A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America San Francisco vs. Yellowstone National Park for Food, Hiking, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park, 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 one-of-a-kind, scenic, and beautiful coastal city. Visitors will also find so much to do here because it's a large city with many sights and attractions. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. Other popular activities here include food, beaches, and hiking.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a unique, stunning, and breathtaking national park. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. It's also popular because of the hiking.

San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park: 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
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Old Faithful
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

Travelers will usually find more to do in San Francisco. Although San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park are popular destinations, San Francisco has more sights and attractions for tourists. San Francisco is very popular for its museums, theatre productions, food, nightlife, music, beaches, shopping, and big city activities, while Yellowstone National Park attracts visitors for its resorts. San Francisco is famous for its striking bayfront setting, stunning urban hikes, quirky personality, and reputation within the tech industry. It is also well known for The Golden Gate Bridge. Yellowstone National Park is famous for its iconic geysers, breathtaking waterfalls, world-class hikes, and diverse wildlife.

How is San Francisco different from Yellowstone National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Yellowstone National Park 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 Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is very popular for its museums and landmarks. However, Yellowstone National Park does not have museums and landmarks.

You'll find many recognizable landmarks that put San Francisco on the map. 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.

Yellowstone National Park does not have museums and landmarks.


Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Theater?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is a popular place for its shows and theatre. However, Yellowstone National Park is not a theatre destination.

With some theater and performance venues, you might want to see a show in San Francisco. The city has around a dozen theaters where you can enjoy musicals or plays.

Yellowstone National Park is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is very popular for its restaurant scene. However, Yellowstone National Park is not particularly known for its local flavors and cuisine.

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.

Yellowstone National Park offers some easy restaurants to choose from. This is a large park and there are a number of dining options available both inside and just outside of the park. Many places are seasonal so your options will be highest during the summer months. Like most national park venues, prices can be high and the quality is variable. It's recommended that you pack your own food and plan to picnic.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Nightlife?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is a popular place for its evening party scene. However, Yellowstone National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

San Francisco has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Music?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is a popular place for its music scene. However, Yellowstone National Park 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not a live music destination.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Resorts?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a great national park for its luxury resorts. However, San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Yellowstone National Park is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. It is a large national park, and there are several impressive lodges nearby. Reservations are recommended well in advance. Within the park, Old Faithful Inn, Roosevelt Lodge, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are all nice options.

San Francisco is not a resort destination.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Beaches?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is well known for the beach. However, Yellowstone National Park is not a beach destination.

San Francisco is considered a top beach destination. 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not a beach destination.


Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Hiking?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park are both places where visitors can find fantastic hiking trails.

Known for its hiking, San Francisco draws a crowd to experience the nature and the trails. 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.

Around Yellowstone National Park visitors will find world-class hiking trails. The park is huge, and there are countless hikes throughout. From short strolls to lengthy endeavors, there really is something for everyone. If you want to see the geysers, some of the best hikes are Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail, the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful Observation Point Loop, and the Lone Star Geyser Trail. For waterfalls you can check out Brink of the Lower Falls Trail, the North Rim Trail, and Fairy Falls Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is very popular for its shopping areas. However, Yellowstone National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

San Francisco is a world class destination for shoppers. 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Families?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is very popular for its family-friendly activities. Also, Yellowstone National Park is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, San Francisco is a very family-friendly destination. 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.

Yellowstone National Park is a very family-friendly destination. Kids who enjoy the outdoors and exploring new environments will appreciate a visit to this park. The geysers are fascinating for everyone and the waterfalls are breathtaking. There are ranger shows and other activities that are great for kids as well. Make sure you stop by the Visitor's Centers.


Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Couples?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park 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.

Yellowstone National Park is a very popular place to visit for couples. This park is a beautiful and romantic destination for couples who enjoy the outdoors. There are world-renowned hikes and breathtaking views. There are also lodges in the area that make for a romantic stay.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is an amazing national park to visit for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, San Francisco is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Yellowstone National Park, as it is a very popular national park for budget travelers. Backpackers will appreciate the campgrounds and affordable facilities that are found around the park. Reservations are recommended well in advance, particularly if you're hoping to stay inside the park.

Backpackers come from all over to visit San Francisco. 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.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park Better for Students?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is well known for students. However, Yellowstone National Park 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not popular with students.


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

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is very popular for its public transit. However, Yellowstone National Park is not particularly known for times when you don't have a car.

San Francisco has an effecient and thorough public transportation system which can take you anywhere in the city. The transit network includes a subway (the BART), trams, cable cars, ferries, and buses.

Public transit is quite limited in Yellowstone National Park. There is no public transportation service available in the park. There are private tour options available.

Is San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park a more walkable city?

San Francisco
Yellowstone National Park

San Francisco is well known for its ease of walking around. However, Yellowstone National Park is not particularly known for its 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.

Yellowstone National Park is not a very walkable coastal city. This is among the largest national parks and a car is an absolute must if you hope to experience the different landscapes.

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

Should I spend more time in Yellowstone National Park or San Francisco?

How long in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

Both San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, San Francisco has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in San Francisco than Yellowstone National Park. In general, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for San Francisco, and 5-7 days is enough time in Yellowstone National Park.

Families should spend more time in San Francisco than Yellowstone National Park. 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 Yellowstone National Park. 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 Yellowstone National Park 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 Yellowstone National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Francisco 3-7 
    Yellowstone National Park 5-7

One day in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco is a outdoorsy coastal city where you can fill many days. You'll find plenty of activities on the beach. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the world-famous destination of Yellowstone National Park. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. 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 Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Yellowstone National Park. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Five days in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have five days, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Because of this, five days is usually enough time for a trip here. It offers something for everyone.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the breathtaking destination of Yellowstone National Park. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This national park 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 to experience most activities.

A week in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

San Francisco is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. One week is usually enough time to experience most activities. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Many travelers enjoy the when visiting the beautiful national park of Yellowstone National Park. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling.So, one week is just the right amount of time to spend here. 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, Yellowstone National Park 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 Yellowstone National Park is $147. 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 Yellowstone National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Francisco $130
    Yellowstone National Park $74
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Francisco $260
    Yellowstone National Park $148
Compare Hotels in San Francisco and Yellowstone National Park

Looking for a hotel in San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park? 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 Yellowstone National Park


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 Yellowstone National Park Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Francisco $16
    Yellowstone National Park $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:

  • Private Transfer from SFO to San Francisco: $139
  • Arrival Private Transfer SFO Airport to San Francisco City by SUV: $245
  • Carmel 1-Way Transfer to/from San Francisco Airport: $535
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport by Sedan: $152
  • Departure Private Transfer San Francisco to SFO Airport in a SUV: $203
  • Departure Private Transfer: San Francisco to Airport SFO in Luxury SUV: $141
  • Napa Valley 1-Way Transfer to/from the San Francisco Airport: $400
  • Private Airport SUV VIP Transfer from or to SFO to Marin County: $168
  • Private Airport Transfer From SFO to Sonoma (One-way): $280
  • Private Airport Transfer from SFO to San Francisco (One-way): $110
  • Private Airport Transfer: San Francisco to SF International Airport (SFO): $107
  • Private Transfer from Airport SFO to San Francisco in Business Car: $108

Is it cheaper to fly into San Francisco or Yellowstone National Park?

Prices for flights to both Yellowstone National Park 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
    Yellowstone National Park $46

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Francisco $46
    Yellowstone National Park $34

Tours and Activities in San Francisco

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

  • San Francisco self-guided tour App - multilingual AudioGuide: $4.26
  • Golden Gate Bridge: Self-guided Tour App - Audio + Written: $5.00
  • San Francisco’s Chinatown on foot: A Self Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Leave your heart at the Wharf: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Embarcadero Self-Guided Audio Smartphone Tour: $5.99
  • Self Guided Chinatown Tour: Food, History and Culture: $5.99
  • The Ghosts of San Francisco Haunted Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • Ghosts & Hauntings Audio App Walking Tour: $6.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour of Japantown & Stories: $6.99
  • Secrets of Golden Gate Park Audio Tour: $7.99
  • San Francisco's Castro Neighborhood: Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Design in the Financial District Audio Tour: $7.99

Tours and Activities in Yellowstone National Park

Here are a few actual costs in Yellowstone National Park for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • West Thumb Geysers Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $9.99
  • 5-Day Winter Yellowstone Wildlife Tour: $3,349
  • 6-Mile Geyser Hiking Tour in Yellowstone with Lunch: $182
  • E-Bike Tours in Yellowstone National Park: $200
  • Early Morning Guided Kayak Tour: $150
  • Full-Day Guided Yellowstone Day Tour: $299
  • Grand Prismatic Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $9.99
  • Lake Yellowstone Half Day Kayak Tours Past Geothermal Features : $135
  • Lamar Valley Safari Hiking Tour with Lunch: $182
  • Self-Guided Grand Teton National Park Driving Tour: $8.99
  • Self-guided tours with Audioguide West Coast Parks U.S.: $27
  • Small-Group Sunset Kayaking Tour on Lake Yellowstone : $150

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
    Yellowstone National Park $19

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 Yellowstone National Park, we can see that San Francisco is more expensive. And not only is Yellowstone National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Yellowstone National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Yellowstone National Park 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 Yellowstone National Park.

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 Yellowstone National Park Expensive?.