San Francisco vs Los Angeles? What You Can Expect When You Visit?

Leilani Salgado
San Fran Vs LA (1)

Thinking of visiting San Francisco vs Los Angeles? Compare cities by culture, things to see, beaches, and more!

San Francisco vs Los Angeles Cultures

If you like bigger cities you will vibe with LA as it has a population of close to 4 million, meanwhile San Francisco has close to under 1 million. Los Angeles is also somewhere you would want to visit if you’re interested in breaking into Hollywood or just learning more about the entertainment culture. 

San Francisco vs Los Angeles Things To See

San Francisco’s famous landmark is The Golden Gate Bridge, Los Angeles’s famous landmark is their Hollywood sign. LA has a lot more amusement parks vs SF is closer to national parks like Yosemite and Muir Woods.

San Francisco Things To See

  •  Napa valley 
  • Outside Lands music festival
  • Redwood trees
  • Golden Gate Park
  • MOMA
  • Aquarium of the Bay

Things To See in LA

  • Griffith Park
  • The Getty Center
  • Hollywood walk of fame
  • Sunset Blvd

San Francisco vs Los Angeles Beaches

San Francisco is a lot cooler than Los Angeles in terms of weather. If you want to visit a beach in San Francisco to swim, your best bet is to visit in the summer months like June, July, or August, as visiting a beach outside of these months will be too chilly to even enjoy the beach. 

In contrast, LA is pretty much warm year-round and home to Miley Cyrus’s famous song, Malibu. If you’re looking for those so-cal beachy vibes LA definitely out beats San Fran when it comes to this. Check out these 10 must-see beaches for your next trip to LA.

San Francisco vs Los Angeles Vacation

Which is a better vacation spot, Los Angeles or San Francisco? This depends on what you want to get out of your vacation if you’re traveling as a family then you’d probably prefer to visit LA because of Disneyland, & Universal Studios. 

On the other hand, if you’re big into photography, then San Francisco may be a better choice because of its cool and retro architecture, and let’s not forget all the great shots you can take of the Golden Gate Bridge! Since SF isn’t as big as LA it also has a slightly slower lifestyle pace, for a city, meaning you can stop and chat and connect with the San Francisco locals who are very friendly, I found myself getting compliments from complete strangers while walking San Francisco streets!

If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, Sausalito is about a 30 min ride from San Francisco, where you will feel at peace and find a much more condensed community full of mom and pop shops and local restaurants. Sausalito is also slightly warmer than San Francisco despite being so close, & feels like one of those places where you go when you want to retire.

How Far San Francisco to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is about a 6-hour ride from San Francisco. Get ready to face that LA traffic if you’re planning on driving there! To put it into perspective, LA is 382 miles away from San Francisco.

San Francisco to Los Angeles by Train

Los Angeles is a 10-hour train ride from San Francisco. To get to LA from San Fran take the San Joaquins 718 line on the Amtrak for 6 hours until you get to Bakersfield, from Bakersfield make a transfer to SF5818 San Diego and ride for another 2 hours until you reach Union Station.

San Francisco to Los Angeles by Bus

Another great option to get to LA from San Francisco is to take the bus. Flixbus offers convenient and affordable travel within the US. A Flixbus ride from San Francisco to LA takes about 9 ½ hours and is only $35.

Flights From San Francisco to Los Angeles

Flights from San Francisco to LA are usually cheap, under $100 since you’re flying within the state, making it the perfect weekend trip. You can either check prices for flights from San Francisco to Los Angeles directly with your favorite US airline or use a tool like Skyscanner or Kiwi to find the cheapest prices!

San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 101

Pacific Coast Highway

Make the most out of your visit to LA by taking the scenic highway of Route 101, otherwise known as the pacific coast highway. Taking highway 101 means you can also make a stop at Big Sur on your way to LA. This incredible article lists tips for driving highway 101 from San Fran to LA along with insider tips on the best places to stop and take a break.

I am a content creator from Chicago with a passion for writing + lifestyle & travel photography. When I'm not creating content you can find me listening to podcasts on Spotify, reading, or exploring a new place. Join me on Instagram @leilani.jeanette to follow along with my adventures and read my blog!

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