A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Austin vs. Chicago for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Austin or Chicago?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Austin or Chicago, 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.

Austin

Austin is a lively, entrepreneurial, and eccentric city. With a variety of activities, it's a big city. This is a very beautiful destination, too. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Chicago

Chicago is a vibrant, multicultural, and edgey city. It's an amazing and huge city with tons of activities and things to do. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for live music, food, and beaches.

Austin and Chicago: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Cons
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Public transit not as usable
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good music scene
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Very walkable
  • Big city activities


How is Austin different from Chicago?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Museums and Historical Sights?

Austin
Chicago

Head to Chicago if you're looking for good museums or notable landmarks, as it has more to offer than Austin.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Chicago that are not to be missed. Some of the most famous are the Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry. Notable landmarks include the famous Willis Tower - formerly the Sears Tower, Buckingham Fountain, and the iconic Cloud Gate (the bean).

Austin offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Austin has a number of great museums and sights including the Blanton Museum of Art, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. There's also a huge supply of local art galleries.


Is Austin or Chicago Better for Food?

Austin
Chicago

Foodies will find both Austin and Chicago both to be unique destinations.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Austin is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. There is amazing Texas barbecue, excellent Mexican food, and diverse food trucks.

Many restaurants in Chicago have been singled out for their culinary prowess. While you're in town you have to try the famous deep dish pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, and Italian beef.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Nightlife?

Austin
Chicago

It's hard to distinguish whether Austin or Chicago has a better nightlife scene.

People head to Austin just to party. Head for Sixth Street for some of the most popular bars and clubs. Popular bars and clubs include the White Horse, the Rose Room, and Antone's Nightclub.

The nightlife in Chicago is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. Popular bars and clubs include the Smart Bar, Beauty Bar, and Le Nocturne.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Music?

Austin
Chicago

Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Austin or Chicago.

Austin is a world class music destination. Music is what gives this city its character. There are many live music venues, concerts, and music festivals to experience.

With so many music venues, you're guaranteed a show any night of the week in Chicago. The city is the birthplace of such interesting styles as modern gospel and the Chicago style blues.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Shopping?

Austin
Chicago

Chicago usually beats out Austin for shopping.

Chicago is a famous shopping destination with plenty of stores. The most famous shopping area is Michigan Avenue and the famous Magnificent Mile.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Austin. There are a number of local boutiques around town where you can enjoy shopping.


Is Austin or Chicago Better for Families?

Austin
Chicago

Austin and Chicago are both fun destinations for the whole family.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Austin. The city is a popular destination for young travelers, but there are also some family friendly activities like Barton Springs, Zilker Park, and several natural swimming holes.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Chicago is very family-friendly. The city has a large number of activities for kids, including zoos, Shedd Aquarium, impressive children's museums, and large and elaborate playgrounds in Millennium Park.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Couples?

Austin
Chicago

Austin and Chicago are both fun to visit as a couple.

Austin is a nice destination for couples. Young couples will enjoy the city for its lively nightlife, fun music scene, and youthful vibe.

Chicago makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy exploring the city's vibrant theater scene and diverse neighborhoods.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Austin
Chicago

Austin and Chicago are comparable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Austin is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Although the city is relatively small, it does see a disproportionate number of backpackers. There are a couple of hostels in town as well.

It's common for backpackers to visit Chicago. The city doesn't have a huge backpacker vibe, but it does have a number of hostels that help keep costs in check.

Is Austin or Chicago Better for Students?

Austin
Chicago

Austin and Chicago are comparable places to visit for students.

Austin is a great city to visit as a student. The city has a huge university, the University of Texas at Austin, and it is a young city with tons for international students to experience and enjoy.

Chicago is a very popular city for students. The city has a large number of universities that bring in students from around the country and around the globe.


Is Austin or Chicago Better for Public Transit?

Austin
Chicago

Chicago provides more public transit options than Austin.

With a huge network, the transit system in Chicago can get you around easily. There's a subway (the "L"), a commuter well, as well as buses and countless taxis available.

Public transit is quite limited in Austin.

Is Austin or Chicago a more walkable city?

Austin
Chicago

Chicago is generally more walkable than Austin.

Chicago is very walkable. The city has many restaurants, sights, and hotels that are easily accessible on foot.

Austin is not a very walkable city. The city, like most southern cities, isn't very walkable and it's important to have a car to get around.

Should I spend more time in Chicago or Austin?

How long in Austin or Chicago?

In either Austin or Chicago, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Chicago than Austin because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Austin is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Chicago is 3-5 days.


  • How many days in Austin or Chicago? Ideal Length of Stay
    Austin 2-3 
    Chicago 3-5

One day in Austin or Chicago?

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

Chicago is a bustling city that offers something for everyone. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Austin or Chicago?

In Austin, you'll find museums and nightlife. 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 Austin has to offer.

Chicago is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Austin or Chicago?

Austin 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.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Chicago. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Austin or Chicago?

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

Travelers enjoy the museums and theater when visiting the diverse big city of Chicago. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Which city is cheaper, Chicago or Austin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Austin is $114, while the average daily cost in Chicago is $221. 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 city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Austin and Chicago in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Austin $45
    Chicago $152
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Austin $90
    Chicago $304
Compare Hotels in Austin and Chicago

Looking for a hotel in Austin or Chicago? 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 Austin


Hotels in Chicago


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: Austin Hotel Prices and Chicago Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Austin $38
    Chicago $29

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Austin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Austin:

  • Austin City to Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) - Departure Private Transfer: $93
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Arrival Private Transfer: $93
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $187
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport One Way Transfer: $69
  • Private Airport and Hotel Transfer Services in Austin: $86
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $40
  • Private Austin Transfer: Airport to Hotel: $128
  • Private Austin Transfer: Hotel to Airport: $114
  • Private Departure Transfer to Austin Bergstrom Airport AUS: $40
  • Transfer from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Austin: $109

Typical Local Transportation prices in Chicago

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Chicago:


  • Parking
    $19
  • Taxi Ride
    $10
  • Taxi from Airport
    $45

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Chicago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Chicago:

  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago City by SUV: $96
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport ORD to Chicago by Sedan Car: $79
  • Arrival Private Transfer Chicago O'Hare Airport to Chicago City by Minibus: $333
  • Chicago Airport Private Arrival Transfer by SUV: $115
  • Chicago Airport Private Arrival Transfer by Sedan: $96
  • Chicago Airport Private Departure Transfer by SUV: $115
  • Chicago Airport Private Departure Transfer by Sedan: $96
  • Chicago Airport Transfer by Private Sedan: $170
  • Chicago Airport Transfer: Midway Airport MDW to O'Hare Airport ORD in Luxury SUV: $133
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD by Luxury SUV: $119
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD in Business Car: $100
  • Chicago Airport Transfers : Chicago City to O'Hare Airport ORD in Luxury Car: $123

Is it cheaper to fly into Austin or Chicago?

Prices for flights to both Chicago and Austin 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
    Austin $28
    Chicago $37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Austin

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

  • Secret Food Tour: $90
  • Austin Food Tour by Bus with Live Band On Board: $93
  • Austin Beer and Food Tour by Bike: $97
  • Private Secret Food Tour of Downtown Austin: $103
  • East Austin Urban Farms & Brewery Food Tour by Bike: $106
  • Wood Fired Dinner Series at the Austin Winery: $159
  • Secret Food Tour of Downtown Austin w/ Private Tour Option: $221

Typical Food prices in Chicago

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Chicago:


  • Dinner for 1
    $24
  • Dinner for 3
    $118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Chicago

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

  • Traveling Spoon Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza Private Online Cooking Class: $27
  • Learn to Make Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza with a Local: $49
  • Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour: $61
  • Private Fusion Cooking Class in Downtown Chicago: $64
  • Best in Chow: Chicago River North Food Tour: $64
  • Signature Food Tour at Chicago's Navy Pier: $64
  • Skip the Line: Tommy Gun's Garage Dinner and Show Ticket: $67
  • Small-Group Chicago Food Tour: Gold Coast and Old Town: $75
  • Best of Chicago Tour Including a Deep-Dish Pizza: $75
  • River North Walking Food Tour: $75
  • Chicago's Wicker Park Food Tour: $75
  • Private Indian-Mexican Fusion Cooking Class with a Modern Cook: $78

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Austin $22
    Chicago $34
Typical Entertainment prices in Austin

Here are a few typical costs in Austin for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Austin Duck Tour
    $31

Tours and Activities in Austin

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

  • Austin Digital Private Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $11
  • Austin Trails Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $20
  • Austin Capital Photo Tour: $21
  • Double Decker Austin Single Loop Sightseeing Tour: $23
  • Family-Friendly Ghosts of Austin Tour: $25
  • Spy Adventure: Operation Mindfall: $25
  • Spy Adventure at the Domain in Austin: $25
  • Operation Mindfall, A Spy Adventure in Austin: $25
  • Austin Street Art Walking Tour: $25
  • Haunted Austin Walking History Tour: $26
  • Downtown Austin Photo Tour: $26
  • Austin and Hill Country Sightseeing Tour: $26

Typical Entertainment prices in Chicago

Here are a few typical costs in Chicago for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Sears Tower (family of 4)
    $102
  • Aquarium for 4
    $118
  • Water Taxi (family of 4)
    $22
  • IMAX Movie for Two
    $35
  • Shakespeare Play (2)
    $116
  • Art Institute (2)
    $36
  • U-Boat Tour (2)
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Chicago

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

  • A Storied Neighborhood: Dance the dialectic with Bill Ayers on an audio tour: $5.00
  • Discovering Vintage The Loop Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Millennium Park Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Chicago Riverwalk Self-Guided Walking Tour: $6.00
  • Skip the Line: American Writers Museum Admission Ticket: $14
  • Pilsen Walking Tour of Local Publicly Displayed Art: $15
  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Historic Chicago Theatre: $18
  • Chicago Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Windy City Ghost Tour: $24
  • Street Art & Mural Tours By Native 312- Wabash Arts Corridor: $25
  • In the Streets: Milwaukee Ave Guided Bike Tour: $25

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Free Things to Do in Chicago, Chicago Bucket List: The Best Places to See, and The Best Museums in Chicago.


Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Austin $23
    Chicago $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Austin

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Austin:

  • Austin Bar Hunt: Sixth Street Spree: Austin Bar Crawl: $12
  • More than a Pub Crawl: $24
  • Haunted Austin Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $27
  • Brewery Tours through East Austin via Motorized Pedicab: $40
  • Austin Pedicab Brewery Tour with Beer Flights Included Option: $46
  • The Brew Bus: Austin Brewery Tour with Live Band: $81
  • Private Texas Hill Country Half-Day Wine Tour from Austin: $140
  • Texas Hill Country Wine Tour by Limousine: $175
  • Customizable Austin Distillery and Brewery Tour: $206
  • Half-Day Brewery and Craft Beer Tour in Austin with Tastings: $240

Sample the Local Flavors in Chicago

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

  • Haunted Chicago Ghost and Pub Walking Tour: $25
  • Walking tour to Chicago dive bars: $41
  • Chicago Barrel Bus Craft Distillery Tour: $90
  • Chicago Craft Brewery Barrel Bus Tour: $90
  • Ultimate Girl's Night Out in Sparkling Wine, Photo Shoot, Burlesque: $900


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


When is the best time to visit Austin or Chicago?

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 Austin or Chicago in the Summer?

Both Chicago and Austin are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Austin for the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Chicago because of the beaches, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Austin is generally a little warmer than Chicago. Temperatures in Austin average around 87°F (30°C), and Chicago stays around 77°F (25°C).

It's quite sunny in Chicago. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Austin. Austin usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Chicago during summer. Austin gets 318 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 326 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Chicago. In July, Austin usually receives less rain than Chicago. Austin gets 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Austin 87°F (30°C) 
    Chicago 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Austin or Chicago in the Autumn?

Both Chicago and Austin during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Austin because of the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Chicago this time of year.

Austin is much warmer than Chicago in the autumn. The temperature in Austin is usually 73°F (23°C) in October, and Chicago stays around 56°F (14°C).

It's quite sunny in Austin. In the autumn, Austin often gets more sunshine than Chicago. Austin gets 214 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 195 hours of full sun.

Austin usually gets more rain in October than Chicago. Austin gets 3 inches (77 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Austin 73°F (23°C) 
    Chicago 56°F (14°C)

Should I visit Austin or Chicago in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Austin and Chicago. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Austin this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Chicago for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Chicago. In the winter, Austin is much warmer than Chicago. Typically, the winter temperatures in Austin in January are around 51°F (11°C), and Chicago is about 25°F (-4°C).

Austin usually receives more sunshine than Chicago during winter. Austin gets 163 hours of sunny skies, while Chicago receives 134 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Austin usually receives around the same amount of rain as Chicago. Austin gets 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 1.9 inches (47 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Austin 51°F (11°C) 
    Chicago 25°F (-4°C)

Should I visit Austin or Chicago in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Austin as well as Chicago. Many travelers come to Austin for the activities around the city and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Chicago in the spring for the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty.

In April, Austin is generally much warmer than Chicago. Temperatures in Austin average around 71°F (22°C), and Chicago stays around 52°F (11°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Chicago. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Austin this time of the year. In the spring, Austin often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Chicago. Austin gets 209 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Chicago receives 218 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Chicago. Austin usually gets less rain in April than Chicago. Austin gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Chicago receives 4.3 inches (108 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Austin 71°F (22°C) 
    Chicago 52°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Chicago and Austin

Austin Chicago
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 25°F (-4°C) 1.9 inches (47 mm)
Feb 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm) 29°F (-2°C) 1.4 inches (35 mm)
Mar 63°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 41°F (5°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 52°F (11°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Jun 83°F (29°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Jul 87°F (30°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Aug 87°F (31°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 76°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Sep 82°F (28°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Oct 73°F (23°C) 3 inches (77 mm) 56°F (14°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Nov 62°F (17°C) 2 inches (52 mm) 44°F (7°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Dec 54°F (12°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)


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Austin vs. Chicago Travel Comparison

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