A Travel Price Comparison for California Los Angeles vs. San Diego for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Los Angeles or San Diego?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Los Angeles and San Diego. 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.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California is probably one of the most well known cities in the United States. It is the second most populated metro area in the country with more than 17 million people. The city's diversity is wide reaching, giving it a character that is unique from any other place in the country. LA has many world famous sights and neighborhoods including Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, and Santa Monica, but there is really so much more to this city.

San Diego

For many visitors and locals alike, San Diego is a paradise. Located in southern California, not far from Los Angeles, it has the perfect climate, wonderful beaches, and a culturally rich environment. It's surrounded by beautiful landscape and has a strong focus on wildlife conservation and eco-friendly living. Home to about 1.3 million residents, it is California's second largest city. It also has many universities, a large tech industry, and a thriving economy. Despite its size, many people perceive San Diego as a slower, more relaxed city with a pleasant vibe away from the chaos of a large city.

Which city is cheaper, San Diego or Los Angeles?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Los Angeles is $190, while the average daily cost in San Diego is $161. 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 Los Angeles and San Diego in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in Los Angeles, $222 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Los Angeles, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $111, such as in a hostel.

For a normal double-occupancy room in San Diego, $182 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in San Diego, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $91, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Los Angeles $111
    San Diego $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Los Angeles $222
    San Diego $182

Food

The price of a meal in Los Angeles can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $35 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

The price of a meal in San Diego can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $36 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Los Angeles $35
    San Diego $36
Typical Food prices in Los Angeles

For Los Angeles, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Mexican Dinner (family of 4)
    $32
  • Burritos for Two
    $15
  • Coffee and Danish
    $7.70

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Los Angeles

For Los Angeles, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • How to Cook the Perfect Steak Virtual Cooking Class: $42
  • Downtown Food Tour: $75
  • West Hollywood Food Tour: $75
  • Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour: $77
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours Los Angeles Venice Beach: $96
  • Private Authentic Middle Eastern Cooking Class in Reseda, Los Angeles: $102
  • Luxury Vegan Food Tours of Los Angeles: $125
  • Secret Food Tour of Venice Beach, Los Angeles w/ Private Tour Option: $207
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $209

Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Dinner Cruise: $117
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Local Transportation

Los Angeles'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 $29 per person, per day on transportation in Los Angeles.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in San Diego than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $19 on transportation in San Diego on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Los Angeles $29
    San Diego $19
Typical Local Transportation prices in Los Angeles

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Los Angeles:


  • Hotel Parking for a Day
    $22
  • Taxi to Airport
    $55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Los Angeles

Also for Los Angeles, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles Airport LAX to Las Vegas by Minibus: $1,883
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles Airport LAX to Las Vegas by SUV: $1,616
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles Airport LAX to Las Vegas by Executive SUV: $1,598
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles LAX to Palm Springs or San Diego by Minibus: $569
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles LAX to Palm Springs/San Diego by Luxury Car: $524
  • LOS ANGELES to Palm Springs Airport (PSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $485
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles LAX to Palm Springs/San Diego by Exec. SUV: $480
  • Arrival Private Transfer Los Angeles LAX to Palm Springs or San Diego by SUV: $453
  • Los Angeles Private Transfer To Coechella Valley, CA.: $439
  • Private Transfer - LAX Airport to San Diego/ Las Vegas in a Luxurious SUV: $420
  • San Diego Private Transfer From Hollywood or Burbank.: $398
  • Los Angeles Private Transfer To Tijuana Border Crossing.: $398

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Transfer from San Diego International Airport to San Diego: $62
  • Tijuana Border Crossing Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $398
  • Private 1-Way Private Airport Transfer: $66
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $357
  • San Diego to Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) - Departure Private Transfer: $342
  • San Diego hotel/address to San Diego Airport (SAN) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Palm Springs.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To N. Hollywood/Burbank area.: $398
  • San Diego Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $389
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel/address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $119
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Private transfer: San Diego to San Diego Airport (SAN): $622

Is it cheaper to fly into Los Angeles or San Diego?

Prices for flights to both San Diego and Los Angeles 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

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Los Angeles can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $64 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Sightseeing expenses in San Diego, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $38 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Los Angeles $64
    San Diego $38
Typical Entertainment prices in Los Angeles

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Los Angeles's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Santa Monica Pier Rides (family of 4)
    $37
  • Bowling
    $13
  • Hollywood Tour for Two
    $30
  • Six Flags for 2
    $96

Tours and Activities in Los Angeles

For Los Angeles, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 1 Hour Instagram Pics Hollywood Sign Tour: $39
  • 10-Minute Hollywood Sign Helicopter Tour: $124
  • 15 mins Driving Tour in a Ferrari California T spider in hollywood: $69
  • 1HOUR FERRARI CALIFORNIA driving Tour from Hollywood to Beverly Hills: $300
  • 2 Hour Celebrity Homes Tour: $39
  • 2 Hour Venice Beach Bike Tour: $61
  • 2 hour Horseback Riding Tour near the Hollywood Sign with Transportation: $127
  • 2-Hour Hollywood Bike Tour: $60
  • 2-Hour Hollywood Walking and Hiking Tour with Skyline Views: $34
  • 3 Hour Hollywood to Beverly Hills small group Tour: $41
  • 3 Hour Venice Beach Bike Tour: $71
  • 3 Hours Los Angeles VIP Tour: $49

Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

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

  • 1-Hour Voodoo Escape Room Experience in San Diego: $35
  • 1Hr GPS Guided Scooter Tour: Harbor/Gaslamp Quarter: $63
  • 2 Hour Whale Watching Kayak Tour for Two: $77
  • 4 Hour Whale Watching/Eco Adventure: $163
  • 90-Minute San Diego SEAL Tour: $42
  • Affordable, Luxury Sailing Tour of San Diego's Bay and Coastal Waterways: $112
  • All Day San Diego City and Shopping Tour: $95
  • All Inclusive Beer Tour-Party bus: $169
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • Brothels, Bites and Booze: A Culinary Tour of San Diego's Questionable Past: $69
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 12 Guests: $1,200
  • Catamaran Sailing Cruise on San Diego Bay for up to 6 Guests: $600

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Los Angeles spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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 Diego, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $17.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Los Angeles $11
    San Diego $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Los Angeles

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Los Angeles:

  • Brews Cruise- DTLA Brewery tour by bike: $50
  • Brewery Walking Tour -- Downtown / Arts District: $81
  • Malibu: Exclusive Wine Tasting and Falconry Experience: $109
  • Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting: $139
  • Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Day Tour from Los Angeles: $249
  • Los Angeles Wine Tour: $250
  • The Private Malibu Wine Tour: $419
  • Food and Wine Tasting Party: $750
  • Private Tour: Malibu Wine Tasting for Two by Limousine from Los Angeles: $999

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475


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

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Los Angeles vs. San Diego Travel Comparison

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