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

Should you visit Charlotte or Detroit?

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 Detroit can help you decide which place is right for you.

Charlotte

Charlotte is a growing, evolving, and up-and-coming city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the food, shopping, and museums.

Detroit

Detroit is a overlooked , under-rated, and hardworking city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Charlotte and Detroit: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Charlotte or Detroit?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Detroit than Charlotte, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Charlotte is popular for its banking industry and growing Uptown area. Detroit is popular for its Motown music, blue collar atmosphere, and influential auto industry. It is also home to the Henry Ford Experience.

How is Charlotte different from Detroit?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Charlotte
Detroit

You'll find a number of good museums and attractions in both Detroit and Charlotte.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Charlotte. 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.

Detroit is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Popular museums around town include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Michigan Science Center.


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

Charlotte
Detroit

Local dishes at restaurants are fun to try in both Charlotte and Detroit.

Charlotte is becoming an appealing option for foodies. 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.

Detroit offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There's a local flavor to the food with a number of classic dishes that are popular like square pizza, Coney dogs, and corned beef egg rolls.

Is Charlotte or Detroit Better for Nightlife?

Charlotte
Detroit

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

Many people head to Detroit for the nightlife scene. It's long history in music still influences the nightlife scene. You'll find bars, clubs, and other activities around town. Greektown and Midtown are both popular neighborhoods during the evening.

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 Detroit Better for Music?

Charlotte
Detroit

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

Detroit has become a mecca for musicians from around the world. Few cities have such an influential music industry. It's home to Motown and is well known for its soul music, jazz, blues, and rap.

Charlotte is not a live music destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Charlotte or Detroit?

Charlotte
Detroit

If you're looking to go shopping, Charlotte and Detroit both offer plenty of good 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.

Detroit is a great destination for shopping. There are several shopping streets like Woodward Avenue. There are also outlet malls, shopping centers, and Eastern Market.

Is Charlotte or Detroit Better for Families?

Charlotte
Detroit

You'll find good kid-friendly activities in either Charlotte or Detroit.

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.

Detroit is a family-friendly place to visit. Head to the Detroit Zoo or check out one of the amusement parks in the area. Kids will enjoy a visit to Legoland and there's also the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium. You could also spend some time visiting the unique museums in the area.

Is Charlotte or Detroit Better for Couples?

Charlotte
Detroit

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its romantic activities. However, Detroit is lacking in good options for couples.

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

Detroit is not always the best place to visit for a couple. It's not a city that usually brings to mind romance, but if you find yourself here for a couple of days, there's a RiverWalk area and some interesting local neighborhoods.


Is Charlotte or Detroit Better for Students?

Charlotte
Detroit

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its student-friendly activities. However, Detroit is not popular with students.

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

Detroit is not popular with students.

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

Charlotte
Detroit

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Detroit is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Charlotte has some public transit options. There's a light rail system as well as buses that travel around town.

Public transit is generally limited in Detroit. There's a streetcar and bus system, but the car is still king in Motor City.

Is Charlotte or Detroit a more walkable city?

Charlotte
Detroit

Charlotte and Detroit are good when it comes to walkability.

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

Detroit is somewhat walkable. There are parts of downtown Detroit that are walkable, but most people need a car to get around.


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

Should I spend more time in Detroit or Charlotte?

How long in Charlotte or Detroit?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Charlotte and Detroit. In our opinion, Charlotte has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Charlotte than Detroit. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

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


  • How many days in Charlotte or Detroit? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlotte 1-3 
    Detroit 1-3

One day in Charlotte or Detroit?

In Charlotte, you'll find nightlife and food. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the city of Detroit. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Detroit has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Charlotte or Detroit?

In Charlotte, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Charlotte has to offer.

You'll find live music and food around the overlooked destination of Detroit. 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 Detroit?

Charlotte is a great place to explore. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the hardworking city of Detroit. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Most people head to the area for the live music. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


A week in Charlotte or Detroit?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Charlotte. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Charlotte. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Detroit 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 Tours Under $1000 in United States of America, The Best Luxury Tours to United States of America, The Best Tours for Seniors to United States of America, and The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Detroit 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 Detroit is $133. 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 Detroit in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlotte $118
    Detroit $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlotte $236
    Detroit $128
Compare Hotels in Charlotte and Detroit

Looking for a hotel in Charlotte or Detroit? 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 Detroit


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 Detroit Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlotte $33
    Detroit $37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlotte

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

  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): $54
  • Departure Transfer: Charlotte to Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT in Business Car: $134
  • Charlotte Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Sedan: $150
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): 1-Way Transfer to Charlotte: $99
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $137
  • Arrival Transfer: Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte in Business Car: $134

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Detroit

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

  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $191
  • Private Transfer from Detroit City to Detroit (DTW) Airport: $144
  • Private Transfer from Detroit (DTW) Airport to Detroit City: $144
  • Departure Private Transfer: Detroit to Detroit Airport DTW in Luxury SUV: $132
  • Departure Private Transfer: Detroit to Detroit Airport DTW in Business Car: $101
  • Detroit City to Detroit Airport (DTW) - Departure Private Transfer: $95
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) to Detroit City - Arrival Private Transfer: $95
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Detroit Airport (DTW) by SUV: $90
  • Private Departure Transfer - to Detroit Airport (DTW) by SUV: $90
  • Private Departure Transfer to Detroit Airport DTW: $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlotte or Detroit?

Prices for flights to both Detroit 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
    Detroit $44
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 Detroit

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

  • Fresh Mediterranean Inspired Cooking Class in a Unique Detroit Home: $104

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlotte $43
    Detroit $21

Tours and Activities in Charlotte

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

  • 2.5 Hour Black History Van Tour-Perseverance, Power, and Progress: $59
  • 90 Minute Historic Uptown Neighborhood Segway Tour of Charlotte: $75
  • Beer & BBQ Walking Tour - Craft Beer Experience : $115
  • Carolina History and Haunts Charlotte Historical Ghost Walking Tour : $27
  • Carolina Panthers Football Game Ticket at Bank of America Stadium: $40
  • Charlotte Artistic Family Friendly Adventure Tour : $30
  • Charlotte Comedy City Tour: $40
  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour - Smartphone guided audio/gps Tour at your own pace: $6.75
  • Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour: Smartphone Audio & GPS Tour: $6.50
  • Charlotte Haunted Booze and Boos Ghost Walking Tour: $35
  • Charlotte Historic : Queen Bee City Tour: $39
  • Charlotte Historical City Tour: $45

Tours and Activities in Detroit

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

  • Ann Arbor Scavenger Hunt: Ann Arbor Adventure: $12
  • Detroit Tigers Baseball Game Ticket at Comerica Park: $12
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Ann Arbor with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan Admission Ticket: $26
  • Motor City Ghosts Tour: $33
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Ann Arbor, MI: $15
  • SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium Admission Ticket: $25
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Ann Arbor by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Ann Arbor by Wacky Walks: $10
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Windsor by Wacky Walks: $11
  • Self Guided "Detroit's Spirit and History" Solo Walking Tour: $7.75

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlotte $20
    Detroit $20

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlotte

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

  • 3-Hour Brewery Crawl on 7 passenger Cart: $48
  • Charlotte Brewery Crawl Tour: $48
  • Bar Crawl on a Rollin Disco Ball Golf Cart in Charlotte: $240


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charlotte and Detroit, we can see that Charlotte is more expensive. And not only is Detroit much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Detroit would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Detroit 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 Detroit.

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


Which is Bigger, Charlotte or Detroit?

Detroit has a larger population, and is about 59% larger than the population of Charlotte. When comparing the sizes of Charlotte and Detroit, 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 Detroit?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Charlotte or Detroit in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Charlotte and Detroit. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Charlotte this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Detroit for the city activities, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Charlotte is generally a little warmer than Detroit. Daily temperatures in Charlotte average around 81°F (27°C), and Detroit fluctuates around 74°F (24°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Detroit this time of the year. In Charlotte, it's very sunny this time of the year. Charlotte usually receives less sunshine than Detroit during summer. Charlotte gets 289 hours of sunny skies, while Detroit receives 319 hours of full sun in the summer.

Charlotte gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Charlotte usually receives more rain than Detroit. Charlotte gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Detroit receives 3.4 inches (85 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Charlotte 81°F (27°C) 
    Detroit 74°F (24°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Detroit in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Charlotte as well as Detroit. Many travelers come to Charlotte for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Additionally, many visitors come to Detroit in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the music scene.

Charlotte is a little warmer than Detroit in the autumn. The daily temperature in Charlotte averages around 63°F (17°C) in October, and Detroit fluctuates around 54°F (12°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Charlotte this time of the year. In the autumn, Charlotte often gets more sunshine than Detroit. Charlotte gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Detroit receives 172 hours of full sun.

Charlotte usually gets more rain in October than Detroit. Charlotte gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Detroit receives 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Detroit 54°F (12°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Detroit in the Winter?

Both Detroit and Charlotte are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Charlotte in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Detroit for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Detroit can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Charlotte is much warmer than Detroit. Typically, the winter temperatures in Charlotte in January average around 42°F (6°C), and Detroit averages at about 25°F (-4°C).

Charlotte usually receives more sunshine than Detroit during winter. Charlotte gets 173 hours of sunny skies, while Detroit receives 120 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Charlotte usually receives more rain than Detroit. Charlotte gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Detroit receives 2 inches (50 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Charlotte 42°F (6°C) 
    Detroit 25°F (-4°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Detroit in the Spring?

Both Detroit and Charlotte during the spring are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Charlotte for the activities around the city during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Detroit because of the activities around the city.

In April, Charlotte is generally much warmer than Detroit. Daily temperatures in Charlotte average around 63°F (17°C), and Detroit fluctuates around 49°F (9°C).

In Detroit, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Charlotte. In the spring, Charlotte often gets more sunshine than Detroit. Charlotte gets 273 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Detroit receives 223 hours of full sun.

Charlotte usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Detroit. Charlotte gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Detroit receives 3.2 inches (80 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Detroit 49°F (9°C)

Typical Weather for Detroit and Charlotte

Charlotte Detroit
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 42°F (6°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 25°F (-4°C) 2 inches (50 mm)
Feb 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 27°F (-3°C) 2.1 inches (54 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 37°F (3°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Apr 63°F (17°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 49°F (9°C) 3.2 inches (80 mm)
May 71°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 60°F (16°C) 3 inches (76 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 74°F (24°C) 3.4 inches (85 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 73°F (23°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 65°F (19°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm)
Nov 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm) 43°F (6°C) 3 inches (75 mm)
Dec 46°F (8°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 31°F (-1°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)