A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Sacramento vs. Rapid City for Attractions, Families, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Sacramento or Rapid City?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sacramento or Rapid City, 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.

Sacramento

Sacramento is a relaxed, undiscovered, and laid back city. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a activity-filled, friendly, and fascinating city. Visitors also love the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Sacramento and Rapid City: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to Mount Rushmore
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife


Is there more to do in Sacramento or Rapid City?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Rapid City than Sacramento. While Sacramento is larger than Rapid City, Rapid City has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Rapid City is better known for its museums and hiking, while Sacramento is more popular for its nightlife. Rapid City is more touristy than Sacramento and is known for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. Also, Rapid City is famous for Mount Rushmore. Sacramento is well known for its history and state capital.

How is Sacramento different from Rapid City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Sacramento or Rapid City?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Rapid City is very popular for its museums and history. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

The museums and tourist attractions in Rapid City are world-renowned. You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Sacramento. 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 Sacramento or Rapid City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Both Sacramento and Rapid City offer notable local cuisine and restaurants.

Sacramento has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Rapid City area. You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

Is Sacramento or Rapid City Better for Nightlife?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Sacramento is very good for nightlife and partying. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Sacramento. 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.

Rapid City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.

Is Sacramento or Rapid City Better for Hiking?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Rapid City is a very popular place for its hiking trails. However, Sacramento is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Rapid City. The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

Sacramento is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Sacramento or Rapid City?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Sacramento and Rapid City.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Sacramento. 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.

Many visitors go to Rapid City to go shopping. Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Is Sacramento or Rapid City Better for Families?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Rapid City is very popular for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

Rapid City is an amazing family-friendly city to visit. Nearby national parks and outdoor activities, this is the perfect base for exploring the area with kids. Nearby you'll find the Big Thunder Gold Mine, which has tours and lets you pan for gold, and Custer State Park, which is filled with wildlife. Wall Drug is worth a stopoff, as is Dinosaur Park.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Sacramento. 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 Sacramento or Rapid City Better for Couples?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Rapid City is a very popular place for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Rapid City makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy the amazing national parks in the area and the easy access to iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore. There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as great hiking trails and unique landscapes.

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 Sacramento or Rapid City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Rapid City is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Rapid City. Backpackers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty and the nearby national parks.

Sacramento is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Although most backpackers skip this town for more popular destinations, there are a couple of hostels in town.

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

Sacramento
Rapid City

Visitors will find respectable public transit in both Sacramento and Rapid City.

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

Public transit is generally limited in Rapid City. While there are a few buses, this isn't a realistic option for traveling through the region.

Is Sacramento or Rapid City a more walkable city?

Sacramento
Rapid City

Sacramento and Rapid City are respectable when it comes to walkability.

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

Rapid City is generally not very walkable. While the downtown is walkable, most visitors use the city as a base for exploring the surrounding areas, and this requires a car.


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

Should I spend more time in Rapid City or Sacramento?

How long in Sacramento or Rapid City?

It's fun to spend time in either Sacramento or Rapid City. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Rapid City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Sacramento, and 2-4 days is enough time in Rapid City.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Rapid City 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 Rapid City.


  • How many days in Sacramento or Rapid City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Sacramento 1-2 
    Rapid City 2-4

One day in Sacramento or Rapid City?

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

With museums and food around the activity-filled city of Rapid City, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. 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 Sacramento or Rapid City?

With nightlife and food around the destination of Sacramento, 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.

With food and shopping around the destination of Rapid City, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Five days in Sacramento or Rapid City?

Sacramento, 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.

Rapid City, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


A week in Sacramento or Rapid City?

Sacramento 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.

Rapid City is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the museums. 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.


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


Which place is cheaper, Rapid City or Sacramento?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sacramento is $281, while the average daily cost in Rapid City is $116. 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 Sacramento and Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sacramento $111
    Rapid City $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sacramento $222
    Rapid City $120
Compare Hotels in Sacramento and Rapid City

Looking for a hotel in Sacramento or Rapid City? 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 Sacramento


Hotels in Rapid City


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: Sacramento Hotel Prices and Rapid City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sacramento $51
    Rapid City $53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento City to Sacramento Airport (SMF) - Departure Private Transfer: $61
  • Sacramento Airport to Northstar/Squaw Valley - Arrival Transfer: $219
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $221
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $111
  • Round Trip Private Transfer in Sacramento Airport to Calistoga: $295

Is it cheaper to fly into Sacramento or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City and Sacramento 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
    Sacramento $53
    Rapid City $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

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

  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $98
  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $98
  • Historic Old Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $115
  • Midtown Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $140

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rapid City

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

  • Roller Coaster Tickets with Dinner and Show in Rapid City: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sacramento $19
    Rapid City $26

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

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

  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Auburn to Placerville: $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 Placerville to Jackson: $12
  • Davis Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Downtown Sacramento Mural and Art Walking Tour : $45
  • Driving in Delta’s Wine Country: Private Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Folsom Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Nevada City Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Old Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.99

Tours and Activities in Rapid City

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

  • Badlands National Park Private Tour: $650
  • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239
  • Black Hills & Badlands: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tours: $20
  • Buffalo Jeep Safari & Mammoth Site Tour: $700
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
  • From Private Devils Tower Tour and Hike: $650
  • From Private Spearfish Canyon Tour: $650
  • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
  • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience in Rapid City SD: $15
  • Pactola Lake: Private Kayak or Paddleboard Experience: $650

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sacramento $12
    Rapid City $6.93

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

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

  • Placer County Wine Tasting Pass: $19
  • Wine Tasting Audio Tour - Amador County CA: $30
  • Wine Tasting Audio Tour - Lodi California: $35
  • Clarksburg Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch near Sacramento: $135
  • Apple Hill Wine Tasting Tours And Placerville wine tasting tours: $169


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sacramento and Rapid City, we can see that Sacramento is more expensive. And not only is Rapid City much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Rapid City would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Rapid City 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 Rapid City.

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


Which is Bigger, Sacramento or Rapid City?

Sacramento has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Rapid City. When comparing the sizes of Sacramento and Rapid City, 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.