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

Should you visit Alexandria or Richmond?

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 Richmond. 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. It's a very nice small town not to be missed. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Richmond

Richmond is a friendly, historical, and growing city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Alexandria and Richmond: 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
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • 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 students
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Alexandria or Richmond?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Alexandria than Richmond. While Richmond is larger than Alexandria, Alexandria has more sights and attractions for tourists. Alexandria is more touristy than Richmond and is popular for its long-running history, beautiful architecture, and small town atmosphere. It is also well known for Mount Vernon. Richmond is famous for its cultural and historical sights.

How is Alexandria different from Richmond?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Richmond 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 Richmond?

Alexandria
Richmond

You'll find a number of high quality museums and attractions in both Richmond 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.

Richmond offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The city has a long history which you can learn about at one of the many museums. There's the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, and the Black History Museum. There are also landmarks and historical homes.


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

Alexandria
Richmond

Dining out at restaurants in both Alexandria and Richmond can be an enjoyable experience.

Alexandria is becoming an appealing option for foodies. 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.

Richmond offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The food scene has been growing around town, and there are food halls and local restaurants that serve diverse and interesting dishes. You'll find Indian, Asian, and European restaurants in addition to local classics.

Is Alexandria or Richmond Better for Nightlife?

Alexandria
Richmond

The vibe at night is nice in both Alexandria and Richmond.

If you're looking for night time activities Alexandria has a few options to choose from. There's a great bar scene, as well as tons of restaurants that make for a relaxing night out.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Richmond. You'll find diverse bars and clubs around town. Pubs are usually laid back with a relaxed atmosphere. You'll also find live music that includes bluegrass, country, and jazz.

Is Alexandria or Richmond Better for its Old Town?

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is a world-class destination for its historic old town charm. However, Richmond does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Alexandria is revered around the world. 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.

Richmond does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Alexandria or Richmond?

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is notable for its shopping areas. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity 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.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Richmond. You'll find shopping malls and shopping centers around town, but there are also eclectic shopping streets and boutique outlets.

Is Alexandria or Richmond Better for Families?

Alexandria
Richmond

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

Richmond offers lots of family activities. The Children's Museum of Richmond offers hands-on exhibits that will keep young ones entertained. Another fun option is the Science Museum of Virginia. The city also has parks and outdoor places to explore as well as playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants.

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 Richmond Better for Couples?

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is notable for couples. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Alexandria is a very popular place to visit for couples. 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.

Richmond is a nice destination for couples. Kayaking or tubing on the James River is a great activity for couples. There are also museums and many restaurants that are perfect for a date night.


Is Alexandria or Richmond Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is very good for backpackers. However, Richmond is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

Alexandria is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There aren't any true hostels in town, but you will find some cheap motels.

Richmond is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's not a popular backpacker destination, and most people breeze through town.

Is Alexandria or Richmond Better for Students?

Alexandria
Richmond

Richmond is a good destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Alexandria is not popular with students.

It's common for students to visit Richmond. There are a couple of colleges and universities in town such as Virginia Commonwealth University.

Alexandria is not popular with students.

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

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is a world-class destination for its public transit. However, Richmond is a mediocre city for times when you don't have a car.

With a huge network, the transit system in Alexandria can get you around easily. DASH is the local bus system, but the city is also connected into the Washington DC metro system.

Public transit is mostly limited in Richmond. There are buses around town, but the availability and reliability is limited.


Is Alexandria or Richmond a more walkable city?

Alexandria
Richmond

Alexandria is a world-class destination for its ease of walking around. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its walkability.

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

Richmond is somewhat walkable. There are some walkable neighborhoods such as the Fan and Museum District, but most people prefer to get around by car.

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

Should I spend more time in Richmond or Alexandria?

How long in Alexandria or Richmond?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Alexandria or Richmond to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Alexandria than Richmond because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Alexandria, and 1-2 days is enough time in Richmond.

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

Couples should spend more time in Alexandria than Richmond. 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 Alexandria than Richmond 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 Alexandria.


  • How many days in Alexandria or Richmond? Ideal Length of Stay
    Alexandria 2-4 
    Richmond 1-2

One day in Alexandria or Richmond?

The beautiful city of Alexandria offers food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

With museums and nightlife around the historical city of Richmond, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Richmond, one day is sufficent for most.

A weekend in Alexandria or Richmond?

Alexandria is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Alexandria, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Richmond, 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 Richmond?

Alexandria is a popular choice for travelers. Five days 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. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Richmond, 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 Richmond?

Alexandria is a great place to explore. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This city offers something for everyone.

Richmond 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, Richmond 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 Richmond is $161. 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 Richmond in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Alexandria $38
    Richmond $101
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Alexandria $76
    Richmond $202
Compare Hotels in Alexandria and Richmond

Looking for a hotel in Alexandria or Richmond? 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 Richmond


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 Richmond Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Richmond $72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Richmond

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Richmond:

  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $73
  • Richmond City to Richmond Airport (RIC) - Departure Private Transfer: $39
  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond city - Arrival Private Transfer: $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Alexandria or Richmond?

Prices for flights to both Richmond 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 -
    Richmond $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Richmond

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

  • The Carytown Food Tour in Richmond: $80
  • Church Hill Food Tour in Richmond, VA: $80
  • Church Hill Food Tour: $80
  • Trendy Carytown Food Tour: $80
  • Arts District Food Tour in Richmond: $85
  • Arts District Walking Food Tour: $85
  • Delicious Pizza & Ice Cream Tour of Richmond: $90

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Alexandria -
    Richmond $13

Tours and Activities in Alexandria

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

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

Tours and Activities in Richmond

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

  • Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Richmond: $44
  • Church Hill Chillers Ghost Tour: $25
  • Church Hill Segway Tour in Richmond: $80
  • Discover Downtown Richmond Bike Tour: $125
  • Guided Walking Tour of Richmond: $38
  • Haunted Capitol Hill Ghost Tour: $30
  • Highlights of Hollywood Cemetery Walking Tour: $30
  • Historic Trolley Tour: $38
  • Hollywood Cemetery Segway Tour in Richmond: $76
  • Hollywood Cemetery Tour Richmond Lore and Civil War: $24
  • Phantoms of Franklin Ghost Tour: $30
  • Private Sightseeing Tour by Electric Cart in Richmond: $149

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Alexandria -
    Richmond -

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

Sample the Local Flavors in Richmond

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

  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $34
  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Drink Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl: $74
  • Richmond Craft Brewery Crawl By Junket: $74
  • Brewery Tour of Richmond, VA: $90


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Alexandria and Richmond, we can see that Richmond 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 Richmond would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Richmond 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 Richmond Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Alexandria or Richmond?

Richmond has a larger population, and is about 50% larger than the population of Alexandria. When comparing the sizes of Alexandria and Richmond, 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 Richmond?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Alexandria or Richmond in the Summer?

Both Richmond and Alexandria during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Alexandria for the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Richmond in the summer for the family-friendly experiences.

Alexandria is around the same temperature as Richmond in the summer. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 79°F (26°C) in July, and Richmond fluctuates around 78°F (26°C).

In Richmond, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Alexandria. In the summer, Alexandria often gets less sunshine than Richmond. Alexandria gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Richmond receives 305 hours of full sun.

Richmond gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Alexandria usually gets less rain in July than Richmond. Alexandria gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Richmond receives 5 inches (128 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Alexandria 79°F (26°C) 
    Richmond 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Richmond in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Alexandria and Richmond. Many visitors come to Alexandria in the autumn for the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Richmond for the shopping scene during these months.

In the autumn, Alexandria is around the same temperature as Richmond. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Alexandria in October average around 60°F (15°C), and Richmond averages at about 59°F (15°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Richmond this time of the year. Alexandria usually receives less sunshine than Richmond during autumn. Alexandria gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Richmond receives 221 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Alexandria usually receives less rain than Richmond. Alexandria gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Richmond receives 3.5 inches (90 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Alexandria 60°F (15°C) 
    Richmond 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Richmond in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Alexandria as well as Richmond. Most visitors come to Alexandria for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Richmond because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Richmond can be very cold. Alexandria can be very cold during winter. In January, Alexandria is generally much colder than Richmond. Daily temperatures in Alexandria average around 35°F (1°C), and Richmond fluctuates around 36°F (2°C).

In the winter, Alexandria often gets less sunshine than Richmond. Alexandria gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Richmond receives 169 hours of full sun.

Alexandria usually gets less rain in January than Richmond. Alexandria gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Richmond receives 3.2 inches (83 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Alexandria 35°F (1°C) 
    Richmond 36°F (2°C)

Should I visit Alexandria or Richmond in the Spring?

Both Richmond and Alexandria are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Alexandria because of the small town charm and the natural beauty.

Alexandria is around the same temperature as Richmond in the spring. The daily temperature in Alexandria averages around 56°F (14°C) in April, and Richmond fluctuates around 58°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in Richmond. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Alexandria. Alexandria usually receives less sunshine than Richmond during spring. Alexandria gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Richmond receives 265 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Alexandria usually receives around the same amount of rain as Richmond. Alexandria gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Richmond receives 3 inches (75 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Alexandria 56°F (14°C) 
    Richmond 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Richmond and Alexandria

Alexandria Richmond
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (83 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (80 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 49°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.8 inches (98 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 78°F (26°C) 5 inches (128 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4.4 inches (113 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 71°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)