Fisherman’s Wharf is the jumping-off point for boats to Alcatraz, and a buzzing hot spot for shopping, eating crab, and seeing sea lions. It’s San Francisco’s most tourist-friendly area, and an excellent place for families to stay while visiting the city.
Formerly the Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf, the three-pearl Hotel Zephyr ditched its outdoor pool in favor of a sprawling playground that's filled with fire pit lounge spaces and giant yard games. Some guests may mourn the loss of a pool, but overall the Zephyr raised the bar on its family-friendly amenities, which extends to the interiors. Common spaces feel like an urban amusement park, including a game room. Even its 361 guest rooms have a playful spirit, stocked with dart boards, iPod docks, and huge 48-inch smart TVs. Its location right across the street from the waterfront is appealing, and rates are cheaper than the nearby Hyatt or the Holiday Inn Express.
The Argonaut is across the street from the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf, and right next to the Cannery at Fisherman's Wharf, an outdoor shopping and dining complex. But it is out of the way of the area's thickest crowds. It's also one block from Ghirardelli Square, and located near the docks where ferries leave for Alcatraz, Sausalito, and Tiburon. All of this is to say that it is in the ideal spot for families with kids visiting San Francisco. The hotel has a fun maritime theme, which is expressed in the rooms with compasses on the headboards and star-shaped pillows on the comfy pillow-top beds. Amenities flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and shower/tub combos in the bathrooms.
Fully renovated in 2015, this 319-room Hyatt Centric has all the perks expected of a business chain hotel: plenty of 24-hour amenities, free Wi-Fi, and on-site dining and parking. Its outdoor pool and location right by Fisherman’s Wharf, though, are hits with vacationing families. Contemporary rooms have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and Hyatt's signature mattresses. The attached restaurant serves a tasty seasonal menu made with locally sourced ingredients, and has a popular daily happy hour.
In the range of hotels around touristy Fisherman's Wharf, this mid-range Sheraton falls somewhere in the middle. The hotel is well located -- just a few blocks from the area's major attractions (Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, the sea lions sunning themselves on the docks) and its 531 rooms are large and comfortable. All have flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and updated AC units, but lack water views). A cozy courtyard and a heated outdoor pool help make this a sufficient choice as a home base for tourists with busy sightseeing itineraries.
With 585 rooms spread over two buildings, this mid-range Holiday Inn is certainly one of the bigger -- and less charming -- hotels in the area. The property, however, is clean and well-maintained, and its excellent location is just one to two blocks from the Fisherman's Wharf waterfront. Guest rooms won't wow, but amenities include 42-inch TVs and espresso machines -- just try to avoid noisy street-facing units. Features include a small pool, a bar and grill, and a Denny's.