A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Grand Canyon National Park vs. San Francisco for Food, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Grand Canyon National Park 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.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is a striking, breathtaking, and stunning national park. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the hiking.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a scenic, beautiful, and outdoorsy coastal city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include live music, food, and beaches.

Grand Canyon National Park and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the sunset views
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less family-friendly
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge


Is there more to do in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Visitors will usually find more to do in San Francisco than Grand Canyon National Park, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. San Francisco is better known for its museums, theatre productions, food, nightlife, music, beaches, hiking, shopping, and big city activities, while Grand Canyon National Park is more popular for its resorts. Grand Canyon National Park is well known for its iconic beauty, layers of color, breathtaking sunsets, and world-renowned geological history. San Francisco is well known 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.

How is Grand Canyon National Park different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between San Francisco and Grand Canyon National Park. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for its museums and history. However, Grand Canyon National Park does not have museums and landmarks.

Travelers visit San Francisco from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. 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.

Grand Canyon National Park does not have museums and landmarks.


Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Theater?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a good destination for theatre. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not a theatre destination.

You'll find a nice selection of shows in San Francisco. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Grand Canyon National Park is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for its restaurants. However, Grand Canyon National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

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.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Grand Canyon National Park. There are several markets, restaurants, and cafes in the park but, in general, the options are expensive and not the best. If possible, bring your own food and plan for a picnic with a view.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a good destination for nightlife. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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.

Grand Canyon National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Music?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a good destination for live music. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not a live music destination.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in San Francisco. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Grand Canyon National Park is not a live music destination.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Resorts?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

Grand Canyon National Park is a nice place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Grand Canyon National Park has a few great resort options. There are several options within and near the park that range from luxury to affordable. Reservations should be made well in advance for most hotels within the park. Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon Lodge (North Rim) and Phantom Ranch are all unique places to stay.

San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Beaches?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a very popular place for its beaches. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not a beach destination.

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.

Grand Canyon National Park is not a beach destination.


Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for its hiking trails. Also, Grand Canyon National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

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.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Grand Canyon National Park. Hiking options at the Grand Canyon include an easy walk along the rim or a hike into the canyon. If you're planning to enjoy a view from the rim and then stroll along the rim walk, a day or two is plenty. Hiking into the canyon is a thrilling experience, but it does require more preparation and planning. You should also check out the weather before you depart as temperatures within the canyon can become dangerously hot.

Is the Shopping Better in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for shopping. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in San Francisco. 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.

Grand Canyon National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Families?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Grand Canyon National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, San Francisco is very family-friendly. 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Grand Canyon National Park. This park is a spectacular landmark with a number of nature programs that kids can enjoy. There's also a simple rim walk along the edge of the canyon that is perfect for little legs.


Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Couples?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

Grand Canyon National Park is an amazing national park to visit for couples. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for romance.

Grand Canyon National Park has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. Couples who enjoy beauty, nature, and adventure will appreciate a visit to this park. There are amazing hikes and breathtaking views that make this a truly romantic destination. There are also several hotels and lodges that make for a truly romantic getaway (book well in advance!).

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.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

Grand Canyon National Park is an amazing national park to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Grand Canyon National Park, as it is a very popular national park for budget travelers. Backpackers and budget travelers can take in one of America's most notable landmarks while camping at the large and affordable national park campground.

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.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Students?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Grand Canyon National Park is not popular with students.

Many students visit 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.

Grand Canyon National Park is not popular with students.


Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is renowned for times when you don't have a car. However, Grand Canyon National Park is lacking in good options for its public transit.

San Francisco has a great public transit system. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is generally limited in Grand Canyon National Park. There are free shuttle buses that run along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Is Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco a more walkable city?

Grand Canyon National Park
San Francisco

San Francisco is a very popular place for its walkability. Also, Grand Canyon National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

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.

Grand Canyon National Park is a somewhat walkable place. There's a nice rim walk that is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, but to reach many parts of the park you'll want to have a car or plan to take some form of transit.

For even more information, also check out Is Grand Canyon National Park Worth Visiting? and Is San Francisco Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Grand Canyon National Park?

How long in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Both Grand Canyon National Park 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 Grand Canyon National Park. Usually, 1-4 days is a good amount of time for Grand Canyon National Park, and 3-7 days is enough time in San Francisco.

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

Couples should spend more time in San Francisco than Grand Canyon National Park. 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 Grand Canyon National Park 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.


  • How many days in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco? Ideal Length of Stay
    Grand Canyon National Park 1-4 
    San Francisco 3-7

One day in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the stunning destination of Grand Canyon National Park. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. 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.


A weekend in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Grand Canyon National Park. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.

Five days in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Travelers enjoy the when visiting the striking destination of Grand Canyon National Park. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This national park offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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.

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. This is a popular place to visit for five days.Five days is often enough time to do most activities. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

A week in Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

You'll find around the beautiful national park of Grand Canyon National Park. 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. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. If you have one week, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Because of this, one week is usually enough time for a trip here.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Historical Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, San Francisco or Grand Canyon National Park?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Grand Canyon National Park is $168, 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 Grand Canyon National Park and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Grand Canyon National Park $89
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Grand Canyon National Park $178
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Grand Canyon National Park and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Grand Canyon National Park 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 Grand Canyon National Park


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: Grand Canyon National Park Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Grand Canyon National Park $43
    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
    $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:

  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in San Francisco HTL-APT (SFO): $119
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from SFO to East Bay (one way): $262
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to Downtown: $120
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $169
  • San Francisco to Yosemite One-Way Transfer: $169
  • San Francisco to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $110
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Round Trip Transfer: $157
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Private Arrival Transfer: $79
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to/from the City: $150

Is it cheaper to fly into Grand Canyon National Park or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Grand Canyon National Park 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
    Grand Canyon National Park $49
    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:

  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $83
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $90
  • Secret Food Tour of North Beach and Chinatown: $96

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Grand Canyon National Park $35
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Grand Canyon National Park

For Grand Canyon National Park, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 3 Hour Off-Road Sunset Safari to Grand Canyon with Entrance Gate Detour : $123
  • 3-Day Adventure in Mulu National Park: $298
  • 4 Hour Grand Canyon Biblical Creation Morning Rim Tour: $149
  • 4-Hour Biblical Creation + Sunset Tour • Grand Canyon National Park South Rim: $149
  • Antelope Canyon Day Tour from Grand Canyon South: $279
  • Desert View Grand Canyon Tour - Pink Jeep: $143
  • Full Day Chauffeur for Grand Canyon Tour from inside Grand Canyon: $249
  • Full Day Chauffeur for South Rim Grand Canyon Tour from Tusayan: $249
  • Full-Day Tour to Grand Canyon Coach and River Float: $245
  • Grand Canyon Full Day Small Group Tour: $299
  • Grand Canyon Landmarks Tour by Airplane with Optional Hummer Tour: $179
  • Grand Canyon Signature Hummer Tour with Optional Sunset Views: $121

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $73
  • 2 or 3 Hour Private Group San Francisco City Tour Open-air Jeep: $169
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (Unlimited Pass): $73
  • 2-Hour Double Decker City Tour of San Francisco: $73
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop GoCar Tour: $172
  • 2hr - INTERACTIVE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr - SUNSET Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $695
  • 3-Hour Private Group San Francisco Open Top Jeep Tour: $249
  • 3-Hour Private Muir Giant Redwoods Trees and Sausalito Tour: $203
  • 3HR Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park GoCar Tour: $228
  • 3hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $795

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
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Grand Canyon National Park $11
    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:

  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Small Group: The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150
  • Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $159


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Grand Canyon National Park Expensive? and Is San Francisco Expensive?.