A Travel Price Comparison for California Sacramento vs. Sonoma for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Sacramento or Sonoma?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sacramento or Sonoma, 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 undiscovered, laid back, and relaxed city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Sonoma

Sonoma is a relaxing, scenic, and serene county. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Visitors also love the shopping, nightlife, and food.

Sacramento and Sonoma: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Sacramento or Sonoma?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Sonoma. Although Sacramento and Sonoma are both popular with visitors, Sonoma has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Sonoma is more popular for its food, nightlife, resorts, beaches, hiking, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Sacramento is known for its museums. Sonoma is more touristy than Sacramento and is known for its world-class winemaking and sustainable agriculture. It is also home to Buena Vista Winery. Sacramento is popular for its history and state capital.

How is Sacramento different from Sonoma?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sonoma 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 Sonoma?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sacramento is a great city for its historical sights. However, Sonoma is not known for its sights and museums.

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.

Sonoma offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While most people don't think of museums when they think of Sonoma, there are actually some interesting local options. The California Indian Museum, the Cotati Museum, and the Depot Park Museum are also local are fascinating.


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

Sacramento
Sonoma

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

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Sonoma is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Although wine may be the first thing you think about, the region is also filled with farm-to-table restaurants and award-winning dining options. The food is almost always fresh and local. You can sample many local ingredients such as vegetables, cheeses, olive oils, and fish.

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 Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Nightlife?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sonoma 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.

Sonoma has a large number of nightlife venues. Lounges, wine bars, and live music venues offer a variety of activities for visitors during the evening hours.

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 Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Resorts?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sonoma is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Sacramento is not a resort destination.

Sonoma is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Spa hotels, charming inns, and beautiful resorts all offer a variety of options for visitors.

Sacramento is not a resort destination.


Is Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Beaches?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sonoma is a very popular place for the beache. However, Sacramento is not a beach destination.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Sonoma. The county has a coastline that includes several great beaches as well as rocky shoreline. The beaches include secluded coves and picturesque cliffs as well as sand dunes and sandy beaches.

Sacramento is not a beach destination.

Is Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Hiking?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sonoma 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 Sonoma. In between wine tastings you can explore the area's stunning natural beauty. There are hikes through the vineyards, along the coast, or through forested parks. Some of the best hikes are found in Jack London State Historic Park, Sugarloaf State Park, and Armstrong Woods State Park.

Sacramento is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Sacramento or Sonoma?

Sacramento
Sonoma

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

Sonoma is well-known for its shopping. You'll find a range of local vendors in the area, selling everything from jewelry to art, home decor, and olive oil.

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 Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Families?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sacramento and Sonoma are both good destinations for the whole family.

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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Sonoma. While most people think immediately of wine tours, there's actually a lot more to Sonoma County. Kids will enjoy the many outdoor activities in the area, which include beaches, parks, wildlife viewing, and more. There's also horseback riding and even ziplining opportunities.

Is Sacramento or Sonoma Better for Couples?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sonoma is very popular for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Sonoma has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. It has long been a favorite honeymoon destination for couples who come for the vineyards and wine tours. There are also charming hotels, award winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches.

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 Sonoma Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sacramento is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Sonoma is not known for its public transit.

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

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Sonoma. While there are buses, they are almost never used by tourists. There is the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley which you should purchase tickets for in advance.


Is Sacramento or Sonoma a more walkable city?

Sacramento
Sonoma

Sacramento is adequate for its ease of walking around. However, Sonoma is not known for its 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.

Sonoma is not a walkable city. You really must have a car to get around the area and explore it efficiently.

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

Should I spend more time in Sonoma or Sacramento?

How long in Sacramento or Sonoma?

It's fun to spend time in either Sacramento or Sonoma. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Sonoma 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 Sonoma.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Sonoma 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 Sonoma.


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

One day in Sacramento or Sonoma?

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of Sacramento. One day is often enough time to do most activities.

With shopping and nightlife around the relaxing county of Sonoma, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the food. 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 Sonoma?

Sacramento is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Sonoma, there's plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the food. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this county.


Five days in Sacramento or Sonoma?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Sacramento. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sonoma, a popular county, 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 Sonoma?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the relaxed destination of Sacramento. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Sonoma is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the food. 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 Sightseeing Tours in United States of America, The Best Cruise Tours and Packages in United States of America, The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, and The Best Photography Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sonoma 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 Sonoma is $219. 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 Sonoma in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sacramento $111
    Sonoma $93
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sacramento $222
    Sonoma $186
Compare Hotels in Sacramento and Sonoma

Looking for a hotel in Sacramento or Sonoma? 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 Sonoma


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 Sonoma Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sacramento $51
    Sonoma $134

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

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

  • Round Trip Private Transfer in Sacramento Airport to Calistoga: $293
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $219
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $110

Is it cheaper to fly into Sacramento or Sonoma?

Prices for flights to both Sonoma 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
    Sonoma $56

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.
    Sacramento $19
    Sonoma $16

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
  • Delta's History and Wine: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • 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
  • Full-Day Boarding Experience Wakeboard,Wakesurf,orKneeboard: $850
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Half Day Boarding Experience Wakeboard,Wakesurf,or Kneeboard: $425
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99

Tours and Activities in Sonoma

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

  • Create your own wine blend experience: $140
  • From Napa Valley Classic Sidecar Tour to 3 Wineries: $300
  • Sonoma Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour & Game: $49
  • Sonoma Valley: Guided Winery Tour with Picnic Lunch: $126
  • Sonoma Valley: Wine Trolley Tasting Tour with Lunch: $125

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sacramento $12
    Sonoma $41

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
  • Cider and Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch - near Sacramento: $125

Sample the Local Flavors in Sonoma

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

  • San Francisco: Half-Day Wine Tour with 2 Tastings Included: $189
  • Sonoma Food & Wine Tour: $235


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

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


Which is Bigger, Sacramento or Sonoma?

Sacramento has a larger population, and is about 50 times larger than the population of Sonoma. When comparing the sizes of Sacramento and Sonoma, 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 Sacramento or Sonoma?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Sacramento or Sonoma in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Sacramento and Sonoma. The family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Sacramento this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Sonoma for the beaches, the hiking, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Sacramento is around the same temperature as Sonoma. Typically, the summer temperatures in Sacramento in July average around 76°F (24°C), and Sonoma averages at about 73°F (23°C).

In July, Sacramento usually receives less rain than Sonoma. Sacramento gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


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

Should I visit Sacramento or Sonoma in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Sacramento as well as Sonoma. Many travelers come to Sacramento for the shopping scene. Additionally, many visitors come to Sonoma in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Sacramento is generally around the same temperature as Sonoma. Daily temperatures in Sacramento average around 64°F (18°C), and Sonoma fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

Sacramento usually gets less rain in October than Sonoma. Sacramento gets 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Sacramento 64°F (18°C) 
    Sonoma 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Sacramento or Sonoma in the Winter?

Both Sonoma and Sacramento are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Sacramento in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Sonoma for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Sacramento is around the same temperature as Sonoma in the winter. The daily temperature in Sacramento averages around 45°F (7°C) in January, and Sonoma fluctuates around 46°F (8°C).

In January, Sacramento usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sonoma. Sacramento gets 3.8 inches (97 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Sacramento 45°F (7°C) 
    Sonoma 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Sacramento or Sonoma in the Spring?

Both Sonoma and Sacramento during the spring are popular places to visit. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Sonoma because of the beaches and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Sacramento is around the same temperature as Sonoma. Typically, the spring temperatures in Sacramento in April average around 58°F (15°C), and Sonoma averages at about 56°F (13°C).

Sacramento usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Sonoma. Sacramento gets 1.3 inches (32 mm) of rain, while Sonoma receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Sacramento 58°F (15°C) 
    Sonoma 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Sonoma and Sacramento

Sacramento Sonoma
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 45°F (7°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 51°F (10°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 58°F (15°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 65°F (18°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 69°F (21°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 76°F (24°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 75°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 72°F (22°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 45°F (7°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 46°F (8°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)