A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons Boston vs. San Francisco

Should you visit Boston or San Francisco?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Boston and San Francisco can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Boston

Boston is one of the oldest and most historic cities in New England. It is also the capital of the state of Massachusetts and the largest city in the region. The city proper covers 48 square miles and has a population of more than 600,000. The Greater Boston area has 4.5 million people and is the tenth largest metropolitan area in the country.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a beautiful city that is famous for it's picturesque neighborhoods, liberal character, and stunning location on the bay. Some people describe San Francisco as the United State's most "European City." This title most likely comes from its compact development and its easy walkability. It also has no shortage of parks and public spaces where you can pass some time. The city sits on the end of a peninsula and offers stunning views of the blue bay, rolling green hills, and the striking Golden Gate Bridge.

Which city is cheaper, San Francisco or Boston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Boston is $212, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $172. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Boston and San Francisco in more detail.


Accommodation

A hotel room in Boston is about $302 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $206 in San Francisco For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boston $151
    San Francisco $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boston $302
    San Francisco $206


Food

The average traveler spends about $32 per day in Boston for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

Food in San Francisco costs travelers about $32 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Boston $32
    San Francisco $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Boston

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

  • Italian Food Tour with Pizza, Meats, Cheese, & Bread: $69
  • Boston's North End: Secret Food Tour: $258
  • Boston North End Pizza Tour: $49
  • Boston Buffet Dinner Cruise: $99
  • Boston Dinner Cruise On The Odyssey: $111
  • Historic Taverns and Pizza Tour: $49
  • Haunted Pizza Tour: $66
  • Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and Freedom Trail Walking Tour: $49
  • Boston's North End Small-Group Walking Food Tour: $71
  • Fenway Neighborhood Food Tour (Boston): $79

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:

  • Lonely Planet Experiences: North Beach & Chinatown Food Tour: $66
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $69
  • San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise: $150
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $75
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $82
  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $15
  • Traveling Spoon Pad Thai and Papaya Salad Private Online Cooking Class: $25
  • Cooking with Ale: let's make Tiramisu - private groups: $80
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $80


Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Boston is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $27 per person, per day, on local transportation in Boston.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in San Francisco than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $13 on transportation in San Francisco on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boston $27
    San Francisco $13
Typical Local Transportation prices in Boston

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Boston are as follows:


  • Taxi
    $35
  • Subway Daily Pass
    $9.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Boston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Boston:

  • Logan Airport to Boston Hotels Private Transfer: $123
  • Boston Airport Shared Transfer Service: $29
  • Boston Private Transfer to Logan Airport (BOS): $117
  • Boston Airport Private Sedan Transfer: $143
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Boston Airport BOS: $28
  • Private Departure Transfer to Boston Airport BOS: $28
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Boston Airport to Hotel: $30
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Boston Airport: $30
  • Airport Transfer by Private Car Service: $55
  • Private Arrival Transfer Boston Airport to Boston City: $60

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Francisco

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs 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:

  • San Francisco Airport Public Transfer by BART: $21
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $109
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to/from the City: $150
  • San Francisco Hotels to San Francisco Airport Transfer: $109
  • Airport Transfer between San Francisco Airport & City Center: $17
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Hotels Transfer: $138
  • Private One-Way Airport Transfer: $220
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $310
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $410
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $40


Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Boston typically cost an average of $20 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in San Francisco, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $37 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boston $20
    San Francisco $37
Typical Entertainment prices in Boston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Boston are as follows:


  • Two Tickets to Celtics Game
    $101
  • Duck Tour
    $32

Tours and Activities in Boston

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

  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Sightseeing Trolley Tour: $47
  • Revolutionary Story Walking Tour: $50
  • Irish Christmas Carol Holiday Cruise Northern Lights: $56
  • Weekend Brunch Cruise aboard Classic "Northern Lights": $74
  • Plimoth Plantation & Plymouth Waterfront Tour from Boston: $85
  • Classic Bites of Boston Tour & Optional Beer Tasting: $86
  • Guided Sightseeing Tour with Harbor Cruise: $145
  • Boston Citywalks: Private Personalized Walking Tour: $450
  • Historic After Dark Ghosts and Spirits Tour: $23

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • SF Chinatown Walking Tour: Through The Dragon Gate: $15
  • San Francisco 3-Hour Walking Tour: $20
  • Evening Ghost Tour: $21
  • Tech Company Walking Tour: $23
  • Golden Gate Park: Full-Day Self-Guided Bike Tour: $32
  • Golden Gate Bridge Guided Bike Tour: $39
  • Beyond the Painted Ladies Walking Tour: $39
  • San Francisco 3-Hour Castro & Twin Peaks Urban Hiking Tour: $54
  • 1.5-Hour Waterfront Mini Segway Tour: $55
  • Golden Gate Bridge Coastal Walking Tour: $58


Alcohol

The average person spends about $19 on alcoholic beverages in Boston per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $15 on alcoholic beverages in San Francisco per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Boston $19
    San Francisco $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Boston

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Boston:

  • North End Wine Tasting Tour: $96
  • Back Bay Wine Tasting Tour: $96
  • Historic Pub Crawl Tour along the Freedom Trail: $40
  • Craft Brewery Beer Tour: $82
  • South End Wine Tasting Tour: $96
  • Haunted Boston Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Sip of Boston Guided Brewery Tour: $90

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Also in San Francisco, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • 3-Hour Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $18
  • From 2-Day Muir Woods & Wine Tasting Tour: $569
  • Minibus Wine Tour of Napa & Sonoma Valleys: $169
  • From Full-Day Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Full-Day Muir Woods with Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $135
  • Napa & Sonoma Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour with Optional Lunch: $135
  • Premium Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour with Lunch: $199
  • Full-Day Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $189
  • Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Tour: $58



When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Boston and San Francisco, we can see that Boston is more expensive. And not only is San Francisco much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to San Francisco would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in San Francisco 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 Boston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Boston than you might in San Francisco.

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Boston vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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