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

Should you visit Arlington or Roanoke?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Arlington or Roanoke, 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. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Roanoke

Roanoke is a scenic, outdoorsy, and laid back town. It's also popular because of the hiking, shopping, and museums.

Arlington and Roanoke: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Home to Arlington National Cemetery
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Arlington or Roanoke?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Arlington than Roanoke. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Arlington is very popular for its museums, food, and nightlife, while Roanoke attracts visitors for its hiking. Arlington is more touristy than Roanoke and is known 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. Roanoke is famous for its welcoming hospitality and convenient access to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

How is Arlington different from Roanoke?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington is a great city for its historical sights. Also, Roanoke is not as popular, but is still a nice town for its sights and museums.

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.

Roanoke is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. There are several museums and sights around town such as the Living-Coral Reef Aquarium, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and the Taubman Museum of Art. There's also the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.


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

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington is a great city for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Roanoke is not known 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.

Roanoke offers some easy restaurants to choose from. There are burger joints, pizza restaurants, and plenty of other casual eateries where you can grab a quick meal.

Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Nightlife?

Arlington
Roanoke

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

The nightlife in Arlington has something for everybody. 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 Roanoke. There are local venues in the area that have drinks and often live music. You'll find jazz, country, rock, and bluegrass, particularly along Crooked Road in Franklin County.

Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Hiking?

Arlington
Roanoke

Roanoke is an excellent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, Arlington is not a hiking destination.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Roanoke. The surrounding countryside is filled with mountain hikes. The Blue Ridge Mountains are crossed by trails that take you to waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and through serene forest. McAfee Knob, Sharp Top Mountain, and Roaring Run Trail some of the best hikes in the area.

Arlington is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Arlington or Roanoke?

Arlington
Roanoke

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

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.

Roanoke is a great destination for shopping. Market Street in Downtown Roanoke is lined with local vendors, particularly at the Historic Roanoke City Market. The town also has a mall and several shopping centers.

Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Families?

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington and Roanoke 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 Roanoke. The Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with kid-friendly hiking trails and fun outdoor activities. You can visit the Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum or Smith Mountain Lake Farm. There's also Virginia Children's Theater.

Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Couples?

Arlington
Roanoke

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

Roanoke makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Staying at a quaint bed and breakfast, tucked into the beautiful mountain setting is the perfect romantic getaway. Nearby there are vineyards and wine cellars, as well as gardens, hikes, and other outdoor 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.


Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Arlington
Roanoke

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

Roanoke is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are several campgrounds in the area as well as great hiking trails.

Is Arlington or Roanoke Better for Students?

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Roanoke 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.

Roanoke is not popular with students.

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

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington is renowned for times when you don't have a car. However, Roanoke is not known for its public transit.

Arlington has a great public transit system. There is a reliable bus system around town as well as many metro connections.

Public transit is generally limited in Roanoke. There are buses as well as a free trolley service through the downtown, but you really do need a car to get most places.


Is Arlington or Roanoke a more walkable city?

Arlington
Roanoke

Arlington is a great city for its ease of walking around. However, Roanoke is not known 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.

Roanoke is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, with sidewalks and more dense development styles.

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

Should I spend more time in Roanoke or Arlington?

How long in Arlington or Roanoke?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Arlington and Roanoke. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Arlington than in Roanoke. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Arlington, and 1-3 days is enough time in Roanoke.

Families should spend more time in Arlington than Roanoke. 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.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Arlington than Roanoke 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 Roanoke? Ideal Length of Stay
    Arlington 2-4 
    Roanoke 1-3

One day in Arlington or Roanoke?

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 town of Roanoke. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Roanoke has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Arlington or Roanoke?

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 laid back destination of Roanoke. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Arlington or Roanoke?

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 shopping when visiting the outdoorsy town of Roanoke. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Arlington or Roanoke?

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.

Roanoke is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Roanoke 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 Roanoke is $164. 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 Roanoke in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arlington $131
    Roanoke $96
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arlington $262
    Roanoke $192
Compare Hotels in Arlington and Roanoke

Looking for a hotel in Arlington or Roanoke? 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 Roanoke


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 Roanoke Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arlington $49
    Roanoke $23

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 Arlington or Roanoke?

Prices for flights to both Roanoke 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
    Roanoke $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Roanoke

For Roanoke, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Roanoke Ebike Food Tour: $150

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arlington $11
    Roanoke $35

Tours and Activities in Roanoke

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

  • 3-Hour E-Bike Sightseeing and Breweries Tour in Roanoke: $98
  • Blue Ridge Parkway – Driving Audio Tour (Roanoke ↔ Afton): $12
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Roanoke to Afton) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia) Driving Tour with Audio Guide: $9.99
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia Audio Driving Tour: $9.99
  • Mountain Bike Tour from The Roanoke Star: $120
  • Roanoke Downtown Food and Cultural Tour: $78
  • Roanoke Holiday Season E-Bike Tour: $92

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arlington $17
    Roanoke $30


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

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


Which is Bigger, Arlington or Roanoke?

Arlington has a larger population, and is about 2 times larger than the population of Roanoke. When comparing the sizes of Arlington and Roanoke, 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 Roanoke?

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 Arlington or Roanoke in the Summer?

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

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

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Roanoke this time of the year. In Arlington, it's very sunny this time of the year. Arlington usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke during summer. Arlington gets 278 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 273 hours of full sun in the summer.

Roanoke receives a lot of rain in the summer. In July, Arlington usually receives less rain than Roanoke. Arlington gets 3.5 inches (88 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 4.2 inches (106 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


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

Should I visit Arlington or Roanoke in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Arlington as well as Roanoke. Most visitors come to Arlington for the shopping scene during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Roanoke because of the hiking trails and the shopping scene.

In the autumn, Arlington is around the same temperature as Roanoke. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Arlington in October average around 60°F (15°C), and Roanoke averages at about 60°F (16°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Roanoke. In the autumn, Arlington often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Roanoke. Arlington gets 197 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 210 hours of full sun.

Arlington usually gets less rain in October than Roanoke. Arlington gets 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.7 inches (94 mm) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Arlington or Roanoke in the Winter?

Both Roanoke and Arlington are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. 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 Roanoke this time of year.

It's quite cold in Roanoke in the winter. The weather in Arlington can be very cold. In January, Arlington is generally much colder than Roanoke. Daily temperatures in Arlington average around 35°F (1°C), and Roanoke fluctuates around 38°F (3°C).

Arlington usually receives less sunshine than Roanoke during winter. Arlington gets 139 hours of sunny skies, while Roanoke receives 165 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Arlington usually receives around the same amount of rain as Roanoke. Arlington gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 2.9 inches (73 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Arlington 35°F (1°C) 
    Roanoke 38°F (3°C)

Should I visit Arlington or Roanoke in the Spring?

Both Roanoke and Arlington during the spring are popular places to visit.

Arlington is cooler than Roanoke in the spring. The daily temperature in Arlington averages around 56°F (14°C) in April, and Roanoke fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

In Roanoke, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Arlington. In the spring, Arlington often gets less sunshine than Roanoke. Arlington gets 228 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Roanoke receives 246 hours of full sun.

Arlington usually gets less rain in April than Roanoke. Arlington gets 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain, while Roanoke receives 3.1 inches (79 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Arlington 56°F (14°C) 
    Roanoke 59°F (15°C)

Typical Weather for Roanoke and Arlington

Arlington Roanoke
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 35°F (1°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 38°F (3°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Feb 37°F (3°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Mar 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 50°F (10°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm)
Apr 56°F (14°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm) 59°F (15°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
May 66°F (19°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Jun 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.4 inches (88 mm)
Jul 79°F (26°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 79°F (26°C) 4.2 inches (106 mm)
Aug 78°F (26°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 78°F (26°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Sep 71°F (22°C) 3.3 inches (85 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Oct 60°F (15°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm)
Nov 50°F (10°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 51°F (11°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Dec 39°F (4°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 42°F (5°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)