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

Should you visit Columbia or San Francisco?

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

Should I visit Columbia or San Francisco? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Columbia or San Francisco?


Both the largest and capital city of South Carolina, Columbia is literally the center of everything. Geographically it is located in the middle of the state, and it is the home to the University of South Carolina, the Army's Fort Jackson, as well as a variety of museums that celebrate the city's art, history, and culture.

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 place is cheaper, San Francisco or Columbia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Columbia is $0.00, 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 Columbia and San Francisco in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Columbia -
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Columbia $0.00
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Columbia and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Columbia 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 Columbia

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: Columbia Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Columbia -
    San Francisco $16

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Francisco

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

  • Taxi to SFO
  • Golden Gate Bridge Toll
  • Alcatraz Tour

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Francisco

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

  • Private One-way Airport Transfer (San Francisco Airport To/From San Francisco): $17
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • Private Transfer SFO Airport to/ from San Francisco: $43
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Francisco Airport SFO: $44
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $44
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco City to Airport: $55
  • Private Transfer from SFO Airport: $66
  • Round trip transfer in private vehicle from-to Airport in San Francisco: $70
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) Private Round trip Transfer: $85
  • Private Transfer: Pier 27 Cruise Terminal to San Francisco International Airport: $99
  • Private Transfer from San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco Hotel: $99
  • Private Transfer: San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco Pier 27 Cruise Terminal: $99

Is it cheaper to fly into Columbia or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Columbia 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 Meals for one day
    Columbia $5.03
    San Francisco $46

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:

  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Mission District Small Group Mural Art and Food Tour: $79
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $84
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • San Francisco North Beach and Chinatown - Secret Food Tours: $86
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $86
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: North Beach and Chinatown : $89

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Columbia -
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Columbia

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

  • Soda City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in Columbia: $12

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • Embarcadero Self-Guided Audio Smartphone Tour: $5.99
  • Walk the Haight: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of SF’s Hippie Counterculture: $6.47
  • Ghosts & Hauntings Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco Haunted Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • Food, History, and Resistance: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour of Japantown & Stories: $6.99
  • San Francisco's Glen Park and Glen Canyon: A Self-Guided Tour: $7.55
  • San Francisco's Castro Neighborhood: Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Secrets of Golden Gate Park Audio Tour: $7.99
  • The Secrets of Golden Gate Park: A San Francisco Chronicle Self-Guided Tour: $7.99
  • Over the Rainbow in the Castro: A San Francisco Chronicle Self-Guided Tour: $7.99
  • Design in the Financial District Audio Tour: $7.99

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 Drinks for one day
    Columbia $88
    San Francisco $22

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

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

  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • San Francisco Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $35
  • Walk with Spirits: A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $45
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Northern Italian Private Wine Tasting Experience in San Francisco: $60
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour Including Castello Di Amorosa Winery: $125
  • San Francisco Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $125
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Napa and Sonoma Valley: $129
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Columbia and San Francisco, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. And not only is Columbia much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Columbia would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Columbia 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 Columbia.

Which is Bigger, Columbia or San Francisco?

San Francisco is bigger, and its population is about 6.3 times larger than the population of Columbia. When comparing the population of Columbia vs. 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 and the activities that interest you.

When is the best time to visit Columbia 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 Columbia or San Francisco in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Columbia as well as San Francisco. Additionally, many visitors come to San Francisco in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Columbia is much warmer than San Francisco. Typically, the summer temperatures in Columbia in July average around 82°F (28°C), and San Francisco averages at about 63°F (17°C).

Columbia receives a lot of rain in the summer. Columbia usually gets more rain in July than San Francisco. Columbia gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Columbia 82°F (28°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Columbia or San Francisco in the Autumn?

Both San Francisco and Columbia are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, most visitors 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 during these months.

In October, Columbia is generally around the same temperature as San Francisco. Daily temperatures in Columbia average around 64°F (18°C), and San Francisco fluctuates around 63°F (17°C).

In October, Columbia usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Columbia gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Columbia or San Francisco in the Winter?

Both San Francisco and Columbia during the winter are popular places to visit. Also, the winter months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Columbia is cooler than San Francisco in the winter. The daily temperature in Columbia averages around 45°F (7°C) in January, and San Francisco fluctuates around 50°F (10°C).

Columbia usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as San Francisco. Columbia gets 3.7 inches (93 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Columbia 45°F (7°C) 
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C)

Should I visit Columbia or San Francisco in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Columbia and San Francisco. Also, the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to San Francisco this time of year.

In the spring, Columbia is a little warmer than San Francisco. Typically, the spring temperatures in Columbia in April average around 64°F (18°C), and San Francisco averages at about 58°F (14°C).

In April, Columbia usually receives more rain than San Francisco. Columbia gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while San Francisco receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain each month for the spring.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Columbia 64°F (18°C) 
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for San Francisco and Columbia

Columbia San Francisco
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 48°F (9°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 3.7 inches (95 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 72°F (22°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 78°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 5.8 inches (147 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 48°F (9°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Columbia vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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