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

Should you visit Charlotte or Austin?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Charlotte and Austin can help you decide which place is right for you.

Charlotte

Charlotte is a up-and-coming, growing, and evolving city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. It's also known for shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Austin

Austin is a entrepreneurial, eccentric, and unconventional city. With a variety of activities, it's a big city. This is beautiful destination to visit. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Charlotte and Austin: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
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


Is there more to do in Charlotte or Austin?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Austin. Although Charlotte and Austin are roughly the same size, Austin has more sights and attractions for tourists. Austin is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, music, hiking, and impressive beauty, while Charlotte is more popular for its big city activities. Austin is more touristy than Charlotte and is popular for its live music scene, excellent Texas barbecue, authentic Mexican food, and vibrant student population. Also, Austin is famous for The Texas Capital. Charlotte is well known for its banking industry and growing Uptown area.

How is Charlotte different from Austin?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Charlotte or Austin?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is great for its historical sights. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its sights and museums.

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

Charlotte is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The Mint Museum is a popular place to visit, as is the Gantt Center for African American Arts. Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and sports enthusiasts will enjoy a stop at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.


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

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is terrific for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

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.

Charlotte offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The food scene continues to grow and change around town. You'll find the latest trendy restaurant changes regularly, but dishes often include upscale southern faire or classic American. There are also many international restaurants, particularly Mexican, Thai, and Chinese.

Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Nightlife?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is terrific for its evening party scene. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife.

Austin is a must-see party destination. 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.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Charlotte. Head Uptown for some of the best nightlife. The city has many bars and clubs that keep things fun late into the night.

Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Music?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is terrific for its music scene. However, Charlotte is not a live music destination.

Austin has become a mecca for musicians from 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.

Charlotte is not a live music destination.


Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Hiking?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is adequate for hiking. However, Charlotte is not a hiking destination.

Hiking is a fun activity while in Austin. Head just outside of town to explore a few great hiking spots right near town.

Charlotte is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Charlotte or Austin?

Charlotte
Austin

If you're looking to go shopping, Charlotte and Austin both offer plenty of notable spots.

Charlotte has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. Shopping malls such as SouthPark Mall or Carolina Place offer all of the standard retailers. Concord Mills is another favorite mall in the area. Aside from the malls, there is no shortage of shopping centers around town.

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

Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Families?

Charlotte
Austin

You'll find notable kid-friendly activities in either Charlotte or Austin.

Charlotte offers lots of family activities. There are a number of museums for kids, with one of the best being Discovery Place. It has many hands-on science based exhibits that kids will love. Another unique experience is a visit to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Carowinds Amusement Park is also in the area as are many great parks, playgrounds, and natural areas.

Austin is a family-friendly place to visit. 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 Charlotte or Austin Better for Couples?

Charlotte
Austin

Both Charlotte and Austin are notable destinations to visit as a couple.

Charlotte is a good city for couples to visit. There are a number of date night activities around town, particularly Uptown. You can see a show or concert at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center or hit up one of the trendy bars or restaurants. There are also sporting events and other festivals that are fun to experience.

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.

Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Charlotte is not a good destination for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers 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.

Charlotte is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. While it's not a backpacker destination, there are some cheaper motels that budget travelers can stay at.

Is Charlotte or Austin Better for Students?

Charlotte
Austin

Austin is great for its student-friendly activities. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for 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.

Charlotte is a good city to visit for students. There are a number of smaller colleges in town, but the biggest university is the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


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

Charlotte
Austin

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its public transit. However, Austin is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in Charlotte, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There's a light rail system as well as buses that travel around town.

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

Is Charlotte or Austin a more walkable city?

Charlotte
Austin

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its walkability. However, Austin is a city with minimal options for its high level of walkability.

Charlotte is somewhat walkable. The Uptown area is the most walkable part of the city.

Austin is generally 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. There are some downtown areas that are pedestrian-friendly.

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

Should I spend more time in Austin or Charlotte?

How long in Charlotte or Austin?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Charlotte and Austin. In our opinion, Austin has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Austin than Charlotte. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Charlotte, and 2-3 days is enough time in Austin.

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Austin than Charlotte 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 Charlotte or Austin? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlotte 1-3 
    Austin 2-3

One day in Charlotte or Austin?

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

You'll find nightlife and live music around the city of Austin. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Charlotte or Austin?

Charlotte 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.

You'll find live music and food around the unconventional destination of Austin. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Charlotte or Austin?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Charlotte. 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.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the unconventional city of Austin. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Charlotte or Austin?

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the up-and-coming destination of Charlotte. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Austin is a popular choice for travelers. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


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, Austin or Charlotte?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Charlotte is $191, while the average daily cost in Austin is $142. 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 Charlotte and Austin in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlotte $118
    Austin $56
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlotte $236
    Austin $112
Compare Hotels in Charlotte and Austin

Looking for a hotel in Charlotte or Austin? 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 Charlotte


Hotels in Austin


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: Charlotte Hotel Prices and Austin Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlotte $33
    Austin $47

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlotte

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

  • Arrival Transfer: Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte in Business Car: $134
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $136
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): 1-Way Transfer to Charlotte: $99
  • Charlotte Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Sedan: $150
  • One Way Private Transfer to/from Airport: $72
  • Departure Transfer: Charlotte to Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT in Business Car: $134
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): $54

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Austin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Austin:

  • Austin International Airport (AUS) - Private Round trip transfer: $215
  • Austin Airport Group Pickup / Transfer up to 1 hour away.: $150
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $96
  • Austin-Bergstrom Airport (AUS) to Austin City - Arrival Private Transfer: $48

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlotte or Austin?

Prices for flights to both Austin and Charlotte 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
    Charlotte $46
    Austin $35
Typical Food Prices in Charlotte

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


  • Pizza at Airport
    $4.03
  • Cracker Barrel Lunch (family of 4)
    $29

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Austin

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

  • East Austin Food Tour: $44
  • Devour Downtown Austin Walking Food Tour: $80
  • Famous Texas BBQ & Food Tour in Austin: $89
  • Austin South Congress Walking Food Tour for Small Groups: $95
  • Austin Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours: $99
  • The Brunch Bus: Food Tour with a Live Band on Board the Bus!: $125
  • Private Guided Food Tour of Austin Neighborhoods: $135

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlotte $43
    Austin $28

Tours and Activities in Charlotte

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

  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour: Smartphone Audio & GPS Tour: $6.50
  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour - Smartphone guided audio/gps Tour at your own pace: $6.75
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Charlotte by 3Quest Challenge: $10
  • Uncover History with the Uptown Charlotte In-App Audio Tour: $11
  • Discover NoDa's Charms: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Uptown A Self-Guided Audio Tour to the Heart of Queen City: $12
  • Self-Guided City Highlights Audio Tour: $12
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Charlotte's Hidden Gems: $13
  • Self-guided adventure hunt: Discover Charlotte's Treasures: $13
  • UPTOWN FUNK: 1 Hour Guided City Walking Tour in Charlotte: $15
  • Uptown Funk: 1 Hour Guided Walking Tour of Charlotte: $15
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Charlotte by Zombie Scavengers: $20

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 Glass Bottom Kayak Tour with Olympian: $50
  • 3 Hour Local Splash Pad Tour on an E-Bike: $71
  • Afternoon in Austin Segway Tour: $99
  • Austin : Private Custom Walking Tour With A Guide (Private Tour): $148
  • Austin Arcane Arts Quest Experience: $11
  • Austin Art and Architecture Bicycle Tour: $56
  • Austin Biker Gang E-Bike Tour: $74
  • 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: $232

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlotte $20
    Austin $28

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlotte

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

  • Charlotte Brewery Crawl Tour: $48
  • Bar Crawl on a Rollin Disco Ball Golf Cart in Charlotte: $240

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
  • Austin Haunted Pub Crawl Walking Tour: $30
  • Downtown Austin Live Music Pub Crawl: $35
  • Austin Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Public Pedal Pub Tour in Austin: $39
  • Private Wine Tasting Experience in Austin: $55
  • Rainey Street Walking Pub Crawl and Tour: $59
  • Half-Day Hill Country Brewery and Distillery Shuttle from Austin: $65
  • Private Austin Brewery Tour by Pedicab with All-Inclusive Beer Flight Option: $70
  • 4-Hour Austin Signature Brewery Tour: $100
  • The Brew Bus: Austin Brewery Tour with Live Band: $125
  • Brewery 5K Fun Run, BBQ, and Texas History Museum in Austin : $175


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charlotte and Austin, we can see that Charlotte 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 Charlotte would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Charlotte than you might in Austin.

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


Which is Bigger, Charlotte or Austin?

Austin has a larger population, and is about 13% larger than the population of Charlotte. When comparing the sizes of Charlotte and Austin, 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.


When is the best time to visit Charlotte or Austin?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Charlotte or Austin in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Charlotte as well as Austin. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Charlotte this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Austin for the hiking, the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Charlotte is cooler than Austin. Typically, the summer temperatures in Charlotte in July average around 81°F (27°C), and Austin averages at about 87°F (30°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Austin. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Charlotte this time of the year. In the summer, Charlotte often gets less sunshine than Austin. Charlotte gets 289 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Austin receives 318 hours of full sun.

Charlotte receives a lot of rain in the summer. Charlotte usually gets more rain in July than Austin. Charlotte gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Charlotte 81°F (27°C) 
    Austin 87°F (30°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Austin in the Autumn?

Both Austin and Charlotte are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Charlotte for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Austin in the autumn for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In October, Charlotte is generally cooler than Austin. Daily temperatures in Charlotte average around 63°F (17°C), and Austin fluctuates around 73°F (23°C).

It's quite sunny in Austin. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Charlotte. Charlotte usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Austin during autumn. Charlotte gets 223 hours of sunny skies, while Austin receives 214 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Charlotte usually receives less rain than Austin. Charlotte gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 3 inches (77 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Austin 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Austin in the Winter?

Both Austin and Charlotte during the winter are popular places to visit. Many visitors come to Charlotte in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Austin for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Charlotte is much colder than Austin in the winter. The daily temperature in Charlotte averages around 42°F (6°C) in January, and Austin fluctuates around 51°F (11°C).

In the winter, Charlotte often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Austin. Charlotte gets 173 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Austin receives 163 hours of full sun.

Charlotte usually gets more rain in January than Austin. Charlotte gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 1.9 inches (48 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Charlotte 42°F (6°C) 
    Austin 51°F (11°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Austin in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Charlotte and Austin. Most visitors come to Charlotte for the activities around the city during these months. Furthermore, the spring months attract visitors to Austin because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Charlotte is cooler than Austin. Typically, the spring temperatures in Charlotte in April average around 63°F (17°C), and Austin averages at about 71°F (22°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Austin this time of the year. In Charlotte, it's very sunny this time of the year. Charlotte usually receives more sunshine than Austin during spring. Charlotte gets 273 hours of sunny skies, while Austin receives 209 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Charlotte usually receives around the same amount of rain as Austin. Charlotte gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Austin receives 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Austin 71°F (22°C)

Typical Weather for Austin and Charlotte

Charlotte Austin
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 42°F (6°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 51°F (11°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Feb 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 55°F (13°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Apr 63°F (17°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 71°F (22°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
May 71°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 77°F (25°C) 4 inches (101 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 83°F (29°C) 3.1 inches (80 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 87°F (30°C) 1.9 inches (48 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 87°F (31°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 82°F (28°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3 inches (77 mm)
Nov 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2 inches (52 mm)
Dec 46°F (8°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)