Which place is cheaper, San Francisco or Boston?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Boston and San Francisco. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.
Boston is a loyal, historic, and traditional city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the theater, nightlife, and live music.
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. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It's also known for hiking, shopping, and museums.
You'll generally find more things to do in San Francisco than Boston. San Francisco is bigger than Boston, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. San Francisco is better known for its food, beaches, hiking, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Boston is more popular for its theatre productions, nightlife, historical sights, christmas markets, and quaint atmosphere. San Francisco is more touristy than Boston and is popular for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. Also, San Francisco is famous for The Golden Gate Bridge. Boston is well known for its enthusiastic sports fans, influential history, beautiful parks, and world-class universities.
Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between San Francisco and Boston. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Both Boston and San Francisco have world-class landmarks and museums for visitors.
Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Boston that are not to be missed. The city itself feels like a living museum. It is famous for Faneuil Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum, the USS Constitution, as well as the many sites along the Freedom Trail. There are also many museums on the campuses of the world renowned universities in the city.
The museums and tourist attractions in San Francisco are world-renowned. 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.
Boston is a great city for its shows and theatre. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for theatre.
Many visitors plan to see a show while visiting Boston. The city has many historic, beautifully restored theaters where you can enjoy a show. Head to the theater district for some of the most famous venues.
San Francisco offers a number of shows and performances. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.
San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Boston is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.
Eat your way through San Francisco, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. 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. Head away from the touristy neighborhoods if you want to sample some of the more local restaurants around town.
Boston has a huge number of terrific restaurants. There are many local dishes that utilize fresh caught seafood and comfort food flavors. The cuisine also takes advantage of the city's Italian and Irish populations. Famous local foods include New England Clam Chowder, lobster rolls, and baked beans. You'll find hearty sandwiches and filling meals that warm your soul.
Boston is a great city for its evening party scene. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for nightlife.
The nightlife in Boston has something for everybody. The city is known for its breweries, craft beer, and vibrant university neighborhoods. It also hosts regular outdoor movies and world class sporting events. The nightlife scene is varied, with some areas catering to the student population and other areas focused on the professional or sport-loving crowds.
There's a variety of activities in the evening in San Francisco. It has a great nightlife with many local bars and trendy clubs. For the best nightlife away from the tourists, head to Valencia Street or Polk Street. If you want to be in a more touristy area, check out Union Square. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.
Both Boston and San Francisco offer notable live music venues.
You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Boston. Popular music venues include Lizard Lounge, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, and The Middle East.
The music scene in San Francisco is active and vibrant. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.
San Francisco is notable for its beaches. However, Boston is a mediocre city for the beache.
Many people visit San Francisco for it's beautiful beaches. Whether you're interested in surfing or simply taking in the dramatic views, the beaches of San Francisco will take your breath away. Some of the best beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach.
You can check out the beach in Boston. There are a few urban beaches in the greater Boston area that you can explore on a nice day.
Boston is an amazing city to visit for its historic old town charm. However, San Francisco does not have a historic old town.
Boston offers visitors a world-class historical old town to explore. Boston is famous for its Freedom Trail, which takes visitors around the city's rich history. The oldest parts of the city are known as Boston Proper and include the neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Historic Downtown, the North End, and the West End.
San Francisco does not have a historic old town.
San Francisco is an unbeatable place for the nearby hiking options. However, Boston is not a hiking destination.
San Francisco is well-known for its hiking and trekking. 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.
Boston is not a hiking destination.
San Francisco is an unbeatable place for shopping. Also, Boston is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its shopping opportunities.
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 Boston. Head to Back Bay for some of the best high end shops. There are luxury brands and boutique venues that sell local art or crafts.
Boston is a great city for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, San Francisco does not offer Christmas activities.
Boston is a very popular destination during Christmas. Christmas comes to life in the city with its Christmas Trees, holiday shows, and festivals.
San Francisco does not offer Christmas activities.
Boston is a great city for visiting Christmas markets. However, San Francisco does not offer Christmas markets.
The Christmas markets in Boston offer plenty to see during the holidays. There are a number of European style Christmas markets that pop up during the holiday season around town.
San Francisco does not offer Christmas markets.
Both Boston and San Francisco are world-class family-friendly destinations.
With a huge array of activities for kids, Boston is very family-friendly. It's filled with history, but there are also many activities for kids who need a break from all of the historical stuff. Popular activities for all ages include the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium, and exploring the waterfront, gardens, and parks around town.
As it has a large number of activities for kids, San Francisco is a very family-friendly destination. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination. There are also many amazing playgrounds with stunning views of the bay and city. Head to Chinatown for some unique and kid-friendly food, or down to Pier 39 for fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.
San Francisco is notable for romance. Also, Boston is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its romantic activities.
San Francisco is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.
Boston makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples who enjoy history will enjoy exploring the city. Take a swan boat ride in the Public Garden and wander the unique route along the Freedom Trail. There are also many sporting and entertainment options around town.
San Francisco is notable for backpackers. Also, Boston is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.
Backpackers come from all over 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.
Plenty of budget travelers visit Boston. Like most larger American cities, the city has a handful of hostels to choose from.
Boston is an amazing city to visit for its student-friendly activities. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for students.
Boston is a great destination for students. It is a city of students, with a number of world renowned universities located here including Harvard University, Boston College, and MIT. Many neighborhoods are filled with students and there are many student-centered activities around town including festivals and an active nightlife scene.
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.
Both Boston and San Francisco offer world-class public transit options.
Visitors in Boston can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. There's the T, which is the subway, as well as a trolley, bus, and water transportation system.
San Francisco has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.
Boston is an amazing city to visit for its ease of walking around. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its walkability.
Boston is a very easy city to get around on foot. The many parks and compact neighborhoods are best explored on foot.
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.
Both Boston 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 in Boston. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Boston, and 3-7 days is enough time in San Francisco.
Families should spend more time in Boston than San Francisco. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Boston, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.
Couples should spend more time in San Francisco than Boston. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in San Francisco that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.
Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco than Boston 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 San Francisco.
Boston is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. 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.
Many travelers enjoy the live music and food when visiting the big city destination of San Francisco. 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.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Boston. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.
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.
Boston is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time to experience most activities.
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.
You'll find theater and nightlife around the city of Boston. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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.
Many travelers enjoy the museums and theater when visiting the one-of-a-kind big city of San Francisco. 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.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Boston is $254, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $222. 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 Boston and San Francisco in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Boston 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.
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.
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Boston are as follows:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Boston:
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in San Francisco:
Also for San Francisco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Boston 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.
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Boston.
For San Francisco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Boston are as follows:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Boston are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.
For more ideas for your next trip, check out Free Things to Do in Boston, Must-See Monuments and Memorials In Boston, The Best Things To Do in Boston with Kids, The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Boston:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:
When comparing the travel costs between Boston and San Francisco, we can see that Boston 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.
San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 24% larger than the population of Boston. When comparing the sizes of Boston and San Francisco, 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.
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.
The summer brings many poeple to Boston as well as San Francisco. Many visitors come to Boston in the summer for the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to San Francisco for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months.
In July, Boston is generally a little warmer than San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Boston average around 73°F (23°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).
Boston usually gets more rain in July than San Francisco. Boston gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.
Both San Francisco and Boston are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Boston for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.
Boston is cooler than San Francisco in the autumn. The daily temperature in Boston averages around 54°F (12°C) in October, and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).
In October, Boston usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Boston gets 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.
Both San Francisco and Boston during the winter are popular places to visit. The winter months attract visitors to Boston because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Furthermore, the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine are the main draw to San Francisco this time of year.
The weather in Boston can be very cold. In the winter, Boston is much colder than San Francisco. Typically, the winter temperatures in Boston in January average around 29°F (-2°C), and San Francisco averages at about 50°F (10°C).
Boston usually gets less rain in January than San Francisco. Boston gets 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.
The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Boston and San Francisco. The beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to Boston this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to San Francisco for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.
In April, Boston is generally much colder than San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Boston average around 48°F (9°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).
In April, Boston usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Boston gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.
|3.4 inches (87 mm)
|3.8 inches (96 mm)
|3.7 inches (94 mm)
|2.7 inches (69 mm)
|3.7 inches (95 mm)
|2.7 inches (69 mm)
|3.5 inches (89 mm)
|1.2 inches (31 mm)
|3.2 inches (82 mm)
|0.2 inches (5 mm)
|3.1 inches (79 mm)
|0.1 inches (3 mm)
|2.9 inches (74 mm)
|0.1 inches (2 mm)
|3.2 inches (82 mm)
|0.1 inches (1 mm)
|3.1 inches (79 mm)
|0.3 inches (7 mm)
|3.3 inches (84 mm)
|1.3 inches (33 mm)
|4.3 inches (108 mm)
|2.8 inches (71 mm)
|3.9 inches (99 mm)
|2.7 inches (68 mm)