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

Should you visit Charlotte or Lancaster?

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

Charlotte

Charlotte is a evolving, up-and-coming, and growing city. Because this is such a big city, visitors will find many sights and attractions around town. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Lancaster

Lancaster is a picturesque, scenic, and traditional town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the museums, food, and shopping.

Charlotte and Lancaster: 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
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Charlotte or Lancaster?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Charlotte than Lancaster. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Charlotte is very popular for its nightlife and big city activities, while Lancaster attracts visitors for its museums, shopping, and impressive beauty. Lancaster is more touristy than Charlotte and is known for its history and long running Amish community. Charlotte is famous for its banking industry and growing Uptown area. It is also well known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

How is Charlotte different from Lancaster?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Charlotte
Lancaster

Lancaster 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 Lancaster specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Filled with history and local culture, there are many educational opportunities in the area where you can learn about Amish traditions. The Amish Village has tours and unique experiences. The town also has James Buchanan's Wheatland, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, the National Toy Train Museum, the Ephrata Cloister, and the National Watch & Clock Museum, among many others.

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 Lancaster? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Charlotte
Lancaster

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

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.

Lancaster offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. You can sample authentic Pennsylvania Dutch dishes at one of the Amish restaurants in the area. Many places serve food family-style and dishes include chicken pot pie, ham balls, and pork and sauerkraut. Whoopie pies also originated in the area.

Is Charlotte or Lancaster Better for Nightlife?

Charlotte
Lancaster

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Lancaster is not known for nightlife.

If you're looking for night time activities Charlotte has a few options to choose from. Head Uptown for some of the best nightlife. The city has many bars and clubs that keep things fun late into the night.

Most people don't head to Lancaster specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. It's a small town, but you'll still find local pubs and cozy bars where you can enjoy a drink in a laid back atmosphere.

Is the Shopping Better in Charlotte or Lancaster?

Charlotte
Lancaster

Lancaster is great for its shopping areas. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Lancaster. Many visitors pick up hand-crafted Amish items while they're in town. Furniture and Amish quilts are particularly popular. Farmers markets and antique shopping are both unique in the area and there are also art galleries and several outlet stores that you can visit.

Charlotte is a great destination for shopping. 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.


Is Charlotte or Lancaster Better for Families?

Charlotte
Lancaster

Lancaster is great for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Lancaster. In you area you'll find farms and petting zoos, amusement parks, and train rides. They can learn about a unique lifestyle at the Amish Experience or soak up the local beauty and farmland in the surrounding countryside.

Charlotte is a family-friendly place to visit. 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.

Is Charlotte or Lancaster Better for Couples?

Charlotte
Lancaster

Lancaster is great for couples. Also, Charlotte is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Lancaster is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. This region is known for it's local beauty and serene farmland, making it a relaxing and peaceful destination for couples. There are walking trails, outdoor activities, buggy rides, and a variety of dining experiences. You can also stay at a bed and breakfast or local inn.

Charlotte is a nice destination for couples. 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.

Is Charlotte or Lancaster Better for Students?

Charlotte
Lancaster

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

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

Lancaster is not popular with students.


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

Charlotte
Lancaster

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Lancaster is not known for its public transit.

While Charlotte offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There's a light rail system as well as buses that travel around town.

Public transit is generally limited in Lancaster. The city has buses and several transportation options, but once you're outside of the urban core, your options are limited.

Is Charlotte or Lancaster a more walkable city?

Charlotte
Lancaster

Charlotte is a nice place to visit for its ease of walking around. However, Lancaster is not known for its walkability.

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

Lancaster is generally not very walkable. While the city itself has walkable areas, most visitors want to get out and explore the countryside, which requires a car.

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

Should I spend more time in Lancaster or Charlotte?

How long in Charlotte or Lancaster?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Charlotte and Lancaster. You can spend similar amounts of time exploring each one. In general, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Charlotte, and 2-3 days is enough time in Lancaster.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Charlotte than Lancaster 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 Charlotte.


  • How many days in Charlotte or Lancaster? Ideal Length of Stay
    Charlotte 1-3 
    Lancaster 2-3

One day in Charlotte or Lancaster?

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

You'll find shopping and museums around the town of Lancaster. 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 Lancaster?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the growing destination of Charlotte. 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.

You'll find museums and food around the traditional destination of Lancaster. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Charlotte or Lancaster?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the evolving city of Charlotte. 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.

Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the picturesque town of Lancaster. 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 Lancaster?

Charlotte 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.

Lancaster 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 One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Los Angeles, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from New York City, The Best 2-Week Tours from New York City, and The Best 2-Week Tours from Anchorage.


Which place is cheaper, Lancaster 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 Lancaster is $183. 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 Lancaster in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Charlotte $118
    Lancaster $91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Charlotte $236
    Lancaster $182
Compare Hotels in Charlotte and Lancaster

Looking for a hotel in Charlotte or Lancaster? 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 Lancaster


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 Lancaster Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Charlotte $33
    Lancaster $69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Charlotte

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

  • Charlotte Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Sedan: $150
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT) to Charlotte City - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $138
  • Arrival Transfer: Charlotte Douglas Airport CLT to Charlotte in Business Car: $135
  • Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): 1-Way Transfer to Charlotte: $99
  • One Way Private Transfer to/from Airport: $72
  • Private Departure Transfer to Charlotte Douglas Airport (CLT): $54

Is it cheaper to fly into Charlotte or Lancaster?

Prices for flights to both Lancaster 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
    Lancaster $53
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 Lancaster

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

  • International Food Tour Lancaster, Pennsylvania: $68
  • Red Rose Walking Food Tour in Lancaster: $69

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Charlotte $43
    Lancaster $19

Tours and Activities in Charlotte

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

  • "In The Streets & Eats" Mural Art Tour Of Charlotte: $50
  • 2.5 Hour Black History Van Tour-Perseverance, Power, and Progress: $59
  • 90 Minute Historic Uptown Neighborhood Segway Tour of Charlotte: $75
  • African American Arts & Culture Tour in Charlotte: $39
  • Beer & BBQ Walking Tour - Craft Beer Experience : $115
  • Big Bite Brew Tour in Charlotte's LoSo District: $150
  • Carolina History and Haunts Charlotte Historical Ghost Walking Tour : $27
  • Carolina Panthers Football Game Ticket at Bank of America Stadium: $9.53
  • 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

Tours and Activities in Lancaster

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

  • 45-Minute Private Guided Historic Walking Tour in Lititz: $12
  • Amish Experience SuperSaver Package: $47
  • Authentic Tour & Meal with the Amish!: $89
  • From Philadelphia: Lancaster County Amish Community Tour: $179
  • Guided Ghost Tour of Lititz: $12
  • Guided Tour of the 1792 Johannes Mueller House: $12
  • Historic Lancaster Photo Shoot Tour: $100
  • Lancaster County: Amish Farmlands, Museum Tour, Farm Visit: $36
  • Lancaster County: Tour and Meal with an Amish Family: $89
  • Lancaster Electric Bicycle Tour: $124
  • Lancaster History and Breakfast Walking Tour: $60
  • Lancaster Puzzling Adventure: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Charlotte $20
    Lancaster $11

Sample the Local Flavors in Charlotte

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

  • Trolley Pub Tour of Charlotte: $31
  • Charlotte Brewery Crawl Tour: $48
  • Double Trolley Pub Tour with Drinks: $899

Sample the Local Flavors in Lancaster

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

  • Guided Brewery Walking Tour in Lancaster City: $79
  • Lancaster City: The Ultimate Walking Craft Brewery Tour: $79


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


Which is Bigger, Charlotte or Lancaster?

Charlotte has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Lancaster. When comparing the sizes of Charlotte and Lancaster, 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 Lancaster?

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 Lancaster in the Summer?

Both Lancaster and Charlotte are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The city activities and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Charlotte this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Lancaster for the family-friendly experiences.

Charlotte is around the same temperature as Lancaster in the summer. The daily temperature in Charlotte averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Lancaster fluctuates around 77°F (25°C).

It's quite sunny in Lancaster. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Charlotte. Charlotte usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Lancaster during summer. Charlotte gets 289 hours of sunny skies, while Lancaster receives 310 hours of full sun in the summer.

It's quite rainy in Charlotte. In July, Charlotte usually receives more rain than Lancaster. Charlotte gets 4.6 inches (116 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 3.6 inches (91 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Charlotte 81°F (27°C) 
    Lancaster 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Lancaster in the Autumn?

Both Lancaster and Charlotte during the autumn are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Charlotte for the city's sights and attractions and the shopping scene. Furthermore, many visitors come to Lancaster in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Charlotte is a little warmer than Lancaster. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Charlotte in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Lancaster averages at about 56°F (13°C).

It's quite sunny in Charlotte. In the autumn, Charlotte often gets more sunshine than Lancaster. Charlotte gets 223 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lancaster receives 194 hours of full sun.

Charlotte usually gets less rain in October than Lancaster. Charlotte gets 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 2.9 inches (75 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Lancaster 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Lancaster in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Charlotte and Lancaster. Many visitors come to Charlotte in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Furthermore, most visitors come to Lancaster for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

Lancaster can be very cold during winter. In January, Charlotte is generally much warmer than Lancaster. Daily temperatures in Charlotte average around 42°F (6°C), and Lancaster fluctuates around 30°F (-1°C).

Charlotte usually receives more sunshine than Lancaster during winter. Charlotte gets 173 hours of sunny skies, while Lancaster receives 153 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Charlotte usually receives more rain than Lancaster. Charlotte gets 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 2.8 inches (72 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Charlotte 42°F (6°C) 
    Lancaster 30°F (-1°C)

Should I visit Charlotte or Lancaster in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Charlotte as well as Lancaster. Most visitors come to Charlotte for the activities around the city during these months. Additionally, the spring months attract visitors to Lancaster because of the natural beauty.

Charlotte is a little warmer than Lancaster in the spring. The daily temperature in Charlotte averages around 63°F (17°C) in April, and Lancaster fluctuates around 53°F (12°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Lancaster. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Charlotte this time of the year. In the spring, Charlotte often gets more sunshine than Lancaster. Charlotte gets 273 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Lancaster receives 237 hours of full sun.

Charlotte usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Lancaster. Charlotte gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Lancaster receives 3.2 inches (82 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Charlotte 63°F (17°C) 
    Lancaster 53°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Lancaster and Charlotte

Charlotte Lancaster
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 42°F (6°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm) 30°F (-1°C) 2.8 inches (72 mm)
Feb 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm) 33°F (0°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 4.5 inches (115 mm) 42°F (6°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Apr 63°F (17°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
May 71°F (21°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4.3 inches (108 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (116 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (91 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 3.5 inches (88 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.5 inches (89 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm) 56°F (13°C) 2.9 inches (75 mm)
Nov 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 46°F (8°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 35°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)