A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Austin vs. San Francisco for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Austin or San Francisco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Austin or San Francisco, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Austin

Austin is a entrepreneurial, eccentric, and unconventional city. With a variety of activities, it's a big city. This is beautiful destination to visit. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and live music.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a quirky, eccentric, and one-of-a-kind coastal city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. It's also known for museums, theater, and nightlife.

Austin and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less hiking options
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less active music scene


How is Austin different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between San Francisco and Austin. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Austin
San Francisco

Head to San Francisco if you're looking for good museums or notable landmarks, as it has more to offer than Austin.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in San Francisco that are not to be missed. The city's landmarks are as diverse as the people who live there. The most recognizable landmark is the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors also enjoy seeing Alcatraz Island, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the small but fascinating Cable Car Museum.

Austin offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Austin has a number of great museums and sights including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. There's also a huge supply of local art galleries.


Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Food?

Austin
San Francisco

Foodies will find both Austin and San Francisco both to be unique destinations.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Austin is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. There is amazing Texas barbecue, excellent Mexican food, and diverse food trucks.

Many restaurants in San Francisco have been singled out for their culinary prowess. There are local dives as well as five star restaurants, with everything in between. Popular local dining experiences include sourdough bread bowls and Dungeness Crab at Fisherman's Wharf, and dim sum in Chinatown.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Austin
San Francisco

Party-goers will usually choose Austin over San Francisco.

People head to Austin just to party. Head for Sixth Street for some of the most popular bars and clubs. Popular bars and clubs include the White Horse, the Rose Room, and Antone's Nightclub.

If you're looking for night time activities San Francisco has a few options to choose from. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Music?

Austin
San Francisco

For live music, you may want to head to Austin over San Francisco.

Austin is a world class music destination. Music is what gives this city its character. There are many live music venues, concerts, and music festivals to experience.

You'll find some good live music in San Francisco. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Austin
San Francisco

While Austin and San Francisco both have hiking trails, overall San Francisco is more well-known.

Known for its hiking, San Francisco draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. The city's hikes take in the dramatic views of the bay and city. Just outside of town there are also countless hikes through the Redwoods and along the coastline. Popular hikes in the area include Lands End, Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore, and Muir Woods.

Many visitors include a hike while visiting Austin. Head just outside of town to explore a few great hiking spots right near town.


Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Shopping?

Austin
San Francisco

San Francisco usually beats out Austin for shopping.

San Francisco is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. The city has excellent shopping from local vendors to recognizable brands. Union Square, Embarcadero, Fillmore Street and Haight Street are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Austin. There are a number of local boutiques around town where you can enjoy shopping.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Families?

Austin
San Francisco

Austin and San Francisco are both fun destinations for the whole family.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Austin. The city is a popular destination for young travelers, but there are also some family friendly activities like Barton Springs, Zilker Park, and several natural swimming holes.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, San Francisco is very family-friendly. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Couples?

Austin
San Francisco

Austin and San Francisco are both fun to visit as a couple.

Austin is a nice destination for couples. Young couples will enjoy the city for its lively nightlife, fun music scene, and youthful vibe.

San Francisco is a great city if you're traveling as a couple. Couples enjoy the romantic backdrop of this beautiful city. There are world-class restaurants and plenty of spas that couples can enjoy during a honeymoon or romantic getaway.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Austin
San Francisco

Austin and San Francisco are comparable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Austin is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Although the city is relatively small, it does see a disproportionate number of backpackers. There are a couple of hostels in town as well.

It's common for backpackers to visit San Francisco. The city is one of the more backpacker friendly cities in the United States. There are a handful of hostels throughout, many concentrated in the popular Union Square and Downtown neighborhoods of the city.


Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Students?

Austin
San Francisco

Austin and San Francisco are comparable places to visit for students.

Austin is a great city to visit as a student. The city has a huge university, the University of Texas at Austin, and it is a young city with tons for international students to experience and enjoy.

Students come from all over to stay in San Francisco. As a large and dynamic city, the area is popular with international students who want to experience this unique side of the United States. Major universities in the area include University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and nearby, the University of California, Berkeley.

Is Austin or San Francisco Better for Public Transit?

Austin
San Francisco

San Francisco provides more public transit options than Austin.

With a huge network, the transit system in San Francisco can get you around easily. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is quite limited in Austin.

Is Austin or San Francisco a more walkable city?

Austin
San Francisco

San Francisco is generally more walkable than Austin.

San Francisco is very walkable. It is compact enough to explore on foot, but given the large hills, it's a bit of a challenge, even for the most fit among us.

Austin is not a very walkable city. The city, like most southern cities, isn't very walkable and it's important to have a car to get around.

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Austin?

How long in Austin or San Francisco?

Both Austin and San Francisco have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than Austin.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Austin is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to San Francisco is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Austin or San Francisco? Ideal Length of Stay
    Austin 2-3 
    San Francisco 3-7

One day in Austin or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the eccentric destination of Austin. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

San Francisco is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Austin or San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Austin. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

San Francisco is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Austin or San Francisco?

Travelers enjoy the live music and food when visiting the eccentric destination of Austin. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Francisco. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Austin or San Francisco?

You'll find food and shopping around the city of Austin. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

San Francisco is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Which city is cheaper, San Francisco or Austin?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Austin is $114, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $175. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Austin and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Austin $45
    San Francisco $106
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Austin $90
    San Francisco $212
Compare Hotels in Austin and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Austin or San Francisco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Austin


Hotels in San Francisco


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Austin Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Austin $38
    San Francisco $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Austin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Austin:

  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $187
  • Private Austin Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $128
  • Private Austin Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $114
  • Transfer from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Austin: $109
  • Austin City to Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) - Departure Private Transfer: $93
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Arrival Private Transfer: $93
  • Private Airport and Hotel Transfer Services in Austin: $86
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport One Way Transfer: $69
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer to Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $40

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:


  • Taxi to SFO
    $45
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
    $6.00
  • Alcatraz Tour
    $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

Also for San Francisco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfer: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to San Francisco: $116
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to Oakland in Business Car: $135
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to Oakland in a Luxury Car: $155
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by Luxury Car: $145
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $125
  • Arrival Private Transfer San Francisco Airport SFO to Oakland by SUV: $151
  • Arrival Private Transfer San Francisco Cruise Port to City by Business Car: $84
  • Arrival Private Transfer San Francisco Cruise Port to Oakland by Business Car: $100
  • Arrival Private Transfer San Francisco Cruise Port to Oakland in Luxury Car: $120
  • Arrival Private Transfer San Francisco Cruise Port to San Francisco Luxury Car: $104
  • Cruise Terminal to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport in Business Car: $84

Is it cheaper to fly into Austin or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Austin change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Austin $28
    San Francisco $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Austin

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Austin.

  • Secret Food Tour: $90
  • Austin Food Tour by Bus with Live Band On Board: $93
  • Austin Beer and Food Tour by Bike: $97
  • Private Secret Food Tour of Downtown Austin: $103
  • East Austin Urban Farms & Brewery Food Tour by Bike: $106
  • Wood Fired Dinner Series at the Austin Winery: $159
  • Secret Food Tour of Downtown Austin w/ Private Tour Option: $221

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Francisco

For San Francisco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $15
  • Traveling Spoon Pad Thai and Papaya Salad Private Online Cooking Class: $25
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Cooking with Ale: let's make Tiramisu - private groups: $80
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $80
  • American Cooking Class in San Francisco with a Local near Golden Gate Park: $82
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • Russian Hill Gourmet Food Tour: $97
  • I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown - Food Tour: $98
  • Mamaz Social Food Arepa Class and Dinner: $100
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $103
  • Hayes Valley Gourmet Food Tour: $108

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Austin $22
    San Francisco $37
Typical Entertainment prices in Austin

Here are a few typical costs in Austin for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Austin Duck Tour
    $31

Tours and Activities in Austin

Here are a few actual costs in Austin for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 48-Hour Austin Hop-On Hop-Off Blue Line City Tour: $45
  • Austin Biker Gang E-Bike Adventure: $62
  • Austin Capital Photo Tour: $21
  • Austin City Landmarks and Taco Tour by Bike: $97
  • Austin Digital Private Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $11
  • Austin E-Bike Tour: $69
  • Austin Electric Bike Tour: Let it Ride: $71
  • Austin Electric Minibike Adventure Tour: $77
  • Austin Famous Ghost and Bat Segway Tour: $59
  • Austin Indoor Skydiving Experience with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate: $81
  • Austin Like a Local: Customized Guided Tour: $33
  • Austin Like a Local: Customized Guided Tour: $30

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • San Francisco Private Tour: 19th Century Gold Rush Exploration Game: $4.96
  • Syn City SF: The Synesthesia Walking Audio Tour of Haight-Ashbury by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • San Francisco's Barbary Past Walking Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of San Francisco's Japantown: $5.34
  • Union Square to Lotta's Fountain Walking Tour by VoiceMap: $5.40
  • Walk the Haight Audio Tour: Tune into San Francisco‚Äôs Hippie Counterculture: $5.99
  • San Francisco Private Tour: 70s Hippie Culture Exploration Game: $6.21
  • The Remarkable History of San Francisco's Glen Park and Glen Canyon Audio Tour: $7.55
  • Ultimate San Francisco Self-Driving Audio Tour: $8.00
  • Bike Tour of Tucson: $10
  • The Flyer San Francisco Admission Ticket: $12
  • San Francisco Scavenger Hunt: SF Park Tour and Haight-Ashbury Experience: $12

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Austin $23
    San Francisco $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Austin

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Austin:

  • Austin Bar Hunt: Sixth Street Spree: Austin Bar Crawl: $12
  • More than a Pub Crawl: $24
  • Haunted Austin Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Brewery Tours through East Austin via Motorized Pedicab: $40
  • Austin Pedicab Brewery Tour with Beer Flights Included Option: $46
  • The Brew Bus: Austin Brewery Tour with Live Band: $81
  • Private Texas Hill Country Half-Day Wine Tour from Austin: $140
  • Texas Hill Country Wine Tour by Limousine: $175
  • Customizable Austin Distillery and Brewery Tour: $206
  • Half-Day Brewery and Craft Beer Tour in Austin with Tastings: $240

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • San Francisco Bar Hunt: Soul of San Francisco Bar Crawl: $12
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Crawl: $60
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $70
  • Half-Day Sonoma Wine Tour: $100
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience Full-Day Tour: $135
  • San Francisco City & Wine tour: $140
  • Chariot wine tour: $145
  • From Full-Day Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Viticulture with Charm: Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149
  • Small Group Redwoods and Wine Country Trip Including Wine Tasting and Cave Tour: $152
  • Small Group Muir Woods with Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $169
  • The Perfect Blend: Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour from San Francisco: $169


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Austin and San Francisco, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. And not only is Austin much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Austin would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Austin and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in San Francisco would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in San Francisco than you might in Austin.


When is the best time to visit Austin or San Francisco?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Austin or San Francisco in the Summer?

Both San Francisco and Austin during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Austin because of the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to San Francisco this time of year.

In July, Austin is generally much warmer than San Francisco. Temperatures in Austin average around 87°F (30°C), and San Francisco stays around 63°F (17°C).

Austin usually gets more rain in July than San Francisco. Austin gets 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Austin 87°F (30°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Austin or San Francisco in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Austin and San Francisco. The hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Austin this time of year. Also, many travelers come to San Francisco for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Austin is a little warmer than San Francisco in the autumn. The temperature in Austin is usually 73°F (23°C) in October, and San Francisco stays around 63°F (17°C).

In October, Austin usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Austin gets 3 inches (77 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Austin 73°F (23°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Austin or San Francisco in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Austin as well as San Francisco. Many travelers come to Austin for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, many visitors come to San Francisco in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Austin is around the same temperature as San Francisco. Typically, the winter temperatures in Austin in January are around 51°F (11°C), and San Francisco is about 50°F (10°C).

Austin usually gets less rain in January than San Francisco. Austin gets 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Austin 51°F (11°C) 
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Austin or San Francisco in the Spring?

Both San Francisco and Austin are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Austin in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Also, most visitors come to San Francisco for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Austin is generally much warmer than San Francisco. Temperatures in Austin average around 71°F (22°C), and San Francisco stays around 58°F (14°C).

In April, Austin usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Austin gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Austin 71°F (22°C) 
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for San Francisco and Austin

Austin San Francisco
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 83°F (29°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 87°F (30°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 87°F (31°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 82°F (28°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 73°F (23°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 54°F (12°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)


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Austin vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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