A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America San Francisco vs. El Paso for Attractions, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit San Francisco or El Paso?

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

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

El Paso

El Paso is a undiscovered, laid-back, and low-key city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

San Francisco and El Paso: 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
  • Active nightlife
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in San Francisco or El Paso?

You'll generally find more things to do in San Francisco than El Paso. San Francisco is bigger than El Paso, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. San Francisco is more touristy than El Paso 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. El Paso is well known for its Spanish missions and its outstanding Mexican food.

How is San Francisco different from El Paso?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its museums and history. Also, El Paso 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.

El Paso offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Visitors can learn about local art, culture, and history at the El Paso Museum of Art, the El Paso Museum of History, the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Museum, and the Eduardo Pedregón Memorial Veterans Museum.


Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Theater?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is very good for theatre. However, El Paso 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.

El Paso is not a theatre destination.

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

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its restaurants. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

San Francisco has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. 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.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in El Paso. Mexican food and barbecue are popular around town but you'll also find burgers, pizza, and other American favorites.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Nightlife?

San Francisco
El Paso

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find notable options in both San Francisco and El Paso.

If you're looking for night time activities San Francisco has a few options to choose from. 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.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in El Paso. There are a number of bars, nightclubs, and lounges around town where you can enjoy a fun night out.


Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Music?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is very good for live music. However, El Paso is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in San Francisco. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

El Paso is not a live music destination.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Beaches?

San Francisco
El Paso

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

San Francisco is a very popular place to visit for its 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.

El Paso is not a beach destination.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Hiking?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its hiking trails. However, El Paso is not a hiking destination.

Many people visit San Francisco specifically for its hiking. 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.

El Paso is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in San Francisco or El Paso?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for shopping. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good 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.

El Paso offers some nice shopping areas. There are a number of malls and outlet centers around town. One of the most well known is Bassett Place, but other options include Cielo Vista Mall and the Fountains at Farah.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Families?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its family-friendly activities.

San Francisco is one of the most popular family destinations. 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in El Paso. There are adventure parks, playgrounds, outdoor centers and nature activities that families can enjoy.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Couples?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is a very popular place for romance. However, El Paso 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 El Paso as a couple's destination. Couples can enjoy dinner and a show or taking a romantic drive up to the overlook.


Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, El Paso is lacking in good options 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.

El Paso is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There's little in the area that appeals to backpackers.

Is San Francisco or El Paso Better for Students?

San Francisco
El Paso

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

San Francisco is very popular with students. 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.

El Paso is not popular with students.

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

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is an unbeatable place for times when you don't have a car. However, El Paso is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Visitors in San Francisco can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is generally limited in El Paso. While there are some bus routes in town, you shouldn't rely on them and must have a private vehicle to efficiently visit the city.


Is San Francisco or El Paso a more walkable city?

San Francisco
El Paso

San Francisco is a very popular place for its walkability. However, El Paso 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.

El Paso is generally not very walkable. You really need a car to get around town.

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

Should I spend more time in El Paso or San Francisco?

How long in San Francisco or El Paso?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in San Francisco or El Paso to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in San Francisco than El Paso because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for San Francisco, and 1-2 days is enough time in El Paso.

Families should spend more time in San Francisco than El Paso. 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 El Paso. 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 El Paso 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 El Paso? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Francisco 3-7 
    El Paso 1-2

One day in San Francisco or El Paso?

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.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the laid-back destination of El Paso. Your budget might influence how long you stay. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one day is just the right amount of time to spend here.

A weekend in San Francisco or El Paso?

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 El Paso. 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 El Paso?

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.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the low-key destination of El Paso. This city 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 El Paso?

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.

You'll find food and shopping around the city of El Paso. 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 Contiki Tours to United States of America, The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage.


Which place is cheaper, El Paso 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 El Paso is $161. 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 El Paso in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Francisco $130
    El Paso $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Francisco $260
    El Paso $162
Compare Hotels in San Francisco and El Paso

Looking for a hotel in San Francisco or El Paso? 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 El Paso


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 El Paso Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Francisco $16
    El Paso $37
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 vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • Transfer in private Minivan from San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Downtown city: $183
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from Vallejo to SFO (one way): $259
  • Sedan Airport Transfer from SFO to East Bay (one way): $262
  • 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 Round Trip Transfer: $157
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Private Arrival Transfer: $79
  • San Francisco Airport 1-Way Transfer to/from the City: $150

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Paso

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

  • El Paso Airport to Truth or Consequences Round Trip Transfer: $239
  • El Paso Airport (ELP) to Truth or Consequences Arrival Transfer: $119
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $80
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Arrival Private Transfer : $40
  • El Paso to El Paso International Airport (ELP) - Departure Private Transfer: $40

Is it cheaper to fly into San Francisco or El Paso?

Prices for flights to both El Paso 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
    El Paso $54

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
  • Mission District Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Chinatown Walking Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco North Beach Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Food Tour: Ferry Building and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: $90
  • Secret Food Tour of North Beach and Chinatown: $96

Typical Food Prices in El Paso

For El Paso, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Rudy's BBQ (family of 4)
    $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Francisco $46
    El Paso $27

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • 2hr - SUNSET Sailing Experience on San Francisco Bay: $149
  • 1 Day Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: $73
  • 2 or 3 Hour Private Group San Francisco City Tour Open-air Jeep: $169
  • 2-Day San Francisco Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour (Unlimited Pass): $73
  • 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 - 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
  • 3-Hour Private Group San Francisco Open Top Jeep Tour: $249
  • 3-Hour Private Muir Giant Redwoods Trees and Sausalito Tour: $203

Tours and Activities in El Paso

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

  • Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Jeep Tour: $115
  • Downtown Historic Walking Tour: $120
  • Sun City Ghost Walking Tour: $26
  • Jeep Tour - Pikes Peak or Bust: $175
  • Sun City Ghosts Haunted Cowboys and Outlaws Tour: $30
  • UTV Adventure Tour / Rental: $249

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
    El Paso $27

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
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $85
  • Private Wine Tour Napa or Sonoma from $99 per person up to 7 & Concierge Service: $99
  • Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Wine Tastings: $126
  • 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
  • The Ultimate Napa & 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 El Paso, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. And not only is El Paso much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to El Paso would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in El Paso 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 El Paso.

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 El Paso Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, San Francisco or El Paso?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 30% larger than the population of El Paso. When comparing the sizes of San Francisco and El Paso, 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.