A Travel Price Comparison for Texas Austin vs. El Paso for Food, Nightlife, Attractions, and Backpackers

Should you visit Austin or El Paso?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Austin or El Paso, 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 unconventional, lively, and entrepreneurial city. It's also a big city with many activities. This is beautiful destination to visit. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

El Paso

El Paso is a laid-back, low-key, and undiscovered city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Austin and El Paso: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Austin or El Paso?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Austin than El Paso, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Austin is more touristy than El Paso and is popular for its live music scene, excellent Texas barbecue, authentic Mexican food, and vibrant student population. It is also home to The Texas Capital. El Paso is popular for its Spanish missions and its outstanding Mexican food.

How is Austin different from El Paso?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Austin or El Paso?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to Austin specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. 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. Perhaps the most notable landmark in town is the beautiful Texas Capital Building

El Paso offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Visitors can learn about local art, culture, and history at the El Paso Museum of Art, the El Paso Museum of History, the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Museum, and the Eduardo Pedregón Memorial Veterans Museum.


Is the Food Better in Austin or El Paso? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is an unbeatable place for its restaurants. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Austin has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. It is credited with being the original food truck city and you'll find many diverse food truck options around town. There is also amazing Mexican food, world renowned Texas barbecue, and many modern restaurants that reflect the city's culinary influence.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in El Paso. Mexican food and barbecue are popular around town but you'll also find burgers, pizza, and other American favorites.

Is Austin or El Paso Better for Nightlife?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is an unbeatable place for nightlife. Also, El Paso is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

The nightlife in Austin is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. It's nightlife is centered around its thriving live music scene. Head for Sixth Street for some of the most popular bars and clubs. There are also many music festivals and outdoor concerts, particularly during the summer months. Popular bars and clubs around town include the White Horse, the Rose Room, and Antone's Nightclub.

El Paso has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. There are a number of bars, nightclubs, and lounges around town where you can enjoy a fun night out.

Is Austin or El Paso Better for Music?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is an unbeatable place for live music. However, El Paso is not a live music destination.

Austin is known as a music capital around the world. Music is what gives this city its character. There are many live music venues, concerts, and music festivals to experience. Austin has influenced many music genres such as rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, punk, and country.

El Paso is not a live music destination.


Is Austin or El Paso Better for Hiking?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is a decent place to visit for its hiking trails. However, El Paso is not a hiking destination.

Austin has hiking trails if you want to get outside. Head just outside of town to explore a few great hiking spots right near town.

El Paso is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Austin or El Paso?

Austin
El Paso

Shopping is a popular activity in both El Paso and Austin.

Austin is a great destination for shopping. There are a number of local boutiques around town where you can enjoy shopping.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting El Paso. There are a number of malls and outlet centers around town. One of the most well known is Bassett Place, but other options include Cielo Vista Mall and the Fountains at Farah.

Is Austin or El Paso Better for Families?

Austin
El Paso

Austin and El Paso are both good 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. There's a number of nice parks around town that are great for kids of all ages.

El Paso offers lots of family activities. There are adventure parks, playgrounds, outdoor centers and nature activities that families can enjoy.


Is Austin or El Paso Better for Couples?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is very good for romance. However, El Paso is lacking in good options for its romantic activities.

Austin is a nice destination for couples. Young couples will enjoy the city for its lively nightlife, fun music scene, and youthful vibe. There are also many outdoor areas where you can hike or explore. The restaurant scene is among the best as well.

Most people don't think of El Paso as a couple's destination. Couples can enjoy dinner and a show or taking a romantic drive up to the overlook.

Is Austin or El Paso Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. However, El Paso is lacking in good options for backpackers.

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

El Paso is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. There's little in the area that appeals to backpackers.

Is Austin or El Paso Better for Students?

Austin
El Paso

Austin is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, El Paso is not popular with students.

Austin is very popular with students. The city has a huge university, the University of Texas at Austin, and it is a young city with tons for international students. There is a great nightlife scene and plenty for students to see and do.

El Paso is not popular with students.


Is Austin or El Paso Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Austin
El Paso

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Austin and El Paso.

Public transit is generally limited in Austin. There are city buses and a very limited lightrail system, but you really need a car to explore the city.

Public transit is mostly limited in El Paso. While there are some bus routes in town, you shouldn't rely on them and must have a private vehicle to efficiently visit the city.

Is Austin or El Paso a more walkable city?

Austin
El Paso

Austin and El Paso both are decent when exploring on foot.

Austin is generally not very walkable. The city, like most southern cities, isn't very walkable and it's important to have a car to get around. There are some downtown areas that are pedestrian-friendly.

El Paso is generally not a very walkable city. You really need a car to get around town.

For even more information, also check out Is Austin Worth Visiting? and Is El Paso Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in El Paso or Austin?

How long in Austin or El Paso?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Austin or El Paso to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Austin than El Paso because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Austin, and 1-2 days is enough time in El Paso.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Austin than El Paso 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 Austin.


  • How many days in Austin or El Paso? Ideal Length of Stay
    Austin 2-3 
    El Paso 1-2

One day in Austin or El Paso?

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.

Many travelers enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting the destination of El Paso. One day is often enough time to do most activities.


A weekend in Austin or El Paso?

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.

El Paso is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Five days in Austin or El Paso?

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 El Paso. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Austin or El Paso?

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 shopping and museums when visiting the laid-back destination of El Paso. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Walking Tours in United States of America, The Best Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, and The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, El Paso or Austin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Austin is $142, while the average daily cost in El Paso 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 Austin and El Paso in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Austin $56
    El Paso $81
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Austin $112
    El Paso $162
Compare Hotels in Austin and El Paso

Looking for a hotel in Austin or El Paso? 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 El Paso


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 El Paso Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Austin $47
    El Paso $37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Austin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Austin:

  • Private Transfer Between Airport and Hotels: $80
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $97
  • Austin Airport Group Pickup / Transfer up to 1 hour away.: $150

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Paso

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

  • El Paso Airport (ELP) to Truth or Consequences Arrival Transfer: $122
  • El Paso Airport to Truth or Consequences Round Trip Transfer: $244
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Arrival Private Transfer : $41
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP) to El Paso - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $82
  • El Paso to El Paso International Airport (ELP) - Departure Private Transfer: $41

Is it cheaper to fly into Austin or El Paso?

Prices for flights to both El Paso 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 $35
    El Paso $54

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Austin

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

  • Famous Texas BBQ & Food Tour in Austin: $89
  • Famous Texas BBQ & Food Tour in Austin: $89
  • Austin South Congress Walking Food Tour for Small Groups: $95
  • Secret Food Tour: $99
  • Austin Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • Secret Food Tour of South Congress: $109
  • The Brunch Bus: Food Tour with a Live Band on Board the Bus!: $125
  • Private Guided Food Tour of Austin Neighborhoods: $150

Typical Food Prices in El Paso

For El Paso, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Rudy's BBQ (family of 4)
    $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Austin $28
    El Paso $27
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:

  • Afternoon in Austin Segway Tour: $99
  • Austin : Private Custom Walking Tour With A Guide (Private Tour): $149
  • Austin Art & Architecture Bicycle Tour: $56
  • Austin Biker Gang E-Bike Tour: $90
  • Austin Boat Tour with Full Sun Shading Available: $84
  • Austin E-Bike Brunch Tour : $118
  • Austin E-Bike Foodie Tour : $128
  • Austin Electric Bike Tour: Let it Ride: $70
  • Austin Family Explorer Private Magical Urban Adventure Tour: $235
  • Austin Family Explorer: A Magical Urban Adventure: $460
  • Austin Famous Ghost and Bat Segway Tour: $70
  • Austin Good Vibes E-Bike Tours with Rooster: $68

Tours and Activities in El Paso

For El Paso, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Sun City Ghost Walking Tour: $26
  • Sun City Ghosts Haunted Cowboys and Outlaws Tour: $30
  • Downtown Historic Walking Tour: $120
  • UTV Adventure Tour / Rental: $249

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Austin $28
    El Paso $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Austin

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Austin:

  • Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Austin Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Austin Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $33
  • Downtown Austin Live Music Pub Crawl: $35
  • Downtown Live Music Pub Crawl: $35
  • McKinnie-Gene's Paranormal Pub Crawl: $35
  • Public Pedal Pub Tour in Austin: $39
  • Rainey Street Walking Pub Crawl and Tour: $47
  • From Texas Hill Country Brewery & Distillery Shuttle: $65
  • Private Austin Brewery Tour by Pedicab with All-Inclusive Beer Flight Option: $70
  • Speakeasy and hidden bar crawl : $104
  • Half-Day Private Texas Hill Country Wine Tour from Austin: $145


When comparing the travel costs between Austin and El Paso, we can see that El Paso is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Austin or El Paso?

Austin has a larger population, and is about 20% larger than the population of El Paso. When comparing the sizes of Austin and El Paso, 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.