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

Should you visit San Francisco or Santa Fe?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Francisco or Santa Fe, 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 outdoorsy, quirky, and eccentric coastal city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. Many visitors also come here because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the theater, nightlife, and live music.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a charming, artsy, and cultural historic town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the museums, skiing, and live music.

How is San Francisco different from Santa Fe?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Head to San Francisco if you're looking for good museums or notable landmarks, as it has more to offer than Santa Fe.

With plenty of landmarks, attractions, and museums, San Francisco has many famous sights for visitors. 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.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Santa Fe. Head to the Museum of New Mexico Complex, which has four museums that give a great overview of the history of the area. Also make sure you visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.


Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Food?

Picking the best between San Francisco and Santa Fe can be difficult as they are each unique in their own way.

Known for it's food scene, San Francisco is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

Santa Fe has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Local dishes include sopaipillas made with Native American fry bread, slow-cooked beans, and anything made with red and green chile peppers.

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Nightlife?

If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between San Francisco and Santa Fe.

If you're looking for night time activities San Francisco has a few options to choose from. Popular clubs in the city include Temple San Francisco, Monarch, and Audio Nightclub.

Santa Fe doesn't have the most active nightlife scene. While most of the town quiets down at night, the city has a few areas that stay active late into the night.

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Music?

San Francisco and Santa Fe are both destinations where visitors can find live music.

The music scene helps keep San Francisco active and fun. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Santa Fe. The town has an eclectic music scene that includes a mix of the blues, country, Latin American music, and bluegrass.

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Shopping?

If you're looking to go shopping, San Francisco and Santa Fe both offer plenty of spots.

Many people travel to San Francisco specifically to go shopping. 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.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Santa Fe. There are many unique shops and art galleries that feature local artists and craftsmen.


Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Families?

San Francisco and Santa Fe are both fun destinations for the whole family.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in San Francisco. With its many outdoor parks, hiking trails, beaches, and kid-friendly museums, this city makes a great family-friendly destination.

Santa Fe offers lots of family activities. There are a few kids' museums in Santa Fe including the Santa Fe Children's Museum and the Meow Wolf Art Complex. Kids also enjoy the botanical gardens at Museum Hill and Bandelier National Monument just outside of the city.

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe better for Couples?

San Francisco and Santa Fe are both fun to visit as a couple.

San Francisco is a great coastal city if you're traveling as 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.

Santa Fe is a good coastal city for couples to visit. There are many romantic inns around town, each with a lot of character. The town also has a lot of atmosphere that makes for a romantic getaway.

Is San Francisco or Santa Fe a more walkable city?

San Francisco and Santa Fe are similar when it comes to walkability.

San Francisco is a very walkable destination. 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.

Santa Fe is a very walkable destination. The historic district is walkable and it's easy to visit most of the tourist sights in this area on foot.

San Francisco and Santa Fe: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights


Should I spend more time in Santa Fe or San Francisco?

How long in San Francisco or Santa Fe?

In either San Francisco or Santa Fe, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than Santa Fe because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to San Francisco is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Santa Fe is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in San Francisco or Santa Fe? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Francisco 3-7 
    Santa Fe 2-5

One day in San Francisco or Santa Fe?

San Francisco is a big city with plenty to do. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and skiing when visiting the charming destination of Santa Fe. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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 Santa Fe?

San Francisco is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Fe. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. 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 for a trip here.

Five days in San Francisco or Santa Fe?

San Francisco is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in San Francisco, five days is sufficent for most. The entire area has lots to do.

Many travelers enjoy the live music and food when visiting the cultural destination of Santa Fe. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This historic town offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have five days, this is a great place to go. Five days is usually enough time for a trip here.

A week in San Francisco or Santa Fe?

San Francisco is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that San Francisco has to offer. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

You'll find food and shopping around the historic town of Santa Fe. Visiting the old town is also a must. 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.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Fe or San Francisco?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Francisco is $175, while the average daily cost in Santa Fe is $127. 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 Francisco and Santa Fe in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Francisco $106
    Santa Fe $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Francisco $212
    Santa Fe $128

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Francisco $13
    Santa Fe $49
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:

  • Private Transfer from San Fransisco City To Carmel-by-the-Sea.: $450
  • Private transfer from SFO to or from Sacramento (SUV): $400
  • Private Airport Transfer From SFO to San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf: $395
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO To Carmel-by-the-Sea.: $370
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $310
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO to Yountville, Napa Valley: $300
  • Private Airport Transfer From SFO to Napa Valley: $270
  • SFO Roundtrip Airport Hotel Transfer: $267
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO to Sonoma Valley: $255
  • Private Transfer from SFO to Napa: $235
  • Oakland to San Francisco Downtown Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $200
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO To Walnut Creek.: $200

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Fe

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

  • Private Departure Transfer to Santa Fe Airport SAF: $125
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Santa Fe Airport (SAF): $62

Is it cheaper to fly into San Francisco or Santa Fe?

Prices for flights to both Santa Fe 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 $32
    Santa Fe $35

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
  • Chinatown Walking 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
  • 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
  • I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown - Food Tour: $98
  • Mamaz Social Food Arepa Class and Dinner: $100
  • Private Tour: Secret Food Tours San Francisco: $103
  • Hayes Valley Gourmet Food Tour: $108

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Fe

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

  • Dinner at the Coffee Farm: $55
  • Santa Fe Railyard Arts District Food Tour: $102
  • New Mexican Flavors Food Tour of the Santa Fe Plaza: $138

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Francisco $37
    Santa Fe $13

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-Hour Golden Gate and Lombard GoRide Scooter Tour: $54
  • 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-day Monterey & Yosemite Small Group Tour from San Francisco: $495
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Loop GoCar Tour: $131
  • 2HR Golden Gate Bridge and Presidio GoRide Scooter Tour: $82

Tours and Activities in Santa Fe

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

  • Bantayan Island Day Tour From Cebu: $173
  • Beer and Art Tour: $40
  • Guided Tour: 'Love Stories of Santa Fe": $498
  • Land Tour | Bantayan Island - Sightseeing - Guided Tour: $46
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: Private Walking Tour of Santa Fe: $170
  • Santa Fe Architectural Walking Tour: $115
  • Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Canyon Road Curated Art Walking Tour: $52
  • Search for The Story-Documentary Film School Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $52
  • Small-Group Canyon Road Art Tour: $37
  • Small-Group E-Bike Adventure Tour through Hidden Santa Fe: $155
  • The Best of Santa Fe Walking Tour: $498

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 $15
    Santa Fe $7.74

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
  • San Francisco North Beach Pub Crawl: $60
  • Wine Tasting on the Bay: $70
  • Half-Day Sonoma Wine Tour: $100
  • Shore Excursion: Napa and Sonoma Ultimate Wine Tasting Experience Full-Day Tour: $135
  • San Francisco City & Wine tour: $140
  • Chariot wine tour: $145
  • From Full-Day Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $149
  • Viticulture with Charm: Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $149
  • Small Group Redwoods and Wine Country Trip Including Wine Tasting and Cave Tour: $152
  • Small Group Muir Woods with Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $169
  • The Perfect Blend: Napa and Sonoma Combo Wine Tour from San Francisco: $169

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Fe

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

  • Join-In Wine Tours: $152
  • White Water Rafting and Wine Tour: $217


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

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San Francisco vs. Santa Fe Travel Comparison

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