A Travel Price Comparison for South Carolina Charleston vs. Greenville for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Charleston or Greenville?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Charleston or Greenville, 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.

Charleston

Charleston is a picturesque, charming, and southern coastal town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As it offers a special and quaint atmosphere, visitors come from all over to experience this destination. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and live music.

Greenville

Greenville is a hospitable, southern, and welcoming city. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and shopping.

Charleston and Greenville: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Charleston or Greenville?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Charleston than Greenville. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Charleston is more touristy than Greenville and is popular for its historic city market, low-country cuisine, Civil War history, and antebellum houses. It is also well known for The Waterfront Park. Greenville is famous for its outdoor spaces and its growing arts scene.

How is Charleston different from Greenville?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Charleston or Greenville?

Charleston
Greenville

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Charleston or Greenville.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Charleston. This city is famous for its many historic churches and plantations. The plantations are open to visit and will educate you on the city's past, which is heavily involved in slavery. You can also visit Fort Sumter National Monument by boat or take a tour of the USS Yorktown.

Greenville is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Museums focus on art, history, and science. Notable museums in town include the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Upcountry History Museum, and the Sigal Music Museum.


Is the Food Better in Charleston or Greenville? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Greenville is not known for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Charleston has long been recognized as a culinary destination with great restaurants. Food lovers will enjoy the city's low country classics. There are many local restaurants in town that serve southern specialties. You can also head a bit out of the town center if you want a waterfront restaurant. Local favorites include she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

Greenville offers some easy restaurants to choose from. The food scene is growing and the farm-to-table movement is apparent here, but the city is still often overlooked by foodies in the area.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Nightlife?

Charleston
Greenville

Evening events are nice in both Charleston and Greenville.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charleston. As a college town, there are plenty of bars and nightclubs around town. There's also a lively music scene. Head to the areas near the college for the most affordable and active nightlife. Popular clubs in town include Cure Night Club, Deco Nightclub, and Mynt.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Greenville. Bars, breweries, and low key clubs are what drive the city's nightlife scene. There are both piano bars and live music venues that often lean towards the local country classics.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Music?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is very good for its music scene. However, Greenville is not a live music destination.

Music lovers will find a few good venues in Charleston. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Greenville is not a live music destination.


Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Resorts?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is very good for its luxury resorts. However, Greenville is not a resort destination.

Charleston has a few great resort options. The town has mostly hotels and bed and breakfasts in the downtown area, but nearby Kiawah Island has a number of nice resorts to choose from. Kiawah Island is particularly kid-friendly if you're looking for a family beach vacation. If you have a bit more money to spend and want something more residential, check out nearby Seabrook Island.

Greenville is not a resort destination.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Beaches?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is a great coastal town for the beach. However, Greenville is not a beach destination.

Charleston is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. The area has a number of beautiful and fun nearby beaches including Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, and Seabrook Island. Folly Beach is an active and quirky beach area, while Kiawah is more family-friendly. Seabrook is more residential and more expensive.

Greenville is not a beach destination.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for its Old Town?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is an unbeatable place for its historic old town charm. However, Greenville does not have a historic old town.

With a famous historical old-town, Charleston offers plenty to see. Charleston's downtown is one of the most charming and well preserved Old Town's in the United States. It's easy to see why it's become a world class destination.

Greenville does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Charleston or Greenville?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is an unbeatable place for its shopping areas. Also, Greenville is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many people travel to Charleston specifically to go shopping. The city is famous for its historic market in the center of town. Local goods, foods, and crafts are sold daily here. There are also many clothing and local shops throughout town, particularly along King Street, which has boutiques and high end outlets. Outside of town, stop by Tanger Outlet Mall if you want name brands at a discount price.

Greenville is a great destination for shopping. You'll find upscale shopping in the city's downtown and sprawling shopping malls in other neighborhoods. There are plenty of name brand stores where you can pick up the latest style.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Christmas?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is a great coastal town for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Greenville does not offer Christmas activities.

Charleston is a very popular destination during Christmas. During the Christmas season there are a number of festivals, light shows, and even a boat parade that everyone can enjoy.

Greenville does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Christmas Markets?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is very good for visiting Christmas markets. However, Greenville does not offer Christmas markets.

Charleston offers some nice Christmas markets. Marion Square hosts Christmas Markets on weekends throughout the holiday season.

Greenville does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Families?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston and Greenville are both nice destinations for the whole family.

Charleston is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has a number of family-friendly activities like carriage rides and boat rides. There's also an aquarium, a waterfront park, and many kid-friendly museums. The nearby beaches also make it a wonderful place to visit with kids.

Greenville is a family-friendly coastal town. There are many local families in town, so you'll find all kinds of kid-friendly activities to enjoy. Paris Mountain State Park is a popular place where everyone can run around. Falls Park on the Reedy River also has walking trails and is in the city's historic district. There's also a children's theater and plenty of playgrounds around town.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Couples?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is an unbeatable place for couples. However, Greenville is not known for romance.

For those traveling as a couple, Charleston has plenty to offer. This beautiful city is one of the most popular wedding destinations in America. It's a very romantic setting with beautiful hotels and bed and breakfasts that are perfect for couples on their honeymoon or looking for a romantic setting.

Greenville is not the best destination for a couple to visit. You can take the free trolley down Main Street and then enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants.

Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Students?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is very good for its student-friendly activities. However, Greenville is not known for students.

It's common for students to visit Charleston. The city is a college town with a young vibe that is perfect for students. There's a nice university area where you'll find cheaper places to eat and a good nightlife scene.

Greenville is a decent spot for students. Furman University has a pretty campus and is a nice place to visit.


Is Charleston or Greenville Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Charleston
Greenville

Both Charleston and Greenville offer reasonable public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Charleston. While there are some buses, you really must have a car to fully experience the entire area.

Public transit is mostly limited in Greenville. There are free trolleys that make their way around the downtown neighborhoods.

Is Charleston or Greenville a more walkable city?

Charleston
Greenville

Charleston is a great coastal town for its ease of walking around. However, Greenville is not known for its walkability.

Charleston is a very walkable destination. The downtown area is very walkable, but once you leave the historic heart, it's best to have a car.

Greenville is generally not very walkable. The downtown area is surprisingly walkable, but like most cities in the area, you need a car to make the most of your visit.

For even more information, also check out Is Charleston Worth Visiting? and Is Greenville Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Greenville or Charleston?

How long in Charleston or Greenville?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Charleston or Greenville to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Charleston than Greenville because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 2-7 days is a good amount of time for Charleston, and 1-2 days is enough time in Greenville.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Charleston than Greenville 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 Charleston.


  • How many days in Charleston or Greenville? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charleston 2-7 
    Greenville 1-2

One day in Charleston or Greenville?

With live music and food around the historic coastal town of Charleston, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

With museums and nightlife around the hospitable city of Greenville, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Greenville, one day is sufficent for most.


A weekend in Charleston or Greenville?

With food and shopping around the destination of Charleston, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town.

With nightlife and shopping around the destination of Greenville, 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.

Five days in Charleston or Greenville?

Charleston, a popular coastal town, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Visiting the old town is also a must. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this coastal town. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Greenville, 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.

A week in Charleston or Greenville?

Charleston is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have one week, this coastal town makes for a great vacation. One week should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal town has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Greenville 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.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage, The Best 2-Week Tours from San Francisco, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Los Angeles.


Which place is cheaper, Greenville or Charleston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Charleston is $170, while the average daily cost in Greenville is $0.00. 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 Charleston and Greenville in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charleston $90
    Greenville -
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charleston $180
    Greenville $0.00
Compare Hotels in Charleston and Greenville

Looking for a hotel in Charleston or Greenville? 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 Charleston


Hotels in Greenville


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: Charleston Hotel Prices and Greenville Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charleston $33
    Greenville $158

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $208
  • Charleston Airport to Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island -Roundtrip Private Transfer: $208
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Charleston city - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $175
  • Charleston Airport: One-Way Transfer to Charleston: $153
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Kiawah/Seabrook Islands – Arrival Private Transfer: $118
  • Folly Beach to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $104
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $104
  • Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island to Charleston Airport –Departure Private Transfer: $104
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Charleston city – Arrival Private Transfer: $87
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $87
  • From Boone Hall Plantation Entry with Transfers: $71
  • Private Transfer from Charleston Port to Charleston Airport (CHS): $59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Greenville

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

  • Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) to Greenville - Arrival Private Transfer: $38
  • Greenville to Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) - Departure Private Transfer: $38
  • Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) to Greenville - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or Greenville?

Prices for flights to both Greenville and Charleston 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
    Charleston $58
    Greenville $21
Typical Food Prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of dining costs in Charleston are as follows:


  • Lunch in downtown Charleston for two
    $21
  • Breakfast
    $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Sunset Blues & BBQ Dinner Cruise: $63
  • Charleston Harbor Luxury Dinner Cruise with Live Music: $88
  • Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise: $93
  • Savor the Flavors Upper King Street Food Tour: $95
  • Charleston Food Tour: $99
  • Historic Downtown Food Tour with Tastings: $99
  • Charleston Farm-to-Table Food Tour and Chef's Challenge: $109
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $110
  • Charleston Walking Brunch Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Charleston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Downtown Charleston Food Tour: $110
  • Savor the Flavors of Charleston Walking Food Tour: $110

Typical Food Prices in Greenville

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Greenville:


  • Marble Slab Creamery (for 2)
    $9.00

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charleston $22
    Greenville $25
Typical Entertainment Prices in Charleston

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Charleston are as follows:


  • Patriots Point (for 2)
    $60

Tours and Activities in Charleston

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Charleston are as follows:

  • 2 Hours Private Morris Island and River Cruise: $255
  • 1.5-Hour Charleston Harbor Cruise with Live Narration: $42
  • 2 Hours Shem Creek Safari Kayak Tour: $52
  • 2-Hour Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Charleston: $54
  • 300 Years of War and Peacetime in A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • 90-Minute Charleston City Sightseeing Bus Tour : $37
  • Afternoon Schooner Sightseeing Dolphin Cruise on Charleston Harbor: $56
  • An Amazing Guided Ghost Tour: $30
  • Boone Hall Plantation Admission & Tour with Transportation from Charleston: $78
  • Boone Hall Plantation All-Access Admission Ticket: $28
  • Bruce Knows Charleston Walking Tour: $30
  • Charleston Bird Watching Tour : $45

Tours and Activities in Greenville

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

  • Greenville Scavenger Hunt: Greenville Adventure: $12
  • Paranormal Walking Tour in Greenville : $32
  • Greenville City Segway Tour: $69
  • Small-Group Walking Tour in Greenville with Breakfast: $72
  • Just Desserts Tour In Greenville: $72
  • Thirsty Thursdays Tour (cocktails and appetizers): $89
  • Greenville Craft Cocktail Tour: $95
  • Pedego Electric Bike Tour at Greenville: $105
  • Guided E-Bike Tour in Greenville South Carolina with Brunch: $105
  • Caesars Head & Wildcat Falls Driving Tour: $129

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charleston $36
    Greenville -

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

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

  • Women and Wine Tour: $18
  • Charleston Women and Wine Tour: $20
  • Guided Pub Crawl and Haunted History Tour: $30
  • Bay Street Bastards Pub Crawl Shared Tour in Charleston : $35
  • Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl: $35
  • Historic District Haunted Pub Crawl Tour: $40
  • Charleston Brewery District Cruise (Public Tour): $95
  • Wadmalaw Island Wine Tasting and Tea Garden Trip: $135
  • Half Day Party Bus Brewery Tour of Charleston: $140

Sample the Local Flavors in Greenville

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

  • Spooky & Haunted Paranormal Bar Crawl Downtown Greenville: $32


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

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


Which is Bigger, Charleston or Greenville?

Charleston has a larger population, and is about 74% larger than the population of Greenville. When comparing the sizes of Charleston and Greenville, 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.