A Travel Price Comparison for California Berkeley vs. Sonoma for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Berkeley or Sonoma?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Berkeley or Sonoma, 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.

Berkeley

Berkeley is a diverse, quirky, and progressive city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Sonoma

Sonoma is a scenic, serene, and relaxing county. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include shopping, nightlife, and food.

Berkeley and Sonoma: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Sonoma. Although Berkeley and Sonoma are popular destinations, Sonoma has more sights and attractions for tourists. Sonoma is very popular for its food, resorts, beaches, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Berkeley attracts visitors for its museums. Sonoma is more touristy than Berkeley and is popular for its world-class winemaking and sustainable agriculture. It is also well known for Buena Vista Winery. Berkeley is famous for its progressive and liberal mindset as well as its farmer's markets and local boutiques.

How is Berkeley different from Sonoma?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley is a great city for its historical sights. However, Sonoma is not known for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Berkeley. There are a wide range of museums around town, many of which are affiliated with the university. There are natural history museums, art museums, cultural museums, as well as historical and science museums.

Sonoma offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While most people don't think of museums when they think of Sonoma, there are actually some interesting local options. The California Indian Museum, the Cotati Museum, and the Depot Park Museum are also local are fascinating.


Is the Food Better in Berkeley or Sonoma? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Sonoma is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Berkeley is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Sonoma is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Although wine may be the first thing you think about, the region is also filled with farm-to-table restaurants and award-winning dining options. The food is almost always fresh and local. You can sample many local ingredients such as vegetables, cheeses, olive oils, and fish.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Berkeley. There's a huge diversity of restaurants that range from international to California flavors. There are also eateries that cater to the student population, as well as fine dining and everything in between. You'll also find many farmer's markets, vegan options, and restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Nightlife?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Evening events are high quality in both Berkeley and Sonoma.

Berkeley has plenty to do after the sun goes down. With its large student population, you'll find no shortage of nightlife activities around town. There are bars and pubs as well as live music venues and plenty of unique experiences.

Sonoma has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Lounges, wine bars, and live music venues offer a variety of activities for visitors during the evening hours.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Resorts?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Sonoma is notable for its resorts. However, Berkeley is not a resort destination.

Sonoma is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Spa hotels, charming inns, and beautiful resorts all offer a variety of options for visitors.

Berkeley is not a resort destination.


Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Beaches?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Sonoma is notable for the beach. However, Berkeley is not a beach destination.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Sonoma. The county has a coastline that includes several great beaches as well as rocky shoreline. The beaches include secluded coves and picturesque cliffs as well as sand dunes and sandy beaches.

Berkeley is not a beach destination.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Hiking?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Sonoma is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Berkeley is not a hiking destination.

Sonoma is a popular spot for hiking. In between wine tastings you can explore the area's stunning natural beauty. There are hikes through the vineyards, along the coast, or through forested parks. Some of the best hikes are found in Jack London State Historic Park, Sugarloaf State Park, and Armstrong Woods State Park.

Berkeley is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Both Berkeley and Sonoma are high quality shopping destinations.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Berkeley. Quirky and local is what shopping in Berkeley is all about. There are also plenty of thrift stores and farmer's markets. Head to Fourth Street or Telegraph Avenue for some of the most interesting shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Sonoma. You'll find a range of local vendors in the area, selling everything from jewelry to art, home decor, and olive oil.


Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Families?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley and Sonoma are both nice destinations for the whole family.

Berkeley is a family-friendly place to visit. There are many outdoor places to explore with kids like Tilden Park or UC Botanical Garden. There are also science museums, nature centers, and plenty of kid-friendly restaurants.

Sonoma is a family-friendly city. While most people think immediately of wine tours, there's actually a lot more to Sonoma County. Kids will enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area, which include beaches, parks, wildlife viewing, and more. There's also horseback riding and even ziplining opportunities.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Couples?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Sonoma is renowned for couples. Also, Berkeley is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Sonoma has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. It has long been a favorite honeymoon destination for couples who come for the vineyards and wine tours. There are also charming hotels, award winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches.

Berkeley is a nice destination for couples. There's a wonderful mix of cultural activities and outdoor parks that you can explore. There's the Berkeley Rose Garden, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and many charming restaurants.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley is a great city for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Sonoma is not known for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Berkeley. With its eclectic and alternative vibe, backpackers will find their place in this city. There's also a huge student population and a couple of hostels in the area.

Sonoma is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There are a few budget hotel options in the area, but not much in the form of hostels.


Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Students?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Sonoma is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Berkeley. University of California, Berkeley is a well reviewed university that attracts a progressive and motivated student population. The city is an expensive, but very rewarding place to study with many activities and opportunities for students.

Sonoma is not popular with students.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley is terrific for times when you don't have a car. However, Sonoma is not known for its public transit.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Berkeley can take you anywhere. It's located in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it has access to buses and several BART stations.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Sonoma. While there are buses, they are almost never used by tourists. There is the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley which you should purchase tickets for in advance.

Is Berkeley or Sonoma a more walkable city?

Berkeley
Sonoma

Berkeley is terrific for its ease of walking around. However, Sonoma is not known for its walkability.

Berkeley is a very easy city to get around on foot. Most of Berkeley is very walkable, particularly the parts around the university.

Sonoma is not a walkable city. You really must have a car to get around the area and explore it efficiently.


For even more information, also check out Is Berkeley Worth Visiting? and Is Sonoma Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sonoma or Berkeley?

How long in Berkeley or Sonoma?

It's fun to spend time in either Berkeley or Sonoma. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Sonoma due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Berkeley, and 2-4 days is enough time in Sonoma.

Families should spend more time in Sonoma than Berkeley. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Sonoma, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Sonoma than Berkeley. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Sonoma that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Berkeley than Sonoma if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Berkeley.


  • How many days in Berkeley or Sonoma? Ideal Length of Stay
    Berkeley 2-3 
    Sonoma 2-4

One day in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Berkeley. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

The beautiful county of Sonoma offers nightlife and food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Berkeley is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Sonoma is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this county makes for a great vacation. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Sonoma, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Five days in Berkeley or Sonoma?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Berkeley. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sonoma is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


A week in Berkeley or Sonoma?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the diverse destination of Berkeley. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Sonoma is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This county offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Walking Tours in United States of America, The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, and The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sonoma or Berkeley?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Berkeley is $190, while the average daily cost in Sonoma is $219. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Berkeley and Sonoma in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Berkeley $131
    Sonoma $93
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Berkeley $262
    Sonoma $186
Compare Hotels in Berkeley and Sonoma

Looking for a hotel in Berkeley or Sonoma? 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 Berkeley


Hotels in Sonoma


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: Berkeley Hotel Prices and Sonoma Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Berkeley $30
    Sonoma $134

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Berkeley

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Berkeley:

  • Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport OAK to San Francisco by SUV: $232
  • Private Transfer: Oakland International Airport to Hotel: $200
  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Car Transfer: $129
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport (OAK) to Oakland: $93
  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to Oakland hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $89
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Oakland Airport OAK: $81
  • Oakland Airport (OAK) to San Francisco hotel/address - Private Arrival Transfer: $64

Is it cheaper to fly into Berkeley or Sonoma?

Prices for flights to both Sonoma and Berkeley 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
    Berkeley $36
    Sonoma $56
Typical Food Prices in Berkeley

Some typical examples of dining costs in Berkeley are as follows:


  • Chocolates at Sweet Dreams
    $4.46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Berkeley

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

  • Best of North Berkeley Food Tour: $130
  • Black Food Tour - Downtown Oakland: $130

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Berkeley $30
    Sonoma $16

Tours and Activities in Berkeley

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Berkeley are as follows:

  • 2 Hours Private Walking Tour in Berkeley: $20
  • Classic Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour: $135
  • Comedy Oakland at The Washington Inn Show Tickets: $20
  • Historic Houseboat Tour: $65
  • Oakland Athletics Baseball Game Ticket at RingCentral Coliseum: $11
  • Oakland's Temescal Tastes Tour: $120
  • Redwoods of Marin and Mt. Tamalpais Walking Tour with Local Guide: $59
  • Ruth Bancroft Garden General Admission Ticket: $12
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Berkeley by Zombie Scavengers: $20
  • Self-Guided Oakland Tour in an Urban Excursion: $20
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Antioch by Zombie Scavengers: $20

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Berkeley $13
    Sonoma $41

Sample the Local Flavors in Berkeley

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

  • Guided Wine Tasting at Berkeley Wineries with Local Sommelière : $175


When comparing the travel costs between Berkeley and Sonoma, we can see that Sonoma is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Berkeley Expensive? and Is Sonoma Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Berkeley or Sonoma?

Berkeley has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Sonoma. When comparing the sizes of Berkeley and Sonoma, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Berkeley or Sonoma?

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 Berkeley or Sonoma in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Berkeley as well as Sonoma. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Berkeley this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Sonoma for the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

Berkeley is cooler than Sonoma in the summer. The daily temperature in Berkeley averages around 63°F (17°C) in July, and Sonoma fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

Berkeley usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Sonoma. Berkeley gets 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Berkeley 63°F (17°C) 
    Sonoma 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Berkeley or Sonoma in the Autumn?

Both Sonoma and Berkeley are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Berkeley for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, many visitors come to Sonoma in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Berkeley is around the same temperature as Sonoma. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Berkeley in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Sonoma averages at about 62°F (17°C).

In October, Berkeley usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sonoma. Berkeley gets 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Berkeley 63°F (17°C) 
    Sonoma 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Berkeley or Sonoma in the Winter?

Both Sonoma and Berkeley during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Berkeley in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Sonoma for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

In January, Berkeley is generally a little warmer than Sonoma. Daily temperatures in Berkeley average around 50°F (10°C), and Sonoma fluctuates around 46°F (8°C).

Berkeley usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Sonoma. Berkeley gets 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Berkeley 50°F (10°C) 
    Sonoma 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Berkeley or Sonoma in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Berkeley and Sonoma. Most visitors come to Berkeley for the natural beauty during these months. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to Sonoma because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

Berkeley is around the same temperature as Sonoma in the spring. The daily temperature in Berkeley averages around 58°F (14°C) in April, and Sonoma fluctuates around 56°F (13°C).

In April, Berkeley usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sonoma. Berkeley gets 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Berkeley 58°F (14°C) 
    Sonoma 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Sonoma and Berkeley

Berkeley Sonoma
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 69°F (21°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 46°F (8°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)