A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Austin vs. Rapid City for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Austin or Rapid City?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Austin or Rapid City, 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 a big city with many activities to entertain visitors, too. This is beautiful destination to visit. Visitors also love the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Rapid City

Rapid City is a fascinating, activity-filled, and friendly city. It's also known for shopping, museums, and food.

Austin and Rapid City: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Austin or Rapid City?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Austin than Rapid City. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Austin is very popular for its food, nightlife, music, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Rapid City attracts visitors for its museums and hiking. Rapid City is more touristy than Austin and is popular for its proximity to Mount Rushmore and many other iconic parks. Austin is famous for its live music scene, excellent Texas barbecue, authentic Mexican food, and vibrant student population. It is also well known for The Texas Capital.

How is Austin different from Rapid City?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Austin
Rapid City

Rapid City is a world-class destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Austin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

Visitors will find world class museums and historical sights in Rapid City that are not to be missed. You'll find a wide variety of museums and landmarks nearby. Popular places to visit that aren't far from town include the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, the South Dakota Air & Space Museum, and the Journey Museum & Learning Center. There's also the Museum of Geology and the National Presidential Wax Museum. And of course, there's the iconic Mount Rushmore.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Austin. 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


Is the Food Better in Austin or Rapid City? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin is an unbeatable place for its restaurants. Also, Rapid City 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.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Rapid City area. You'll find local restaurants in town that serve local specialties such as chislic (grilled meat), fry bread, and walleye (a local fish.

Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Nightlife?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin is an unbeatable place for nightlife and partying. However, Rapid City is lacking in good options for its evening party scene.

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.

Rapid City is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. You'll find some places with live music and good drinks, but the city isn't really known for its nightlife scene.

Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Music?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin is an unbeatable place for its live music scene. However, Rapid City is not a live music destination.

With so many music venues, you're guaranteed a show any night of the week in Austin. 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.

Rapid City is not a live music destination.


Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Hiking?

Austin
Rapid City

Rapid City is a great destination for its hiking experiences. However, Austin is a city with minimal options for hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Rapid City. The region is filled with national parks, state parks, and natural areas with wonderful hiking trails. You don't have to travel far to get into nature and experience some of South Dakota's best natural beauty.

Many visitors include a hike while visiting Austin. Head just outside of town to explore a few great hiking spots right near town.

Is the Shopping Better in Austin or Rapid City?

Austin
Rapid City

Shopping is a popular activity in both Rapid City 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 Rapid City. Rapid City has some interesting local shops as well as larger malls and shopping centers.

Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Families?

Austin
Rapid City

Rapid City is a world-class destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Austin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Rapid City is an amazing family-friendly city to visit. Nearby national parks and outdoor activities, this is the perfect base for exploring the area with kids. Nearby you'll find the Big Thunder Gold Mine, which has tours and lets you pan for gold, and Custer State Park, which is filled with wildlife. Wall Drug is worth a stopoff, as is Dinosaur Park.

Austin offers lots of family activities. 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.


Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Couples?

Austin
Rapid City

Rapid City is a great destination for romance. Also, Austin is still popular, but not quite as popular for its romantic activities.

Couples visit Rapid City frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples will enjoy the amazing national parks in the area and the easy access to iconic landmarks like Mount Rushmore. There are many opportunities for wildlife spotting as well as great hiking trails and unique landscapes.

Austin makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. 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.

Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin and Rapid City are excellent places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers come from all over to visit Austin. Although the city is relatively small, it does see a disproportionate number of backpackers. There are a couple of hostels in town as well.

Many backpackers visit Rapid City. Backpackers will appreciate the surrounding natural beauty and the nearby national parks.

Is Austin or Rapid City Better for Students?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin is a very popular place for its student-friendly activities. However, Rapid City 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.

Rapid City is not popular with students.


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

Austin
Rapid City

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Austin and Rapid City.

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 Rapid City. While there are a few buses, this isn't a realistic option for traveling through the region.

Is Austin or Rapid City a more walkable city?

Austin
Rapid City

Austin and Rapid City both are reasonable 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.

Rapid City is generally not a very walkable city. While the downtown is walkable, most visitors use the city as a base for exploring the surrounding areas, and this requires a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Austin Worth Visiting? and Is Rapid City Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Rapid City or Austin?

How long in Austin or Rapid City?

It's fun to spend time in either Austin or Rapid City. Generally, people tend to spend more time in Rapid City due to the larger number of activities and things to do. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Austin, and 2-4 days is enough time in Rapid City.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Austin than Rapid City 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 Rapid City? Ideal Length of Stay
    Austin 2-3 
    Rapid City 2-4

One day in Austin or Rapid City?

With live music and food around the eccentric city of Austin, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Many travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the destination of Rapid City. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.


A weekend in Austin or Rapid City?

With food and shopping around the destination of Austin, there's plenty to do. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Rapid City is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. 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 Rapid City?

Austin, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Rapid City. Don't miss the museums, as that's what most people do. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Rapid City?

Austin is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the fascinating destination of Rapid City. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. 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, Rapid City 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 Rapid City is $116. 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 Rapid City in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Austin $56
    Rapid City $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Austin $112
    Rapid City $120
Compare Hotels in Austin and Rapid City

Looking for a hotel in Austin or Rapid City? 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 Rapid City


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 Rapid City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Austin $47
    Rapid City $53

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Austin or Rapid City?

Prices for flights to both Rapid City 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
    Rapid City $23

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rapid City

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

  • Roller Coaster Tickets with Dinner and Show in Rapid City: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Austin $28
    Rapid City $26
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 Rapid City

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

  • Mount Rushmore Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $15
  • Bus Tour of Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills: $133
  • Mount Rushmore and Black Hills Tour with Two Meals and a Music Variety Show: $164
  • Badlands Winter Wonderland Adventure: $239
  • Full-Day Private Sightseeing Tour in South Dakota: $275
  • NEW! Half Day Tour of the Black Hills: $289
  • Badlands Sunset and Wildlife Adventure : $289

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Austin $28
    Rapid City $6.93

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

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


Which is Bigger, Austin or Rapid City?

Austin has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Rapid City. When comparing the sizes of Austin and Rapid City, 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.