A Travel Price Comparison for California Pasadena vs. Sacramento for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Pasadena or Sacramento?

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 Pasadena and Sacramento. 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.

Pasadena

Pasadena is a picturesque, quaint, and charming city. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Sacramento

Sacramento is a undiscovered, laid back, and relaxed city. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Pasadena and Sacramento: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Pasadena or Sacramento?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Pasadena than Sacramento. While Sacramento is larger than Pasadena, Pasadena has more sights and attractions for tourists. Pasadena is popular for being the home of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl. It is also home to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Sacramento is popular for its history and state capital.

How is Pasadena different from Sacramento?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Pasadena or Sacramento?

Pasadena
Sacramento

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Pasadena or Sacramento.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around 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.

Sacramento offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. As the state capital, you'll find a number of historical and informational museums around town. You should check out the State Capital, as well as the California State Railroad Museum, the Crocker Museum of Art, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and the California Automobile Museum.


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

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Pasadena has a huge number of terrific restaurants. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sacramento area. Casual restaurants with laid back atmospheres are what's most common around town. You'll also find a variety of international cuisines that include Korean and Vietnamese.

Is Pasadena or Sacramento Better for Nightlife?

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a very popular place for nightlife and partying. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its evening party scene.

Pasadena has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Sacramento has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There highest concentration of activities are found in Downtown Sacramento. You'll find bars, clubs and live music in the area. You can also head to midtown, which has performing arts and comedy shows.

Is the Shopping Better in Pasadena or Sacramento?

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Pasadena is well-known for its shopping. Old Pasadena is where you'll find some of the best shopping. It's filled with a charming atmosphere and interesting boutiques.

Many visitors go to Sacramento to go shopping. You'll find down-to-earth vendors who have reasonable prices and a great selection. Some of the most interesting shopping is found at the Old Sacramento Waterfront or along Folsom Boulevard.


Is Pasadena or Sacramento Better for Families?

Pasadena
Sacramento

Both Pasadena and Sacramento are good family-friendly destinations.

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.

Sacramento is a family-friendly city. With the large number of families that live in the area, you'll a variety of kid-friendly activities. Options include smaller amusement parks like Funderland Amusement Park, museums like the Sacramento Children's Museum, and indoor trampoline parks. There's also Fairytale Town, which is an imagination filled playground.

Is Pasadena or Sacramento Better for Couples?

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a nice place to visit for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Pasadena makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Sacramento is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Picnics, nice restaurants, and shows make for enjoyable date activities while you're in town.

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

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Pasadena has some public transit options. Buses and light rail offer local transit and connect the city to nearby Los Angeles.

Public transit is generally limited in Sacramento. There's both light rail and buses around town.


Is Pasadena or Sacramento a more walkable city?

Pasadena
Sacramento

Pasadena is a nice place to visit for its high level of walkability. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

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

Sacramento is generally not very walkable. You'll really want a car to get around town, but Midtown is one of the more walkable areas.

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

Should I spend more time in Sacramento or Pasadena?

How long in Pasadena or Sacramento?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Pasadena or Sacramento to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Pasadena than Sacramento because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Pasadena, and 1-2 days is enough time in Sacramento.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Pasadena than Sacramento 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 Pasadena or Sacramento? Ideal Length of Stay
    Pasadena 1-3 
    Sacramento 1-2

One day in Pasadena or Sacramento?

With museums and nightlife around the picturesque city of Pasadena, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Pasadena, one day is sufficent for most.

The city of Sacramento offers food and shopping. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one day here. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Pasadena or Sacramento?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Pasadena, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

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


Five days in Pasadena or Sacramento?

Pasadena, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Sacramento is a popular choice for travelers. 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.

A week in Pasadena or Sacramento?

Pasadena is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sacramento is a great place to explore. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Train & Rail Tours in United States of America, The Best Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, and The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sacramento or Pasadena?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Pasadena is $62, while the average daily cost in Sacramento is $281. 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 Pasadena and Sacramento in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Pasadena $25
    Sacramento $111
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Pasadena $50
    Sacramento $222
Compare Hotels in Pasadena and Sacramento

Looking for a hotel in Pasadena or Sacramento? 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 Pasadena


Hotels in Sacramento


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: Pasadena Hotel Prices and Sacramento Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Pasadena $21
    Sacramento $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $110
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Sacramento hotel/address- RoundTrip Private Transfer: $122
  • Sacramento Airport to Northstar/Squaw Valley - Arrival Transfer: $218
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Heavenly Mountain - Arrival Transfer: $218
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $223
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Mammoth Mountain - Arrival Transfer: $295

Is it cheaper to fly into Pasadena or Sacramento?

Prices for flights to both Sacramento and Pasadena 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
    Pasadena $19
    Sacramento $53
Typical Food Prices in Pasadena

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


  • Casual Dinner Out (family of 4)
    $58

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

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

  • Historic Old Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $95
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $98
  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $98
  • Midtown Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $125
  • Midtown Walking Food Tour: $145
  • Italian Cooking and Dance Class Experience: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Pasadena -
    Sacramento $19

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

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

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

  • Gold Rush & Ghosts SmartPhone App Walking Tour: $6.50
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Placerville to Jackson: $12
  • Driving in Delta’s Wine Country: Private Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Delta's History and Wine: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Jackson to Angels Camp: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Auburn to Placerville: $12
  • Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Pasadena -
    Sacramento $12

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Bar Hunt: Sacramento Sprint Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Audio Tour - Lodi California: $35
  • Cider and Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch - near Sacramento: $125


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Pasadena and Sacramento, we can see that Sacramento 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 Sacramento would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sacramento 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 Pasadena Expensive? and Is Sacramento Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Pasadena or Sacramento?

Sacramento has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Pasadena. When comparing the sizes of Pasadena and Sacramento, 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 Pasadena or Sacramento?

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 Pasadena or Sacramento in the Summer?

Both Sacramento and Pasadena during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Pasadena in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Sacramento for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, Pasadena is generally around the same temperature as Sacramento. Daily temperatures in Pasadena average around 73°F (23°C), and Sacramento fluctuates around 76°F (24°C).

Pasadena usually gets less rain in July than Sacramento. Pasadena gets 0 inches (0 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Pasadena 73°F (23°C) 
    Sacramento 76°F (24°C)

Should I visit Pasadena or Sacramento in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Pasadena and Sacramento. Most visitors come to Pasadena for the shopping scene during these months. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Sacramento because of the shopping scene.

Pasadena is a little warmer than Sacramento in the autumn. The daily temperature in Pasadena averages around 68°F (20°C) in October, and Sacramento fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

In October, Pasadena usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Pasadena gets 0.3 inches (7 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Pasadena 68°F (20°C) 
    Sacramento 64°F (18°C)

Should I visit Pasadena or Sacramento in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Pasadena as well as Sacramento. The winter months attract visitors to Pasadena because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Sacramento this time of year.

In the winter, Pasadena is much warmer than Sacramento. Typically, the winter temperatures in Pasadena in January average around 56°F (13°C), and Sacramento averages at about 45°F (7°C).

Pasadena usually gets less rain in January than Sacramento. Pasadena gets 2.5 inches (63 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 3.8 inches (97 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Pasadena 56°F (13°C) 
    Sacramento 45°F (7°C)

Should I visit Pasadena or Sacramento in the Spring?

Both Sacramento and Pasadena are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In April, Pasadena is generally a little warmer than Sacramento. Daily temperatures in Pasadena average around 62°F (17°C), and Sacramento fluctuates around 58°F (15°C).

In April, Pasadena usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Pasadena gets 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain, while Sacramento receives 1.3 inches (32 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Pasadena 62°F (17°C) 
    Sacramento 58°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Sacramento and Pasadena

Pasadena Sacramento
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 56°F (13°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm)
Feb 58°F (14°C) 2.5 inches (63 mm) 51°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 59°F (15°C) 2 inches (50 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm) 58°F (15°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 65°F (18°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Jun 69°F (20°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (0 mm) 76°F (24°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 74°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 75°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Sep 73°F (23°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Oct 68°F (20°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Nov 62°F (16°C) 1.6 inches (42 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Dec 56°F (13°C) 1.7 inches (43 mm) 45°F (7°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)