A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons New York City vs. San Francisco

Should you visit New York City or San Francisco?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for New York City 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.

New York City

The most populated city in the United States, New York City, sits at the mouth of the Hudson River and encompasses both the island of Manhattan as well as the surrounding land on Long Island, most of which is known as Brooklyn. It's a cultural, culinary, theatrical, and art center that has much to offer domestic and international travelers alike. The city covers an area of 305 square miles and has a population of about 8.2 million people in the city proper with 18.7 million in the metropolitan area.

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 New York City?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in New York City is $239, 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 New York City and San Francisco in more detail.


Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $274 for a double occupancy room in New York City If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.

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
    New York City $137
    San Francisco $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    New York City $275
    San Francisco $206


Food

The average traveler spends about $38 per day in New York City 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
    New York City $38
    San Francisco $32
Typical Food prices in New York City

For New York City, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Gelato
    $7.50
  • Snacks for Two at Yankees Game
    $34
  • Coffee
    $6.53
  • Smoothie
    $6.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in New York City

For New York City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Greenwich Village History, Culture, and Food Tour with Local Expert: $129
  • JAPANESE guided tour! Bateaux Dinner Cruise tour with hotel transportation. The best way to enjoy the Manhattan night view from the river & sea. Full course French dinner, live band music included.: $333
  • Limo trip Hotel to Dinner round trip in NEW MKT Limousine: $481

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 New York City than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $40 on transportation in New York City 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.
    New York City $40
    San Francisco $13
Typical Local Transportation prices in New York City

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in New York City:


  • Subway
    $4.50
  • Taxi Ride
    $8.00
  • Subway
    $2.50

Hired Cars and Shuttles in New York City

Also for New York City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Departure Transfer Manhattan to NYC Airports JFK EWR LGA: $22
  • New York City Shared Shuttle Departure Transfer: Hotel to NYC Airports: $30
  • Private All Inclusive New York Transfer: Airport or Manhattan to Cruise Port: $71
  • Private New York airport transfer: New York airport to Manhattan and Brooklyn: $83
  • Private Transfer from New York City to LaGuardia Airport: $85
  • Private All Inclusive New York City Airport Arrival Transfer: $90
  • Private All Inclusive New York City Airport Departure Transfer: $90
  • Manhattan Private Luxury Transfer to NYC Airports: $98
  • New York Airport Luxury Departure Transfer via Stretch Limousine, SUV, Sedan: $100
  • Private Transfer from Manhattan to John F Kennedy Airport JFK by Luxury Car: $111

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 New York City, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $77 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.
    New York City $77
    San Francisco $37
Typical Entertainment prices in New York City

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in New York City are as follows:


  • Comedy Show Tickets
    $56
  • City Map
    $8.00
  • Broadway Musical
    $111
  • Broadway Show Program
    $10
  • Magazine
    $6.99

Tours and Activities in New York City

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for New York City are as follows:

  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry: $21
  • New York City Lights Schooner Cruise: $54
  • New York City Sunset Cruise: Sail Schooner Adirondack: $76
  • Full-Day Boston and Woodbury Shopping Tour: $128
  • Boston by Rail from New York: Full-Day Round Trip Tour: $329
  • Lower Manhattan Tour: Wall Street & 9/11 Memorial: $35
  • From Boston in One Day Tour: $130
  • NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Timed-Entry Ticket: $41
  • Niagara Falls, Toronto and 1000 Islands 3-Day Tour from NYC: $460
  • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour and Times Square Meal: $75

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 $23 on alcoholic beverages in New York City 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
    New York City $23
    San Francisco $15

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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
New York City vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.