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

Should you visit San Francisco or Durango?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Francisco or Durango, 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.

San Francisco

San Francisco is a scenic, beautiful, and outdoorsy coastal city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. Other reasons to visit include live music, food, and beaches.

Durango

Durango is a quaint, scenic, and nature-filled small town. With amazing attractions and sights, it's also a fun small town not to be missed. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. It's also popular because of the hiking and museums.

San Francisco and Durango: Pros and Cons

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
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in San Francisco or Durango?

Visitors will usually find more to do in San Francisco than Durango, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. San Francisco is better known for its museums, theatre productions, food, nightlife, music, beaches, hiking, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Durango is more popular for its skiing, historical sights, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere. San Francisco is more touristy than Durango and is known for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. Also, San Francisco is famous for The Golden Gate Bridge. Durango is well known for its historic narrow gauge railroad, its charming small town atmosphere, and its many family-friendly activities.

How is San Francisco different from Durango?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Skiing?

San Francisco
Durango

Durango is adequate for skiing. However, San Francisco is not a skiing destination.

While in the area, visitors like to go to Durango for snow skiing. Purgatory Ski Resort is about 20 minutes from town and it's a family-friendly mountain with beginner and intermediate runs. It's small, and geared specifically to the beginner and younger crowd.

San Francisco is not a skiing destination.


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

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for its museums and history. Also, Durango is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Travelers visit San Francisco from around the world to see its many world-famous attractions. 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.

Durango offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Most visitors come to town specifically to ride the Silverton & Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. There's also the D&SNGRR Railroad Museum, and the Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Theater?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a good destination for theatre. However, Durango is not a theatre destination.

You'll find a nice selection of shows in San Francisco. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Durango is not a theatre destination.

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

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for its restaurants. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Eat your way through San Francisco, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. 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.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Durango. Most of the restaurants are casual and family-friendly, serving up burgers or sandwiches for a reasonable price. You'll also find some coffeeshops and even a few food trucks and international restaurants.


Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Nightlife?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a good destination for nightlife. However, Durango is lacking in good options for nightlife and partying.

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

Things get quiet in the evenings in Durango. It's a small town that attracts tourists mainly for its train, so you won't find much in the way of a nightlife scene.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Music?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a good destination for live music. However, Durango is not a live music destination.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in San Francisco. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Durango is not a live music destination.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Beaches?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a very popular place for its beaches. However, Durango is not a beach destination.

Many people visit San Francisco for it's beautiful beaches. 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.

Durango is not a beach destination.


Is San Francisco or Durango Better for its Old Town?

San Francisco
Durango

Durango is a nice place to visit for its historic old town charm. However, San Francisco does not have a historic old town.

Durango has an old town worth visiting. Filled with character, the downtown feels like you've stepped into a Western. The town has a long history as a mining and railroad community, which you can see throughout the historic area. It really feels like you're in the "Wild West."

San Francisco does not have a historic old town.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Hiking?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for its hiking trails. Also, Durango is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its hiking experiences.

San Francisco is well-known for its hiking and trekking. 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.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Durango. It's surrounded by plenty of natural beautiful and there is an endless supply of hikes in the region. Popular nearby hikes include Animas Mountain Trail, Falls Creek Trail, and Purgatory Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in San Francisco or Durango?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for shopping. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its shopping opportunities.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in San Francisco. 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.

If you're looking to go shopping, Durango has some nice offerings. The charming town has some boutiques that sell beautifully made Native American jewelry and other interesting items. There are also souvenir shops and other venues that target tourists specifically.


Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Christmas?

San Francisco
Durango

Durango is a nice place to visit for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, San Francisco does not offer Christmas activities.

Durango worth visiting during the Christmas season. It is a great Christmas town where you can meet Santa, go skiing, and even take the Polar Express.

San Francisco does not offer Christmas activities.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Families?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Durango is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, San Francisco is very family-friendly. 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.

Durango is a very kid-friendly coastal city. In the area you'll find ziplining, alpine slides, and plenty of outdoor areas to explore - and of course there's the railroad.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Couples?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a very popular place for romance. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

San Francisco makes for a fun place to visit for 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.

Most people don't think of Durango as a couple's destination. The town may not be the first romantic destination that comes to mind, but the railroad combined with wandering the downtown can make for a great couple's getaway.


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

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Durango is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

San Francisco is very popular with the backpacker crowd. 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.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Durango. With plenty of parks and outdoor areas nearby, backpackers will have plenty of places to explore.

Is San Francisco or Durango Better for Students?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Durango is not popular with students.

Many students visit San Francisco. 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.

Durango is not popular with students.

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

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a world-class destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its public transit.

With a huge network, the transit system in San Francisco can get you around easily. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Durango. It's a small town with no real public transit options so a car is a must.


Is San Francisco or Durango a more walkable city?

San Francisco
Durango

San Francisco is a very popular place for its walkability. However, Durango is lacking in good options for its high level of walkability.

San Francisco is very walkable. 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.

Durango is generally not very walkable. While the Main Street through town is walkable, it's not as pedestrian-friendly as some small towns.

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

Should I spend more time in Durango or San Francisco?

How long in San Francisco or Durango?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both San Francisco and Durango. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than in Durango. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for San Francisco, and 2-3 days is enough time in Durango.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Francisco than Durango 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 San Francisco or Durango? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Francisco 3-7 
    Durango 2-3

One day in San Francisco or Durango?

Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. This coastal city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Even though Durango is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. 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.

A weekend in San Francisco or Durango?

Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Durango. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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.


Five days in San Francisco or Durango?

San Francisco is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that San Francisco has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Durango is a small town, so it's a great destination if you're short on time. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. This small town 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.

A week in San Francisco or Durango?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in San Francisco. Because San Francisco is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.

Durango is a small town, so you can explore the area with less time. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, and The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Durango or San Francisco?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Francisco is $222, while the average daily cost in Durango is $153. 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 San Francisco and Durango in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Francisco $130
    Durango $79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Francisco $260
    Durango $158
Compare Hotels in San Francisco and Durango

Looking for a hotel in San Francisco or Durango? 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 Francisco


Hotels in Durango


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 Francisco Hotel Prices and Durango Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Francisco $16
    Durango $27
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:

  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer in San Francisco HTL-APT (SFO): $119
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • SFO Airport Private Transfer to Downtown: $120
  • San Francisco to/from Yosemite National Park: 1-Way Transfer: $169
  • San Francisco to Yosemite One-Way Transfer: $169
  • San Francisco to San Francisco Airport (SFO) - Departure Private Transfer: $110
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Private Arrival Transfer: $78
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to/from the City: $150
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to and from the San Francisco: $150
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to San Francisco: $342
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO): Transfer to Cruise Terminal: $555

Is it cheaper to fly into San Francisco or Durango?

Prices for flights to both Durango and San Francisco 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 Francisco $46
    Durango $50

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: $19
  • North Beach and Little Italy Food Tour: $79
  • Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $83
  • Mission District Food Tour with Tastings: $85
  • Farmers' Market & Ferry Building Food Tour: $87
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Mission District Food Tour: $89
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $90
  • Secret Food Tour of North Beach and Chinatown: $96

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

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-Hour Double Decker City Tour of San Francisco: $73
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop GoCar Tour: $172
  • 2hr - INTERACTIVE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr - SUNSET Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 2hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $695
  • 2hrs- Beyond the Bridge - Marin Headlands GoCar Tour: $234
  • 3-Hour Private Group San Francisco Open Top Jeep Tour: $249
  • 3HR Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park GoCar Tour: $228
  • 3hr PRIVATE Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay 6 Guests: $795

Typical Entertainment Prices in Durango

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Durango's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Hot Springs (for 2)
    $50
  • Tubing (for 2)
    $40

Tours and Activities in Durango

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

  • Scenic Waterfall's & Ghost Town Jeep Tour La Plata's~ 2.5 hours: $84
  • 12-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $173
  • 12-zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $173
  • 4 Hours Durango Colorado - Jeep Tour : $102
  • 6-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $140
  • 6-zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango: $140
  • 700 Year Tour - Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour: $108
  • Colorado: Million Dollar Highway Self-Driving Audio Tour: $14
  • Durango Jeep Tour — La Plata Canyon: $130
  • Durango Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Durango Rafting - Animas River Adventure Day: $185
  • La Plata Canyon Exclusive Access Jeep Tour: $99

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
    San Francisco $22
    Durango $30

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

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

  • Chinatown San Francisco’s Bar Crawl: An Audio Tour: $4.99
  • Ghosts, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Sunset Distillery with Local Whiskey or Cocktail Tasting: $40
  • Walk with Spirits: A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $45
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Small Group: The Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • From The Ultimate Napa and Sonoma Wine Tour: $139
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150
  • Napa and Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $159


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

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


Which is Bigger, San Francisco or Durango?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 50 times larger than the population of Durango. When comparing the sizes of San Francisco and Durango, 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.