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

Should you visit Los Angeles or San Francisco?

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

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 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 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 Francisco is $172. 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 Francisco 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.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $206 in San Francisco For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Los Angeles $111
    San Francisco $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Los Angeles $222
    San Francisco $206


Food

The average traveler spends about $35 per day in Los Angeles for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

Food in San Francisco costs travelers about $32 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Los Angeles $35
    San Francisco $32
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:

  • Downtown Food Tour: $75
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $209
  • How to Cook the Perfect Steak Virtual Cooking Class: $42
  • 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

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:

  • Lonely Planet Experiences: North Beach & Chinatown Food Tour: $66
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $69
  • San Francisco Dinner Dance Cruise: $150
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $75
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $82
  • San Francisco Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $15
  • Traveling Spoon Pad Thai and Papaya Salad Private Online Cooking Class: $25
  • Cooking with Ale: let's make Tiramisu - private groups: $80
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $80


Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Los Angeles than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $29 on transportation in Los Angeles on average per day.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in San Francisco than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $13 on transportation in San Francisco on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Los Angeles $29
    San Francisco $13
Typical Local Transportation prices in Los Angeles

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs 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:

  • LA in a Day: City Highlights Tour with Transfer Options: $94
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Los Angeles Airport LAX: $30
  • Private Departure Transfer to Los Angeles Airport LAX: $30
  • Los Angeles Arrival Private Transfer: LAX Airport: $31
  • Small-Group Amazing Hollywood Sign Tour with Transfer: $32
  • Transfer to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): $39
  • Los Angeles Airport (LAX) to Santa Monica - Arrival Private Transfer: $41
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Los Angeles to Los Angeles Int. Airport (LAX): $52
  • Private Van Airport Arrival Transfer: LAX Airport to Anaheim Resort Area: $53
  • Private Departure Transfer from Los Angeles City to Los Angeles Airport: $53

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Francisco

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs 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:

  • San Francisco Airport Public Transfer by BART: $21
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $109
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to/from the City: $150
  • San Francisco Hotels to San Francisco Airport Transfer: $109
  • Airport Transfer between San Francisco Airport & City Center: $17
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Hotels Transfer: $138
  • Private One-Way Airport Transfer: $220
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $310
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $410
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Francisco Airport SFO: $40


Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Los Angeles, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $64 per day, per person.

Sightseeing expenses in San Francisco, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $37 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Los Angeles $64
    San Francisco $37
Typical Entertainment prices in Los Angeles

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


  • 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

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

  • Hollywood Sign Comedy and Pictures Tour: $30
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Downtown Los Angeles Taco Tour: $55
  • Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions: $59
  • Los Angeles, Hollywood, & Beverly Hills Afternoon City Tour: $68
  • Make the Most of LA Small Group Tour: $119
  • Best of Los Angeles Day Tour with German-Speaking Guide: $149
  • California Coastline Helicopter Tour: $199
  • 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience: $240
  • 1 Hour Sightseeing Helicopter Tour: $445
  • Los Angeles Romantic Helicopter Tour with Mountain Landing: $499

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • SF Chinatown Walking Tour: Through The Dragon Gate: $15
  • San Francisco 3-Hour Walking Tour: $20
  • Evening Ghost Tour: $21
  • Tech Company Walking Tour: $23
  • Golden Gate Park: Full-Day Self-Guided Bike Tour: $32
  • Golden Gate Bridge Guided Bike Tour: $39
  • Beyond the Painted Ladies Walking Tour: $39
  • San Francisco 3-Hour Castro & Twin Peaks Urban Hiking Tour: $54
  • 1.5-Hour Waterfront Mini Segway Tour: $55
  • Golden Gate Bridge Coastal Walking Tour: $58


Alcohol

The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Los Angeles per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $15 on alcoholic beverages in San Francisco per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Los Angeles $11
    San Francisco $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Los Angeles

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

  • Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting: $139
  • Malibu: Exclusive Wine Tasting and Falconry Experience: $109
  • Brews Cruise- DTLA Brewery tour by bike: $50
  • Brewery Walking Tour -- Downtown / Arts District: $81
  • 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 Francisco

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

  • 3-Hour Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $18
  • From 2-Day Muir Woods & Wine Tasting Tour: $569
  • Minibus Wine Tour of Napa & Sonoma Valleys: $169
  • From Full-Day Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Full-Day Muir Woods with Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $135
  • Napa & Sonoma Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour with Optional Lunch: $135
  • Premium Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour with Lunch: $199
  • Full-Day Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $189
  • Napa & Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Tour: $58



When comparing the travel costs between Los Angeles and San Francisco, we can see that Los Angeles 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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Los Angeles vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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