A Travel Price Comparison for California San Francisco vs. Santa Monica for Attractions, Food, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit San Francisco or Santa Monica?

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 Monica, 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 beautiful, outdoorsy, and quirky coastal city. With plenty of activities and things to do, it's a huge city that draws plenty of visitors. You'll find world class beauty here as well. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a energetic, active, and lively town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

San Francisco and Santa Monica: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Big city activities
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to the Golden Gate Bridge
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Home to the Santa Monica Pier
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in San Francisco or Santa Monica?

Travelers will usually find more to do in San Francisco than Santa Monica, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. San Francisco is more popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, music, hiking, shopping, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Santa Monica is known for its nightlife and beaches. San Francisco is popular for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. It is also home to The Golden Gate Bridge. Santa Monica is popular for its active lifestyle and fun-filled activities.

How is San Francisco different from Santa Monica?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its sights and museums. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

The museums, monuments, and landmarks in San Francisco are among the most recognizable in the world. 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 Monica. There's a thriving arts scene and a number of museums around town. Check out the Museum of Flying, the California Heritage Museum, or the Santa Monica History Museum.


Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Theater?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is a popular place for its theatre productions. However, Santa Monica is not a theatre destination.

San Francisco offers a number of shows and performances. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Santa Monica is not a theatre destination.

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

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, San Francisco is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. 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.

Santa Monica has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. You'll find a diversity of restaurants in the area, many of which make use of the town's many farmer's markets. The restaurant scene has a beachy vibe with a lot of outdoor dining opportunities. There are also a range of cuisines to choose from such as Mexican, Italian, casual, and upscale.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Nightlife?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a great town for its evening party scene. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for nightlife.

The nightlife in Santa Monica has something for everybody. There's a relaxed and laid back vibe to the nightlife scene. Many venues offer outdoor seating and live music in a casual setting. You can hang out on a patio and enjoy the California climate while you sip cold drinks and the beach town atmosphere.

There's a variety of activities in the evening 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.


Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Music?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is a popular place for its live music scene. However, Santa Monica is not a live music destination.

The music scene in San Francisco is active and vibrant. Well known music venues include the Great American Music Hall, Slim's, and The Chapel.

Santa Monica is not a live music destination.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Beaches?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

Santa Monica is an amazing town to visit for the beach. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its beaches.

The beaches in Santa Monica are among the best in the world. Santa Monica Beach is large and lined with bike trails. It's also filled with activity and you'll find many water sports, beach volleyball, and surfing in the area. There's also the famous Santa Monica Pier, which has an amusement park aquarium, Ferris wheal, dining, and shopping.

The beaches at San Francisco attract visitors from all over. 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.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Hiking?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for the nearby hiking options. However, Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.

People visit San Francisco specifically for its hiking, as the natural beauty is well-known. 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.

Santa Monica is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in San Francisco or Santa Monica?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its shopping opportunities. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in San Francisco make it a world-class shopping destination. 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 Monica. It's easy to pass the time shopping in Santa Monica. There are independent vendors, fashion boutiques, and art galleries. Head to Montana Avenue or Main Street for some of the best shopping.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Families?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco and Santa Monica are both fantastic destinations for the whole family.

San Francisco is an amazing family-friendly coastal city to visit. 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.

Santa Monica is an extremely popular coastal city to visit for families. Many families spend their days hanging out on the beaches, soaking up the sun, and even trying to surf. There's a boardwalk as well as bike paths that are perfect for people watching. You should also check out the Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, which is a thrilling amusement park.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Couples?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco and Santa Monica are both very good 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. There are also many scenic walks and breathtaking views that couples can appreciate.

Santa Monica is a very popular place to visit for couples. Fun days on the beach, peaceful walks at sunset, and a wild nightlife scene make this the perfect couples destination for couples who enjoy activity and excitement.


Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is notable for backpackers. Also, Santa Monica is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

San Francisco is a great coastal city to visit for backpackers. 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.

Santa Monica is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There's no shortage of activities in the area, whether you're into surfing, partying, or sunbathing. There's also at least one hostel that's great for budget travelers and backpackers.

Is San Francisco or Santa Monica Better for Students?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is notable for students. However, Santa Monica is not popular with students.

San Francisco is a very popular coastal city for students and younger travelers. 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.

Santa Monica is not popular with students.

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

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco is an amazing coastal city to visit for its public transit. However, Santa Monica does not have public transit.

Public transit in San Francisco is top-notch. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Santa Monica does not have public transit. The Metro E Line connects the city to downtown Los Angeles. There's also the Big Blue Bus as well the Santa Monica Circuit, which are small electric carts that offer free rides between Wilshire Boulevard and Marine Street, and from the ocean to Fifth Street.


Is San Francisco or Santa Monica a more walkable city?

San Francisco
Santa Monica

San Francisco and Santa Monica are very good 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 Monica is very walkable. The city is very walkable, particularly in the more touristy areas.

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

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

How long in San Francisco or Santa Monica?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both San Francisco and Santa Monica. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in San Francisco than in Santa Monica. Usually, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for San Francisco, and 1-3 days is enough time in Santa Monica.

Families should spend more time in San Francisco than Santa Monica. 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 Santa Monica. 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 Santa Monica 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 Santa Monica? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Francisco 3-7 
    Santa Monica 1-3

One day in San Francisco or Santa Monica?

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the funfilled destination of Santa Monica. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Santa Monica?

San Francisco is a fun place to experience. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santa Monica. Most people come for the beaches. Don't miss the beaches, as that's what most people do. 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 Santa Monica?

Each neighborhood in San Francisco has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Plenty of people spend five days in the area when traveling. So, five days is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the lively destination of Santa Monica. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. This 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 Santa Monica?

San Francisco is a popular place to visit. Many people spend one week here. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find food and shopping around the town of Santa Monica. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. 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, Santa Monica 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 Santa Monica is $210. 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 Santa Monica in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Francisco $130
    Santa Monica $123
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Francisco $260
    Santa Monica $246
Compare Hotels in San Francisco and Santa Monica

Looking for a hotel in San Francisco or Santa Monica? 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 Santa Monica


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 Santa Monica Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Francisco $16
    Santa Monica $50
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:

  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco Airport to City: $35
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to Oakland - Arrival Private Transfer: $44
  • Transfer in private vehicle from San Francisco City to Airport: $55
  • San Francisco to Oakland Airport (OAK) Private Departure Transfer: $64
  • San Francisco Airport to San Francisco Private Arrival Transfer: $79
  • San Francisco to San Francisco Airport Private Departure Transfer: $79
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) Private Round trip Transfer: $85
  • Private Airport Transfer: San Francisco to SF International Airport (SFO): $108
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Airport SFO to San Francisco in Business Car: $109
  • Private Transfer from San Francisco to Airport SFO in Business Car: $109
  • San Francisco Airport (SFO) to San Francisco - Arrival Private Transfer: $111
  • Private Transfer from San Francisco to SFO : $125

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $80
  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport Departure Private Transfer: $74

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

Prices for flights to both Santa Monica 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
    Santa Monica $52

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
  • San Francisco Chinatown Food Tour: $89
  • San Francisco Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $89
  • Chinatown: Tea & Dim Sum Food Tour in San Francisco: $99
  • San Francisco Signature Dinner Cruise: $104
  • Mission District Food Tour: Appetizers, Entrée and Dessert: $115
  • San Francisco Premier Dinner Dance Cruise: $132
  • Mission 18th Street San Francisco Food Tour: $150
  • San Francisco Food Tour with a Local: A Feast for Foodies 100% Personalized: $161
  • San Francisco Combo: Ferry Building Food Tour and Alcatraz: $174
  • Paella and Tapas Cooking Class in San Francisco: $193
  • Private Food Tour of the Mission District - San Francisco: $240

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

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

  • Los Angeles Premier Dinner Cruise from Marina del Rey: $124

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Francisco $46
    Santa Monica $38

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • Historical San Anselmo: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.24
  • Chinatown Warrior Cat Quest Experience in San Francisco: $5.72
  • Self Guided Chinatown Tour: Food, History and Culture: $5.99
  • Walk the Haight: A Self-Guided Audio Tour of SF’s Hippie Counterculture: $6.47
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco Haunted Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • The Secrets of Golden Gate Park: A San Francisco Chronicle Self-Guided Tour: $7.99
  • Unfolding the Financial District: A San Francisco Chronicle Self-Guided Tour: $7.99
  • San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Private 1-Hour Walking Tour: $9.00
  • San Francisco (District 3) Scavenger Hunt and Self Guided Tour: $14
  • The Flyer San Francisco Admission Ticket: $14
  • SkyStar Wheel Ticket in San Francisco: $18
  • Exploratorium Admission Ticket - After Dark Thursday Evenings (ages 18+): $20

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

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

  • 2 Hour Sailing Adventure From Marina Del Rey: $160
  • 3-Hour Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Guided Tour : $72
  • 5.5-Hour Exclusive Malibu Stars Homes & Beautiful Beach Tour: $89
  • City Tour of Los Angeles from Torrance and El Segundo: $122
  • Dolphin Sighting Sunset Tour: $90
  • Explore Malibu's Coast: PCH & Beyond - Self Guided Audio Tour: $30
  • Karaoke Boat Cruise ( Drinks included) LA's best attraction: $149
  • LA & Self-Guided Aerospace Legacy Audio Tour: $30
  • LA: Santa Monica & Venice Beach Guided Bike or eBike Tour: $72
  • Los Angeles Must-See Tour - Filming Locations, Crime Scenes, Celebrity Homes: $197
  • Los Angeles Premier Brunch Cruise from Marina del Rey: $95
  • Los Angeles, Hollywood, & Beverly Hills Highlights Tour: $166

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
    Santa Monica $21

Sample the Local Flavors in San Francisco

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

  • Private Self Guided Tour and Bar Crawl in Chinatown San Francisco: $5.00
  • Sunset Distillery with Local Whiskey or Cocktail Tasting: $40
  • Walk with Spirits: A Haunted Pub Crawl in San Francisco: $45
  • 2 to 3 Hour Bar Crawl in Castro San Francisco: $49
  • Small Group: Ultimate Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour from San Francisco: $119
  • Alcatraz and Sausalito California Wine Tasting Experience: $150
  • Muir Woods with Napa & Sonoma Wine Tour: $189
  • 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour & Napa Valley Wine Tour: $199
  • Full-Day Private Sonoma Valley Wine Tour from San Francisco: $222
  • Russian River Weekend Wine Tasting & Gourmet Lunch: $234
  • Sausalito Food and Wine Tour: $235
  • Sustainable Wine and Distillery Tour with Lunch: $250

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Monica

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

  • Private Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $195


When comparing the travel costs between San Francisco and Santa Monica, we can see that San Francisco 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.

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 Santa Monica Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, San Francisco or Santa Monica?

San Francisco has a larger population, and is about 8 times larger than the population of Santa Monica. When comparing the sizes of San Francisco and Santa Monica, 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 San Francisco or Santa Monica?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit San Francisco or Santa Monica in the Summer?

Both Santa Monica and San Francisco during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to San Francisco in the summer for the beaches, the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, most visitors come to Santa Monica for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In July, San Francisco is generally cooler than Santa Monica. Daily temperatures in San Francisco average around 63°F (17°C), and Santa Monica fluctuates around 70°F (21°C).

San Francisco usually gets more rain in July than Santa Monica. San Francisco gets 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0 inches (0 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C) 
    Santa Monica 70°F (21°C)

Should I visit San Francisco or Santa Monica in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both San Francisco and Santa Monica. Most visitors come to San Francisco for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Furthermore, the autumn months attract visitors to Santa Monica because of the shopping scene.

San Francisco is cooler than Santa Monica in the autumn. The daily temperature in San Francisco averages around 63°F (17°C) in October, and Santa Monica fluctuates around 67°F (20°C).

In October, San Francisco usually receives more rain than Santa Monica. San Francisco gets 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.2 inches (6 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    San Francisco 63°F (17°C) 
    Santa Monica 67°F (20°C)

Should I visit San Francisco or Santa Monica in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to San Francisco as well as Santa Monica. The winter months attract visitors to San Francisco because of the museums, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine. Additionally, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Santa Monica this time of year.

In the winter, San Francisco is cooler than Santa Monica. Typically, the winter temperatures in San Francisco in January average around 50°F (10°C), and Santa Monica averages at about 57°F (14°C).

San Francisco usually gets more rain in January than Santa Monica. San Francisco gets 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.7 inches (17 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    San Francisco 50°F (10°C) 
    Santa Monica 57°F (14°C)

Should I visit San Francisco or Santa Monica in the Spring?

Both Santa Monica and San Francisco are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty are the main draw to San Francisco this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Santa Monica for the beaches.

In April, San Francisco is generally cooler than Santa Monica. Daily temperatures in San Francisco average around 58°F (14°C), and Santa Monica fluctuates around 61°F (16°C).

In April, San Francisco usually receives more rain than Santa Monica. San Francisco gets 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain, while Santa Monica receives 0.2 inches (4 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    San Francisco 58°F (14°C) 
    Santa Monica 61°F (16°C)

Typical Weather for Santa Monica and San Francisco

San Francisco Santa Monica
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 50°F (10°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 57°F (14°C) 0.7 inches (17 mm)
Feb 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 58°F (15°C) 0.9 inches (24 mm)
Mar 56°F (13°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 58°F (15°C) 0.4 inches (10 mm)
Apr 58°F (14°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm) 61°F (16°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm)
May 60°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm) 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Jun 62°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm) 66°F (19°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm) 71°F (22°C) 0 inches (0 mm)
Sep 66°F (19°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm) 67°F (20°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm)
Nov 57°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 62°F (17°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Dec 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 58°F (14°C) 0.6 inches (15 mm)