A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Charleston vs. Pittsburgh for Food, Couples, Attractions, and Nightlife

Should you visit Charleston or Pittsburgh?

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

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

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a under-rated, industrial, and authentic city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Charleston and Pittsburgh: 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
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
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 popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Charleston or Pittsburgh?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Charleston than Pittsburgh. While Pittsburgh is larger than Charleston, Charleston has more sights and attractions for tourists. Charleston is very popular for its food, music, resorts, beaches, historical sights, shopping, christmas markets, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Pittsburgh attracts visitors for its museums, nightlife, and big city activities. Charleston is more touristy than Pittsburgh 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. Pittsburgh is famous for its many bridges, its steel industry, and being the home of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood".

How is Charleston different from Pittsburgh?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is notable for its sights and museums. Also, Charleston is not as famous, but is still a good coastal town to visit for its museums and history.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Pittsburgh can be an interesting and educational experience. The museums range from science and nature focused, like the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, to quirky and artsy, like the Mattress Factory. The Warhol Museum is dedicated to the works of Andy Warhol and it's not to be missed. Also worth a visit is the Heinz History Center, Randyland, and the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History.

Charleston is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. 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.


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

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a must-visit destination for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Charleston is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. 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.

Pittsburgh offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The city is known for its working class roots, and the food is hearty and filling, which is great for those on a budget. Popular local dishes include pierogis, deli sandwiches, Pittsburgh salads (complete with French fries), and hotcakes.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Nightlife?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is notable for its evening party scene. Also, Charleston is not as famous, but is still a good coastal town to visit for nightlife.

Pittsburgh has plenty to do after the sun goes down. There's an active music and dance scene in town. For the best bars and clubs, head to the Strip and South Side and for live entertainment and casinos check out the North Shore.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe 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.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Music?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a nice place to visit for its music scene. However, Pittsburgh is not a live music destination.

The music scene helps keep Charleston active and fun. You can hear a number of local bands or enjoy a more widely known group at larger venues in the area.

Pittsburgh is not a live music destination.


Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Resorts?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a nice place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Pittsburgh 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.

Pittsburgh is not a resort destination.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Beaches?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is great for the beach. However, Pittsburgh is not a beach destination.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Charleston. 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.

Pittsburgh is not a beach destination.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for its Old Town?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a must-visit destination for its historic old town charm. However, Pittsburgh does not have a historic old town.

The rich history of Charleston can be explored in its historical center. 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.

Pittsburgh does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Charleston or Pittsburgh?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a must-visit destination for its shopping areas. Also, Pittsburgh 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.

Pittsburgh is a great destination for shopping. You'll find local fashion boutiques and shopping centers in the city's downtown. Other great shopping neighborhoods include Shadyside, Station Square, and Fifth Avenue Place.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Christmas?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is great for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Pittsburgh 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.

Pittsburgh does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Christmas Markets?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a nice place to visit for visiting Christmas markets. However, Pittsburgh does not offer Christmas markets.

Charleston has Christmas markets worth visiting. Marion Square hosts Christmas Markets on weekends throughout the holiday season.

Pittsburgh does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Families?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston and Pittsburgh 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.

Pittsburgh is a family-friendly coastal town. There's a surprising number of kid-friendly activities packed into this city. Check out the National Aviary or visit the popular Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. There are also kid-focused museums and science centers as well as parks and playgrounds. Also make sure you take the cable car up Duquesne Incline or enjoy a boat ride on one of the rivers as well.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Couples?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a must-visit destination for couples. However, Pittsburgh is not a good destination for romance.

Charleston has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. 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.

Pittsburgh is not the best destination for a couple to visit. There are a few good date night activities like taking river cruises, enjoying dinner and show, or going to a Pirate's game.

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh Better for Students?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is a nice place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Pittsburgh is not popular with 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.

Pittsburgh is not popular with students.


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

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a nice place to visit for its public transit. However, Charleston is a mediocre coastal town for times when you don't have a car.

Pittsburgh has a few public transit options. There are bus and lightrail options through the city's downtown. There's also the unique incline, which is an experience worth doing.

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

Is Charleston or Pittsburgh a more walkable city?

Charleston
Pittsburgh

Charleston is great for its ease of walking around. Also, Pittsburgh is not as popular, but is still a nice city 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.

Pittsburgh is somewhat walkable. Some of the attractions are spread out, but if you're willing to do a bit of walking, it's possible to get around on foot.

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

Should I spend more time in Pittsburgh or Charleston?

How long in Charleston or Pittsburgh?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Charleston and Pittsburgh. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Charleston than in Pittsburgh. Usually, 2-7 days is a good amount of time for Charleston, and 2-3 days is enough time in Pittsburgh.

Families should spend more time in Charleston than Pittsburgh. 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 Pittsburgh. 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 Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charleston 2-7 
    Pittsburgh 2-3

One day in Charleston or Pittsburgh?

With live music and food around the southern 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 authentic city of Pittsburgh, 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.


A weekend in Charleston or Pittsburgh?

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 food around the destination of Pittsburgh, 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 Pittsburgh?

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.

Pittsburgh, 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 Pittsburgh?

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.

Pittsburgh 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, Pittsburgh 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 Pittsburgh is $181. 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 Pittsburgh in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charleston $90
    Pittsburgh $106
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charleston $180
    Pittsburgh $212
Compare Hotels in Charleston and Pittsburgh

Looking for a hotel in Charleston or Pittsburgh? 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 Pittsburgh


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 Pittsburgh Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charleston $33
    Pittsburgh $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charleston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Charleston:

  • Charleston Airport to Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island -Roundtrip Private Transfer: $208
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Round-Trip 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
  • Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island to Charleston Airport –Departure Private Transfer: $104
  • Folly Beach to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $104
  • Charleston Airport (CHS) to Folly Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $104
  • Charleston Airport to Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island– Arrival Private Transfer: $104
  • Charleston city to Charleston Airport (CHS) - Departure Private Transfer: $88
  • From Boone Hall Plantation Entry with Transfers: $71
  • Private Transfer from Charleston Airport (CHS) to Charleston Port: $59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh City to Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) - Departure Private Transfer: $48
  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh hotel/address - Arrival Private Transfer: $48
  • Pittsburgh Airport (PIT) to Pittsburgh City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $96

Is it cheaper to fly into Charleston or Pittsburgh?

Prices for flights to both Pittsburgh 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
    Pittsburgh $54
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: $72
  • 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
  • 3-Hour Secret Food Tour: $110
  • Charleston Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Charleston Walking Brunch Tour With Secret Food Tours: $110
  • Downtown Charleston Food Tour: $110
  • Charleston Upper King Street Food Tour: $110
  • Small Group Food Tour – Savor the Flavors: $110

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh's Strip District Food Tour: $63

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charleston $22
    Pittsburgh $38
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: $295
  • 8pm Holy City Hauntings Tour: $33
  • 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
  • Access Tour to the Cameron House from Outer Banks: $225
  • 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

Tours and Activities in Pittsburgh

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

  • Eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $6.22
  • Pittsburgh to Logstown Settler's History: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $6.32
  • Downtown Quest Experience in Pittsburgh: $6.54
  • Entrance Ticket to AT BLAQK House Collections: $7.00
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Pittsburgh by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Pittsburg 101 Tour: $24
  • Pittsburgh Ghosts Steel City Haunted Tour: $24
  • Smartphone-Guided Tour of Downtown Pittsburgh Sights & Stories: $28
  • Discover Oakland Tour: $33
  • New! Art & Artists Tour: $33
  • Black & Ghost Tour: $33
  • Best of the Burgh Walking Tour of Pittsburgh: $33

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charleston $36
    Pittsburgh $33

Sample the Local Flavors in Charleston

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

  • Charleston Women and Wine Tour: $18
  • Women and Wine Tour: $18
  • Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Guided Pub Crawl and Haunted History Tour: $30
  • Charleston Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $34
  • Bay Street Bastards Pub Crawl Shared Tour in Charleston : $35
  • Speakeasy Sagas Prohibition Pub Crawl: $35
  • Historic District Haunted Pub Crawl Tour: $36
  • Wadmalaw Island Wine Tasting and Tea Garden Trip: $135

Sample the Local Flavors in Pittsburgh

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

  • Pittsburgh Bar Hunt: Party Through Pittsburgh Bar Crawl: $13
  • Wigle Whiskey Rebellion Distillery Tour: $22
  • New! Beers in the Burgh: Pittsburgh Brewery Walk: $50
  • Pittsburgh Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105


When comparing the travel costs between Charleston and Pittsburgh, we can see that Pittsburgh 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 Charleston Expensive? and Is Pittsburgh Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Charleston or Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Charleston. When comparing the sizes of Charleston and Pittsburgh, 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.