas and cheesy burritos with heaps of salsa verde. Then head to Ghirardelli Square and taste the real luck of the Irish at the Buena Vista, home to the OG Irish coffee. You’ll feel like you’ve struck gold.
Blue-Purple: If you’ve got the travel blues, consider hotels in San Francisco with a Jacuzzi tub in the room. A deep soak with cityscape views will leave you right as rain. Want to breathe in the ocean-blue scents of the bay? Hike Lands End Trail. Then snack on oysters at Waterbar and watch blue skies go deep indigo after sunset. In the sultry hours after dusk, head to Noir Lounge. A plummy, rich red wine pairs perfectly with a tinkling piano and a classic cinema backdrop.
Everything Under the Sun: The most colorful district is the Castro, where the LGBTQIA+ nightlife paints the scene like a disco ball. Twin Peaks, QBar, Badlands—you can’t throw a fabulous mood ring without hitting a great place to don some glitter and go dancing.
Scour the map of San Francisco hotels to find your stripes. Whether it’s budget hotels in San Francisco with free parking that suit your fancy, hotels near Union Square, or the 4-star hotel you scored for a 2-star price with a Hotwire Hot Rate, a stay in this city is always a horse of a different color.