A Travel Price Comparison for California Pasadena vs. Yosemite National Park for Backpackers, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

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 Yosemite National Park. 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 quaint, charming, and picturesque city. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is a breathtaking, popular, and world-famous national park. You'll find world class beauty here as well. Other popular activities here include hiking.

Pasadena and Yosemite National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to El Capitan
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food


Is there more to do in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Yosemite National Park. Although Pasadena and Yosemite National Park are popular destinations, Yosemite National Park has more sights and attractions for tourists. Yosemite National Park is very popular for its resorts, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Pasadena attracts visitors for its museums, food, nightlife, and shopping. Yosemite National Park is more touristy than Pasadena and is known for its stunning hikes, giant Sequoias, breathtaking vistas, and the granite cliffs of Half Dome. It is also well known for El Capitan. Pasadena is famous for being the home of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl.

How is Pasadena different from Yosemite National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Yosemite National Park 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 Yosemite National Park?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Pasadena is a well-known place for its sights and museums. However, Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.

Pasadena offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. 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.

Yosemite National Park does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Pasadena is a well-known place for its local cuisine and restaurants. However, Yosemite National Park is not a good national park for its restaurants.

Dining out in Pasadena is an experience not to be missed. 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.

Yosemite National Park offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are a few varied restaurants in the park that offer casual food or packaged meals that you can take away. The food is generally expensive and not always the best, so you'll likely enjoy packing your own picnic food to enjoy within the park.

Is Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Nightlife?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Pasadena is a well-known place for its evening party scene. However, Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

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.

Yosemite National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Is Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Resorts?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is notable for its resorts. However, Pasadena is not a resort destination.

There are plenty of resorts in Yosemite National Park to choose from. There are several grand hotels and lodges within the park. Reservations are a must, especially if you're traveling during peak seasons.

Pasadena is not a resort destination.


Is Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Hiking?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an amazing national park to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Pasadena is not a hiking destination.

Yosemite National Park is well-known for its hiking and trekking. This park has many famous hikes that take you by Half Dome, near Yosemite Falls, and through breathtaking landscapes. Popular hikes in the area include Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall and Mirror Lake Trail.

Pasadena is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Pasadena is a well-known place for its shopping areas. However, Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Pasadena. Old Pasadena is where you'll find some of the best shopping. It's filled with a charming atmosphere and interesting boutiques.

Yosemite National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Families?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is notable for its family-friendly activities. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

Yosemite National Park is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. This park has many hikes, climbs, and activities that kids of all ages can enjoy. When the weather's warm the kids will enjoy getting wet in Merced River. They'll also be impressed by the giant sequoias and the beautiful waterfalls. In the evening the staff host ranger programs that are fun and educational for everyone. The park also has kid-friendly camping and lodges.

Pasadena is a family-friendly city. 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 Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Couples?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is notable for couples. Also, Pasadena is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Yosemite National Park is a very popular place to visit for couples. Couples who enjoy nature, rock climbing, hiking, and being outside will enjoy a visit to this park. There is an endless supply of romantic views and fun-filled activities that are perfect for avid hikers or those looking for a more relaxing travel experience.

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 Pasadena or Yosemite National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an amazing national park to visit for backpackers. However, Pasadena is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Yosemite National Park is a very popular national park to visit for backpackers. Campgrounds and back country trails make this area a backpacker's paradise.

Pasadena is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not high on the list for most backpackers.

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

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Both Pasadena and Yosemite National Park offer nice public transit options.

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

Yosemite National Park has some public transit options. There is a free bus service that travels around Yosemite Valley.


Is Pasadena or Yosemite National Park a more walkable city?

Pasadena
Yosemite National Park

Pasadena is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Yosemite National Park is not a good national park 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.

Yosemite National Park is generally not a very walkable city. The park is large and a car is necessary to reach many places within the park.

For even more information, also check out Is Pasadena Worth Visiting? and Is Yosemite National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Yosemite National Park or Pasadena?

How long in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

Both Pasadena and Yosemite National Park have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Yosemite National Park than in Pasadena. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Pasadena, and 3-7 days is enough time in Yosemite National Park.

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

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


  • How many days in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Pasadena 1-3 
    Yosemite National Park 3-7

One day in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

The city of Pasadena offers museums and nightlife. One day should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

The beautiful national park of Yosemite National Park offers . Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

The picturesque destination of Pasadena offers nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. It is common to spend a weekend here. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Yosemite National Park is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Pasadena. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Yosemite National Park is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Yosemite National Park, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

Pasadena is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Pasadena. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Yosemite National Park is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that hiking is why people visit. It is common to spend one week here. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Yosemite National Park has to offer. This national park offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Yosemite National Park 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 Yosemite National Park is $129. 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 Yosemite National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Pasadena $25
    Yosemite National Park $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Pasadena $50
    Yosemite National Park $128
Compare Hotels in Pasadena and Yosemite National Park

Looking for a hotel in Pasadena or Yosemite National Park? 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 Yosemite National Park


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 Yosemite National Park Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Pasadena $21
    Yosemite National Park $41

Is it cheaper to fly into Pasadena or Yosemite National Park?

Prices for flights to both Yosemite National Park 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
    Yosemite National Park $40
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.
    Pasadena -
    Yosemite National Park $19

Tours and Activities in Pasadena

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

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

Tours and Activities in Yosemite National Park

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Yosemite National Park are as follows:

  • Yosemite Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • Yosemite National Park Audio Driving Tour: $14
  • Yosemite: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Yosemite Panorama Trail Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Yosemite: Audio Driving Tour: $15
  • Yosemite Valley Tour with Transport from Oakhurst: $130
  • Full-Day Small Group Yosemite & Glacier Point Tour Including Hotel Pickup: $169
  • Big Trees Hike & Riverside Cookout Adventure: $180
  • Yosemite’s High Country Adaptive Tour: $180
  • Yosemite Valley & Glacier Point Adaptive Tour: $180
  • Yosemite Winter Highlights Small Group Tour: $190
  • Yosemite Highlights Small Group Tour: $200

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Pasadena -
    Yosemite National Park $11


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