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

Should you visit Arlington or Richmond?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Arlington or Richmond, 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 educational, international, and historical city. 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 food, shopping, and museums.

Arlington and Richmond: 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 public transit
  • Home to Arlington National Cemetery
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Arlington or Richmond?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Arlington. Although Arlington and Richmond are popular destinations, Arlington has more sights and attractions for tourists. Arlington is more touristy than Richmond and is popular for its international connections, its biking and walking trails, and being the location of the Pentagon. It is also well known for Arlington National Cemetery. Richmond is famous for its cultural and historical sights.

How is Arlington different from Richmond?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Arlington
Richmond

You'll find a number of excellent museums and attractions in both Richmond and Arlington.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Arlington can be an interesting and educational experience. 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.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Richmond. 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 Arlington or Richmond? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington is notable for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Dining out in Arlington is an experience not to be missed. 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.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Richmond. 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 Arlington or Richmond Better for Nightlife?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington is notable for its evening party scene. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for nightlife.

Arlington has plenty to do after the sun goes down. 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.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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 the Shopping Better in Arlington or Richmond?

Arlington
Richmond

Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Arlington and Richmond.

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.

Richmond is a great destination for shopping. You'll find shopping malls and shopping centers around town, but there are also eclectic shopping streets and boutique outlets.


Is Arlington or Richmond Better for Families?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington and Richmond are both nice 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 Richmond. 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.

Is Arlington or Richmond Better for Couples?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington and Richmond are both nice to visit as a couple.

Arlington is a good city for couples to visit. 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.

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 Arlington or Richmond Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington is notable for backpackers. However, Richmond is a mediocre city for backpackers and budget travelers.

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

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 Arlington or Richmond Better for Students?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington is notable for students. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its student-friendly activities.

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

Plenty of students visit Richmond. There are a couple of colleges and universities in town such as Virginia Commonwealth University.

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

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington 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 Arlington can get you around easily. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.

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

Is Arlington or Richmond a more walkable city?

Arlington
Richmond

Arlington is notable for its ease of walking around. Also, Richmond is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its walkability.

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

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 Arlington Worth Visiting? and Is Richmond Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Richmond or Arlington?

How long in Arlington or Richmond?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Arlington or Richmond to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Arlington 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 Arlington, and 1-2 days is enough time in Richmond.

Families should spend more time in Arlington than Richmond. 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 Richmond. 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 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 Arlington.


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

One day in Arlington or Richmond?

The city of Arlington offers food and shopping. 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.

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

A weekend in Arlington or Richmond?

Arlington 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. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Arlington, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

You'll find museums and nightlife around the growing destination of Richmond. 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 Richmond?

Arlington 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.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the friendly city of Richmond. 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 Richmond?

Arlington is a great place to explore. 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 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Richmond 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 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 Arlington and Richmond in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arlington $131
    Richmond $101
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arlington $262
    Richmond $202
Compare Hotels in Arlington and Richmond

Looking for a hotel in Arlington 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 Arlington


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: Arlington Hotel Prices and Richmond Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arlington $49
    Richmond $72

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 Richmond

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Richmond:

  • Richmond City to Richmond Airport (RIC) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond city - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Richmond Airport (RIC) to Richmond City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $120

Is it cheaper to fly into Arlington or Richmond?

Prices for flights to both Richmond 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
    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 Walking Food Tour: $85
  • Delicious Pizza & Ice Cream Tour of Richmond: $90
  • Arts District Food Tour in Richmond: $90
  • Pizza & Ice Cream Tour: $90

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arlington $11
    Richmond $13

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: $30
  • Church Hill Segway Tour in Richmond: $80
  • Creepy Tales on Campus Ghost Tour: $30
  • 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

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

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: $29
  • Richmond Ghosts Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl : $34
  • 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 Arlington and Richmond, we can see that Arlington is more expensive. And not only is Richmond much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Richmond would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Richmond 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 Richmond.

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


Which is Bigger, Arlington or Richmond?

Richmond has a larger population, and is about 3% larger than the population of Arlington. When comparing the sizes of Arlington 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 Arlington 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 Arlington or Richmond in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Arlington as well as Richmond. Most visitors come to Arlington for the family-friendly experiences during these months. Additionally, the summer months attract visitors to Richmond because of the family-friendly experiences.

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

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Richmond. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Arlington this time of the year. In the summer, Arlington often gets less sunshine than Richmond. Arlington gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Richmond receives 305 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Richmond. Arlington usually gets less rain in July than Richmond. Arlington 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
    Arlington 79°F (26°C) 
    Richmond 78°F (26°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Richmond in the Autumn?

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

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

It's quite sunny in Richmond. Arlington usually receives less sunshine than Richmond during autumn. Arlington gets 197 hours of sunny skies, while Richmond receives 221 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Arlington usually receives less rain than Richmond. Arlington 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
    Arlington 60°F (15°C) 
    Richmond 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Richmond in the Winter?

Both Richmond and Arlington during the winter are popular places to visit. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Arlington this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Richmond for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Richmond. It's quite cold in Arlington in the winter. In January, Arlington is generally much colder than Richmond. Daily temperatures in Arlington average around 35°F (1°C), and Richmond fluctuates around 36°F (2°C).

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

Arlington usually gets less rain in January than Richmond. Arlington 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
    Arlington 35°F (1°C) 
    Richmond 36°F (2°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Richmond in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Arlington and Richmond.

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

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Richmond this time of the year. In Arlington, it's very sunny this time of the year. Arlington usually receives less sunshine than Richmond during spring. Arlington gets 228 hours of sunny skies, while Richmond receives 265 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Arlington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Richmond. Arlington 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
    Arlington 56°F (14°C) 
    Richmond 58°F (14°C)

Typical Weather for Richmond and Arlington

Arlington 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)