A Travel Price Comparison for California Santa Monica vs. Sonoma for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santa Monica or Sonoma?

Should I visit Santa Monica or Sonoma? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Santa Monica

When it comes to visiting Los Angeles, Santa Monica is high on the must-see-and-do list. Chances are you'll recognize the iconic ferris wheel from Pacific Park in films and TV shows, and nothing beats the relaxed yet bustling vibe of this laid-back city.

Santa Monica is a popular and diverse beach town, cultural hub, fitness venue, shopping district, and neighborhood full of unique and trendy restaurants, all rolled into one. Visited by more than 6 million people a year, it's no wonder you'll always find a crowd there.

So whether you're up for a high-end shopping spree, bicycling down the waterfront, an eclectic food crawl or simply a stroll down the promenade, Santa Monica is sure to have something in store for you.

The weather in Santa Monica is moderate, with average summer highs in the low to mid 70s and winter climate that rests comfortably around the low 50s. Though flip flops and sandals are considered year-round footwear in Los Angeles, bring comfortable walking shoes for browsing galleries, malls, and boutiques. Santa Monica is the perfect place to break out your California-casual wardrobe.

Sonoma

When people say Sonoma, they are often referring to the region's wine country, but in fact, Sonoma is a county, a valley, and a town. The county covers 1,768 square miles and is more spread out than nearby Napa. There are more than 30 cities and towns in the county and 425 wineries with tasting rooms. The county also borders the Pacific Ocean, and the beautiful 55 mile stretch of coastline is rugged and dramatic.

Which city is cheaper, Sonoma or Santa Monica?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Monica is $168, while the average daily cost in Sonoma is $176. 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Santa Monica and Sonoma in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $98. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Santa Monica the cost is $196 on average.

Travelers usually pay around $148 for a double occupancy room in Sonoma If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Monica $98
    Sonoma $74
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Monica $196
    Sonoma $148

Food

On average, meal and food prices in Santa Monica cost around $42 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $17.

Food in Sonoma costs travelers about $45 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Monica $42
    Sonoma $45

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Monica

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

  • Taste of Santa Monica Walking Food Tour: $84

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sonoma

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

  • Wine Country Food Tours. Sightseeing to various local artisanal food producers: $462

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Santa Monica is $40 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

Sonoma's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $107 per person, per day on transportation in Sonoma.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Monica $40
    Sonoma $107

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Monica

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Monica:

  • Malibu or Pacific Palisades Private Transfer To Los Angeles.: $115
  • Santa Monica to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Deparure Private Transfer: $113
  • Private Transfer From Santa Monica Area To Los Angeles Airport (LAX).: $79
  • Santa Monica to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) - Departure Private Transfer: $61

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sonoma

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

  • Private transfer from SFO to Sonoma: $215
  • Private transfer from Sonoma to SFO: $215

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Monica or Sonoma?

Prices for flights to both Sonoma and Santa Monica 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.





Entertainment

Santa Monica's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $30 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Sonoma can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $13 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Monica $30
    Sonoma $13

Tours and Activities in Santa Monica

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

  • 5-Hour Limo Tour with Open Bar: $266
  • Bvc 02 -half Day Tour Santa Monica.: $45
  • Deluxe 6-Hour Los Angeles Private Limo Tour: $773
  • Experience a beach séance with a medium in Santa Monica: $48
  • Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach: $53
  • Half-Day Private Gas-Powered Scooter Tour in Los Angeles: $70
  • Half-Day Private Gas-Powered Skateboard Tour in Los Angeles: $85
  • Half-Day Private Tour in California by Gas-Powered Bicycle: $90
  • Las Vegas 2 Day Tour from Los Angeles Santa Monica Venice and Marina Del Rey: $147
  • Malibu Celebrity Homes Tour: $55
  • Malibu Wineries Private Tour: $532
  • Perfect 5 ½ Hour LA & Hollywood Tour from Santa Monica: $89

Tours and Activities in Sonoma

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

  • Sonoma Valley Wine Buyer's Picnic Tour: $125
  • Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Sonoma Valley: $130
  • Sonoma Food and Wine Private Group Tour: $138
  • #1 Private Walking Food, Wine & History Tour: $139
  • Sonoma County Wine Segway Tour: $151
  • Behind-the-Scenes Food and Wine E-Bike or Regular Bike Tour: $151
  • Sonoma Valley Full-Day Pedal Assist Bike Tour with Lunch - (Reg. Bike Optional): $151
  • All-Inclusive Sonoma Wine and Picnic Tour: $198
  • Rides by me, Sonoma Sidecar Wine-Tasting tours: $220
  • Pt. Reyes Food and Farm Tour with Lunch: $225
  • 6 Hour Private Wine Sonoma Tours Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passengers Van: $499

Alcohol

The average person spends about $17 on alcoholic beverages in Santa Monica per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Sonoma, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $33.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Monica $17
    Sonoma $33

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:

  • Vintage VW Hippie Tour to Malibu with wine tasting: $148

Sample the Local Flavors in Sonoma

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

  • 2-Hour Private Guided E-Trike Wine Tour at Sonoma: $80
  • Sonoma County Wine Tasting Tour: $103
  • #1 Small Group Sonoma Walking Food and Wine Tour: $105
  • All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch: $198
  • Private Sonoma and Napa Wine Tour Including Custom Concierge: $225
  • Wine Tours: $513
  • 6 Hour Napa or Sonoma Wine Tour in Private Limousine: $675
  • 8-Hour Private Wine Tour Experience for up to 6 Guests - San Francisco to Sonoma: $680
  • 8 Hour Napa or Sonoma Wine Tour in Private Limousine: $875


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

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Santa Monica vs. Sonoma Travel Comparison

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