A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America San Diego vs. Denver for Families, Attractions, Nightlife, and Hiking

Should you visit San Diego or Denver?

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 San Diego and Denver. 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.

San Diego

San Diego is a dynamic, energetic, and outdoorsy coastal city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the nightlife, live music, and food.

Denver

Denver is a sprawling and park-filled city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the nightlife, hiking, and skiing.

San Diego and Denver: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Good for hiking
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less walkable


How is San Diego different from Denver?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is San Diego or Denver Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

San Diego
Denver

Interesting museums and landmarks can be found in both Denver and San Diego, but many consider San Diego to be a step above.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around San Diego. While the city is famous for it's beaches, zoos, and aquariums, don't overlook the museums and other landmarks. Popular options include the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, the Old Town State Historic Park, and Point Loma and Cabrillo Monument.

Denver offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Popular museums include the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the History Colorado Center, and the Forney Museum of Transportation.


Is San Diego or Denver Better for Food?

San Diego
Denver

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both San Diego and Denver.

San Diego has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. The city has great seafood and a diversity of cuisines. Popular local dishes include fish tacos and California burritos.

Denver may not make the list for most foodies, but you'll find what you need while you're in town. While you're in town you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.

Is San Diego or Denver Better for Nightlife?

San Diego
Denver

The vibe at night is comparable in San Diego and Denver.

Many people head to San Diego for the nightlife scene. The heart of the city's nightlife scene is in the Gaslamp District, which is filled with bars, clubs, and music venues.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Denver. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.

Is San Diego or Denver Better for Hiking?

San Diego
Denver

Hiking trails can be found around both San Diego and Denver.

Many visitors go to San Diego for the hiking trails. The city is filled with parks and has tons of natural beauty. Head to Torrey Pines State Park or Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail for some nice hikes.

Denver is a good destination for hiking. The city is very close to many beautiful parks and hiking areas in the Rocky Mountains.

Is San Diego or Denver Better for Families?

San Diego
Denver

Families may find more to do in San Diego than Denver.

With a huge array of activities for kids, San Diego is very family-friendly. It has a number of kid-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy. There's the world class zoo, several amusement parks, the beaches, aquariums, and more.

Denver is a family-friendly place to visit. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy.


Is San Diego or Denver Better for Public Transit?

San Diego
Denver

San Diego and Denver both offer public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in San Diego. The city has a trolley (light rail system) as well as a bus system. Most people depend on cars to get around.

Denver has a few public transit options. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offers good access to much of Denver.

Is San Diego or Denver a more walkable city?

San Diego
Denver

San Diego is considered more walkable than Denver.

San Diego is a somewhat walkable place. The downtown area is walkable, but if you want to travel further, you'll need to find a different form of transportation.

Denver is not a walkable coastal city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.

Should I spend more time in Denver or San Diego?

How long in San Diego or Denver?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both San Diego and Denver. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Diego than Denver.

The ideal length of time for a trip to San Diego is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Denver is 2-3 days.


  • How many days in San Diego or Denver? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Diego 3-5 
    Denver 2-3

One day in San Diego or Denver?

Many travelers enjoy the live music and food when visiting the destination of San Diego. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

You'll find skiing and nightlife around the city of Denver. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in San Diego or Denver?

San Diego is a great place to explore. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find nightlife and skiing around the sprawling destination of Denver. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in San Diego or Denver?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Diego. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Travelers enjoy the skiing and nightlife when visiting the park-filled city of Denver. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in San Diego or Denver?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the dynamic destination of San Diego. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Denver is a popular choice for travelers. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Which city is cheaper, Denver or San Diego?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Diego is $161, while the average daily cost in Denver is $174. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for San Diego and Denver in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Diego $91
    Denver $69
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Diego $182
    Denver $138
Compare Hotels in San Diego and Denver

Looking for a hotel in San Diego or Denver? 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 San Diego


Hotels in Denver


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: San Diego Hotel Prices and Denver Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Diego $19
    Denver $81

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Diego

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: from San Diego to San Diego Int. Airport (SAN): $35
  • Private Departure Transfer from San Diego to SAN San Diego Airport: $46
  • Private Airport Transfer: San Diego International Airport (SAN) to San Diego: $46
  • Private Arrival Transfer from San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Departure Transfer to San Diego Airport SAN: $48
  • Private Arrival Transfer from SAN San Diego Airport to San Diego City: $49
  • San Diego Airport (SAN) to San Diego hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • San Diego hotel/address to San Diego Airport (SAN) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Transfer from San Diego International Airport to San Diego: $62
  • Departure Private Transfer San Diego to San Diego Airport SAN in Business Car: $63
  • Private Airport Transfer San Deigo Arrival And Departure: $67
  • Private Airport Transfer: Hotel to and from San Diego International Airport: $70

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $1,592
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen: $1,321
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $858
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $809
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $796
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Keystone resort - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $672
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Denver Airport (DEN) to Vail city: $582
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vail: $576
  • Private Denver International Airport Transfer to Vail or Beaver Creek: $450
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Arrival Private Transfer: $429
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Arrival Private Transfer: $404
  • Private Denver International Airport Transfer to Breckenridge or Keystone: $400

Is it cheaper to fly into San Diego or Denver?

Prices for flights to both Denver and San Diego 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
    San Diego $36
    Denver $34
Typical Food prices in San Diego

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to San Diego:


  • Mexican Lunch for Two
    $27
  • Breakfast at Starbucks
    $20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Diego

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

  • San Diego North Park Food Tour: $49
  • Liberty Station Food Tour: $49
  • Market and Guacamole Cooking Class in Tijuana Mexico: $89
  • Private Cooking Demonstration of Indian Fusion Cuisine in San Diego: $96
  • Farmers Market Tour & Social Cooking With A Chef: $100
  • San Diego Harbor Dinner Cruise: $111
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Diego: $129
  • Secret Food Tours San Diego w/ Private Tour Option: $277

Typical Food prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Denver.

  • Small-Group Food Tour in Denver: $69
  • Haunted Denver Walking Food Tour: $73
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver: $77
  • Walking Food Tour - Best of Union Station & LoDo: $79
  • Denver Cooking Classes-Local, seasonal, and hands on menus: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Diego $38
    Denver $42
Typical Entertainment prices in San Diego

For San Diego, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • San Diego Zoo
    $15
  • Sea World Parking
    $12

Tours and Activities in San Diego

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

  • La Jolla: Explore California's Riviera on a self-guided audio tour: $5.40
  • La Jolla: Ultimate Self-Guided Combo Tour: $12
  • San Diego Zoo Hunt: Roar with Rex Adventure at the San Diego Zoo: $12
  • San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter Historic True Crime Tour: $16
  • San Diego Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Diego Balboa Park Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Behind-the-Scenes at Petco Park Tour: $23
  • San Diego Gaslamp District Ghost Tour: $24
  • Ghost-Themed Walking Tour: $25
  • Skip-the-Line: USS Midway Museum Entry Ticket: $26
  • San Diego Harbor Cruise: $28
  • Tijuana Walking Tour from San Diego: $28

Tours and Activities in Denver

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

  • 1.5 Hour LoDo Walking Tour in Denver: $25
  • Astrophotography Experience in the Colorado Rockies: $200
  • Best of Denver Tour: $64
  • Best of Denver Tour: $22
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $60
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $115
  • Capitol Hill History & Ghost Tour: $22
  • Craft Beer Tour in Lower Downtown Denver: $53
  • Denver Ghost Hunt: Mile High Ghost Tour: $12
  • Denver Ghost Tour: $23
  • Denver Guided Sightseeing Tour on Motor Scooters: $112
  • Denver History and Highlights Small Group Tour: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Diego $17
    Denver $4.25

Sample the Local Flavors in San Diego

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

  • San Diego Bar Hunt: Slammin' San Diego Bar Crawl: $12
  • Wine Tasting Or Beer Tasting: $15
  • San Diego Brewery Tour: $85
  • San Diego Micro Brewery Tour: $91
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $95
  • The San Diego Downtown Craft Brewery Tour: $101
  • Private San Diego Brewery Tour: $107
  • All inclusive brewery tour-Fire Truck: $189
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Tour to Guadalupe Valley from San Diego.: $249
  • Private Wine Tour of Temecula from San Diego: $475

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

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

  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour in Lower Downtown: $26
  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - South Broadway (SoBo): $27
  • 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour: $49
  • Craft Distillery Bus Tour: $71


When comparing the travel costs between San Diego and Denver, we can see that Denver is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Budget Your Trip

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San Diego vs. Denver Travel Comparison

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