A Travel Price Comparison for California Sacramento vs. San Francisco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Sacramento or San Francisco?

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

Sacramento

Sacramento is the capital city and one of the oldest cities in the state of California. It was founded in 1849 in the midst of the Gold Rush, and has since grown to a population of over 500,000 people. The atmosphere is more laid back than most major cities, and its heritage is rooted in the Gold Rush and Transcontinental Railroad era.

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 Sacramento?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sacramento is $225, 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 Sacramento and San Francisco in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Sacramento can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $88, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $176.

The prices for places to stay in San Francisco can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $103, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $206.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sacramento $88
    San Francisco $103
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sacramento $176
    San Francisco $206

Food

While meal prices in Sacramento can vary, the average travelers spends about $42 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Sacramento should cost around $17 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Sacramento is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

On average, meal and food prices in San Francisco cost around $32 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $13.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Sacramento $42
    San Francisco $32

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

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

  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $82
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $85

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 Virtual Food Tour with Local Guide: $15
  • Traveling Spoon Pad Thai and Papaya Salad Private Online Cooking Class: $25
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: North Beach & Chinatown Food Tour: $66
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $69
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $75
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $75
  • Cooking with Ale: let's make Tiramisu - private groups: $80
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $80
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $82
  • American Cooking Class in San Francisco with a Local near Golden Gate Park: $82
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • Russian Hill Gourmet Food Tour: $97

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Sacramento than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $41 on transportation in Sacramento on average per day.

San Francisco's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $13 per person, per day on transportation in San Francisco.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sacramento $41
    San Francisco $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

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

  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $455
  • Private transfer from Sacramento to SFO: $340
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $228
  • Private Sacramento Transfer Airport to Hotel: $150
  • Private Sacramento Transfer Hotel to Airport: $150
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Sacramento hotel/address- RoundTrip Private Transfer: $144
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Sacramento Executive Airport to Roseville City - One Way: $144
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Sacramento Executive Airport to Sacramento City - One Way: $73
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Sacramento hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $72
  • Sacramento City to Sacramento Airport (SMF) - Departure Private Transfer: $72

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 Fransisco Downtown to OAK Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $83
  • San Fransisco Downtown to OAK Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $83
  • San Fransisco Downtown to OAK Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $100
  • Private One-Way Airport Transfer: $220
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $109
  • San Francisco to San José Airport (SJC) - Departure Private Transfer: $160
  • San Francisco to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $85
  • San Francisco to Oakland Airport (OAK) - Departure Private Car Transfer: $105
  • San Francisco Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $130
  • San Francisco Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive SUV: $150
  • San Francisco Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $130
  • San Francisco Hotels to San Francisco Airport Transfer: $109

Is it cheaper to fly into Sacramento or San Francisco?

Prices for flights to both San Francisco 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Sacramento, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $15 per day, per person.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in San Francisco can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $37 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sacramento $15
    San Francisco $37

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

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

  • California Gold Rush: The Sacramento Grid on a Self-Guided Bicycle Audio Tour: $8.30
  • Sacramento Historic River Cruise: $20
  • Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Sacramento Sutter District History and Food Walking Tour: $78
  • Sacramento Urban Murals: Cycle the streets of Sacramento with an audio tour: $5.00

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $55
  • 1-Day Small-Group Napa Valley Tour for Wine Lovers: $209
  • 1-Hour Golden Gate and Lombard GoRide Scooter Tour: $54
  • 1.5-Hour Waterfront Mini Segway Tour: $55
  • 1HR San Francisco Chinatown and Downtown GoCar Tour: $71
  • 2 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $79
  • 2-Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour & Alcatraz: $150
  • 2-Day Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour from San Francisco: $569
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour + Night Tour: $79
  • 2-Day Yosemite National Park Tour from San Francisco: $499
  • 2-Day Yosemite National Park Winter Tour from San Francisco: $589
  • 2-Hour San Francisco Bay Happy Hour & Cocktail Cruises: $35

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Sacramento spend on average $9.31 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In San Francisco, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $15.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sacramento $9.31
    San Francisco $15

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
  • Bk Best Wine Tasting Tours Amador County 4 Hour Chevrolet Suburban Passengers 7: $385
  • 4 Hour Private Amador County Wine Tasting Tours Mercedes Sprinter Passengers Van: $409
  • Amador Wine Tour from Sacramento: $436
  • 6 Hour Wine Tasting Tours Napa Valley Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passengers Van: $625

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 Bar Hunt: Soul of San Francisco Bar Crawl: $12
  • 3-Hour Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $18
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Tour: $58
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Crawl: $60
  • From Tri-Valley Half-Day Wine Tour: $75
  • Half-Day Sonoma Wine Tour: $100
  • San Francisco City & Wine tour: $115
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience Full-Day Tour: $135
  • Napa & Sonoma Full-Day Wine Tasting Tour with Optional Lunch: $135
  • Full-Day Muir Woods with Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $135
  • Chariot wine tour: $145
  • Viticulture with Charm: Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sacramento and San Francisco, we can see that Sacramento 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 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 San Francisco.

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Sacramento vs. San Francisco Travel Comparison

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