San Diego doesn’t just have its warm climate and location right on the Pacific Ocean to show off about – it’s also got numerous parks, galleries, museums, and art studios! In this city, you’re never going to struggle to find something to do!
With everything going on in the gigantic city that is San Diego, it can be hard to choose the best place to stay. San Diego can be pretty pricey too, so hostels are a great idea. Don’t think that means you’ll be in somewhere dirty and disgusting though!
To help you out, we’ve had a browse of the best hostels in San Diego, taking into account the best according to your itinerary, but more importantly, your budget.
Thankfully, there’s lots of choice and they’re dotted all around the city. There are some reliable American hostel chains, as well as some cool independent places too. So, let’s jump right in and see the best hostels San Diego has to offer!
The Best Hostels in San Diego: Round-up
Best overall hostel in San Diego: USA Hostels Ocean Beach
Best party hostel in San Diego: Lucky D’s
Best hostel for solo travellers in San Diego: HI San Diego – Point Loma
Best hostel for digital nomads in San Diego: CoLive Balboa Park by International Travelers House
Best hostel near Balboa Park: ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego
Best hostel near Mission Beach: ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel
Best hostel near La Jolla Cove: California Dreams Hostel
Best hostel near San Diego International Airport: Old Town Western Inn
Best hostel near Santa Fe Depot: USA Hostels San Diego
Best hostel near San Diego Bus Station: HI San Diego Downtown
Best high-end hostel in San Diego: Found San Diego
Best budget hostel in San Diego: Hostel on 3rd
Best hostel with private rooms in San Diego: Nest on Fifth
13 Best Hostels in San Diego
• Best overall hostel in San Diego •
Why we like USA Hostels Ocean Beach…
This fun and colourful hostel has been voted the #1 hostel in the USA by Hostelworld guests in 2019, so it’s pretty clear that this is the best hostel in San Diego (and possibly even the USA)! It’s two blocks from the beach and you could rent everything from the hostel you’d possibly need for a trip, including beach chairs, surfboards, and they can even tell you where to get surf lessons!
USA Hostels Ocean Beach is perfect for…
If you want to be right in the heart of San Diego’s cool Ocean Beach neighbourhood, then this is the perfect place to stay. As well as being so close to the beach, it’s near some pretty buzzing bars, restaurants, and nightlife. There are plenty of events too, including excursions to La Jolla, hiking, beach bonfires, and weekly beer pong tournaments!
#2 – Lucky D’s
• Best party hostel in San Diego •
Why we like Lucky D’s…
This lively and fun hostel offers loads of free stuff when you stay here, most notably the free weekly pub crawl! That combined with the other stuff on offer really does make it the best party hostel in San Diego! It’s just a two-minute walk to the Gaslamp quarter too, which offers up some of the most interesting and exciting culture and nightlife in town.
Lucky D’s is perfect for…
If you want to meet other travellers through the medium of partying with them in a great location, then look no further than Lucky D’s Hostel! It’s also very reasonably priced, and although it’s not the cheapest bed price in San Diego, all the free stuff that gets thrown in (including breakfast) saves you a pretty penny!
• Best hostel for solo travellers in San Diego •
Why we like HI San Diego – Point Loma…
At just two miles away from Ocean Beach, this relaxed and cosy hostel offers a number of communal and group activities, making it the best place to stay for solo travellers in San Diego. Of course, if you’re too tired to participate in the activities you can always meet people in the sunny outdoor courtyard, spacious common room, or the open kitchen!
HI San Diego – Point Loma is perfect for…
If you’re travelling solo and want to find people to do some of the cool activities in San Diego with, then look no further than this great hostel. As well as all the stuff going on, you can rent bodyboards, beach games, equipment, and towels. And if you’re wondering how to get the 2 miles to the beach? A low-cost bike rental should do the trick!
• Best hostel for digital nomads in San Diego •
Why we like CoLive Balboa Park by International Travelers House…
This quiet and affordable hostel has a variety of common spaces and it’s easy to meet people. However, most importantly it has a library complete with private work stations, so it’s the best hostel for digital nomads in San Diego! It goes without saying that there’s fast Wi-Fi, and coffee and tea being available all day will keep your motivation and caffeine up!
CoLive Balboa Park by International Travelers House is perfect for…
If you’re working on the road then this is the perfect place to stay. You have the best of both worlds in the sense of a quiet library with a space to work, but the hostel also has regular events to help you make the most of your trip to the city and some cool common areas for when you want to chill out and stow your laptop firmly away!
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• Best hostel near Balboa Park •
Why we like ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego…
This authentic and unique hostel is in the Little Italy District and just a short walk from one of the most popular areas in San Diego. It’s certainly the best hostel near Balboa Park! There’s a great outdoor space where you can meet and chat with other travellers, as well as social events every evening, to create a fun and friendly atmosphere!
ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego is perfect for…
If you want to be somewhere with a great atmosphere right in the vicinity of Balboa Park, then look no further than ITH Adventure Hostel San Diego! Whether you want to visit world-famous San Diego Zoo, the numerous theatres, or just take a leisurely stroll on the walking tracks, it’s all within a stone’s throw of this place!
• Best hostel near Mission Beach •
Why we like ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel…
ITH has a knack for getting their hostels right in the best spots, and this laid-back surf shack style hostel is easily the best place to stay near Mission Beach. You can watch the waves and soak up the sun from the outdoor deck, all over a delicious complimentary breakfast which is served daily!
ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel is perfect for…
Surfers and beach bums will love the community and the vibe that this hostel has carefully created. There are plenty of communal spaces where you can relax, and a few secluded ones if you have to do some work on your laptop. It’s a sustainable hostel too, with upcycled furniture and organically grown veg served at breakfast!
• Best hostel near La Jolla Cove •
Why we like California Dreams Hostel…
Another hostel right on the Pacific Ocean, this one is a little further north – enough to make it the best hostel near La Jolla Cove. There’s a huge flat screen TV with Netflix and YouTube where you can kick back in the comfy common room. Oh, and did we mention that they offer free breakfast burritos?!
California Dreams Hostel is perfect for…
If La Jolla Cove is on your itinerary, then staying at California Dreams Hostel should be on it too! They even offer surf lessons here so you can perfect your boarding technique! This hostel has one of the best review scores on Hostelworld, so you don’t just have to take our word for it that it’s a great place to stay!
#8 – Old Town Western Inn
• Best hostel near San Diego International Airport •
Why we like Old Town Western Inn…
This is one of the closest places to San Diego Airport, and although it’s a hostel rather than a hotel, it offers some of the best budget rooms within the vicinity of San Diego Airport! There are a number of great facilities including TVs in each room, complimentary Wi-Fi, and even on-site dry cleaning and car rental!
Old Town Western Inn is perfect for…
Travellers looking to minimise their travel time to or from the airport, especially those with early morning or late-night flights should check out the Old Town Western Inn. You’ll have a king bed or a double bed, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep, as well as a free breakfast!
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• Best hostel near Santa Fe Depot •
Why we like USA Hostels San Diego…
This bright and colourful hostel in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego is one of the closest hostels to San Diego’s train station, so it’s easily the best place to stay near Santa Fe Depot! We love the fun and approachable staff, but not nearly as much as we love the free pancake breakfast!
USA Hostels San Diego is perfect for…
If you’re worried about missing your train or getting in late and not finding your hostel, you can forget about that if you choose to stay here! As well as being a great spot close to the train station, it’s good value for money too – you get a privacy pod rather than an open dorm and a load of activities on offer. What’s not to love!?
#10 – HI San Diego Downtown
• Best hostel near San Diego Bus Station •
Why we like HI San Diego Downtown…
This recently renovated and classy hostel is one of the closest accommodations you’ll find to the city bus station, and certainly the cheapest! So, it’s the best place to stay near San Diego Bus Station. The staff may be laid-back, but they know a thing or two about the best places to see in the city, and they’ll point you in the right direction!
HI San Diego Downtown is perfect for…
Budget travellers who need to be within easy reach of San Diego Bus Station will love that that’s possible without having to compromise on style and sociability in their hostel. After all, this offers great cheap tours and activities every week, as well as a fun games room and chilled out common areas!
#11 – Found San Diego
• Best high-end hostel in San Diego •
Why we like Found San Diego…
This luxurious hostel in the Little Italy district aims to reflect its location and offer an authentic local experience in a restored 20th-century building, and this is just part of what makes it the best high-end hostel in San Diego! We love the smooth cotton towels and top-class bed linens!
Found San Diego is perfect for…
If you like the sociable side of a hostel but also the luxury of staying in a hotel and can’t quite decide which one you’d prefer, with Found San Diego you don’t have to! It offers comfortable dorms and private rooms right in the Little Italy District, so it’s in a great location for visiting Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter, and the airport!
#12 – Hostel on 3rd
• Best budget hostel in San Diego •
Why we like Hostel on 3rd…
This cool hostel is set in a historic building just 1 block away from the bars of the Gaslamp District yet still offers a quiet environment and good night’s sleep. Most importantly though, it has some of the cheapest beds in town, so it’s the best budget hostel in San Diego!
Hostel on 3rd is perfect for…
Budget travellers looking for a bed close to the Gaslamp Quarter’s main bar scene will be very happy with Hostel on 3rd. There’s also a nice common room to meet and chat with other travellers! Guests should be aware that US passports are not accepted here though, it’s only open to foreign tourists!
#13 – Nest on Fifth
• Best hostel with private rooms in San Diego •
Why we like Nest on Fifth…
This comfortable and plush accommodation offers full serviced studios and 1-bed apartments, so it’s the best place to stay if you’re looking for a private room in San Diego. The property is managed by USA Hostels who are just a couple of blocks away if you need anything!
Nest on Fifth is perfect for…
Long term travellers or couples who want a break from staying in dorms and don’t mind splashing out a little more money will love Nest on Fifth! Enjoy the complete comfort of a queen-sized bed, cook in the fully equipped kitchen, you won’t even have to leave the apartment!
So, that’s all from us. We’ve taken a deep and detailed look at the best hostels in San Diego and we’re sure that there’ll be something on our extensive list that will take your fancy and be kind to your pocket at the same time!
After all, it would be such a shame to miss out on one of the coolest cities in California, wouldn’t it?!
Hostels are an important way to travel, especially in an expensive city like San Diego. So, we hope that the money you save will allow you to visit the rest of California and perhaps even further into the United States, whichever hostel you pick!
And don’t forget our number one hostel in San Diego – USA Hostels Ocean Beach. Wherever you decide to stay, we hope you have an amazing stay!
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