Should you visit Charlotte or Durham?
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 Durham can help you decide which place is right for you.
With a population of almost 800,000, Charlotte is the largest city in the state of North Carolina. The city has grown rapidly in recent years and the thriving economy has led to major revitalization efforts in the city's central district. The city is a center for finance, industry, technology, and entertainment within the state. It is the location of the corporate headquarters of Bank of America as well as the east coast operations of Wells Fargo, making it the second largest banking center in the United States. Although Charlotte has never been considered a significant tourist destination, recent efforts to enhance the urban core and develop entertainment venues have begun to appeal to outside visitors.
Durham is a city in central North Carolina with about 230,000 residents. Together with Raleigh and Chapel Hill, it forms the Research Triangle area. Durham is often referred to as the "City of Medicine" and is home to the famous Duke University.
Durham's history is rooted in tobacco. The Duke family established American Tobacco, which controlled 90% of all cigarette production in the US during the second half of the 19th century. The family donated money to Trinity College, which changed its name to Duke University in 1924.
Today much of Durham's economy is centered around the university and Research Triangle Park. The area has many technology and pharmaceutical jobs and the economy continues to grow.
Which city is cheaper, Durham or Charlotte?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Charlotte is $153, while the average daily cost in Durham is $130. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Charlotte and Durham in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $188 in Charlotte For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Durham's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $146. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $73.
Food in Charlotte costs travelers about $37 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
On average, meal and food prices in Durham cost around $35 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $14.
Meals for one day
Typical Food prices in Charlotte
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Charlotte:
Charlotte's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $27 per person, per day on transportation in Charlotte.
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $26 per day to get around in Durham.
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):
Private Arrival Transfer from Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT:
Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Arrival Private Transfer:
Charlotte City to Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) - Departure Private Transfer:
Departure Private Transfer Charlotte to Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT Sedan Car:
Arrival Private Transfer Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte by Sedan car:
Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Round-Trip Private Transfer:
Departure Private Transfer Charlotte to Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT by SUV:
Arrival Private Transfer Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte by SUV:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Durham
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Durham:
Private Transfer from Durham to Manchester Airport (MAN):
Durham to Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) - Departure Private Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Charlotte or Durham?
Prices for flights to both Durham 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Charlotte can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $34 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $21 per person, per day in Durham. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
Tours and Activities in Charlotte
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Charlotte.
Charlotte Beyond the Grave Haunted History Walking Ghost Tour:
Charlotte Ghost Walking Tour:
Charlotte Comedy City Tour:
Charlotte Comedy City PG-13 Tour:
Charlotte's Historical City Tour:
Belize Jungle Limo - Triple Activity Tour:
Historic Uptown Neighborhood Segway Tour of Charlotte:
Private and Custom Tours:
Discover Charlotte Historic City: Segway Tour:
Tours and Activities in Durham
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Durham are as follows:
Trolley Pub Public Tour of Durham:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Charlotte, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $16.
The average person spends about $27 on alcoholic beverages in Durham per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Sample the Local Flavors in Charlotte
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Charlotte:
Haunted Charlotte Ghost and Pub Walking Tour:
Trolley Pub Tour of Charlotte:
3-Hour Charlotte Brewery Crawl Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Charlotte and Durham, we can see that Charlotte is more expensive. And not only is Durham much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Durham would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Durham 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 Durham.
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