A Travel Price Comparison for Virginia Arlington vs. Norfolk for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Backpackers

Should you visit Arlington or Norfolk?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Arlington or Norfolk, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Arlington

Arlington is a international, historical, and educational city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Norfolk

Norfolk is a authentic, blue collar, and maritime city. It's also popular because of the food, shopping, and museums.

Arlington and Norfolk: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Arlington or Norfolk?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Arlington than Norfolk. While Norfolk is larger than Arlington, Arlington has more sights and attractions for tourists. Arlington is more touristy than Norfolk and is popular for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon. Also, Arlington is famous for Arlington National Cemetery. Norfolk is well known for its naval base and military presence.

How is Arlington different from Norfolk?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

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.

Norfolk offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are some interesting museums in town like the Chrysler Museum, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the Norfolk Police and Fire Museum. You should also check out the Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin.


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

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for its restaurant scene. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

With its innovative style combined with traditional elements, Arlington makes for a great culinary experience. 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.

Norfolk has a delicious restaurant scene that relies on local flavors. You'll find a decent collection of restaurants in the downtown area. Food options include local seafood, brunch, casual eateries, and fine dining.

Is Arlington or Norfolk Better for Nightlife?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for nightlife. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for nightlife and partying.

The people in Arlington know how to have a good time. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Norfolk has a few options to choose from. Downtown is where you'll find the most busy nightlife venues. The city has great breweries, and the live music scene has taken off. There are also lounges, dance clubs, and wine bars to choose from.

Is the Shopping Better in Arlington or Norfolk?

Arlington
Norfolk

Shoppers can find a variety of notable stores in both Arlington and Norfolk.

Arlington has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. 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.

Norfolk is a great destination for shopping. There's a mix of shopping malls, local boutiques, farmer's markets, and shopping centers around town.


Is Arlington or Norfolk Better for Families?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington and Norfolk are both notable destinations for the whole family.

Arlington is a family-friendly city. 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.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Norfolk. The Norfolk Zoo is always a hit with kids. You should also visit the USS Wisconsin which offers tours, as well as the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Museum.

Is Arlington or Norfolk Better for Couples?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a popular place for romance. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for its romantic activities.

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.

Most people don't think of Norfolk as a couple's destination. There are some nice hotels and several great parks and outdoor activities.

Is Arlington or Norfolk Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for backpackers. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to 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.

Norfolk is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. This is an often overlooked area for backpackers.


Is Arlington or Norfolk Better for Students?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for students. However, Norfolk is not popular with students.

Arlington is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. There are a huge number of colleges and museums in the area as well as many great internship and educational opportunities.

Norfolk is not popular with students.

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

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a must-visit destination for its public transit. However, Norfolk is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

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.

Public transit is mostly limited in Norfolk. While there are buses, ferries, and even lightrail in the area, you really want to have a car to get around.

Is Arlington or Norfolk a more walkable city?

Arlington
Norfolk

Arlington is a great destination for its walkability. Also, Norfolk is still popular, but not quite as popular for its high level of walkability.

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

Norfolk is a somewhat walkable place. Downtown is the most walkable part of the city.


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

Should I spend more time in Norfolk or Arlington?

How long in Arlington or Norfolk?

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arlington than Norfolk 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 Arlington or Norfolk? Ideal Length of Stay
    Arlington 2-4 
    Norfolk 1-2

One day in Arlington or Norfolk?

In Arlington, you'll find nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

You'll find shopping and museums around the city of Norfolk. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Norfolk has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Arlington or Norfolk?

In Arlington, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Arlington has to offer.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the blue collar destination of Norfolk. 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.

Five days in Arlington or Norfolk?

Arlington is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the authentic city of Norfolk. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


A week in Arlington or Norfolk?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Arlington. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Arlington. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Norfolk is a popular choice for travelers. 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.


Which place is cheaper, Norfolk or Arlington?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Arlington is $264, while the average daily cost in Norfolk is $166. 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 Arlington and Norfolk in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arlington $131
    Norfolk $84
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arlington $262
    Norfolk $168
Compare Hotels in Arlington and Norfolk

Looking for a hotel in Arlington or Norfolk? 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 Arlington


Hotels in Norfolk


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: Arlington Hotel Prices and Norfolk Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arlington $49
    Norfolk $54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arlington

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

  • Ronald Reagan DCA Airport Transfers: $160

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Norfolk

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Norfolk:

  • Bamville Transportation (Private & Airport Transfers): $275

Is it cheaper to fly into Arlington or Norfolk?

Prices for flights to both Norfolk and Arlington 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
    Arlington $81
    Norfolk $49

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Norfolk

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

  • Buffet Dinner Cruise: $101
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Mother's Day Signature Dinner Cruise: $112
  • Norfolk Buffet Dinner Cruise : $140
  • Norfolk 4th of July Buffet Dinner Cruise: $182

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arlington $11
    Norfolk $14

Tours and Activities in Norfolk

Here are a few actual costs in Norfolk for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Electric Bike Rental Downtown Norfolk (self guided tour) : $60
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Norfolk with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Mother's Day Signature Brunch Cruise Norfolk: $103
  • Neon District Contemporary Art Walking Tour: $32
  • Norfolk Buffet Brunch Cruise : $84
  • Norfolk Father's Day Buffet Brunch Cruise: $103
  • Elizabeth River Candlelit Buffet Lunch Cruise: $84
  • Elizabeth River Sunday Buffet Brunch Cruise: $84
  • Virginia Zoo & Battleship Wisconsin Combo Ticket: $38
  • Skip the Line: Virginia Living Museum Admission Ticket: $22

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arlington $17
    Norfolk $10

Sample the Local Flavors in Norfolk

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Norfolk:

  • Party Bike Pub Crawl in Downtown Norfolk: $30
  • Guided Party Bike and Local Pub Crawl Tour: $30


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Arlington and Norfolk, we can see that Arlington is more expensive. And not only is Norfolk much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Norfolk would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Norfolk 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 Norfolk.

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


Which is Bigger, Arlington or Norfolk?

Norfolk has a larger population, and is about 26% larger than the population of Arlington. When comparing the sizes of Arlington and Norfolk, 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 Arlington or Norfolk?

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 Arlington or Norfolk in the Summer?

Both Norfolk and Arlington during the summer are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Arlington in the summer for the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Norfolk for the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Arlington is around the same temperature as Norfolk. Typically, the summer temperatures in Arlington in July average around 79°F (26°C), and Norfolk averages at about 79°F (26°C).

In Norfolk, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Arlington. In the summer, Arlington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk. Arlington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 279 hours of full sun.

Norfolk gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Arlington usually gets less rain in July than Norfolk. Arlington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 5.7 inches (145 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Arlington or Norfolk in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Arlington and Norfolk. Most visitors come to Arlington for the shopping scene during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Norfolk because of the shopping scene.

In October, Arlington is generally around the same temperature as Norfolk. Daily temperatures in Arlington average around 60°F (15°C), and Norfolk fluctuates around 62°F (16°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Norfolk this time of the year. Arlington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Norfolk during autumn. Arlington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 211 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Arlington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Arlington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Arlington 60°F (15°C) 
    Norfolk 62°F (16°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Norfolk in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Arlington as well as Norfolk. The winter months attract visitors to Arlington because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Norfolk this time of year.

It's quite cold in Norfolk in the winter. The weather in Arlington can be very cold. Arlington is much colder than Norfolk in the winter. The daily temperature in Arlington averages around 35°F (1°C) in January, and Norfolk fluctuates around 39°F (4°C).

In the winter, Arlington often gets less sunshine than Norfolk. Arlington gets 139 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Norfolk receives 168 hours of full sun.

Arlington usually gets less rain in January than Norfolk. Arlington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 3.3 inches (85 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Arlington 35°F (1°C) 
    Norfolk 39°F (4°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Norfolk in the Spring?

Both Norfolk and Arlington are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In the spring, Arlington is around the same temperature as Norfolk. Typically, the spring temperatures in Arlington in April average around 56°F (14°C), and Norfolk averages at about 58°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in Norfolk. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Arlington. Arlington usually receives less sunshine than Norfolk during spring. Arlington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Norfolk receives 253 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Arlington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Norfolk. Arlington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Norfolk receives 2.7 inches (69 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Arlington 56°F (14°C) 
    Norfolk 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Norfolk and Arlington

Arlington Norfolk
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 39°F (4°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 49°F (10°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 58°F (14°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.3 inches (85 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) 79°F (26°C) 5.7 inches (145 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (25°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 62°F (16°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)