A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Boston vs. San Francisco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Boston or San Francisco?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare 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. So, let's dig into it.

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 $203, 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Boston and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $264 for a double occupancy room in Boston.

The prices for places to stay in San Francisco can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $106, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $212.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Boston $132
    San Francisco $106
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Boston $264
    San Francisco $212

Food

In Boston travelers spend around $40 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

On average, meal and food prices in San Francisco cost around $32 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $13.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Boston $40
    San Francisco $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Boston

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

  • Boston North End Pizza Tour: $49
  • Historic Taverns and Pizza Tour: $49
  • Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and Freedom Trail Walking Tour: $49
  • Haunted Pizza Tour: $66
  • Italian Food Tour with Pizza, Meats, Cheese, & Bread: $69
  • Boston's North End Small-Group Walking Food Tour: $71
  • Fenway Neighborhood Food Tour (Boston): $79
  • Boston Buffet Dinner Cruise: $99
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Boston North End: $103
  • Spirit of Boston Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet: $105
  • Boston Dinner Cruise On The Odyssey: $111
  • Boston Odyssey Dinner Cruise: $118

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
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: North Beach & Chinatown Food Tour: $66
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $69
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • San Francisco North Beach 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
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $82
  • 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

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Boston is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $28 per person, per day, on local transportation in Boston.

San Francisco's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $13 per person, per day on transportation in San Francisco.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Boston $28
    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:

  • Private transfer: Boston to Boston Airport (BOS): $622
  • Private transfer: Boston Airport (BOS) to Boston: $622
  • Boston’s Logan International Airport to Providence - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $361
  • Boston Airport Transfer Arrival And Departure: $340
  • Round trip Airport Transfer: Logan - Boston: $181
  • Boston’s Logan International Airport to Providence – Arrival Private Transfer: $180
  • Boston Airport Private Sedan Transfer: $143
  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS) to Boston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $142
  • Round trip transfer in private vehicle from Boston city -to Boston Airport (BOS): $138
  • Private Boston Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel: $136
  • Private Boston Transfer: Airport to Hotel or Cruise Port: $136
  • Private arrival OR departure transfer in Boston (hotel OR airport pick-up): $132

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 between San Francisco Airport & City Center: $17
  • San Francisco Airport Public Transfer by BART: $21
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Francisco Airport SFO: $40
  • Private Airport Transfer: from San Francisco to San Francisco Int. Airport (SFO): $43
  • Private Departure Transfer from San Francisco to SFO San Francisco Airport: $57
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Cruise Terminal - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Cruise Terminal to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • San Francisco Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • San Francisco Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • Private transfer from San Francisco to SFO Airport for up to 4 passengers: $73
  • Private SFO Departure Transfer from San Francisco: $74

Is it cheaper to fly into Boston or San Francisco?

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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Boston typically cost an average of $26 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in San Francisco can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $37 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Boston $26
    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:

  • 2-Day Trip Philadelphia City Tour from Boston: $519
  • 3-Hour Guided Boston Trolley Tour: $40
  • 6-Day Economy East Coast Tour ( Boston Departure) ( BOAP6E): $448
  • 6-Day Economy East Coast Tour (Boston departure)(BO6E): $448
  • 6-Day Tour East Coast Tour ( Boston Departure) ( BOAP6D): $560
  • 6-Day Tour East Coast Tour (Boston Departure)(BO6): $560
  • 6-Day U.S East Coast Tour (Boston departure) BO6U: $560
  • 7-Days Tour US east coast and Canada tour (Boston Departure) (BO7C): $706
  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: Boston Harbor: $44
  • Beer Tour: $80
  • Best of Boston Tour - Private Safe Tour: $185
  • Boston 90-Minute Historic Sightseeing Cruise: $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
  • Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of San Francisco's Japantown: $5.34
  • San Francisco's Barbary Past Walking Audio Tour: $5.34
  • Syn City SF: The Synesthesia Walking Audio Tour of Haight-Ashbury by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Union Square to Lotta's Fountain Walking Tour by VoiceMap: $5.40
  • Walk the Haight Audio Tour: Tune into San Francisco’s 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

Alcohol

The average person spends about $22 on alcoholic beverages in Boston per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In San Francisco, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $15.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Boston $22
    San Francisco $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Boston

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Boston:

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

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
  • 3-Hour Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $18
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Tour: $58
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Crawl: $60
  • From Tri-Valley Half-Day Wine Tour: $75
  • Half-Day Sonoma Wine Tour: $100
  • San Francisco City & Wine tour: $115
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience Full-Day Tour: $135
  • Napa & Sonoma Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour with Optional Lunch: $135
  • Full-Day Muir Woods with Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $135
  • Chariot wine tour: $145
  • Viticulture with Charm: Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149


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.

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Boston vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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