The Cheapest Time To Visit San Francisco (& Other Budget Tips)

San Francisco is one of the most famous cities in the world and is known…

San Francisco is one of the most famous cities in the world and is known to be expensive. Here is the cheapest time to visit, and other budget tips.

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San Francisco is one of the most famous cities in the world. The city is well-known for its rich, diverse culture, incredible neighborhoods, iconic architecture, cable cars, and stunning towns. There’s a lot to enjoy in this fun city, but being an affordable destination is definitely not among them. But travelers do not need to worry, as there are numerous ways to devise an affordable tour to San Francisco, starting with visiting during the cheapest time of the year. One only needs to plan to have everything figured out on time. Here is the cheapest time to visit San Francisco and other budget tips.

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When Is The Cheapest Time To Visit San Francisco?

Booking Flights To San Francisco

Let’s start with booking flights because this is the most important part of traveling to San Francisco. When is it the cheapest to book flights? Well, January is the cheapest month of the year to book flights or fly to San Francisco. Of course, very few visitors travel in January, because once the month starts, most tourists have already hit the post-vacation travel fatigue. While booking at the right time is important, getting great deals and how far in advance one is booking matters more. When travelers book, they usually buy tickets three months in advance. That means those booking flights to San Francisco in January are likely to visit in March or April, which are among the cheapest months to explore the city.


How To Lower Airfare When Visiting San Francisco?

  • Make use of weekdays. Most tourists visiting Francisco for business reasons travel on Mondays and Fridays, making midweek a cheaper time to enjoy great flight deals.
  • Use Oakland Airport (OAK) instead of San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Other than being as near downtown San Francisco as SFO, flights to the airport are cheaper than those heading to SFO and arrive faster.
  • Check airfare offerings online from different airlines before booking a flight. It is advisable to visit these websites directly and check for rates to find those offering cheaper deals.

Related: Interested In Booking An All-Inclusive? These Are The Cheapest Times To Book

When Is Accommodation Cheap In San Francisco?

The low season is the best to visit San Francisco for cheap hotels. While the prices of hotels vary, depending on certain factors, May and December are the best months to find cheaper accommodation in the city. Visitors getting there by Wednesdays are likely to get better deals than any other day of the week. Sundays, being on a weekend, are the most expensive to try and get accommodation in the city.

Travelers should book accommodation at least 90 days before visiting the city to get the best hotel deals for their stay.

  • The cost of a 3-star hotel in San Francisco: is $88 – $444
  • The cost of a 3-star hotel in San Francisco during the weekend: From $99
  • The cost of a 4-star hotel: From $185
  • The average number of days to stay in San Francisco: 3 days


Where To Find Cheap Hotels In San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the highest hotel prices in the U.S., with an average of about $200 per night in the city’s best hotels. Most of these luxury hotels add parking and resort fees to their final hotel cost, which makes matters worse, obviously.

While this city is known for being expensive, travelers can find affordable hotels. Hotels located around the city center, for instance, in the Union Square region offer the best deals. Tourists staying in the Lower Nob area can start with the Herbert Hotel, a perfect choice for visitors planning to stay in the city on a budget. The hotel is within a short walking distance of Union Square. There are other cheaper accommodation options near Marina District and Cow Hollow.


Cheaper family-friendly hotels are situated in Marina District, near Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the most popular neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Other Budget Tips In San Francisco

  • Go Sightseeing By Foot: When walking around the city to explore some of the most scenic vistas, travelers can’t spend a lot of money. San Francisco is ranked among the top five most walkable cities in the country, and visitors can easily walk around and explore some of the city’s most famous sites.
  • Get Around Using Public Transport Means: Buying the multi-day transportation pass is the cheapest way to get around the city, and will save visitors a lot of money. This is an excellent option, especially for travelers looking to stick around for a few days, but have many places to explore on their bucket lists.
  • Eat Cheap: Tourists don’t have to spend money in restaurants to have some good food. Visit places like La Taqueria and Mission Chinese Food to have great meals for less money. Also, street food is a good option to save more cash.


Travelers should practice the norm of planning to save their money when visiting San Francisco. Airfares and accommodation are going to be less expensive if one books one-three months ahead.