As the home of Airbnb’s headquarters, San Francisco is truly a serious hub for home-sharing. But while business is strong in the city (it’s the No. 1 city for business travelers worldwide), so is the controversy, as city officials struggle to keep some control over the market and stamp out illegal rentals. Like the notoriously expensive city itself, rentals here tend to be pricier than in many other places, but you can still snag a nice whole-house rental for $150 or less.
We should say, in full disclosure, that we find it highly unlikely that the following spots will charge typical prices for this upcoming Super Bowl weekend in the Bay Area. Nevertheless, these are 10 of our favorites … for any other weekend you might be in San Fran.
Note to reader: Descriptions correspond to the images just above text. And, please make sure to double-check prices and details before booking your stay.
1. Cheerful Cole Valley Studio; 2. Potrero Hill Apartment; 3. SoMa Workman’s Cottage; 4. Ugliest Dump in the World; 5. Inner Sunset Studio; 6. Beachy Richmond Studio; 7. Oakland Tiny House; 8. Russian Hill Apartment; 9. Alamo Square Apartment; 10. Sunnyside Garden Studio.
Paste’s Airbnb columnist Erica Jackson Curran is a former alt-weekly editor turned moonlight freelancer based in Richmond, Virginia.
1 of 10
This cheerful Cole Valley studio knows how to maximize space—there's room for five guests. The completely updated apartment is located in a historic Victorian home in a central neighborhood known for its family-friendly vibe and cool cafes—host Kay is quick to recommend her favorite nearby spots for ice cream and fish tacos. Golden Gate Park is within walking distance.
2 of 10
Located in peaceful Potrero Hill, this pretty apartment is perched on one of the city's famously steeply angled streets. There's a bedroom with a settee for lounging, a large bathroom with a clawfoot tub, and a little porch, plus a microwave and mini fridge for basic cooking needs. The sunny neighborhood offers panoramic views of the city, and it's a 10-minute walk to the Mission.
3 of 10
Once home to factory workers, this cluster of cottages has been renovated to house residents in the diverse, trendy SoMa district. Brent's apartment has a queen size bed as well as a loft with room for an extra air mattress, plus a little kitchenette and seating area. It's a five-minute walk from a BART station.
4 of 10
The self-proclaimed "Ugliest Dump in the World" offers the most entertaining description we've run across in our extensive Airbnb browsing. Host Merkley offers insight into the historic digs ("It was built in 1885 by some weirdo named William Crocker who thought Victorians were pretty neat") and getting around the Lower Haight ("Every street is an uphill climb both ways"). Joking aside, the studio is clean and surprisingly roomy, with cool vintage furniture and a choice location in a cool neighborhood.
5 of 10
Just five minutes from Golden Gate Park, this Inner Sunset studio has a spacious living room, full kitchen, and a queen size bed stuffed into a walk-in closet. A bike is provided for getting around, and public transportation is two blocks away.
6 of 10
Enjoy the beachy feel of the Richmond District in this cozy 1911 studio apartment. It's clean and quiet with a private garden off the bedroom, and there's a bright little kitchen for making your morning coffee. From the apartment, you can walk to the Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach, and the DeYoung Museum.
7 of 10
Though technically not in San Francisco, this Oakland tiny house offers a cheaper alternative just across the bay (the current average rate is $60/night). The rental manages to squeeze in a tiny kitchen, bathroom with shower, seating area, loft with king size bed, and a rooftop deck.
8 of 10
This thoughtfully decorated one-bedroom has a stylish living area, sunny bedroom, modern kitchen, and a rooftop deck with views of Alcatraz, Telegraph Hill, and downtown San Francisco. Coit Tower and Lombard Street (famous for its hairpin turns) are an easy stroll away.
9 of 10
This Alamo Square apartment has no reviews yet (so proceed with caution), but for under $100 a night, it may be worth checking out. The main living space has high ceilings and historical details, and there's an eat-in kitchen, too.
10 of 10
Benefit from the local knowledge of a 40-year resident of San Francisco by renting this little garden studio in Sunnyside, just west of Twin Peaks. Again, this newer listing has no reviews as of yet, but the space appears to be clean and well-equipped with all the necessities. Coffee, tea and a few snacks are also provided.