A Travel Price Comparison for California Napa Valley vs. Pasadena for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Napa Valley or Pasadena?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Napa Valley and Pasadena can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a idyllic, scenic, and picturesque area. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and hiking.

Pasadena

Pasadena is a quaint, charming, and picturesque city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Napa Valley and Pasadena: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Napa Valley than Pasadena. While Pasadena is larger than Napa Valley, Napa Valley has more sights and attractions for tourists. Napa Valley is very popular for its food, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Pasadena attracts visitors for its museums. Napa Valley is more touristy than Pasadena and is popular for its world class wineries and beautiful countryside. It is also well known for Louis M. Martini Winery. Pasadena is famous for being the home of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl.

How is Napa Valley different from Pasadena?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Pasadena is a great city for its historical sights. However, Napa Valley is not known for its sights and museums.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Pasadena. There's a good number of museums around town that include kids' museums, art museums, and local museums. Popular museums include the USC Pacific Asia Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Pasadena Museum of History. Many people also enjoy touring the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Napa Valley offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most visitors spend their time visiting vineyards, but there are a couple of local museums and galleries in the area that are worth checking out.


Is the Food Better in Napa Valley or Pasadena? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Napa Valley is an amazing area to visit for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Eat your way through Napa Valley, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. It's most known for its world-class wine, but Napa Valley is also filled with Michelin starred restaurants and charming local eateries. Whether you're looking for a casual meal or something more upscale, there is no shortage of options. Most places take advantage of local ingredients that are very fresh. Menus change regularly and seasonal ingredients are common. And, of course, you'll find a wide selection of local wines.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Pasadena. Local restaurants feature southern California cuisine as well as international flavors. Dishes often use local ingredients that are fresh and seasonal. Restaurants range from casual to fine dining and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

Is Napa Valley or Pasadena Better for Nightlife?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find very good options in both Napa Valley and Pasadena.

The nightlife in Napa Valley has something for everybody. In the evening, visitors will enjoy the area's live music scene, theaters, and bars. There are also plenty of wine bars where you can continue to enjoy local wines.

Pasadena offers plenty to do in the evening. Much of the nightlife scene is concentrated around Old Pasadena. You'll find clubs, bars, and lounges that begin the evening with Happy Hours and then become more party-focused as the evening progresses.

Is Napa Valley or Pasadena Better for Hiking?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Napa Valley is notable for the nearby hiking options. However, Pasadena is not a hiking destination.

Napa Valley is a popular spot for hiking. There are a number of state parks in the area, and there are also trails that pass by vineyards. Some of the best hiking trails are found in Alston Park, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, or Las Posadas State Forest.

Pasadena is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

If you're looking to go shopping, Napa Valley and Pasadena both offer plenty of very good spots.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Napa Valley. There are many interesting local boutiques in the different towns. You'll find shops selling clothing, jewelry, local items, and gifts. Some of the best shopping is found along First Street in downtown Napa.

Pasadena is an extremely popular place for shoppers. Old Pasadena is where you'll find some of the best shopping. It's filled with a charming atmosphere and interesting boutiques.

Is Napa Valley or Pasadena Better for Families?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Both Napa Valley and Pasadena are nice to visit with kids.

Napa Valley offers lots of family activities. Vineyards and wine tasting may be what comes to mind for most travelers in Napa Valley, but those visiting with kids will appreciate the hiking trails, markets, and outdoor activities.

Pasadena is a family-friendly place to visit. There are a number of kid-friendly museums around town including Kidspace Children's Museum. There are also nature centers, playgrounds, and plenty of family-friendly restaurants.

Is Napa Valley or Pasadena Better for Couples?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Napa Valley is an amazing area to visit for couples. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Napa Valley is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. It's long been considered a favorite honeymoon destination for newly-weds. The scenic vineyards and charming hotels make this the perfect couple's destination, whether you're celebrating an anniversary or simply want some time away together.

Pasadena is a nice destination for couples. It's a charming town with a bit of a European vibe and plenty of outdoor activities. Fine dining and interesting shopping make this a nice weekend destination.


Is Napa Valley or Pasadena Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Pasadena is a city with good options for times when you don't have a car. However, Napa Valley is not known for its public transit.

While Pasadena offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. Buses and light rail offer local transit and connect the city to nearby Los Angeles.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Napa Valley. Public transit in the area is limited but within the city of Napa there are buses operated by the Vine Transit.

Is Napa Valley or Pasadena a more walkable city?

Napa Valley
Pasadena

Pasadena is a city with good options for its ease of walking around. However, Napa Valley is not known for its walkability.

Pasadena is a somewhat walkable city. Most people head to Old Pasadena, which is the most concentrated and walkable part of the city.

Napa Valley is not a walkable area. The vineyards are spread out and require a car or bike to access.

For even more information, also check out Is Napa Valley Worth Visiting? and Is Pasadena Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Pasadena or Napa Valley?

How long in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Napa Valley and Pasadena. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Napa Valley than in Pasadena. Usually, 1-4 days is a good amount of time for Napa Valley, and 1-3 days is enough time in Pasadena.

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

Couples should spend more time in Napa Valley than Pasadena. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Napa Valley that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pasadena than Napa Valley 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 Pasadena.


  • How many days in Napa Valley or Pasadena? Ideal Length of Stay
    Napa Valley 1-4 
    Pasadena 1-3

One day in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

The beautiful area of Napa Valley offers nightlife and food. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the charming city of Pasadena. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


A weekend in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Napa Valley is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this area makes for a great vacation. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Napa Valley, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

Visitors enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the charming destination of Pasadena. 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.

Five days in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Napa Valley is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

The picturesque city of Pasadena offers shopping and museums. 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.

A week in Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Napa Valley is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that food is why people visit. 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. This area offers something for everyone.

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


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


Which place is cheaper, Pasadena or Napa Valley?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Napa Valley is $288, while the average daily cost in Pasadena is $62. 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 Napa Valley and Pasadena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Napa Valley $126
    Pasadena $25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Napa Valley $252
    Pasadena $50
Compare Hotels in Napa Valley and Pasadena

Looking for a hotel in Napa Valley or Pasadena? 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 Napa Valley


Hotels in Pasadena


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: Napa Valley Hotel Prices and Pasadena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Napa Valley $183
    Pasadena $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Napa Valley

Also for Napa Valley, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Napa, CA to Sacramento Airport (SMF) - Departure Private Transfer : $110

Is it cheaper to fly into Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Prices for flights to both Pasadena and Napa Valley 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
    Napa Valley $62
    Pasadena $19

Typical Food Prices in Pasadena

Some typical examples of dining costs in Pasadena are as follows:


  • Casual Dinner Out (family of 4)
    $58

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Napa Valley $28
    Pasadena -

Tours and Activities in Napa Valley

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Napa Valley.

  • Sonoma Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour & Game: $25
  • Napa Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Napa Valley River History Kayak Tour: Single Kayaks: $79
  • Napa and Sonoma Wine and Food Experience (Napa pickup): $109
  • Private Sailing Tour of Bodega Bay: $122
  • Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch: $125
  • The Original Napa Valley Wine Trolley Classic Tour: $125
  • The Original Napa Valley Wine Trolley "Up Valley" Castle Tour : $125
  • Sonoma Valley Open Air Wine Trolley Tour: $125
  • Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley: $130
  • Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Sonoma Valley: $130
  • Half Day Tour: $139

Tours and Activities in Pasadena

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

  • LA: East Side Guided Film Locations Tour: $350
  • Haunted Walking Tour: $33
  • Old Pasadena Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $49

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Napa Valley $66
    Pasadena -

Sample the Local Flavors in Napa Valley

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Napa Valley:

  • 6 Hour Wine Tour in Napa & Sonoma with Pick-Up from Napa: $109
  • Napa Cable Car Wine Tasting Tour: $129
  • Intro to Wine Tasting with Napa Sommelière : $195
  • Healdsburg Cycling Wine Tour : $199
  • Affordable Wine Tour in Napa and Sonoma: $200
  • Yountville Food and Wine Tour in Napa: $275
  • Private, Customized Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $300


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

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


Which is Bigger, Napa Valley or Pasadena?

Pasadena has a larger population, and is about 88% larger than the population of Napa Valley. When comparing the sizes of Napa Valley and Pasadena, 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 Napa Valley or Pasadena?

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 Napa Valley or Pasadena in the Summer?

Both Pasadena and Napa Valley during the summer are popular places to visit. The hiking and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Napa Valley this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Pasadena for the family-friendly experiences.

Napa Valley is around the same temperature as Pasadena in the summer. The daily temperature in Napa Valley averages around 73°F (23°C) in July, and Pasadena fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

Napa Valley usually gets more rain in July than Pasadena. Napa Valley gets 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0 inches (0 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Napa Valley 73°F (23°C) 
    Pasadena 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Napa Valley or Pasadena in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Napa Valley and Pasadena. Many travelers come to Napa Valley for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, many visitors come to Pasadena in the autumn for the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Napa Valley is cooler than Pasadena. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Napa Valley in October average around 62°F (17°C), and Pasadena averages at about 68°F (20°C).

In October, Napa Valley usually receives more rain than Pasadena. Napa Valley gets 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Napa Valley 62°F (17°C) 
    Pasadena 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Napa Valley or Pasadena in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Napa Valley as well as Pasadena. Many visitors come to Napa Valley in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, most visitors come to Pasadena for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

In January, Napa Valley is generally much colder than Pasadena. Daily temperatures in Napa Valley average around 46°F (8°C), and Pasadena fluctuates around 56°F (13°C).

Napa Valley usually gets more rain in January than Pasadena. Napa Valley gets 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 2.5 inches (63 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Napa Valley 46°F (8°C) 
    Pasadena 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Napa Valley or Pasadena in the Spring?

Both Pasadena and Napa Valley are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Napa Valley for the natural beauty during these months.

Napa Valley is cooler than Pasadena in the spring. The daily temperature in Napa Valley averages around 56°F (13°C) in April, and Pasadena fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

In April, Napa Valley usually receives more rain than Pasadena. Napa Valley gets 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain, while Pasadena receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Napa Valley 56°F (13°C) 
    Pasadena 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Pasadena and Napa Valley

Napa Valley Pasadena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Feb 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 59°F (15°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Apr 56°F (13°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
May 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm) 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm)
Jun 69°F (21°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 69°F (20°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Aug 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm) 74°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Sep 70°F (21°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Nov 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (16°C) 1.6 inches (42 mm)
Dec 46°F (8°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm)