Green Tortoise Hostel

The Best Hostel In San Francisco

Looking for a hostel in San Francisco? Why not check out the Green Tortoise Hostel? It’s my favourite San Francisco hostel and I’ve stayed there twice now. The hostel is really social, but not in the way you won’t be able to sleep, like a party hostel. Green Tortoise has found a great balance between being fun and loud but also making sure you have a decent nights’ sleep. Furthermore, there are lots of amenities and the staff are so helpful. Although it is a fairly expensive hostel, it is worth the price tag and I’d definitely stay there again.

Green Tortoise is a small brand, which also has a hostel in Seattle as well as San Francisco. They also run tours out of their hostels, I went to Death Valley with them and it was a great trip. However, this blog is all about the San Francisco hostel, so I will not be talking about these other two parts of the brand.

Green Tortoise Hostel San Francisco

The Green Tortoise in San Francisco was opened in 1974 and has been “Connecting Worldwide Travellers and Adventurers” since then.  It is a well-equipped hostel, with plenty of freebies, making it a good choice for any traveller.

The hostel is located right on the edge of both Little Italy and Chinatown, there’s plenty of places around to eat, but there is also a well-equipped kitchen for those who don’t want to eat out. Plus, it’s close to Fisherman’s Wharf, where there’s loads to do, for example visiting Alcatraz.

The hostel claims to be the No. 1 Party Hostel in San Francisco, so obviously has a fun vibe and plenty of events planned like Pub Crawls and Beer Olympics. However, the rooms are far enough from the common room that even if there’s something going on you can still sleep.

Outside the Green Tortoise Hostel in San Francisco at night.

The Green Tortoise Hostel, San Francisco

The hostel has a 24-hour reception to take phone calls or to give help and advice. Although the doors are locked after 7.30 pm, there is no curfew, all you have to do is ring the bell (if checking in) or show your key as proof that you are staying there.

Here’s a little more information about the Green Tortoise San Francisco Hostel:

Staying At The San Francisco Green Tortoise

With plenty of facilities and a choice of rooms, the Green Tortoise is a great place to stay in San Francisco. Here’s a bit more information about what you can expect staying at The Green Tortoise Hostel in SF.

All information is correct at the time of the latest update (stated at the top of the post).


Whether it’s a dorm or private room you’re after, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs. Cheap and cheerful dorms (well, as cheap as San Francisco gets) or there are also private rooms. Bedding is provided in all rooms, however, there are no ensuites.

Dorm Rooms

Here’s some information about the dorm rooms available:

  • Four to nine people dorms (two to four bunk beds);
  • Co-ed or female;
  • Female-only dorms sleep four to five people with two to three bunk beds;
  • Some co-ed rooms have double beds available on a bottom bunk;
  • Lockers underneath each bunk in all dorm rooms.

Private Rooms

There are three types of private rooms available at the Green Tortoise hostel:

  • Standard Private (Double Bed);
  • Two bed private (bunk bed of single beds);
  • Triple Bed (bunk beds – double on bottom, single on top).

The Bathroom Situation

Bathrooms make a big difference in a hostel. In the Green Tortoise there are no en suites, but there are ten bathrooms throughout the hostel. Each bathroom is single occupancy with a toilet, shower and sink in each. The bathrooms are all different sizes (it’s like they squeezed them in where they could), but they all have the same facilities.

In busy periods i.e. in the morning, you may have to wait or go on a magical mystery tour of the hostel to find a bathroom, but generally, you will find one free. Personally, I’d say try to avoid busy periods, but if you can’t, leave plenty of time. During the day it is fine, but in the morning I have spent over ten minuted walking back and to trying to find a free bathroom.

Communal Areas

A hostel’s only as good as it’s communal areas, these literally make or break a hostel. The Green Tortoise has great social areas and lots of facilities that make it a great hostel. Here are some of its features:

Laundry Area

Self-explanatory really. You can do your laundry! You do have to pay for this and change is available at the front desk.

Computers And Wifi

There is an area with computers that are available for use. This area also has tables and is a bit more of a chilled place than the main common room. Wifi is available throughout the hostel.

Dry Sauna

This hostel spoils you – there’s even a dry sauna available. The sauna is free to use, you just need to sign up at the front desk.


The kitchen is pretty big and fully-equipped. It is open 24/7, so you can grab some food and cook whenever you want. There are also guest fridges, but you have to label your food. Pens, labels and markers are available for labelling your food.

Dining Room/Ballroom

The dining room is located in an old ballroom. There is wifi available, tables to sit at, eat and generally chill, a free pool table, other games, and a stage with instruments.

Table tennis and dining tables in the Green Tortoise Ball Room communal area

The Ball Room (Social Area)


The Green Tortoise, like many hostels, provides free breakfast, but this hostel also goes one further… It provides dinner three times a week too. So you don’t need to worry about going hungry during your stay.


Breakfast is served every day at the Green Tortoise. This is free (or included in the price of the room) and you can eat as much as you want. There is usually coffee, fruit, bagels and juice available.

Green Tortoise Breakfast - bagels, fruit, coffee and juice.

Bagels, Fruit, Coffee and Fruit Juice, All on the Green Tortoise Breakfast


Free dinner is served at the hostel for all guests free times a week. When I was there last it was served on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm, but check on your arrival. The staff ask for volunteers to help with the prep, so you can even help out if you like to cook, just ask at the front desk.

Other Services

There are plenty of freebies, including the meals, provided at the Green Tortoise in San Francisco. There are also items to buy or rent. They can also act as a mini travel agent and are able to book a few bits for you. Here are the extras at the Green Tortoise:


  • Breakfast;
  • Dinner (three times a week);
  • Tea and Coffee all day;
  • Fully equipped kitchen;
  • Ballroom;
  • Pool table;
  • Wifi (everywhere);
  • Dry Sauna;

Available to rent:

  • Alarm clocks;
  • Power adaptors;
  • Hairdryers;

Available to buy:

  • Laundry soap;
  • Earplugs;
  • Locker rental;
  • Padlocks;
  • Sunglasses.

Bookings for:

  • Green Tortoise Adventure Tours;
  • Tower Tours;
  • Alcatraz Tours;
  • Wild SF Tours;
  • Incredible Adventures;
  • Dylan’s Tour;
  • Extranomical Adventures (read about my adventure with this company to Yosemite).
Adverts of tours available to book in the entrance to the Green Tortoise Hostel in San Fran

Adverts For Tours That Can Be Booked

How To Get To The Green Tortoise In San Francisco

The Green Tortoise is in a great location in San Francisco. Found on Broadway, in the North Beach area of the city, it is nestled between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Financial District. Being close to so many attractions, in a diverse and historic neighbourhood, it’s easy to reach.

To get to this hostel you need to get to the Montgomery Street Station, which is the nearest to the hostel. This station is on the underground (BART) and is serviced by the Green, Yellow, Blue and Red Lines, so you can get to the station from pretty much anywhere.

Once you arrive at Montgomery Street Station, you need to exit onto Market Street and head toward where two roads form a triangle. Once at the point, turn left onto Sutter Street (you are basically going back on yourself here). Take your first right turn up Sansome Street, follow this road up until you come across Washington Street, where you need to turn left. At the second junction, you should take a diagonal right onto Columbus Avenue. Then follow this street until you find Kearny Street and turn right up here. The next cross road should be Broadway and the Green Tortiose Hostel will be directly in front of you.

The Green Tortoise in San Francisco is a well-located hostel with loads to do in and around the hostel. With plenty of freebies, including meals, this hostel makes a great base to explore San Francisco and maybe book your next adventure with Green Tortoise Adventure Travel. There’s plenty of events you can join in to make new friends. Although the hostel does have a ‘younger vibe’ don’t be put off if that’s not your thing. There’s a friendly, fun atmosphere and private rooms are available if you want a bit of privacy and peace.

Want to stay at the Green Tortoise in San Francisco? Book on HostelWorld.

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Author Bio: Nat

I’m Nat, the backpacker behind natpacker. From the UK, I was bitten by the travel bug during a round the world trip in my early twenties. Since then I have been determined to see as much of this world as possible. My passion for travel led me to start up this blog, partly to record my adventures and partly to inspire others to travel.


  • I don’t think of myself as someone who stays at hostels anymore, but what a fantastic location! Worth considering.

    • Nat says:

      I’m glad you found it useful! The Green Tortoise is a great hostel! As you wouldn’t stay at hostels, is there anywhere you’d recommend? I’m always looking for inspiration!

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