A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Pittsburgh vs. San Francisco for Attractions, Food, Families, and Nightlife

Should you visit Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Pittsburgh or San Francisco, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a under-rated, industrial, and authentic city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a outdoorsy, quirky, and eccentric coastal city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the beaches, hiking, and shopping.

Pittsburgh and San Francisco: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge


Is there more to do in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Tourists will generally find more to do in San Francisco than Pittsburgh. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. San Francisco is very popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, music, beaches, hiking, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Pittsburgh attracts visitors for its nightlife. San Francisco is more touristy than Pittsburgh and is known for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. It is also well known for The Golden Gate Bridge. Pittsburgh is famous for its many bridges, its steel industry, and being the home of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood".

How is Pittsburgh different from San Francisco?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its historical sights. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, San Francisco has many famous sights for visitors. The city's landmarks are as diverse as the people who live there. The most recognizable landmark is the famous Golden Gate Bridge, but visitors also enjoy seeing Alcatraz Island, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, as well as the small but fascinating Cable Car Museum.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Pittsburgh. The museums range from science and nature focused, like the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, to quirky and artsy, like the Mattress Factory. The Warhol Museum is dedicated to the works of Andy Warhol and it's not to be missed. Also worth a visit is the Heinz History Center, Randyland, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.


Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Theater?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a nice place to visit for its shows and theatre. However, Pittsburgh is not a theatre destination.

If you have some extra time in San Francisco, take in a show. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Pittsburgh is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Pittsburgh or San Francisco? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, San Francisco is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. There are local dives as well as five star restaurants, with everything in between. Popular local dining experiences include sourdough bread bowls and Dungeness crab at Fisherman's Wharf, and dim sum in Chinatown. Head away from the touristy neighborhoods if you want to sample some of the more local restaurants around town.

Pittsburgh offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city is known for its working class roots, and the food is hearty and filling, which is great for those on a budget. Popular local dishes include pierogis, deli sandwiches, Pittsburgh salads (complete with French fries), and hotcakes.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Nightlife?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

Pittsburgh is a great city for its evening party scene. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for nightlife.

The nightlife in Pittsburgh has something for everybody. There's an active music and dance scene in town. For the best bars and clubs, head to the Strip and South Side and for live entertainment and casinos check out the North Shore.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in San Francisco. It has a great nightlife with many local bars and trendy clubs. For the best nightlife away from the tourists, head to Valencia Street or Polk Street. If you want to be in a more touristy area, check out Union Square. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.


Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Music?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a nice place to visit for its music scene. However, Pittsburgh is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep San Francisco active and fun. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Pittsburgh is not a live music destination.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Beaches?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for the beach. However, Pittsburgh is not a beach destination.

You'll have a great beach vacation in San Francisco. Whether you're interested in surfing or simply taking in the dramatic views, the beaches of San Francisco will take your breath away. Some of the best beaches include Ocean Beach, Baker Beach, and Muir Beach.

Pittsburgh is not a beach destination.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Hiking?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for hiking. However, Pittsburgh is not a hiking destination.

Known for its hiking, San Francisco draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. The city's hikes take in the dramatic views of the bay and city. Just outside of town there are also countless hikes through the Redwoods and along the coastline. Popular hikes in the area include Lands End, Tomales Point Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore, and Muir Woods.

Pittsburgh is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its shopping areas. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many people travel to San Francisco specifically to go shopping. The city has excellent shopping from local vendors to recognizable brands. Union Square, Embarcadero, Fillmore Street and Haight Street are some of the best neighborhoods for shopping.

Pittsburgh is a great destination for shopping. You'll find local fashion boutiques and shopping centers in the city's downtown. Other great shopping neighborhoods include Shadyside, Station Square, and Fifth Avenue Place.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Families?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

San Francisco is an amazing family-friendly coastal city to visit. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination. There are also many amazing playgrounds with stunning views of the bay and city. Head to Chinatown for some unique and kid-friendly food, or down to Pier 39 for fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.

Pittsburgh is a family-friendly place to visit. There's a surprising number of kid-friendly activities packed into this city. Check out the National Aviary or visit the popular Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. There are also kid-focused museums and science centers as well as parks and playgrounds. Also make sure you take the cable car up Duquesne Incline or enjoy a boat ride on one of the rivers as well.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Couples?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for couples. However, Pittsburgh is not a good destination for romance.

San Francisco is a great coastal city if you're traveling as a couple. Couples enjoy the romantic backdrop of this beautiful city. There are world-class restaurants and plenty of spas that couples can enjoy during a honeymoon or romantic getaway. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.

Pittsburgh is not the best destination for a couple to visit. There are a few good date night activities like taking river cruises, enjoying dinner and show, or going to a Pirate's game.


Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Pittsburgh is not a good destination for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit San Francisco. The city is one of the more backpacker friendly cities in the United States. There are a handful of hostels throughout, many concentrated in the popular Union Square and Downtown neighborhoods of the city.

Pittsburgh is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's usually overlooked by backpackers, but there is some cheap accommodation in town.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Students?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Pittsburgh is not popular with students.

San Francisco is a great coastal city to visit as a student. As a large and dynamic city, the area is popular with international students who want to experience this unique side of the United States. Major universities in the area include University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and nearby, the University of California, Berkeley.

Pittsburgh is not popular with students.

Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is a must-visit destination for times when you don't have a car. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

San Francisco has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Pittsburgh has a few public transit options. There are bus and lightrail options through the city's downtown. There's also the unique incline, which is an experience worth doing.


Is Pittsburgh or San Francisco a more walkable city?

Pittsburgh
San Francisco

San Francisco is great for its ease of walking around. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its walkability.

San Francisco is a very walkable destination. It is compact enough to explore on foot, but given the large hills, it's a bit of a challenge, even for the most fit among us.

Pittsburgh is somewhat walkable. Some of the attractions are spread out, but if you're willing to do a bit of walking, it's possible to get around on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Pittsburgh Worth Visiting? and Is San Francisco Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in San Francisco or Pittsburgh?

How long in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Both Pittsburgh and San Francisco have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than in Pittsburgh. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Pittsburgh, and 3-7 days is enough time in San Francisco.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco than Pittsburgh 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 San Francisco.


  • How many days in Pittsburgh or San Francisco? Ideal Length of Stay
    Pittsburgh 2-3 
    San Francisco 3-7

One day in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the industrial destination of Pittsburgh. Your budget might influence how long you stay. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

When visiting San Francisco, people usually allow for lots of time. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Pittsburgh. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities.

When visiting San Francisco, people usually allow for lots of time. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything.


Five days in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the industrial destination of Pittsburgh. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. 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.

San Francisco, a popular coastal city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

You'll find food and shopping around the city of Pittsburgh. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

San Francisco is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal city has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City.


Which place is cheaper, San Francisco or Pittsburgh?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Pittsburgh is $181, while the average daily cost in San Francisco is $222. 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 Pittsburgh and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Pittsburgh $106
    San Francisco $130
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Pittsburgh $212
    San Francisco $260
Compare Hotels in Pittsburgh and San Francisco

Looking for a hotel in Pittsburgh or San Francisco? 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 Pittsburgh


Hotels in San Francisco


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: Pittsburgh Hotel Prices and San Francisco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Pittsburgh $22
    San Francisco $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $97
  • Pittsburgh City to Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) - Departure Private Transfer: $49
  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $49

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Francisco

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers 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 (SFO) to Calistoga Resorts Round-Trip Transfer: $299
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from SFO to East Bay (one way): $262
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $245
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $224
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport in a SUV: $203
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Cruise Terminal - Arrival Private Transfer: $185
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Downtown to Airport (SFO): $183
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Airport SFO to San Francisco in Luxury Car: $172
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $169
  • San Francisco to Yosemite One-Way Transfer: $169

Is it cheaper to fly into Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco and Pittsburgh 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
    Pittsburgh $54
    San Francisco $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh's Strip District Food Tour: $70
  • Pittsburgh's Strip District Food Tour: $70

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:

  • San Francisco North Beach and Chinatown - Secret Food Tours: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $90
  • Chinatown: Tea & Dim Sum Food Tour in San Francisco: $99
  • Mission District Food Tour: Appetizers, Entrée and Dessert: $115
  • San Francisco Premier Dinner Dance Cruise: $132
  • San Francisco Combo: Ferry Building Food Tour and Alcatraz: $174
  • Paella and Tapas Cooking Class in San Francisco: $193
  • San Francisco Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner Cruise: $207
  • San Francisco Christmas Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $207
  • Private Food Tour of the Mission District - San Francisco: $240

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Pittsburgh $38
    San Francisco $46

Tours and Activities in Pittsburgh

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

  • Best of the Burgh Walking Tour of Pittsburgh: $33
  • Bike the Burgh Tour: $59
  • Black & Ghost Tour: $33
  • Discover Oakland Tour: $33
  • Eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $6.22
  • Entrance Ticket to AT BLAQK House Collections: $7.00
  • Essential Pittsburgh Experience - The One Tour to Take: $75
  • HOP ON-HOP OFF TOUR PASS- All Day Sightseeing Tour Pass: $40
  • JUST THE TOUR - Double Decker bus sightseeing tour of Pittsburgh.: $35
  • New! Art & Artists Tour: $33
  • New! Bikes & Brews Tour: $89
  • Pittsburg 101 Tour: $24

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Francisco.

  • "Summer of Love" tour in Haight-Ashbury in French: $63
  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $73
  • 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $85
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour Pass (Essential): $73
  • 2-Hour Double Decker City Tour of San Francisco: $73
  • 2-Hour Sunset or Evening Private Jeep Tour of San Francisco: $169
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop GoCar Tour: $172
  • 3-Hour Private Muir Giant Redwoods Trees and Sausalito Tour: $203
  • 30-40 Minute Airplane San Francisco Bay Flight Tour: $279
  • 3HR Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park GoCar Tour: $172
  • 90-Minute Sunset Tour Aboard Wine Therapy: $95
  • Airplane San Francisco Sunset Flight Tour: $289

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Museums in San Francisco, The Best Outdoor Activities in San Francisco, and Things to Do In San Francisco on a Rainy Day.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Pittsburgh $33
    San Francisco $22

Sample the Local Flavors in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Bar Hunt: Party Through Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: $13
  • Wigle Whiskey Rebellion Distillery Tour: $22
  • New! Bites & Brews: Pittsburgh Brewery Walk: $50
  • Bike and Brewery Tour: $89
  • Pittsburgh Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in San Francisco:

  • San Francisco Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $30
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99
  • Small Group: Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour from San Francisco: $109
  • Big Bus Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $125
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience: $165
  • Napa Valley Wine Tour and Muir Woods Guided Tour: $189
  • Muir Woods with Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $189
  • Full-Day Private Napa Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $222
  • Full-Day Private Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $224
  • Sustainable Wine and Distillery Tour with Lunch: $250


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

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


Which is Bigger, Pittsburgh or San Francisco?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Pittsburgh. When comparing the sizes of Pittsburgh and San Francisco, 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.