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Seattle VS. San Francisco: The Best of The West

John
Posted Oct 12, 2017


Should you find yourself lucky enough to be choosing between a vacation in Seattle and San Francisco, understand that you’re attempting to differentiate between two entirely award-winning locations. Seattle reigns as the Coffee Capital of the World. The city is typified by extensive rainy bouts easily overcome by vibrant nightlife venues, iconic eateries, and world-class athletics. You’d be hard-pressed to locate another city in the entire United States with more diversified entertainment.

Then, San Francisco enters the scene. Welcome to the Golden City, known as much for its top-tier seafood selections as its Golden Gate Bridge, this home to Alcatraz, Chinatown, and Lombard Street also plays host to the Bay, arguably the finest of its kind in entire world. From cable cars to Fisherman’s Wharf, sensational Victorian architecture to AT&T Park, home of the World Series champions San Francisco Giants, this Californian gem has more than earned both its reputation and its share of respect. So which will it be? Well read our arguments on Seattle vs. San Francisco in this article to make your final decision!

1. Budget

Before traveling to any location, it’s always a wise idea to consider your vacation budget. Given man’s propensity to spend somewhat aggressively once a vacation has begun, you’d be wise to decide upon a set amount of money you are willing to part with in exchange for an award-winning getaway, and not to supersede that.

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Seattle: 4/10

Source: Wikipedia

Somewhat regrettable, Seattle is known for more than its stellar football team. The region is also marked by high prices, prices almost 80% higher than the national average. However, given its prime west coast location, this trend isn’t exactly surprising, especially when considering the fact that Seattle is both the largest city in Washington, and the largest city in the entire Pacific Northwest region of North America. you can expend to dish out roughly 129 USD per night for a hotel room, the average citywide. Notably, that is the 10th highest per-night hotel rate in the entire country. If you’re looking for discounts or lower prices of any kind anywhere in the extended Seattle region, be prepared to exit the city itself, where prices begin to drop in select suburbs.

Take a look at what kind of accommodations are available, here’s our pick of the top hotels in Seattle.

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San Francisco: 2/10

Source: Wikipedia

Suddenly, Seattle’s high prices sound like a complete steal. Hotel room prices in San Francisco have recently hit an all-time high, topping out at nearly 400 USD for a single night. Much like Seattle, however, you’re only going to experience a price drop once you exit the downtown area, as local business drive prices ever-skyward. Sure, the quality of the items and the eateries are all world-class, but be prepared to experience a distinct lightness of wallet for weeks afterward. In terms of economic feasibility, be prepared to envy those who elect to spend their vacation in Seattle.

Still skeptical about the price? Why don’t you first check out our list of the best boutique hotels and San Francisco, you might change your mind! Still not convinced? Well, why not book a vacation rental at a fraction of a price via Airbnb or VRBO.

See our full list of recommended hotels in US and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in US

2. Weather

Sure, price plays a role in your vacationing needs, but what’s a sensational getaway without sensational weather? Discover the climatic intricacies of Seattle and San Francisco.

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Seattle: 5/10

Seattle looks lovely in the rain. 💙☔💙 From Sigma Sreedharan Photography.

Posted by KOMO News on Thursday, 27 October 2016

Seattle’s weather gets a bad rap. Understandably, the city’s temperate marine climate, one characterized by wet winters and oceanic conditions, does little to ease such a reputation. However, it’s worth noting that Seattle actually receives 37 inches (93.9) of rain a year; two inches below the national average of 39 (99 cm). And though the city sports an average high temperature just below 60° Fahrenheit (15.5 °C), it also averages between 65 and 70° Fahrenheit (18.3 - 21.1 °C) for nearly half the year, ideal conditions for all things outdoors. Sure, Seattle does receive an average of 152 days of rainfall per year, but no one seems to talk about the gorgeous conditions that frequent the same region for the remainder of the year.

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San Francisco: 8/10

Looking towards San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as the sun's rays leave behind a fiery, orange glow in the sky is a...

Posted by ABC7 News on Sunday, 21 August 2016

That said, San Francisco is the clear winner in the weather category. Welcome to coastal California, home to great food and greater climatic conditions. San Francisco plays host to a warm Mediterranean climate, one that has you quickly falling in love with its mild winters and pleasant months. The sun makes its presence known early and often, and bolstered by cool Pacific Ocean currents, morning dew and fog routinely give way to picture-perfect California days. There’s a reason why so many postcard companies slap San Francisco on the covers of their products: zero inches of annual snowfall, 259 sunny days per year, and nearly 900,000 warm residents.

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3. Sightseeing

What good is an award-winning location without a bevy of sites to see and to explore? Rest assured that when it comes to either Seattle or San Francisco, you’re in for the sightseeing experience of a lifetime. With a widely diversified portfolio of sights and sounds, along with hidden gems and staple landmarks that make each respective location completely unforgettable, you’re not going to be without a good time, no matter where your feet take you!

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Seattle: 7/10

You’re not going to find a shortage of things to do or to experience in Seattle! No matter what you’re in the mood for when it comes to sights and sounds in the immediate and the extended area, you’ll find everything from the thrilling to the relaxing, the adrenaline-inducing to the rejuvenating. Take your pick, and reap the benefits of a diversified portfolio of local entertainment!

Start your Washington excursion off the right way, with a trip to those certifiable Seattle staples everyone is going to ask about. Strike iconic items like the Space Needle and Pike Place Market from your bucket list as soon as possible; not that these locations aren’t everything Seattle stands for in terms of endearing heritage and bustling excitement, but true vacations lie in discovering the out-of-the-way gems you’ll remember forever. One such well-kept Seattle secret comes to you in the form of UPS Waterfall Garden Park, a hidden oasis for those who crave a natural placebo for life’s anxiety. This secluded haven for happiness features a massive, artificial waterfall, which pumps roughly 5,000 gallons (18927.06 litres) of water every minute across massive granite boulders. The waterfall stands on the site of the original UPS headquarters, and the sound of water across stone is enough to warrant the visit.

A haven for unique sounds, sirens, and spinning dials, the Seattle Pinball Museum promises to dazzle, with its truly one-of-a-kind combination of modern, retro, and truly antique pinball selections! Marked by a nonchalant entrance, beset in the middle of Seattle’s International District, this pinball heaven exhibits, among other token attractions, a working Bally Ballerina pinball machine circa 1948. All machines are also free for the public to use and to love!

What it lacks in magnitude or massive tourist draw, Seattle more than compensates for in lovability. Sightseeing here is relatively inexpensive, and easily fosters memories set to last you a lifetime.

Going to Seattle for a special getaway with your partner? Here’s our pick on the top romantic things to do in Seattle.

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San Francisco: 9/10


Let’s be honest: very few individuals will ever frequent San Francisco without the intention to sightsee, at least briefly. Even those in the region on business will steal enough time to glance across bay waters at Alcatraz Island, or will otherwise find themselves strolling through Chinatown. Exciting and diverse, as thrilling as they are iconic, San Francisco’s landmarks prove truly marvellous, and entirely unrivalled.

More than likely, you already know the highest recommended sights in San Francisco. No journey to “San Fran” is complete without finding yourself among some of the most iconic locations not only in California, but among the entire western coastline. Ensure that you budget sufficient time for the Golden Gate Bridge and Park, as well as Alcatraz Island and Fisherman’s Wharf. Due to the popularity of population-controlled attractions like Alcatraz Island, it would be wise to ensure availability before arriving onsite.

Additionally, San Francisco comes loaded with those out-of-the-way, secretly secluded locations that make for an unforgettable California getaway. Most likely, you’ve never heard of certifiably San Francisco gems like Ina Coolbrith Park, Golden Gate Heights, and the Wave Organ. Rest assured, locals swear by these hidden treasures, landmarks as distanced from the beaten path as they are valuable to the holistic San Francisco impression.

For a one-of-a-kind artistic immersion, check out the Balmy Street Murals, a collection of high-profile, story-high murals, each of which depicts a local issue, perceived social injustice, or human rights statement. A beautiful combination of color and wordless message, the Balmy Street Murals have long inspired as silent testaments to the city’s resilience.

If you succeed in developing an authentic taste of San Francisco, you’re going to wonder how it ever gets better. The sites are world-class, the food, though expensive, is unbeatable, and the locals represent a unique flavor of local customs. Familiarize yourself with some of the biggest attractions in the Golden State, and discover what upgraded expectations feel like!

Travelling with kids? Here are 20 kid-friendly activities you can do in San Francisco! Not travelling with kids? Here are the best things you can do in San Francisco at night (if you’re over 21 that is).

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4. Food and Drink

The food and drink scene in any location can either make or break the entire venture. Fortunately, when you’re dealing with both Seattle and San Francisco, you’re going to experience two cities, each of which are in ranked consistently within the top fifty culinary cities in the entire United States! No matter where you wander, there’s delectable food and drink set to excite your palate!

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Seattle: 9/10


No matter the authority on culinary excellence, Seattle is constantly ranked within the top five US cities in terms of food and beverage offerings. This city’s capacity to get its hands on top-tier local ingredients, an acquisition bolstered by ideal growing conditions, solidifies its reputation as an absolute cornerstone of American cuisine.

Not sure where to start when it comes to Seattle’s many distinct flavors? Ask a local! They’ll likely send you in the direction of the nearest hub for fresh ingredients. Likely, that restaurant, pub, eatery, or market will include fresh apples. After all, the state of Washington is responsible for roughly 70% of America’s apple production. Any Seattle food outlet worth its weight will also sport the finest in local coffee blends, as well as craft beers, from local favorites like Maritime Pacific Brewing and Fremont Brewing.

Simply put, your Seattle restaurant won’t stay in business if at least half of your walls aren’t covered in culinary awards. With winning restaurant locations like the Whale Wins and New Luck Toy, certified food and beverage icons in their own respective rights. From the sensational seafoods of the 100 Pound Clam to the Middle Eastern vibes and unrivaled rooftop vistas that characterize Top Chef contestant Jason Stratton’s own Mbar, it’s an encounter with first-rate food and drink wherever you turn.

No culinary staple city is complete without its guilty pleasure, and for Seattle, that’s Dick’s, a burger, fries, and milkshake haven for anything and everything late night. Each location is open until 2 a.m., and sports ridiculously low prices, making for an anytime snack you simply can’t resist.

Read our article on the best restaurants in Seattle for more information.

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San Francisco: 8/10


It’s a true shame that San Francisco had to follow Seattle, because this California culinary staple is respectively brilliant in its own right. Sporting a foodie vibe entirely unique from that found in Seattle, San Francisco’s eatery scene is ripe, to say the least. As one of the foremost seafood authorities on the entire west coast, San Francisco allows locals and visitors alike to sample award-winning selections plucked straight from the depths of the Pacific. Regulars recommend favorites like the Dungeness crab, found wherever sensational seafood is sold. Add to that the bay shrimp and crusty, seasoned sourdough bread, and it’s an experience with culinary paradise.

Also home to the fortune cookie, San Francisco exhibits no shortage of culinary diversity. Across the board, this California location sports a widely diversified section of local and international favorites; amazingly, San Francisco nails each unique culinary heritage, a testament to her diversity. If you’re looking for Chinese food, you’ll likely turn up at Win Garden, where a distinct menu featuring noodle, rice, and chicken items to die for awaits.

If pub food and beer is more your speed, find yourself at any venue which serves Anchor Steam Beer, a local, liquid necessity. For all of your sweet tooth needs, frequent Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop, where tempting treats like the apple fritter are available 24 hours a day. Need more San Franciscan culinary options? Chowder at Boudin Bakery. The English Cut at the House of Prime Rib. Cracked Crab at the Swan Oyster Depot. The options remain as diverse as your interests.

Here’s our article detailing the best restaurants in San Francisco for a culinary experience which will never be forgotten!

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The result?

Seattle: 25/40

San Francisco: 27/40

By the thinnest of margins, San Francisco reigns victorious, when each of these two American classics are judged on budget, weather, sightseeing, and food and beverage options. Regardless, you’re in for the time of your life whenever you elect to take either of these two iconic cities up on their offer of authentic west coast hospitality. The affordability may run a size too small, but these cities each make up for the deficit in a big way, care of sensational sightseeing venues and award-winning food and beverage opportunities around every new turn. Where there’s authentic adventure to be found, there you will find cities like Seattle and San Francisco, so different in culture, so alike in respective likability. Unmatched opportunity awaits!

John Gallagher is an english and theology double major from San Diego, California. He currently works as the lead sports editor for the Troubadour Newspaper, and serves as the head script writer...Read more

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