A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Alexandria vs. Arlington for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Alexandria or Arlington?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Alexandria and Arlington. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Alexandria

Alexandria is a charming, quaint, and historic city. This is a charming small with plenty of activities, too. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Arlington

Arlington is a educational, international, and historical city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Alexandria and Arlington: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students


Is there more to do in Alexandria or Arlington?

Visitors will generally find more to do in Alexandria than Arlington. While Arlington is larger than Alexandria, Alexandria has more sights, attractions, and activities for tourists. Alexandria is very popular for its historical sights, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Arlington attracts visitors for its food and nightlife. Alexandria is famous for its long-running history, beautiful architecture, and small town atmosphere. It is also well known for Mount Vernon. Arlington is famous for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon.

How is Alexandria different from Arlington?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Arlington and Alexandria. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Alexandria or Arlington?

Alexandria
Arlington

You'll find a number of great museums and attractions in both Arlington and Alexandria.

Visitors can fill many days exploring the museums and attractions around Alexandria. George Washington's Mount Vernon home is an iconic destination in Alexandria. There are also many other museums in town that focus on the region's history. The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum and the Gadsby's Tavern Museum are both interesting. There's Gunston Hall and the Carlyle House, as well as an archeology museum and many historic landmarks around town.

Arlington offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Arlington National Cemetery is where you'll find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the tomb of John F. Kennedy Jr. There are many memorials around town, with the most famous being the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial. There are also several museums like the DEA Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.


Is the Food Better in Alexandria or Arlington? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Alexandria
Arlington

Arlington is great for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Alexandria is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Arlington has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. It's a global city, and the restaurants reflect that. You'll find amazing Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants. There are also less common cuisines to choose from such as Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Peruvian.

Alexandria offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The food, like the city itself, reflects the area's history. There are many southern classic dishes as well as a lot of seafood. You'll find lots of local restaurants that serve high quality dishes and a quaint atmosphere.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Nightlife?

Alexandria
Arlington

Arlington is great for its evening party scene. Also, Alexandria is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife.

Many people head to Arlington for the nightlife scene. The city has a huge young population that drives the nightlife scene. There are clubs, bars, and lounges in many neighborhoods. There are also comedy clubs and plenty of live music.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Alexandria. There's a great bar scene, as well as tons of restaurants that make for a relaxing night out.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for its Old Town?

Alexandria
Arlington

Alexandria is terrific for its historic old town charm. However, Arlington does not have a historic old town.

Alexandria has a unique history which comes to life in its historic area. At the heart of the city is the historic old town. Its lined with townhomes that date back to the 18th century. There are many historic sights that have stories from the early days of the country. There are also cobblestone streets and a great waterfront.

Arlington does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Alexandria or Arlington?

Alexandria
Arlington

Alexandria is an excellent place to visit for its shopping areas. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Alexandria. King Street is the main shopping street in town and it offers the largest concentration of independently owned boutiques in the Washington D.C. area. It's the perfectly place to spend an afternoon shopping.

Arlington is a great destination for shopping. Many neighborhoods have local shops or farmer's markets. There are also shopping centers and malls such as Ballston Quarter, The Crossing Clarendon, and The Village at Shirlington.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Families?

Alexandria
Arlington

Arlington is a good destination for its kid-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

Arlington offers lots of family activities. Kids will enjoy seeing the planes talk off from Gravelly Point park. There are also plenty of outdoor spaces and educational opportunities in the area, including world class museums.

Alexandria is not the most family-friendly destination. The waterfront area is nice to walk around. You can break up the history with an ice cream shop and kids will also enjoy taking a boat tour.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Couples?

Alexandria
Arlington

Alexandria is an excellent place to visit for couples. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Alexandria makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. The charm of the old town makes this a quaint and romantic destination. There's a waterfront area and many historic buildings. There are also romantic restaurants and plenty of places to grab brunch.

Arlington is a nice destination for couples. There's a vibrant cultural scene and many international restaurants that couples can enjoy. It's also a great place to take in a show or concert.


Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Alexandria
Arlington

Arlington is great for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Alexandria is not as popular, but is still a nice city for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Arlington. There are a couple of hostels and many free activities nearby. There's also great public transportation that makes for a convenient backpacker destination.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Alexandria. There aren't any true hostels in town, but you will find some cheap motels.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Students?

Alexandria
Arlington

Arlington is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not popular with students.

Many students visit Arlington. There are a huge number of colleges and museums in the area as well as many great internship and educational opportunities.

Alexandria is not popular with students.

Is Alexandria or Arlington Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Alexandria
Arlington

Alexandria and Arlington both offer world-class public transit to get you around.

Visitors in Alexandria can get around quickly with the extensive public transit system. DASH is the local bus system, but the city is also connected into the Washington DC metro system.

Arlington has a world-class public transit network to take passengers everywhere in the city. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.


Is Alexandria or Arlington a more walkable city?

Alexandria
Arlington

Alexandria is terrific for its ease of walking around. Also, Arlington is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its walkability.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Alexandria. It's a very easy city to walk around, particularly in the historic heart where most tourists spend their time.

Arlington is very walkable. There are many pedestrian-friendly areas around town, particularly in the neighborhoods that are concentrated around metro stations.

For even more information, also check out Is Alexandria Worth Visiting? and Is Arlington Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Arlington or Alexandria?

How long in Alexandria or Arlington?

It's fun to spend time in either Alexandria or Arlington. In our opinion, Arlington has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Arlington than Alexandria. However, 2-4 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Arlington than Alexandria. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Arlington, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Alexandria than Arlington. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Alexandria that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arlington than Alexandria 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 Arlington.


  • How many days in Alexandria or Arlington? Ideal Length of Stay
    Alexandria 2-4 
    Arlington 2-4

One day in Alexandria or Arlington?

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Alexandria. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

With museums and nightlife around the international city of Arlington, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Alexandria or Arlington?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the quaint destination of Alexandria. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Arlington, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.


Five days in Alexandria or Arlington?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the quaint city of Alexandria. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Arlington, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Alexandria or Arlington?

Alexandria is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. One week 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. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Arlington is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Which place is cheaper, Arlington or Alexandria?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Alexandria is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Arlington is $264. 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 Alexandria and Arlington in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alexandria $38
    Arlington $131
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alexandria $76
    Arlington $262
Compare Hotels in Alexandria and Arlington

Looking for a hotel in Alexandria or Arlington? 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 Alexandria


Hotels in Arlington


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: Alexandria Hotel Prices and Arlington Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Arlington $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arlington

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

  • Ronald Reagan DCA Airport Transfers: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Alexandria or Arlington?

Prices for flights to both Arlington and Alexandria 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
    Alexandria -
    Arlington $81

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Arlington $11

Tours and Activities in Alexandria

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

  • A Walk in Washington's Footsteps History Tour: $32
  • American Revolution Guided Walking Tour: $30
  • Full-Day Bike Tour to Mt Vernon w/ Optional Boat: $68
  • Phantoms of the Potomac Walking Tour: $26
  • Private Tour of George Washington's Mount Vernon: $165
  • Old Town Alexandria Tour: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Old Town Southern Comfort Food & History Tour: $127
  • Philadelphia Tour from Alexandria by Rail: $329

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alexandria -
    Arlington $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Alexandria

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

  • Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Alexandria and Arlington, we can see that Arlington is more expensive. And not only is Alexandria much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Alexandria would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Alexandria 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 Arlington would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arlington than you might in Alexandria.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Alexandria Expensive? and Is Arlington Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Alexandria or Arlington?

Arlington has a larger population, and is about 46% larger than the population of Alexandria. When comparing the sizes of Alexandria and Arlington, 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 Alexandria or Arlington?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Alexandria or Arlington in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Alexandria and Arlington. Many visitors come to Alexandria in the summer for the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Arlington for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Alexandria is around the same temperature as Arlington in the summer. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Arlington fluctuates around 79°F (26°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Arlington this time of the year. In Alexandria, it's very sunny this time of the year. Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington during summer. Alexandria gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Arlington receives 278 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of rain as Arlington. Alexandria gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Alexandria 79°F (26°C) 
    Arlington 79°F (26°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Arlington in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Alexandria as well as Arlington. Most visitors come to Alexandria for the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Arlington because of the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Alexandria is around the same temperature as Arlington. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Alexandria in October average around 60°F (15°C), and Arlington averages at about 60°F (15°C).

In the autumn, Alexandria often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington. Alexandria gets 197 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Arlington receives 197 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Arlington. Alexandria gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Alexandria 60°F (15°C) 
    Arlington 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Arlington in the Winter?

Both Arlington and Alexandria are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The winter months attract visitors to Alexandria because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Arlington this time of year.

It's quite cold in Arlington in the winter. The weather in Alexandria can be very cold. In January, Alexandria is generally around the same temperature as Arlington. Daily temperatures in Alexandria average around 35°F (1°C), and Arlington fluctuates around 35°F (1°C).

Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington during winter. Alexandria gets 139 hours of sunny skies, while Arlington receives 139 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of rain as Arlington. Alexandria gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Alexandria 35°F (1°C) 
    Arlington 35°F (1°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Arlington in the Spring?

Both Arlington and Alexandria during the spring are popular places to visit. The small town charm and the natural beauty are the main draw to Alexandria this time of year.

Alexandria is around the same temperature as Arlington in the spring. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 56°F (14°C) in April, and Arlington fluctuates around 56°F (14°C).

In Arlington, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Alexandria. In the spring, Alexandria often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Arlington. Alexandria gets 228 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Arlington receives 228 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Arlington. Alexandria gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Arlington receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Alexandria 56°F (14°C) 
    Arlington 56°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Arlington and Alexandria

Alexandria Arlington
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)