While the best bargains aren’t in these neighborhoods, you can still find one or two budget-conscious lodgings in the Union Square and Nob Hill regions. The Hotel Bijou (111 Mason St., 800/771-1022, www.hotelbijou.com, $100–150) might be the most fun of the inexpensive lot.
Whimsical decor mimics an old-fashioned movie theater, and in fact a tiny “movie house” downstairs runs free-to-patrons double features every night—with all movies shot in San Francisco. Guest rooms are small, clean, and nicely appointed.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition