Last minute usually means, you get what is cheapest. And when its not a big event going on besides Folsom or Up Your Alley Fair, Union Sq hotels are reasonably priced especially on the Sun nite rate (so it averages out better). Parking is the worst for Union Square since this is touristy so you pay a premium.From: Tim
But if you like to walk, the BART from SFO to Union Sq as previously mentioned is the best route. I have done it several times. Union Sq is not that far from Folsom (yes at least 1 mile walk) or take the Muni to civic center and walk down to Folsom. Don't worry about being in your leathers too, its SF, they have seen it all.
I stayed at Hotel Abril which was a nice cozy hotel. Free wifi. But I am sure you should be able to use Kayak.com to track down hotels. If you haven't booked your flight, Virgin America is usually decent pricing or Southwest. But if you book packages (hotel/flight), you get a better deal with the hotel.
Good Luck. Wish I was there this year (Have gone for at least the last 4 years) but like most the Economy has hit the wallet and this is a trip I can skip on until better times.
And if you are rooming with someone, please make sure that you keep in touch with your friends and make sure you are both going (last minute cancellations suck) and not stuck with the bill all by yourself.
I like this forum Thanks Papa Tony.
When I went to Up Your Alley this year, I stayed at the Renoir Hotel. It is on Market at about 7th Street. Easy walking distance, if you're physically able to walk about a mile.
It's decent inside, but not luxe (by any means). The room was clean, and it felt reasonably safe.
I got a rate of about $135 which is fairly cheap for SF. If I recall, they were running a deal with the Folsom organizers, so folks might be able to get a rate at or better than that by going through the Folsom Street Fair website and looking up the info on the contact person.
That's all the good news. The bad news was the bed was hugely uncomfortable, so sensitive sleepers or picky types should look elsewhere. I sleep like a dead guy, and it was uncomfortable even for me. It might have been the particular room I was in - but I have no way of knowing.
I stayed at the AIDA hotel at 10th and Market during ILSb in July of this year, (during the Up-your-alley fair), so I know this no-thrills hovel is still open. Folsom is about 5 blocks south of the hotel, the nearest cross street is 7th.
It was $49/night for 1 person. I had to book online in advance for this rate. You have your own room here, but have to share a shower and bath room with other guests on your floor.
There is an additional charge if you park a car in their garage, but since I flew I'm not sure how much parking would cost. However, if you fly into SFO, the Civic Center BART station is less than 1 block from the front door with a direct connection to the airport. ($8.10 gets you downtown in about 20 minutes.)
It might be more expensive this close to the event, but the last couple of times I went to Folsom St fair, they had rooms available as late as 2 weeks before the event. The place is affordable, so it fills quickly with walk-ins if you don't book in advance. (I heard the desk clerk turning people away who hadn't made advanced reservations during my last stay.)
I found the hotel's website on google. They book through a agency, which sometimes changes. It's not only cheap, its withing stomping distance of the event itself, Mr S, and Folsom St watering holes.
I always stay at the Best Western on 7th Street. It's only a couple of blocks to Folsom and cheaper than the Travel Lodge where I used to stay several years ago. Also inside parking.
How about SD locals sharing the expense of a hotel room? Better rooms in a better hotel with a room mate for less than a class “C” hotel paid individually. Any one interested in sharing?
Knights Inn - A block from the Fair. Not available Friday night, but is available Sat/Sun night.Please add more suggestions in the comments!