A Travel Price Comparison for Texas Houston vs. San Antonio for Families, Attractions, Nightlife, and Food

Should you visit Houston or San Antonio?

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 Houston and San Antonio. 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.

Houston

Houston is a one-of-a-kind, diverse, and sprawling city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's also known for live music, food, and shopping.

San Antonio

San Antonio is a cultural, colorful, and festive city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the live music, food, and shopping.

Houston and San Antonio: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Houston or San Antonio?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Houston than San Antonio. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Houston is very popular for its nightlife and big city activities, while San Antonio attracts visitors for its historical sights and impressive beauty. San Antonio is more touristy than Houston and is known for being the home to the Alamo, the popular RiverWalk area, and several world-class amusement parks. Houston is famous for its sprawling size, its local Texas restaurants, and being the home to NASA. It is also well known for The Space Center Houston.

How is Houston different from San Antonio?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Houston or San Antonio?

Houston
San Antonio

Plenty of people visit the excellent sights and museums in both Houston and San Antonio.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Houston. Head to Houston's Museum District to explore 19 different museums in a walkable area. A highlight of a trip to the city is a visit to the Space Center, but other popular museums include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Houston Children's Museum.

San Antonio offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. It is known for its role in American history, and the city is famous as the location of the Alamo. It's also where you'll find the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail, the San Antonio Museum of Art, Witte Museum, and the Guinness World Records Museum, among others.


Is the Food Better in Houston or San Antonio? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Houston
San Antonio

Foodies will find both Houston and San Antonio both to be nice destinations.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Houston. The city is famous for its Texas barbecue, Mexican food, and a wide diversity of other different ethnic foods. It's a surprisingly diverse city and this is reflected in the restaurant selection around town.

San Antonio is becoming an appealing option for foodies. You'll find a mix of amazing and authentic Mexican food, simpler Tex Mex, and a number of Hill Country specialties. The city is filled with comfort food and the restaurants reflect the diverse character of the population. Popular local dishes include tacos, sweet potato fries, and chicken fried steak.

Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Nightlife?

Houston
San Antonio

Houston is a great destination for nightlife. Also, San Antonio is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

The people in Houston know how to have a good time. The nightlife is at its best on weekends when bars, dance clubs, and concert halls come to life. There are a diversity of venues around town including dance clubs, Honky Tonks, and cocktail bars. Some of the most active nightlife areas are Downtown, Midtown, Montrose, Washington Avenue, and Rice Village.

If you're looking for night time activities San Antonio has a few options to choose from. The city's nightlife scene is diverse, with dance halls, breweries, and clubs. It has seen a recent boom in dance clubs, so there are plenty of places to party hard, or to have a more relaxing night out. The RiverWalk is at the heart of the city's nightlife scene, particularly for tourists. Many conferences stay at hotels near the RiverWalk, so it's not uncommon to see professionals out and about after a day of networking.

Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Music?

Houston
San Antonio

Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Houston or San Antonio.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Houston. Popular music venues include Fitzgerald's, Walter's Downtown, and The Continental Club.

The music scene in San Antonio is active and vibrant. It's worth checking out The Aztec Theater, Sam's Burger Joint, and 502 Bar.


Is Houston or San Antonio Better for its Old Town?

Houston
San Antonio

San Antonio is a good destination for its old town. However, Houston does not have a historic old town.

Many people head to San Antonio to see the old town. The city is famous for its River Walk, which may feel slightly cheesy, but is still a unique and mesmerizing place to wander.

Houston does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Houston or San Antonio?

Houston
San Antonio

Shopping is a popular activity in both San Antonio and Houston.

Houston offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of upscale malls and shopping centers that have brand names, chain stores, and the occasional local shop where you can pick up items.

San Antonio has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. From souvenir shops to local boutiques and chain stores, there are several shopping options around town. Check out the historic Market Square or the shops at Rivercenter for some of the city's most interesting shopping.

Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Christmas?

Houston
San Antonio

San Antonio is a good destination for its Christmas activities. However, Houston does not offer Christmas activities.

San Antonio offers some nice Christmas activities. It's fun to see the lights along the River Walk at Christmas.

Houston does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Families?

Houston
San Antonio

San Antonio is a world-class destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Houston is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, San Antonio is very family-friendly. The RiverWalk is a fun family-friendly area. There's also Six Flags, SeaWorld and the San Antonio Zoo as well as a number of museums and other amusement parks in the area. It's easy to spend days having a great family vacation in this area and you can combine history, culture, and entertainment all in one setting.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Houston. It is a large city with plenty of things that kids can enjoy including museums, theaters, a zoo, and even the Space Center. The Children's Museum of Houston is perfect for a rainy day. For science loving kids there's the Health Museum and the Museum of Natural Science. Houston also has a Six Flags nearby which the whole family can enjoy.

Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Couples?

Houston
San Antonio

Houston and San Antonio both nice destinations for a couple.

Houston makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There's a surprising diversity of restaurants around the city. There are also performing arts productions and many outdoor parks and gardens.

San Antonio is a good city for couples to visit. Couples will enjoy taking a boat ride and exploring the many sites around town. The RiverWalk has many restaurants and a great atmosphere for a date night. There's also the botanical gardens and many outdoor spaces to explore.

Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Students?

Houston
San Antonio

Houston and San Antonio are nice places to visit for students.

Houston is popular with students. It's a large city with a number of universities and a large student population.

It's common for students to visit San Antonio. There are a couple of colleges in the area. This is also a major conference destination so it's possible to network and meet other professionals.


Is Houston or San Antonio Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Houston
San Antonio

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Houston and San Antonio.

Public transit is generally limited in Houston. The system includes buses and a limited light rail. Houston is known as a car-centric city and you really need a car to fully experience it.

Public transit is mostly limited in San Antonio. Buses connect most of the city's tourist attractions, but you'll find life much easier if you have your own car.

Is Houston or San Antonio a more walkable city?

Houston
San Antonio

Houston and San Antonio both are reasonable when exploring on foot.

Houston is generally not very walkable. The most walkable neighborhood is the historic Houston Heights, but most parts of the city aren't very walkable.

San Antonio is generally not a very walkable city. If you stick to the downtown area you will be fine getting around on foot. Outside of that area, you'll need a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Houston Worth Visiting? and Is San Antonio Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in San Antonio or Houston?

How long in Houston or San Antonio?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Houston and San Antonio. In our opinion, San Antonio has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in San Antonio than Houston. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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

Couples should spend more time in San Antonio than Houston. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in San Antonio that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Antonio than Houston 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 Antonio.


  • How many days in Houston or San Antonio? Ideal Length of Stay
    Houston 2-3 
    San Antonio 2-3

One day in Houston or San Antonio?

Houston is a southern city where you can fill many days. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In San Antonio, you'll find shopping and museums. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.


A weekend in Houston or San Antonio?

Houston is a sprawling big city where you can fill many days. This city offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In San Antonio, you'll find museums and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that San Antonio has to offer.

Five days in Houston or San Antonio?

The southern city of Houston offers museums and nightlife. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

San Antonio is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Houston or San Antonio?

Many people enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting Houston. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Antonio. Many people enjoy the live music and food when visiting San Antonio. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, and The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, San Antonio or Houston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Houston is $262, while the average daily cost in San Antonio is $132. 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 Houston and San Antonio in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Houston $142
    San Antonio $69
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Houston $284
    San Antonio $138
Compare Hotels in Houston and San Antonio

Looking for a hotel in Houston or San Antonio? 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 Houston


Hotels in San Antonio


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: Houston Hotel Prices and San Antonio Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Houston $72
    San Antonio $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Houston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Houston:

  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) to Galveston Port - Arrival Private Transfer: $192
  • Arrival Private Transfer: George Bush Airport IAH to Houston in Business Car: $107
  • Departure Private Transfer: Houston to George Bush Airport IAH in Luxury SUV: $108
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH) to Houston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $161
  • Houston George Bush Airport (IAH): Transfer to Houston: $345
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Houston - Arrival Private Transfer: $80
  • Houston William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Houston - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $161
  • Privat Transfer from Houston Airport (HOU) to Port of Galveston: $167
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Houston George Bush Airport (IAH): $51
  • Private Departure Transfer to Houston George Bush Airport IAH: $51
  • Private Hotel Transfer in Houston: $80
  • Private One-way George Bush Airport Transfer To/From Houston: $70

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Antonio

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Antonio are as follows:


  • Rental Car for a Day
    $60

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Antonio

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Antonio:

  • Galveston: One-Way Transfer GLS Airport to City: $237
  • Private Round Trip Transfer - San Antonio International Airport (SAT): $93
  • Private Transfer: San Antonio Airport to San Antonio by Sedan, SUV or Minibus : $97
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT) - Arrival or Departure Private Transfer : $93

Is it cheaper to fly into Houston or San Antonio?

Prices for flights to both San Antonio and Houston 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
    Houston $35
    San Antonio $40

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Houston

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

  • Seasonal Pizza From Scratch Experience in Houston: $55
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $70
  • Astroville Food Tour of Downtown Houston with Tunnel Access: $72
  • The Heights Food Tour in Houston: $76
  • Downtown Houston Food Tour: $76
  • Houston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $85
  • Houston Downtown: Secret Food Tours: $87
  • Howdy H-Town EADO Food Tour: $90
  • East Downtown Food Tour: $90
  • Montrose Food Tour: $97

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Antonio

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

  • The Haunted Dinner Tour: $75

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Houston $14
    San Antonio $36

Tours and Activities in Houston

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

  • Sights of Downtown Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.25
  • Sights of Downtown Houston Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.99
  • Houston Museum of Natural Sciences: Planetarium Ticket: $9.00
  • Downtown In App Audio Walking Tour: $9.00
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Houston by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Houston by Operation City Quest: $10
  • Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern History Tour: $12
  • Houston - Downtown: At your leisure and your pace. An audio walking tour. : $12
  • Houston Botanic Garden Entry Ticket: $13
  • Sightseeing Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $14
  • Austin & Self-Guided Driving Audio Tour: $17
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Houston with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20

Typical Entertainment Prices in San Antonio

Here are a few typical costs in San Antonio for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Spa Treatments
    $200

Tours and Activities in San Antonio

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

  • Self-Guided Ghost Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Briscoe Western Art Museum Entry Ticket: $14
  • The Alamo Exhibit Entry Ticket: $14
  • San Antonio Ranger Creek Brewstillery Tour: $15
  • Witte Museum Admission Ticket: $16
  • Tower of the Americas Entry Ticket: $20
  • San Antonio Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Antonio Museum of Art Entry Ticket: $22
  • Hopscotch Immersive Art Experience: $24
  • Hopscotch Immersive Art Experience Ticket: $24
  • San Antonio Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Historical Ghost Tour: $25

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Houston $13
    San Antonio -

Sample the Local Flavors in Houston

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

  • Brewery Pass with Beer Tastings: $50
  • Private Houston Brewery Tour by Cart: $57
  • 2-Hour Downtown Brewery Tour by Electric Cart: $70
  • Downtown Houston Brewery Bike Tour : $71

Sample the Local Flavors in San Antonio

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Antonio:

  • Epic San Antonio Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12
  • Death Warmed Over: San Antonio Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Guided Haunted Pub Crawl: $30
  • Texas’ Oldest Haunted Pub Crawl Shared Walking Tour: $30
  • Taste of Fredericksburg Small-Group Wine Tour from San Antonio: $155


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Houston Expensive? and Is San Antonio Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Houston or San Antonio?

Houston has a larger population, and is about 61% larger than the population of San Antonio. When comparing the sizes of Houston and San Antonio, 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.


When is the best time to visit Houston or San Antonio?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Houston or San Antonio in the Summer?

Both San Antonio and Houston are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The summer months attract visitors to Houston because of the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, the music scene and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to San Antonio this time of year.

In July, Houston is generally around the same temperature as San Antonio. Daily temperatures in Houston average around 84°F (29°C), and San Antonio fluctuates around 87°F (31°C).

It's quite rainy in Houston. In July, Houston usually receives more rain than San Antonio. Houston gets 4.8 inches (122 mm) of rain, while San Antonio receives 2.2 inches (57 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Houston 84°F (29°C) 
    San Antonio 87°F (31°C)

Should I visit Houston or San Antonio in the Autumn?

Both San Antonio and Houston during the autumn are popular places to visit. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene are the main draw to Houston this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to San Antonio for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

Houston is around the same temperature as San Antonio in the autumn. The daily temperature in Houston averages around 71°F (22°C) in October, and San Antonio fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Houston. Houston usually gets more rain in October than San Antonio. Houston gets 4.2 inches (107 mm) of rain, while San Antonio receives 3.3 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Houston 71°F (22°C) 
    San Antonio 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Houston or San Antonio in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Houston and San Antonio. Many travelers come to Houston for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, many visitors come to San Antonio in the winter for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Houston is around the same temperature as San Antonio. Typically, the winter temperatures in Houston in January average around 52°F (11°C), and San Antonio averages at about 54°F (12°C).

In January, Houston usually receives more rain than San Antonio. Houston gets 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain, while San Antonio receives 1.8 inches (45 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Houston 52°F (11°C) 
    San Antonio 54°F (12°C)

Should I visit Houston or San Antonio in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Houston as well as San Antonio. Many visitors come to Houston in the spring for the activities around the city. Additionally, most visitors come to San Antonio for the natural beauty during these months.

In April, Houston is generally around the same temperature as San Antonio. Daily temperatures in Houston average around 70°F (21°C), and San Antonio fluctuates around 74°F (23°C).

Houston usually gets more rain in April than San Antonio. Houston gets 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain, while San Antonio receives 2.4 inches (60 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Houston 70°F (21°C) 
    San Antonio 74°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for San Antonio and Houston

Houston San Antonio
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 52°F (11°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm) 54°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 57°F (14°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 65°F (18°C) 1.7 inches (42 mm)
Apr 70°F (21°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 74°F (23°C) 2.4 inches (60 mm)
May 76°F (25°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm) 79°F (26°C) 4.4 inches (111 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.4 inches (163 mm) 84°F (29°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Jul 84°F (29°C) 4.8 inches (122 mm) 87°F (31°C) 2.2 inches (57 mm)
Aug 83°F (29°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm) 87°F (31°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Sep 80°F (27°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 82°F (28°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Oct 71°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Nov 63°F (17°C) 4.1 inches (104 mm) 64°F (18°C) 2.6 inches (66 mm)
Dec 55°F (13°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.6 inches (40 mm)